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Make your websites run faster, automatically — try mod_pagespeed for Apache

Google just released the first stable version of mod_pagespeed, the company’sopen-source module for Apache that can automatically optimize your  web pages to improve download and rendering speeds. With this release, Google is declaring this tool ready for broader adoption, though it’s worth noting that a number of large hosting providers like DreamHost, Go Daddy and content delivery network EdgeCast have already been using it in production for quite a while now.

“mod_pagespeed” speeds up your site and reduces page load time. This open-source Apache HTTP server module automatically applies web performance best practices to pages, and associated assets (CSS, JavaScript, images) without requiring that you modify your existing content or workflow.


1. Automatic website and asset optimization

2. Latest web optimization techniques

3. 40+ configurable optimization filters

4. Free, open-source, and frequently updated

5. Deployed by individual sites, hosting providers, CDN’s

How does mod_pagespeed speed up web-sites?

“mod_pagespeed” improves web page latency and bandwidth usage by changing the resources on that web page to implement web performance best practices. Each optimization is implemented as a custom filter in mod_pagespeed, which are executed when the Apache HTTP server serves the website assets. Some filters simply alter the HTML content, and other filters change references to CSS, JavaScript, or images to point to more optimized versions.

“mod_pagespeed” implements custom optimization strategies for each type of asset referenced by the website, to make them smaller, reduce the loading time, and extend the cache lifetime of each asset. These optimizations include combining and minifying JavaScript and CSS files, inlining small resources, and others. mod_pagespeed also  dynamically optimizes images by removing unused meta-data from each file, resizing the images to specified dimensions, and re-encoding images to be served in the most efficient format available to the user.

“mod_pagespeed” ships with a set of core filters designed to safely optimize the content of your site without affecting the look or behavior of your site.   In addition, it provides a number of more advanced filters which can be turned on by the site owner to gain higher performance improvements.

“mod_pagespeed” can be deployed and customized for individual web sites, as well as being used by large hosting providers and CDN’s to help their       users improve performance of their sites, lower the latency of their pages, and decrease bandwidth usage.

Installing mod_pagespeed on CentOS (cPanel/WHM)

  1. root@server1# cd /usr/src 
  2. root@server1[/usr/src]# mkdir mod_pagespeed/
  3. root@server1[/usr/src]# cd mod_pagespeed
  4. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# wget https://dl-ssl.google.com/dl/linux/direct/mod-pagespeed-beta_current_x86_64.rpm
  5. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# rpm2cpio mod-pagespeed-beta_current_x86_64.rpm | cpio -idmv
  6. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# cp usr/lib/httpd/modules/mod_pagespeed.so /usr/local/apache/modules
  7. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# chmod 755 /usr/local/apache/modules/mod_pagespeed.so
  8. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# mkdir -p /var/mod_pagespeed/{cache,files} —–> Create pagespeed directories.
  9. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# chown nobody:nobody /var/mod_pagespeed/*
  10.  root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# /usr/local/apache/bin/apxs -c -i /home/cpeasyapache/src/httpd-2.2.22/modules/filters/mod_deflate.c  —-> Enable mod_deflate (required for mod_pagespeed)
  11. root@server1[/usr/src/mod_pagespeed]# vim /usr/local/apache/conf/pagespeed.conf —>edit the mod_pagespeed configuration file

In this file include    

                                  1. LoadModule pagespeed_module modules/mod_pagespeed.so

                                  2. LoadModule deflate_module modules/mod_deflate.so

                                  3. ModPagespeedFileCachePath “/var/mod_pagespeed/cache/”

                                  4. ModPagespeedGeneratedFilePrefix “/var/mod_pagespeed/files/”

And then open /usr/local/apache/conf/includes/pre_main_global.conf and add:

Include conf/pagespeed.conf

# Rebuild Apache config and restart apache.


/etc/init.d/httpd restart

Once your web server fires up, it’ll be mod_pagespeed-enabled.

You can verify it by using any web-page test tool. Here I am using Pingdom tool. I have share the screenshots of with and without mod_pagespeed module.


Website without mod_pagespeed module



Website with mod_pagespeed module





Openstack Cloud Software

OpenStack : The Mission

“ To produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private cloud providers regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.”

OpenStack is a collection of open source software projects that enterprises/service providers can use to setup and run their cloud compute and storage infrastructure.Rackspace and NASA are the key initial contributors to the stack. Rackspace contributed their “Cloud Files” platform (code) to power the Object Storage part of the OpenStack, while NASA contributed their “Nebula” platform (code) to power the Compute part. OpenStack consortium has managed to have more than 150 members including Canonical, Dell, Citrix etc.

There are 5 main service families under OpenStack

Nova         –   Compute Service

Swift         –    Storage Service

Glance      –    Imaging Service

Keystone  –    Identity Service

Horizon    –    UI Service

Open Stack Compute Infrastructure (Nova)

Nova is the Computing Fabric controller for the OpenStack Cloud. All activities needed to support the life cycle of instances within the OpenStack cloud are handled by Nova. This makes Nova a Management Platform that manages compute resources, networking, authorization, and scalability needs of the OpenStack cloud. But, Nova does not provide any virtualization capabilities by itself; instead, it uses libvirt API to interact with supported hypervisors. Nova exposes all its capabilities through a web services API that is compatible with the EC2 API of Amazon Web Services.

