ansible

Mcrouter Operator - demonstration of K8s Operator SDK usage with Ansible

It wouldn't surprise me if you've never heard of Mcrouter. Described by Facebook as "a memcached protocol router for scaling memcached deployments", it's not the kind of software that everyone needs.

There are many scenarios where a key-value cache is necessary, and in probably 90% of them, running a single Redis or Memcached instance would adequately serve the application's needs. There are more exotic use cases, though, where you need better horizontal scaling and consistency.

How to add integration tests to an Ansible collection with Molecule

Note: Ansible Collections are currently in tech preview. The details of this blog post may be outdated by the time you read this, though I will try to keep things updated if possible.

Ansible 2.8 and 2.9 introduced a new type of Ansible content, a 'Collection'. Collections are still in tech preview state, so things are prone to change.

Ansible Collections must be in a very specific path, like {...}/ansible_collections/{namespace}/{collection}/

You have to make sure your collection is in that specific path—with an empty directory named ansible_collections, then a directory for the namespace, and finally a directory for the collection itself. I opened an issue in the Ansible issue queue asking if ansible-test can allow running tests in an arbitrary collection directory, and for Molecule itself, there's more of a 'meta' issue, Molecule and Ansible Collections.

Discovering whether an Ansible component is 'core' or 'community'

As you get deeper into your journey using Ansible, you might start filing issues on GitHub, chatting in #ansible on Freenode IRC, or otherwise interacting more with the Ansible community. Because the Ansible community has grown tremendously over the years—and as Ansible has been subsumed by Red Hat, which has various support plans for Ansible—there's been a greater distinction between parts of Ansible that are 'core' (e.g. maintained by the Ansible Engineering Team) and those that are not.

When everything works, and when you're living in a world where security and compliance requirements are fairly free, you would never even care about the support for Ansible components (modules, plugins, filters, Galaxy content). But if something goes wrong, or if there are security or compliance concerns, it is important to be able to figure out what's core, what's 'certified' by Red Hat, and what's not.

A Drupal Operator for Kubernetes with the Ansible Operator SDK

Kubernetes is taking over the world of infrastructure management, at least for larger-scale operations, and best practices have started to solidify. One of those best practices is the cultivation of Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) to describe your applications in a Kubernetes-native way, and Operators to manage your the Custom Resources running on your Kubernetes clusters.

In the Drupal community, Kubernetes uptake has been somewhat slow, but is on the rise. Just like with Docker adoption for local development, the tooling and documentation has been slowly percolating. For example, Tess Flynn from TEN7 has been boldly going where no one has gone before (oops, wrong scifi series!) using the Force to promote Drupal usage in a Kubernetes environment.

How to add integration tests to an Ansible Collection with ansible-test

Note: Ansible Collections are currently in tech preview. The details of this blog post may be outdated by the time you read this, though I will try to keep things updated if possible.

Ansible 2.8 and 2.9 introduced a new type of Ansible content, a 'Collection'. Collections are still in tech preview state, so things are prone to change, but one thing that the Ansible team has been working on is improving ansible-test to be able to test modules, plugins, and roles in Collections (previously it was only used for testing Ansible core).

ansible-test currently requires your Collection be in a very specific path, either:

Make your Ansible playbooks flexible, maintainable, and scalable - AnsibleFest Austin 2018 Presentation

Last year, at AnsibleFest Austin 2018, I presented Make your Ansible playbooks flexible, maintainable, and scalable. All the sessions at AnsibleFest were recorded, and I thought I'd be doubly safe since I presented my session on both days of AnsibleFest! Alas, due to some technical glitch, all the session recordings were lost, and so the only recordings available online today are those which were re-recorded by presenters.

As life happened... re-recording the session was put on the back burner. And after many months, I started to forget the structure of the presentation (I haven't given it since AnsibleFest), so I figured I might never get around to re-recording it at home.

Luckily, though, when I was running through Final Cut Pro to archive the previous years' completed projects, I found a practice recording of the session from the week before AnsibleFest. It was thankfully pretty good, and only needed a few slight edits:

Moving on, aka 'New job, 2019 edition'

Since 2014, I've been working for Acquia, doing some fun work with a great team in Professional Services. I started out managing some huge Drupal site builds for Acquia clients, and ended up devoting all my time for the past couple years to some major infrastructure projects, diving deeper into operations work, Ansible, AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes in production.

In that same time period, I began work on my second book, Ansible for Kubernetes, but have not had the dedicated time to get too deep into writing—especially now that I have three young kids. When I started writing Ansible for DevOps, I had one newborn!

It's not me, Google, it's you - from GA to Fathom

tl;dr: I'm now using Fathom for my personal website analytics, and it's easy to self-host and maintain, better for privacy, and can lead to better site performance.

Since the mid-2000s, right after it became available, I started using Google Analytics for almost every website I built (whether it be mine or someone else). It quickly became (and remains) the de-facto standard for website usage analytics and user tracking.

Google Analytics UI

Before that you basically had web page visit counters (some of them with slightly more advanced features ala W3Counter and Stat Counter), and then on the high end you had Urchin Web Analytics (which is what Google acquired and turned into a 'cloud' version, naming the new product Google Analytics and tying it deeply into the Google AdWords ecosystem).

Running Drupal Cron Jobs in Kubernetes

There are a number of things you have to do to make Drupal a first-class citizen inside a Kubernetes cluster, like adding a shared filesystem (e.g. PV/PVC over networked file share) for the files directory (which can contain generated files like image derivatives, generated PHP, and twig template caches), and setting up containers to use environment variables for connection details (instead of hard-coding things in settings.php).

But another thing which you should do for better performance and traceability is run Drupal cron via an external process. Drupal's cron is essential to many site operations, like cleaning up old files, cleaning out certain system tables (flood, history, logs, etc.), running queued jobs, etc. And if your site is especially reliant on timely cron runs, you probably also use something like Ultimate Cron to manage the cron jobs more efficiently (it makes Drupal cron work much like the extensive job scheduler in a more complicated system like Magento).

Testing your Ansible roles with Molecule

After the announcement on September 26 that Ansible will be adopting molecule and ansible-lint as official 'Ansible by Red Hat' projects, I started moving more of my public Ansible projects over to Molecule-based tests instead of using the homegrown Docker-based Ansible testing rig I'd been using for a few years.

Molecule sticker in front of AnsibleFest 2018 Sticker

There was also a bit of motivation from readers of Ansible for DevOps, many of whom have asked for a new section on Molecule specifically!

In this blog post, I'll walk you through how to use Molecule, and how I converted all my existing roles (which were using a different testing system) to use Molecule and Ansible Lint-based tests.

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