Tag: Operations

  • Testing Product in the Field

    Testing Product in the Field

    DevOps: there is no QA, there is no infra, testing and support are everyone’s job. This works okay for unit test level work, but end to end functionality involving multiple teams breaks all the time. You can ask DevOps to take that on too, but they’ll just laugh. You can ship without doing any, and…

  • Shewhart Control Charts

    Shewhart Control Charts

    As a monitor writer, I want to alert when a value has changed quickly a lot in one direction or another, but i don’t want to set hard-coded thresholds because the value’s range is expected to slowly evolve. My goal is to get useful alerts and avoid false alarms. Examples: What It Doesn’t Do It’s…

  • Uptime nines aren’t equally distributed

    Uptime nines aren’t equally distributed

    Once upon a time, I worked at a hosting company… sadly, after a hardware upgrade gone wrong, the database server behind a customer’s website was sitting open on a data center floor with a cracked motherboard during their launch event. We provided an overall yearly uptime better than three nines (99.9%, or 52 and half…

  • VMBlog Post on Decentralization

     linking to this piece I wrote for VMblog  Why Decentralized Work Calls for Decentralized Data

  • Metrics and Observability

    Metrics and Observability

    I wrote this as a Twitter thread in March of 2018, but the character constraints of Twitter at that time made it extremely cryptic. Also, it’s staged as a response to Splunk’s introduction of the metrics index… and to be honest, that’s no longer interesting to me. This is an expanded set of observations about…

  • What Should Go Into a CMDB

    What Should Go Into a CMDB

    It’s not every day that information technology work leads you into philosophy, but designing a configuration management database will do it. Spend a little while thinking about what is known or even knowable about the services you’re trying to provide and the entities that compose them, maybe you’ll end up asking “what does existence even…

  • Two Types of Questioning

    Two Types of Questioning

     Answers to questions can easily fit into two flavors: operationalized and free-form. Classify the use cases: there’s the questions you know how to ask, and the questions you don’t know to ask yet. A question that you know how to ask is operationalized. You’re looking for yes, no, or broken, or perhaps a count. The…

  • Data Value and Volume are Inversely Proportional

    Data Value and Volume are Inversely Proportional

    In 2006, Clive Humby coined the phrase “Data is the new oil”. This is often misinterpreted as “Data powers the economy”, particularly by folks who sell data processing and storage, but it’s useful to see what someone who actually uses data says. In 2013 Michael Palmer, of the Association of National Advertisers, expanded on Humby’s…

  • Penny Wise Hardware

    Penny Wise Hardware

    Thesis: Organizations will continue to squeeze their highly paid people into the worst possible computing environments in order to block any accidental efficiency that might evolve in their organizations. Evidence to support that thesis: Of course the thesis is silly, no one really means to starve their organization. It just happens by accident, through shift…

  • Consulting’s Bad Rap

    Consulting’s Bad Rap

    Naming no names… but there’s a type of management consulting shop with an unsavory reputation among middle managers and individual contributors. Let’s look at how the reputation is earned: by training to a model that produces failure as often as not, but always successfully deflects blame. It’s easy to find problems, and easy to sell…