Functions and Features:

• Instance life cycle management

• Management of compute resources

• Networking and Authorization

• REST-based API

• Asynchronous eventually consistent communication

• Hypervisor agnostic : support for Xen, XenServer/XCP, KVM, UML, VMware vSphere and Hyper-V

OpenStack Storage Infrastructure (Swift)

Swift provides a distributed, eventually consistent virtual object store for OpenStack. It is analogous to Amazon Web Services – Simple Storage Service (S3). Swift is capable of storing billions of objects distributed across nodes. Swift has built-in redundancy and fail-over management and is capable of archiving and media streaming. It is extremely scalable in terms of both size (several petabytes) and capacity (number of objects).

Functions and Features

• Storage of large number of objects

• Storage of large sized objects

• Data Redundancy

• Archival capabilities – Work with large datasets

• Data container for virtual machines and cloud apps

• Media Streaming capabilities

• Secure storage of objects

• Backup and archival

• Extreme scalability

OpenStack Imaging Service (Glance)

OpenStack Imaging Service is a lookup and retrieval system for virtual machine images. It can be configured to use any one of the following storage backends:

• Local filesystem (default)

• OpenStack Object Store to store images

• S3 storage directly

• S3 storage with Object Store as the intermediate for S3 access.

• HTTP (read-only)

Functions and Features

• Provides imaging service

OpenStack Identity Service (Keystone)

Keystone provides identity and access policy services for all components in the OpenStack family. It implements it’s own REST based API (Identity API). It provides authentication and authorization for all components of OpenStack including (but not limited to) Swift, Glance, Nova. Authentication verifies that a request actually comes from who it says it does. Authorization is verifying whether the authenticated user has access to the services he/she is requesting for.

Keystone provides two ways of authentication. One is username/password based and the other is token based. Apart from that, keystone provides the following services:

• Token Service (that carries authorization information about an authenticated user)

• Catalog Service (that contains a list of available services at the users’ disposal)

• Policy Service (that let’s keystone manage access to specific services by specific users or groups).

Openstack Administrative Web-Interface (Horizon)

Horizon the web based dashboard can be used to manage /administer OpenStack services. It can be used to manage instances and images, create keypairs, attach volumes to instances, manipulate Swift containers etc. Apart from this, dashboard even gives the user access to instance console and can connect to an instance through VNC. Overall, Horizon

Features the following:

• Instance Management – Create or terminate instance, view console logs and connect through VNC, Attaching volumes, etc.

• Access and Security Management – Create security groups, manage keypairs, assign floating IPs, etc.

 • Flavor Management – Manage different flavors or instance virtual hardware templates.

 • Image Management – Edit or delete images.

 • View service catalog.

 • Manage users, quotas and usage for projects.

 • User Management – Create user, etc.

 • Volume Management – Creating Volumes and snapshots.

 • Object Store Manipulation – Create, delete containers and objects.

 • Downloading environment variables for a project.


We can install open stack ESSEX very easily using StackGeek script. Login to your box and install git with apt-get. We’ll become root and do an update first.

sudo  su
apt-get update
apt-get install git

Now checkout the StackGeek scripts from Github:

git clone git://github.com/StackGeek/openstackgeek.git   
cd openstackgeek

Install the Base Scripts

Be sure to take a look at the scripts before you run them. Keep in mind the scripts will periodically prompt you for input, either for confirming installation of a package, or asking you for information for configuration.

Start the installation by running the first script:


When the script finishes you’ll see instructions for manually configuring your network. You can edit the interfaces file by doing a:

vim /etc/network/interfaces

Copy and paste the network code provided by the script into the file and then edit:

auto eth0 
iface eth0 inet static
auto eth1

Change the settings for your network configuration and then restart networking and run the next script:

/etc/init.d/networking restart

Then run the second script :


After the second script finishes, you’ll need to set up a logical volume for Nova to use for creating snapshots and volumes. Nova is OpenStack’s compute controller process.

Here’s the output from the format and volume creation process:-

root@manager-System-Product-Name:/openstackgeek# fdisk /dev/sda
Device contains neither a valid DOS partition table,nor Sun,SGI or OSF disklabel
Building a new DOS disklabel with disk identifier 0xb39fe7af.
Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
After that, of course, the previous content won't be recoverable.

Warning: invalid flag 0x0000 of partition table 4 will be corrected by w(rite)

Command (m for help): n
Partition type:
   p   primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
   e   extended
Select (default p): p Partition number (1-4, default 1): 3  
First sector (2048-62914559, default 2048): 
 Using default value 2048 Last sector,(2048-62914559,default 62914559): 
Using default value 62914559 
Command (m for help): w The partition table has been altered! 
Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table. Syncing disks.
root@manager-System-Product-Name:/openstackgeek# pvcreate -ff /dev/sda3
 Physical volume "/dev/sda3" successfully created
root@manager-System-Product-Name:/openstackgeek# vgcreate nova-volumes /dev/sda3
 Volume group "nova-volumes" successfully created 

Note: Your device names may vary.

