Friday, September 15, 2006

A New Experience

As I told Bill Karpovich today, I don't think I've ever had this happen before: add a feature to software and then have someone on a major news site blog about it.

To be fair, the Zenoss objects-to-XML (and vice versa) code was written quite a while ago by Erik Dahl. What I finished this week was providing a means of exporting Zenoss templates (RRD and Nagios) and then importing them from the file system or a URL (as well as some initial UI plumbing).

The code may sound mundane, but when you have a highly active, intense, and enthusiastic user base, writing code that makes their lives easier is a profoundly satisfying activity. Because, inevitably, you get emails and IRC comments like "you guys are awesome!" and "we love you!"

The next level of deployment will likely include a dedicated mail list for users to share the systems management/monitoring templates (and download them directly into Zenoss). This will be a transitional feature while we continue working on the portal where users will have the ability to upload, edit, and publish (share) their templates, and then download these templates through the Zenoss management UI.

I'm having a great time with these guys -- an awesome team with an incredible product and an amazing community :-)

Now playing:
Muse - Darkshines

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Work Break

Tired of coding twisted? Need a break to relax? Play a game...

Now playing:
Muse - Butterflies and hurricanes

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Python and Monitoring

One of the first things I did when I got back home on Sunday was check the laptop I left at home... and sort the 1800+ emails, spam a-taunting. Of the odd hundred or so that were valid communications, one was from a friend with a heads-up/contact about RedHat's new effort to break into the burgeoning monitoring market. Apperantly, they are looking for python talent with coders having a proven background in providing systems management and monitoring solutions.

I find this interesting not only because of my long involvement in the monitoring arena (including the pymon and CoyMon projects), but also because of my recent work with Zenoss and the contact I have had with competitors in the field over the past year. My interest in architecting efficient and fast monitoring systems led me to develop pymon in twisted. This was, in part, a reaction to my not-so-happy experience with NetSaint/Nagios. On the other hand, CoyMon was positively inspired by Cacti, with an aim to give similar usability to NetFlow data. I have found it instructive to discover the various impetuses that drove me to develop monitoring solutions and to find what inspired others to do the same. I wonder what is driving RedHat. Business need? Business opportunity? Chronic issues with their current system?

On a side note, I did some more work on pymon this weekend, and I am really happy with the way the internals of it are progressing, primarily
  1. how damned fast it runs, and
  2. how easy it is to setup and configure.
Most of all, though, I find the design increasingly flexible and elegant. There's still some horrible crud tucked in the older crevices, but that stuff's on its way out.pymon is not explicitly systems management software, but rather a service-checking application. A part of me is curious, though, about what could be built using pymon's design principles. There could be some interesting possibilities to explore there.

Anyway, back to the topic: Systems monitoring and management a huge market and it is getting a lot of development effort and investment attention. When the dust settles in a year or two, it will be most interesting to see where all of this leads and what code bases/companies are left standing.

Now playing:
Muse - Ruled by secrely

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Sunday I returned from a two-week road trip through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Utah and then back to Colorado. Though the scenery was amazing, the best part was the actual purpose of the trip: seeing friends, some of whom it has been 15 years since we last hung out.

Of the many very cool things that happened on the trip, one of the things I can share in a public forum is the RPG experience I had in Pullman, WA visiting my dear friend Jim Roach. He and his good friend Jacob DMed/GMed two sessions each and it was just phenomenal. Jacob's was a Ravenloft campaign I got to join with a 54-year old character named Li Po (monk) on a journey to Romania in the late 1800s. The other was a GURPS character -- a kilt-clad goblin samurai. I haven't gamed with sessions like that in over 10 years, and it was so much fun I will probably joining them again via web cam.

Upon my return to Colorado, I had a new Sector 9 bamboo longboard waiting for me. Two days and no spills. I'm totally not into tricks, but damn, I love to cruise and slalom. I've had a delightful time getting reacquainted with my skating muscles, though my body currently disagrees, as I can barely walk up the stairs right now.

Now playing:
Muse - Plug In Baby

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Knights of Cydonia

This is the BEST VIDEO EVAR.

How can you possible beat it? It's got kung fu, tai chi, spaghetti western, gun fighting, post apocalyptic America, lasers guns, holograms, and rock and roll. Take the best parts of the 70s (pop-culturally and ideologically) and pack as much of that as you can into a 6-minute video, and this is what you get. It's the music video equivalent of this poster.

And it's now responsible for making me a Muse fan.

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