Technical Blog


Technical and Product News and Insights from Rackspace

Do you have an operational readiness checklist?

As mentioned in a previous post, you should consider operational readiness when you prepare to move business-critical applications and production workloads to the public cloud. You should run operational readiness checks with your Operations team in both the solution design phase and the go-live phase.

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Introducing Chef v2

This post introduces the Chef application by Chef and shows how the platform improves the way you administer hardware in a DevOps environment.

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Hugo the Great - CI with Hugo and Azure DevOps

This post offers a small taste of Dutch history but, more importantly, an overview of how to user Azure DevOps to create a CI Pipeline for Hugo!

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A Simple AWS-based CICD for In-Development Terraform Providers

Terraform has gained a lot of popularity in the last couple years. Rackspace prefers to use Terraform to quickly spin up new architecture in AWS and Azure. However, with Amazon’s lightning-fast deployment of new features, it has become harder for the Provider maintainers to keep up. Developers are left waiting for new features to be developed and merged into the master branch before becoming available for general consumption.

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Molecule for existing Ansible roles

Ansible development is fast, and anyone using Ansible extensively has most likely come across an instance where a playbook that used to work does not work on a later Ansible version. Or, a system that wasn’t supported initially is now added and an existing role requires modification to make it work on the new system. See Molecule for Ansible role creation for more details on using and debugging Molecule. Creating a Molecule scenario to test an existing role allows for easy testing and modification of that role with all the benefits that Molecule provides.

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Molecule for Ansible role creation

In our Quality Engineering organization, we create, configure, and destroy a lot of servers via automation. Ansible is a great method for handling the configuration of servers, but the creation of Ansible roles and playbooks can be trial and error for even experienced Operations Engineers. Molecule provides a way to speed up the development and confidence of Ansible roles and playbooks by wrapping a virtualization driver with tools for testing and linting.

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Using Terraform with Rackspace Public Cloud

Using Terraform with Rackspace Public Cloud

Handling a huge scale of infrastructure requires automation and infrastructure as code. Terraform is a tool that helps to manage a wide variety of systems including dynamic server lifecycle, configuration of source code repositories, databases, and even monitoring services. Terraform uses text configuration files to define the desired state of infrastructure. From those files, Terraform provides information on the changes to be made based on the current state of that infrastructure, and can make those changes.

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Developing an effective monitoring strategy

Modern application environments can be complex and include many discrete elements that can all affect the end user’s experience. Because of this, it can be challenging to develop an effective monitoring strategy that allows you to be alerted during potential performance problems and also to use these metrics from a variety of systems to proactively address potential bottlenecks and slow points before they cause end user impact. In this article, we’ll be discussing several best practices for ensuring that your environment is effectively monitored.

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Ansible filter plugins

Rackspace Application Services provides application support and management to a wide variety of customers ranging in size from small environments with only a few application servers to customers that run thousands of Java Virtual Machines (or JVMs) across their environment. To help facilitate this, we heavily rely on Ansible to help us automate implementation, troubleshooting, and maintenance tasks. While Ansible is quite powerful and easy to use, many organizations do not take full advantage of some of the features that it provides. In this article, we’ll be discussing how you can extend Jinja2 and Ansible’s built-in filter plugins and how you can craft a completely new filter plugin to make specific tasks easier.

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Faster Java thread dump analysis

Long running threads, application locks, thread contention, and other problems can all cause significant performance problems in Java applications (up to and including a complete lock up of the Java Virtual Machine (or JVM)!) Thread dumps are a vital tool in analyzing and troubleshooting performance problems in Java applications. They represent a point-in-time snapshot of the stack traces for all active threads that exist within the JVM. Typically, in order to troubleshoot these issues and get to the root cause, an engineer takes several thread dumps approximately 5-15 seconds apart. In this way, we can compare the state of all threads to determine commonalities – namely, threads that are long running, blocking other threads, leading to circular deadlocks, and so on. In large applications, you may have thousands of threads, which can make this analysis a challenging prospect. In this article, we’ll discuss how we can use a tool called fastthread.io in order to offload most of the heavy lifting and give us immediate insight in to the state of the application threads.

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