Installing MySql

The OpenStack components use MySQL for storing state information. Start the install script for MySQL by entering the following:


You’ll be prompted for a password used for each of the components to talk to MySQL:
Enter a password to be used for the OpenStack services
to talk to MySQL (users nova, glance, keystone): redhat
Note(Here “redhat” is the password given to nova,glance,keystone) 

During the installation process you will be prompted for a root password for MySQL. In our install example we use the same password, ‘redhat’. At the end of the MySQL install you’ll be prompted for your root password again.

mysql start/running, process 8796
Creating OpenStack databases and users. 
Use your database password when prompted. 
 Run './openstack_keystone.sh' when the script exits. 
Enter password:
After MySQL is running, you should be able to login with any of the OpenStack 
users and/or the root admin account by doing the following:

mysql -u root -predhat
mysql -u nova -predhat nova
mysql -u keystone -predhat keystone
mysql -u glance -predhat glance

Installing Keystone

Keystone is OpenStack’s identity manager. Start the install of Keystone by doing:


You’ll be prompted for a token, the password you entered for OpenStack’s services, and your email address. The email address is used to populate the user’s information in the database.

Enter a token for the OpenStack services to auth wth keystone: redhattoken 
Enter the password you used for the MySQL users (nova, glance, keystone):redhat 
Enter the email address for accounts(nova,glance,keystone):user@company.com
You should be able to query Keystone at this point. 
You’ll need to source the“stackrc” file before you talk to Keystone:
 . ./stackrc   
 keystone user-list    
 Keystone should return a list of users:
|                id                | enabled |         email          |  name  |
| b32b9017fb954eeeacb10bebf14aceb3 | True    | user@company.com       | demo   |
| bfcbaa1425ae4cd2b8ff1ddcf95c907a | True    | user@company.com       | glance |
| c1ca1604c38443f2856e3818c4ceb4d4 | True    | user@company.com       | nova   |
| dd183fe2daac436682e0550d3c339dde | True    | user@company.com       | admin  |

Installing Glance

Glance is OpenStack’s image manager. Start the install of Glance by doing:


The script will download an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS cloud image from StackGeek’s S3 bucket.Once it’s done, you should be able to get a list of images:

glance index

Here’s the expected output:

ID              :- 71b8b5d5-a972-48b3-b940-98a74b85ed6a 
Name            :- Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Disk Format     :- qcow2 
Container Format:- ovf 
Size            :- 226426880

Installing Nova

We’re almost done installing! The last component is the most important one as well. Nova is OpenStack’s compute and network manager. It’s responsible for starting instances, creating snapshots and volumes, and managing the network. Start the Nova install by doing:


You’ll immediately be prompted for a few items, including your existing network interface’s IP address, the fixed network address, and the floating pool addresses:

The IP address for eth0 is probably
Keep in mind you need an eth1 for this to work.
Enter the primary ethernet interface IP:
Enter the fixed network (eg.
Enter the fixed starting IP (eg.
The floating range can be a subset of your current network. 
Configure your DHCP server to block out the range before you choose it here. 
An example would be
Enter the floating network (eg.  
Enter the floating netowrk size (eg. 32):

The fixed network is a set of IP addresses which will be local to the compute nodes. Think of these addresses as being held and routed internally inside any of the compute node instances.

The floating network is a pool of addresses which can be assigned to the instances you are running. For example, you could start a web server and map an external IP to it for serving a site on the Internet.

Finish Installing Nova

Nova should finish installing after you enter all the network information. When it’s done, you should be able to get a list of images from Glance via Nova:

 nova image-list

And get the expected output we saw earlier from Glance:

root@manager-System-Product-Name:/openstackgeek# nova image-list
|                  ID                  |       Name       | Status | Server |
| 71b8b5d5-a972-48b3-b940-98a74b85ed6a | Ubuntu 12.04 LTS | ACTIVE |        |

Installing Horizon

Horizon is the UI and dashboard controller for OpenStack. Install it by doing:


When it’s done installing, you’ll be given a URL to access the dashboard. 
You’ll be able to login with the user ‘admin’ 
and whatever you entered earlier for your password. 
If you’ve forgotten it, simply grep for it in your environment:

env |grep OS_PASSWORD

The URL will be :

You can login the Openstack dashboard by the following credentials

USER : admin

PASSWORD : redhat

Managing Multiple Branches in Subversion

Subversion (SVN) is a centralized storage for sharing information. The Subversion repository is like a time machine. It keeps all the records of every changes ever committed and allows you to explore this history by examining previous versions of files and directories as well as the metadata that accompanies them. With a single Subversion command, you can check out the repository exactly as it was at any date or revision number in the past.

At the core of the Subversion is a repository, which is the central store of that system’s data. Any number of Users connect to the repository, and then read or write to these files according to their permissions. The first Subversion tool we will use is svnadmin. This tool is for administration tasks, like creating repositories, making backup dumps, and the like.

Creating the Repository

To create a repository, open the command line, change the current directory to where you want to create it, and run svnadmin:

[shell]$ cd /usr/local
$ svnadmin create repo[/shell]

repo = repository name.You can call it whatever you like.

