Profiling and behavior testing of processes and daemons, and Devopsdays NYC

Profiling a process run

I wanted the ability to run a given process and get
a plot of key metrics (cpu usage, memory usage, disk i/o) throughout the duration of the process run.
Something light-weight with minimal dependencies so I can easily install it on a server for a one-time need.
Couldn't find a tool for it, so I wrote profile-process
which does exactly that in <100 lines of python.

black-box behavior testing processes/daemons

I wrote simple-black-box to do this.
It runs the subject(s) in a crafted sandbox, sends input (http requests, commands, ...)
and allows to make assertions on http/statsd requests/responses, network listening state, processes running, log entries,
file existence/checksums in the VFS/swift clusters, etc.
Each test-case is a scenario.
It also can use logstash to give a centralized "distributed stack trace" when you need to debug a failure after multiple processes interacting and acting upon received messages; or to compare behavior across different scenario runs.
You can integrate this with profile-process to compare runtime behaviors across testcases/scenarios.

Simple-black-box talk @ Devopsdays NYC

I did a quick 5min talk, despite some display/timing issues it was well received. (in particular I got some really positive feedback from one person and still wonder if that was a recruiter attempting to hire me -but being shy about it...- it was quite awkward)
raw uncut video. Go to 'New York, January 18th, 2013' from 02:36:25 to 02:41:15

More random thoughts about Devopsdays NYC

  • I'm getting tired of people on stage making a big revelation out of adding an index to a database column. This happens too often at web-ops/devops conferences, it's embarrassing. But at least it's not like the "how we made our site 1000x faster"-style Velocity talks that should have been named "caching and query optimization for newbies"
  • Paperless post confirms again they got their act together and keeps us up to date with their great work. Follow them.
  • Knights of the Provisioning Round Table - Bare Metal Provisioning was mostly (to my surprise) 4 individuals presenting their solution instead of a real round-table, but (to my surprise again) they were not as similar/repetitive as I expected and the pros/cons of all solutions were compared more in depth than I dared to hope. I covered dell crowbar before and like it, though I wonder when this thing is actually gonna be reliable.
  • Dave Zwieback and John Willis gave hilarious talks
  • Tried to start an open space discussion around collaboration patterns and anti-patterns, which I think is a very interesting subject, because how individuals in a team collaborate is crucial to success, but yet very little is written about it (that I could find). I would hope we can distill the years of aggregate experience of people into concise patterns and anti-patterns and document how (not) well they work for development styles (such as agile/scrum), team size, company structure/hierarchy, roadmap/technical debt pressure, etc. And especially in light of any of these things changing, because I've found people can be very change-resistive.
  • DevOps At Obama for America & The Democratic National Committee was good, I thought it would be a rehash of what was said at Coding Forward New York City: Meet the Developers Behind the Obama Campaign but there were a bunch of interesting insights about state of the art technology in here (mostly Amazon stuff)
  • A bunch of talks where the same could have been said in half the time, or less
Random thoughts about some sponsors:
  • Librato is quite cool. It's basically how my open source tool graph-explorer would look like after finishing a bunch of TODO's, combining it with graphite, polishing it all up, and offering it as a hosted solution. I find it interesting if this is a successful business with only such a limited scope
  • Even cooler is datadog. It goes beyond just metrics and doesn't just provide hosted graphing, it provides a solution for a philosophy that aims for a centralized insight of all your operational data, related collaboration and prioritized alerts that are to the point. They get a lot of things right, the open source world has some catching up to do
Interesting that both use Cassandra and free-form tags for flexibility, validating the approach I'm taking with graph-explorer. Now Graphite could use a distributed metrics storage backend over which one can do map-reduce style jobs to gather intelligence from metrics archives (maybe based on Cassandra too?), but that's another story.

Anyway, living in NYC with its vibrant ecosystem of devops people and companies organizing plenty of meet-ups and talks on their own makes it less pressing to have an event like Devopsdays, though it was certainly a good event, thanks to the sponsors and the volunteers.

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