Three reasons to start using Ansible

AnsibleA few months ago I attended a one day Ansible workshop in Columbus Ohio with a colleague. The workshop was sponsored by Red Hat and contained several labs, which is well worth your time if you have the opportunity. I wasn’t sure what to expect, generally you don’t walk away with much working knowledge from these short events, but I had some experience with Puppet (most of it frustrating) and I was curious to see what Ansible could do for my organization.

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Motorcycle Season!

Motorcycle season has arrived in central Ohio….. Well, minus the snow we had today…. and possibly tomorrow….

Last Friday, I took a much needed vacation day and decided to make the most of the rare sunshine and mild temperatures by pulling my bike out of the garage and getting it ready for riding season.

motorcycle
My awesome Honda Rebel

This old Rebel 250 can sometimes have a bit of an attitude problem at the start of the spring. Back in 2009 these didn’t come equipped with fuel injection, so it’s always a toss up as to whether or not it’s going to start without a fight (or a trip to the shop) after a long winter. This year, however, after a quick battery charge and a fresh tank of gas it started right up!

At the end of last year I had a problem with the shift lever coming loose so I took a wrench to it to make sure that the locking nut I put on was holding tight. After letting the engine warm up and doing a good check of the brakes, the horn, the chain, and all the flashing lights it was time to get out on the road.

Every year I say I’m going to sell this thing and get something bigger, louder, faster… but every year I’m reminded about how much fun it is to ride this bike. The Honda Rebel isn’t the fastest (understatement of the year), or the loudest (at best it sounds like a well tuned weed wacker), but it does get over 60 miles per gallon, it will do highway speeds without any trouble if you keep up on maintenance, and its got to be one of the best commuter motorcycles you can get. It has just enough power to get you through traffic while staying humble enough to stifle any temptation you might have to become a daredevil in a roundabout.

This year I plan to get more riding time in with a trip or two to the Hocking Hills region, and maybe someplace’s near the lake. Maybe next year I’ll get something new…. (but probably not)

Now all I need is for the warm weather to stick around.

The caret is mightier than the up arrow

I learned a fun bash trick about a week ago that I thought I would share. In a bash shell you can use the caret ^ symbol to find and replace a sequence of characters in your previous command.

For instance if you type:

sudo systemctl restart httpd

and then want to look at the status of the httpd service all you need to do is:

^restart^status

Bash will look at the last command in your history and replace the first occurrence of “restart” with “status” and run the new command.

Over the last week or so I’ve found that I get the most use out of this trick from my atrocious spelling. More often than not I spell “systemctl” as “systemclt”, or instead of “sudo something” I type “sodu something.” Using the caret syntax I can quickly fix my spelling mistakes in the command line without having to retype long strings  that had a couple of letters out of place.

The other thing this is useful for, is to show off your awesome command line skills and see the looks of adoration you get from your fellow Linuxy people. In fact, to be honest, that is probably the best reason to learn these kinds of things. 🙂

So next time you are about to press the up arrow and fix a spelling mistake, or change a command option try using the ^oldstring^newstring trick instead.

Till next time

— Luke

LXD/LXC

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time learning about LXD/LXC containers on Ubuntu. There is a lot of really good information available about how to get started with these containers so I’m not going try to reproduce that content here, however, I will provide links at the bottom that I think are relevant to learn more about LXD and LXC.

Below I outline what it is that I like about LXC these reasons are also the driving factors behind my decision to use LXC for web hosting as opposed to other container technologies. Though I should note that LXC and Docker are not mutually exclusive. If you are comfortable using Docker you may want to consider using both of these technologies.

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Lets talk about Containers

So, lets talk about containers.

Lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of my time trying to learn as much about containers as I can. Truth be told I don’t really like containers, for the most part I think they tend to add an unnecessary layer of complexity into my infrastructer and become just one more thing to firewall, patch, and maintain a separate lifecycle for. However, it seems that I am in the minority opinion regarding this technology so I’ve been making an honest attempt to learn about the various container technologies and see if I can apply any of it to my day to day activities. I am open to the possibility that, maybe, I haven’t put in enough work to gain an appreciation of Docker, or LXC, or Atomic, or CoreOS, or whatever other new fangled technology these young folk are into 🙂 To that end I’m hoping over the next few months to identify some portion of this site that can be moved into a container to find out what I’ve been missing! Who knows maybe I’ll find out I like containers.
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