Now the SVN URL is like “svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo“. Subversion uses this repository to store information about your projects, like file revisions.

Importing Projects

The svn import command is a quick way to copy an unversioned tree of files into a repository, creating intermediate directories as necessary. svn import doesn’t require a working copy, and your files are immediately committed to the repository. You typically use this when you have an existing tree of files that you want to begin tracking in your Subversion repository. Each project have a recognizable project root in the repository, a directory under which all of the versioned information for that project—and only that project—lives.To create a project under our repository use the following command:

[shell]$ svn mkdir myproject1 svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo[/shell]

Most projects have a recognizable “main line”, or trunk, of development; some branches, which are divergent copies of development lines; and some tags, which are named, stable snapshots of a particular line of development.

Creating trunk,branches and tags

we suggest that each project root contain a trunk subdirectory for the main development line, a branches subdirectory in which specific branches (or collections of branches) will be created, and a tags subdirectory in which specific tags (or collections of tags) will be created.

[shell]$ svn mkdir svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject1/trunk -m “trunk created”
$ svn mkdir svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject1/branches -m “branches created”
$ svn mkdir svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject1/tags -m “tags created”[/shell]

Here “-m” option is using to add the label. Commonly the label is related to the changes or bug fixes which we made in that commit. It is very important to recognize that particular change which we made in each commit. In the above commands we are creating directories, so we gave the label as “trunk created”.

Then we can list the myproject as showing below:

[shell]$ svn list svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject1[/shell]



We can import our project code to the repository like:

[shell]$ svn import mycode svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject1/trunk -m “Initial Import”[/shell]


[shell]Adding mycode/file1
Adding mycode/file2
Adding mycode/file3
Adding mycode/file4

Committed revision 1.[/shell]

Checking out the code

Most of the time, you will start using a Subversion repository by performing a checkout of your project. Checking out a directory from a repository creates a working copy of that directory on your local machine. We can check out the repository by  using the following command:

[shell]$ svn checkout svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/trunk[/shell]


[shell]A trunk/file1
A trunk/file2
A trunk/file3
A trunk/file4

Checked out revision 1.[/shell]

Subversion chose to create a working copy in a directory named for the final component of the checkout URL. This occurs only as a convenience to the user when the checkout URL is the only bit of information provided to the svn checkout command. Subversion’s command-line client gives you additional flexibility, though, allowing you to optionally specify the local directory name that Subversion should use for the working copy it creates.

[shell]$ svn checkout svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/trunk code[/shell]


[shell]A code/file1
A code/file2
A code/file3
A code/file4

Checked out revision 1.[/shell]

If there are more developers working in our project, it is better to use the branches. This allows you to save your not-yet-completed work frequently without interfering with others’ changes and while still selectively sharing information with your collaborators.

To Create branches

Creating a branch is very simple. You make a copy of your project tree in the repository using the svn copy command. Since your project’s source code is rooted in the /repo/myproject/trunk directory, it’s that directory that you’ll copy. You can give the branch name as you wish. Here we are using names of  the users.

[shell]$ svn copy svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/trunk svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/branches/sam -m “branch 1.0.0″[/shell]


[shell] Committed revision 2[/shell]

This command causes a near-instantaneous commit in the repository, creating a new directory in revision 2. The new directory is a copy of /repo/myproject/trunk. So each user can copy the /repo/myproject/trunk as their own branch and checkout it like

[shell]$ svn checkout svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/branches/sam mycode-sam[/shell]


[shell]A    mycode-sam/file1
A    mycode-sam/file2
A    mycode-sam/file3
A    mycode-sam/file4

Checked out revision 2.[/shell]

There’s nothing special about this working copy; it simply mirrors a different directory in the repository. When you commit changes, however, the other users won’t see them when they updates, because they are using their own working copy. Whenever someone needs to make a long-running change that is likely to disrupt the trunk, a standard procedure is to create a private branch and commit changes there until all the work is complete. Subversion gives you the ability to selectively “copy” changes between branches. And when you’re completely finished with your branch, your entire set of branch changes can be copied to the staging branch and checkout this to the staging server for testing. If the code is ready to move to the production server then merge into the production branch and then to production server. If we are doing this first time there is no staging and production branches, so we need to copy the trunk as staging and production branches. After that we have to move the changes in the user branches.


In Subversion terminology, the general act of replicating changes from one branch to another is called merging, and it is performed using the command svn merge.

cd "directory you merge into"

[shell]$ svn switch svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/staging
$ svn up
$ svn merge -rAA:BB svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/branches/sam
$ svn ci -m ‘Merged branch sam into staging'[/shell]


AA = the revision number of the staging branch

BB = the revision number of the user branch (sam)

Now the staging branch is updated with the user branch, and we can test this code by checking out to the staging server. For this we need to login to the staging server and checkout the code in the correct location.

[shell]$ svn co svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/staging /path/to/code[/shell]

Now the code in the staging branch is checked out to the staging server. We have to test this and if all are fine then merge the staging branch to the production branch and then checkout it to the production server as we done with the staging. Also update the trunk with the latest code in the production by merging it with the production branch, because we need to create branches from trunk for the next release. once we have merged the trunk we can retire from the user branch.


