Sunday, November 14, 2010

MySQL configuration management using Chef

Here at Recorded Future we use Chef for Configuration Management, and I am a complete newcomer to this. Chef is, like Puppet, built in Ruby, Ruby sure seems popular for Configuration Management things.

As for the so called "recipes", which is what Chef names a things used for installing some software package, such as MySQL, is really not complete in the case of MySQL at least, but that is really not a big deal. I actually am beginning to like Chef, there are many good points to it, although I can't escape the feeling that I am spending more time writing Ruby than actually installing stuff and getting MySQL running. But I beleive that this most a result of the fact that we are still a startup and do not yet have that many MySQL servers running.

I my opinion, and I can be pretty opinionated as you know, I think the one big thing with Chef that I do not like is Ruby. I have to admit I really have to work hard to get used the idiosycratic means that this language works in. Mind you, I'm no big fan of scriping languages in general, but I have written fair amounts of PHP, for example is most of my website papablues built by myself in PHP as Joomla modules, components, templates and plugins.

In many ways, I think Ruby started of pretty well, the basics of it are promissing. But the way they have complicated Object Orientation seems to me to be not just an overkill, but an overkill without really good uses. There are so many different means and syntaxes for the same thing that you just get confused. And then you do what I do. Learn one tecnique and use that and nuthin' else (which means the code will be hard to read for someone using some other tecnique: Tough sh*t!)

That said, all this may be just because I'm not used to it. I used to hate PHP also, but sort of got used to it (I still don't like it that much, to be frank). But my one and only favourite programming language remains C. Which you can learn by reading the thin "The C programming language", not 1000 pages of "Idiots introduction to the basics of PHP" or some similar utterly useless publication.

All this though, Chef is beginning to be fun, and I will share some more experiences with you regarding the Chef work we are doing here at recorded Future. Also, I was thinking that we should share some experiences with other MySQL Chefs, maybe as a BoF session at the upcoming MySQL UC (It can't be a full blown talk, the deadline for CFP is over).

Cheers for now
Who sticks to his old way of working, even with Chef: Code should be commented! And yes, I am also aware I am old fashioned.... And by the way, Chef documentation leaces a bit to be desired (and that way todays gross understatement).


Robert Hodges said...

Glad to see others working on this. We are exploring Chef at Continuent. It looks like a good way of setting up machines from scratch though we are not far enough in to see the ugly corner cases or rough edges that must surely be in there somewhere. We already use Ruby for other things so the fact Chef depends on it is an advantage from our point of view. I'll post our experiences on my blog as we get further along.

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