Computers And Me

Over the past 12 months, I’ve deep dived into automation. I’d been investigating this for some time prior to that but this was work related. This involved research into using Terraform to automatically build virtual machines and Ansible to configure the virtual machines. I’ve used Ansible in the past but this again was a deep dive. Due to the method of building an Openshift Container Platform (OCP), I also used tftp and pxe to automatically build an OCP cluster.

As a result, I built 92 virtual machines including three OCP clusters, in 2 hours.

For perspective, a relatively recent project where I built 100 virtual machines using a more manual process, took 18 months.

To be clear, it took 12 months and a ton of experience in building machines manually to get to the point where I could build 92 machines in 120 minutes. But in that time I built the systems over and over again as I tested methods and broke environments. This also means I can now rebuild a system, several systems, or even a complete site in a very short period of time. Minutes instead of days.

I’ve been building systems for over 40 years now. From local area networks, personal gaming systems, systems for my clients, to various flavors of Unix and Linux, to cloud based systems such as Amazon and Google cloud services. I also have quite a few programming projects from back when I started all the way to present day. It’s great fun and keeps me on my toes.

My current home environment is pretty extensive. I use it as a lab where I can try things, break them, and try again. I’m running both a VMware vCenter cluster and a standalone server running Ubuntu to use KVM. Over 100 TB of storage, a TB of memory, and 144 CPU cores. I have several Kubernetes environments consisting of docker servers, docker repositories, Kubernetes clusters, Elastic Stack clusters, and tools like gitlab and jenkins. I’m currently researching some gitops tools such as ArgoCD and Flux. I also have quite a few underlying infrastructure type servers and development servers. Total of about 150 servers.

All this has helped me explore and gain experience in development practices and the current work I’m doing with automation and working with developers has increased my knowledge and skills. I look forward to continuing this path and exploring new technologies.

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