Now the trunk is same as the branch “production” repository. Then we have to tag this for the future reference. The tag is used to save the releases which are going to the production. So we can easily track the revisions which we updated to the production.

[shell]$ svn copy svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/trunk svn://localhost:/usr/local/repo/myproject/tags/first-release[/shell]

You can give the tag name as you wish. Here we gave the tag name as first-release. This is the flow of branching, you have to repeat these process on the future releases too. Because of using the tag we can easily track the releases. So if any issue occurs it is easy to revert the production.

Some useful commands in svn are given below

svn add – To add files and directories to the repository

svn mkdir – Create a directory in the repository

svn copy – Copy from one location to other

svn move – To rename

svn delete – Delete from the repository

svn ci – Commit the changes in the working copy

svn diff – Shows line-level details of a particular change

svn log – Shows you broad information: log messages with date and author information attached to revisions and which paths changed in each revision

svn cat – Retrieves a file as it existed in a particular revision number and displays it on your screen

svn list – Displays the files in a directory for any given revision

svn log – Examine merge-sensitive history

Subversion has commands to help you maintain parallel branches of your files and directories. It allows you to create branches by copying your data, and remembers that the copies are related to one another. The main advantage of branching is that the users can work independently with their own repository and so it will not affect the other users and also easy to maintain.

From CAP, Puppet Now Chef, Evolution of Configuration Management Tools

CHEF, PUPPET & CAPISTRANO are used basically for two purposes  :

Application Deployment is all of the activities that make a software system available for use.

Configuration Management is software configuration management is the task of tracking and controlling changes in the software. Configuration management practices include revision control and the establishment of baselines.

Let me enlighten on how we evolved from the beginning when we were using tools like ssh, scp to the point where we began to abstract and began to equip our-self with these sophisticated yet simple to use tools. Earlier the following tools like

  • ssh which is used as a configuration management solution for admins.
  • scp act as a secure channel for application deployment.

The need for any other tools was out of question until things got complicated!!!


Earlier an Application Deployment  was just a few steps away such as

  1. scp app to production box
  2. restart server (optional)
  3. profit

And these software refreshing/updates were done

  1. Manual (ssh)
  2. with shell scripts living on the servers
  3. or not done at all

(Introduced by Jamis Buck, written in Ruby, initially for Rails project)

Capistrano is a developer tool for deploying web applications. It is typically installed on a workstation, and used to deploy code from your source code management (SCM) to one, or more servers.In its sim­plest form, Capis­trano al­lows you to copy code from your source con­trol repos­i­tory (SVN or Git) to your server via SSH, and per­form pre & post-de­ploy func­tions like restart­ing a web­server, bust­ing cache, re­nam­ing files, run­ning data­base mi­gra­tions and so on.

Nice things cap introduced :

  1. Automate deploys with one set of files
  2. The files don’t have to live on the production server
  3. The language (Ruby) allows some abstraction

Now application deployment step can be coded and tested like rest of the project. It has also become the de facto way to deploy the Ruby on Rails applications. It has also had tools like webistrano build on top of it to provide a graphical interface to the command line tool.

Drawback : The tool seems to be widely used but not well supported.


(Written in Ruby and evolved from cfengine)

Luke Kanies came up with the idea for Puppet in 2003 after getting fed up with existing server-management software in his career as a systems administrator. In 2005 he quit his job at BladeLogic, a maker of data-center management software, and spent the next 10 months writing code to automate the dozens of steps required to set up a server with the right software, storage space, and network configurations. The result: scores of templates for different kinds of servers, which let systems administrators become, in Kanies’s metaphor, puppet masters, pulling on strings to give computers particular personalities and behaviors. He formed Puppet Labs to begin consulting for some of the thousands of companies using the software—the list includes Google, Zynga, and Twitter etc

Puppet is typically used in a client server formation, with all your clients talking to one or more servers. Each client contacts the servers periodically (every half an hour by default), downloads the latest configuration and makes sure it is sync with that configuration.

The Server in Puppet is called Puppet Master.
Puppet Manifests contains all the configuration details which are declarative as opposed to imperative.

The DSL is not Ruby as you are not writing scripts you are writing definitions, Install order is determined through dependencies.
The Puppet Master is idempotent which will make sure the client machines match the definitions.This is good as you can implement changes across machines automatically just by updating the manifest in the Puppet Master.

(written in ruby evolved from puppet)

CHEF is an open source configuration management tool using pure-Ruby, the chef domain specific language for writing system configuration related stuff (recipes and cookbook)
CHEF brings a new feel with its interesting naming conventions relating to cookery like Cookbooks (they contain codes for a software package installation and configuration in the form of Recipes), Knife (API tool), Databags (act like global variables) etc

Chef Server – deployment scripts called Cookbooks and Recipes, configuration instructions called Nodes, security details etc. The clients in the chef infrastructure are called Nodes. Chef recipes are imperative as opposed to declarative. The DSL is extended Ruby so you can write scripts as well as definitions. Install order is script order NO dependency checking.


Chef and Puppet automatically set up and tweak the operating systems and programs that run in massive data centers and the new-age “cloud” services, designed to replace massive data centers.

Chef Recipes is more programmer friendly as it is easily understood by a developer unlike a Puppet Manifest.

And when it comes to features in comparison to puppet, chef is rather more intriguing .
For example “Chef’s ability to search an environment and use that information at run time is very appealing.

Knife is Chef’s powerful command line interface. Knife allows you to interact with your entire infrastructure and Chef code base. Use knife to bootstrap a server, build the scaffolding for a new cookbook, or apply a role to a set of nodes in your environment. You can use knife ssh to execute commands on any number of nodes in your environment. knife ssh + search is a very powerful combination.

The part of defining dependencies in Puppet was overly verbose and cumbersome. With Chef, order matters and dependencies would be met if we specified them in the proper order.

We can deploy additional software applications on virtual machine instances without dealing with the overhead of doing everything manually,” Stowe explains. “We can do it with code — recipes that define how various applications and libraries are deployed and configured.” According to Stowe, creating and deploying a new software image now takes minutes or hours rather than hours or weeks. They call this technique DevOps because it applies traditional programming techniques to system administration tasks. “It’s just treating IT operations as a software development problem, – Stowe, CEO of Cycle Computing, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based start-up that uses Chef to manage the software underpinning the online “supercomputing” service it offers to big businesses and academic outfits. “Before this, there were ways of configuring servers and managing them, but DevOps has gotten it right.”


Let me help you to know onto which buckets does the above tools fell into and other similar tools…

App Deploy Capistrano, ControlTier, Fabric, Fun, mCollective
SysConfig Chef, Puppet, cfengine, Smart Frog, Bcfg2
Cloud/VM Xen, Ixc, openVZ, Eucalyptus, KVM
OS Install Kickstart, Jumpstart, Cobbler, OpenQRM, xCAT

DevOps on EC2 using Capistrano

DevOps is the combination of development and operation processes. Cloud with your DevOps offers some fantastic properties. The ability to leverage all the advancements made in software development around repeatability and testability with your infrastructure. The ability to scale up as need be real time and among other things being able to harness the power of self healing systems.

The process piece of devops is about taking the principles behind Agile to the entire continuous software development process. The obvious step is bringing Agile ideas to the operations team, which is sorely needed. Traditionally in the enterprise, the application development team is in charge of gathering business requirements for a software program and writing code. The development team tests their program in an isolated development environment for quality assurance which is later handed over to the operations team. The operations team is tasked with deploying and maintaining the program. The problem with this paradigm is that when the two teams work separately, the development team may not be aware of operational roadblocks that prevent the program from working as anticipated.


Capistrano is a developer tool for running scripts on multiple servers, mainly used for deploying web applications on to the servers. It is typically installed on a workstation, and used to deploy code from your source code management to one, or more servers. Capistrano is originally called “SwitchTower”, the name was changed to Capistrano in March 2006 because of some trademark conflict. It is a time saving command line tool and it is very useful to AWS/EC2 servers because we can deploy the code to 1000’s of aws servers by using a single command. For the security of servers we are commonly using aws ssh key authentication. In capistrano  we use this aws ssh key to deploy the web applications to the aws servers.

In Cloud Computing, deploying applications to production/live servers is always a delicate task. The whole process needs to be quick to minimize downtime. Automating the deployment process helps running repetitive tasks minimizing the possibility human error. It is also a good idea to have a proven and easy way to rollback to a previous version if something goes wrong.

It is a standalone utility that can also integrate nicely with Rails. We simply provide Capistrano with a deployment “recipe” or “formula” that describes our various servers and their roles. It is a single-command deployment. it even allows us to roll a bad version out of production and it revert back to the previous release very easily.

Capistrano Deployment

The main functionality of the Capistrano is to Deploy the rails application which we have already developed and we are using the “SVN” or “GIT” to manage the code. It will transfer all the files of our rails application which we have developed in our local host to aws servers directly by simply executing a simple command in our command prompt.

Steps to deploy a rails application

[shell]gem install capistrano[/shell]

Now,we need to capistranize our rails application using the following commands

[shell]capify .[/shell]

It will create two files


capfile .


How to set up deploy.rb file


require ‘rubygems’
require ‘activesupport’
set :application, “<application name>”
set :scm_username/ “<username>”
set :use_sudo, false
set :repository, “http://#{scm_username}@www.example.com/svn/trunk”
set :deploy_to, “/var/www/#{application}”
set :deploy_via, :checkout
set :scm, :git
set :user, “root”
role :app, “<domain_name>”
role :web, “<domain_name>”
rold :db, “<domain_name>”, :primary => true
namespace :migrations do
desc “Run the Migrations”
task :up, :roles => :app do
run “cd #{current_path}; rake db:auto:migrate;”
task :down, :roles => :app do
run “cd #{current_path}; rake db:drop; rake



scm_username’ is your user name
application’ is an arbitrary name you create to identify your application on the server
use_sudo’ specifies to capistrano that it does not need to append ‘sudo’ before all the commands it will run
repository’ identifies where your subversion repository is located

If we aren’t deploying to server’s default path, we need to specify the actual location by using the ‘deploy_to’ variable as given below

set :deploy_to, “/var/www/#{application}”
set :deploy_via, :checkout

If we are using the git to manage our source code, specify the SCM by using the ‘scm’ variable as given below

set :scm, :git
set :user, “root”
role :app, “<domain_name>”
role :web, “<domain_name>”
rold :db, “<domain_name>”, :primary => true

Since most rails users will have the same domain name for their web,app and database, we can simply use our domain variable we set earlier.

namespace :migrations do
desc “Run the Migrations”
task :up, :roles => :app do
run “cd #{current_path}; rake db:auto:migrate;”
task :down, :roles => :app do
run “cd #{current_path}; rake db:drop; rake


After completion of our settings in the deploy.rb file, we need to commit the application by using “svn commit” command if we use svn.

Then we need to run the following command:


cap deploy:setup


It is used to create the directory structure in server.

[shell]cap deploy:check[/shell]

It checks all the dependencies/things like directory permission and necessary utilities to deploy the application by using capistrano.

If everything is successful, you should see a message like:
You appear to have all necessary dependencies installed
And finally deploy the application by using the following command:

[shell]cap deploy[/shell]

Command finished successfully

To Clean up the releases directory, leaving the five most recent releases

[shell]Cap cleanup[/shell]

Prints the difference between what was last deployed, and what is currently in our repository

[shell]cap diff_from_last_deploy[/shell]

To Rolls back to the previously deployed version

[shell]cap deploy:rollback:code[/shell]

Amazon’s EC2 cloud cuts the requisition time of the order & delivery stages down to just minutes. This is already a 75% savings in deployment time! But, without automated deployment, you’ll still need a week to get your application installed.

DevOPS on AWS Cloud using Opscode Chef

Rule the Cloud‘ with Chef
Chef is Infrastructure as Code,an API for your entire infrastructure. Assuming that you are well versed with cloud if not still you should have atleast heard of cloud computing and it is still an evolving paradigm and Cloud computing companies are the newest buzz in the IT sector. Chef is used in conjunction with cloud  from cloud providers say Amazon’s AWS. If a software thats being developed is a mix of technology which is interdependent and works in perfect harmony then why not the people behind it, this thought has led to the emergence of a new cultral trend called DevOPS. Now if you setup a number of instances on the cloud then whats next – new instances on cloud are just like bare metal server and the configuration has to be done from scratch and it would be feasible to do so manually for couple of them what if the count just got bigger say 100 live instances with different unix distros, although a script could be written but still it will not suffice,  in the long run considering management too. Here the CHEF comes into play

“chef is sysadmin robot performing configuration tasks automatically and much more quickly than a single admin could ever hope to” – Jesse Robbins, Opscode CEO.

CHEF is an open source configuration management tool using pure-Ruby,the chef domain specific language for writting system configuration related stuff (recipes and cookbook)

CHEF brings a new feel with its interesting naming conventions relating to cookery like Cookbooks (they contain codes for a software package installation and configuration in the form of Recipes), Knife (API tool), Databags (act like global variables) etc

Although there are many configuration management tools prevailing in the industry CHEF was able to secure its position in the race.

“CHEF take a step farther passes puppet and cfengine — like doing “LIVE SEARCH” within  configuration management like loadbalancer can call out to get a list of the app servers you need to balance  or an applicaton server can call out, get a reference to the master database server  etc …..the centralised chef server is indexing all the information about your infrasturctre  so that you could search in the command line using knife you know in real time so that application could lever that data..” by Seth Chisamore from the OPSCODE.

A techonology peak that isnt fluffy – Cloud
For those folks new to cloud- Its a whole bunch of activites which began as an innovation, recently given out as products and now they have become so widespread and so feature complete that they became suitable for utility services.

So if you dont want cloud in your business its like saying you dont want to use the electricity instead you built your own generator and use it according to your need. Now what do we loose if we continue with that is the competitive edge ie you get the pressure to keep your stuff upgraded inorder to find your place relative to the others in the ecosystem.

Cloud is API oriented, everything you see in cloud is ulitmately programmable.

Virtualization is the foundation of Cloud but virtualization is not Cloud by itself. It certainly enables many of the things we talk about when we talk Cloud but it is not necessary sufficient to be a cloud. Google app engine is a cloud that does not incorporate virtualization. One of the reasons that virtualization is great is because you can automate the procurement of new boxes.

A Culture thats on path to revolutionize IT – DevOPS
Devops is something that orginated in webshops predominantly and it require a kind of tools thats really not available except for home grown tools which the big webshops built over and over again. So the organisation who wanted to use devops started using the tools that enable this transition as most organisations depends on web as a source of revenue in a variety of different ways, even the enterprise desire to be as agile as the webshops. This has begun a revolution from the website permeate into the enterprise base more frequently.

Considering a real life example for Devops say facebook, the most popular social networking site here the developers/QA/operations – there is alot of communications, cross talk happening between them like the developers has to write codes, QA who has to make sure the good code goes out, the operations team has to make sure its up and running. Finally all of these has to be in records which altogether seems to be inefficient, this led to the evolving of the entire system. According to the conventional practices where the developers writes the code and throws it off to the testing. Once the testing is done then it moves to the operations etc. Contrary to that the developers , operations team are all involved in the entire lifecycle of the project as a team. This creates a symbiotic relationship. Now the operations people could understand what the engineers needs the most and the developers are able to see the value that operation people brings as they make architecture decisions.

Cloud with your DevOps offers some fantastic properties. The ability to leverage all the advancements made in software development around repeatability and testability with your infrastructure. The ability to scale up as need be real time (autoscaling) and among other things being able to harness the power of self healing systems. DevOps better with Cloud.

Configuration management say CHEF is one of the most fundamental elements allowing DevOps in the cloud. It allows you to have different VMs that have just enough OS that they can be provisioned, automatically through virtualization, and then through configuration management can be assigned to a distinct purpose within the cloud. The CM system handles turning the lightly provisioned VM into the type of server that it is intended to be.

DevOps & Chef
DevOps is nonthing but a cultural movement where everybody say the developers, QA, Operations, Testing etc get along. A project group formation with a mixed skillset that blurs the line between say a developer and sysadmin. This helps the project to meet its deadlines
and avoid unexpected situations. Cloud computing act like a catalyst to this movement. Thereby the CHEF also hops in.

Chef forms a critical layer in the Devops stack.Thanks to the concept of infrastructure as code and virtualization, we can define and build our infrastructure based on text files. Those files can be version-controlled and tested like regular code. The artifact (ami, image), can then be deployed on an infrastructure. The following image gives you an overview on the similarities.

Inadvertently the issues like “what if the application” or “what if the infrasturcture” are resolved, the fact is that application is the infrastructure and infrastructure is the application and we are here to enable business, also it helped bring peoples in the team into better alignment across the board.

Chef configuration is written in pure ruby.

Devops == Ruby

For those who think Bash is enough as a scripting language – Bash becomes a liability not an asset once your script exceeds 100 lines and a total nightmare if you need to parse or output HTML, CSV, XML, JSON, etc. A significant point to be noted is that Chef uses Ruby in its recipes unlike puppet where it uses its own configuration language that is based on Ruby although chef is heavily inspired from puppet. If you chose chef then you are effectively scripting your infrastructure with ruby.

Though Chef was only released on January 15th , 2009 it has gotten rapid adoption and gained a large number of contributors. According to the Opscode wiki there are 545 approved contributors to Opscode projects and 106 companies. Beyond that the #chef IRC channel is typically attended by over 100 users and Opscode staff, signs of a healthy, growing open source community.

Springsource division of VMware have signed on to contribute to the project. They are even being very public about it as seen in this endorsement:

“We are excited about the open source contributions the Springsource Division of VMware has made to Opscode Chef.” said Javier Soltero, CTO of Springsource Management Products at VMware. “Chef is an important tool for automating infrastructure management and we look forward to its continued growth and success.”

Moreover on my experience of using chef I really enjoyed the quick response I could get from the Opscode Support Team for all my queries and they had always being able to direct me towards a solution.

Automation Using Chef to create an Instance on Amazon Cloud Service Provider with Apache webserver configured in it.

chef-workstation – is the place where we customize our cookbooks and maintains the chef-repo
chef node – is the management node that we create using chef, it configures itself based on its runlist and downloaded cookbooks

The really cool thing with Chef is that you can rerun cookbooks against a node and it will not do anything it has already done i.e it will not change the end result on the target node as defined by the recipes being run against it. So you will always get the same outcome no matter what state the node and actions will not be taken if already done (and conversely run if detected it has not been run).  When reading about Chef you will see this described as being idempotent (There I’ve saved you looking it up).

Prerequisites – an AWS account, EC2 API configured, OS – Ubuntu.

1. Sign up an account at http://www.opscode.com/hosted-chef/# , Here we use the OHC (opscode hosted chef) where we get to create upto 5 nodes for free!!

2.Verify your opscode account.

3.Download the files

Create an organization in the Console page at www.manage.opscode.com, and then download the following files:

  • Your Organization validation key. This is used to automatically register new Chef Clients (like servers you manage).
  • The Knife configuration file.
  • Your User key. This is used to authenticate your user with Hosted Chef.
  • Edit knife.rb  to add aws access key and secret access key
  • knife[:aws_access_key_id]     = “Your AWS Access Key”
  • knife[:aws_secret_access_key] = “Your AWS Secret Access Key”

At this stage I have a chef ready user environment, an OpsCode organisation set up and now I want to start by spinning up an ec2 instance. I will not be going into any depth regarding  the ec2 specifics as that would make this post far too long.

4.Setting Up chef-Workstation

Install Ruby and Development Tools

#sudo apt-get update
#sudo apt-get install ruby ruby-dev libopenssl-ruby rdoc ri irb build-essential wget ssl-cert git-core
#sudo gem update –system

Install RubyGems

#cd /tmp
#wget http://production.cf.rubygems.org/rubygems/rubygems-1.8.10.tgz
#tar zxf rubygems-1.8.10.tgz
#cd rubygems-1.8.10
#sudo ruby setup.rb –no-format-executable

Install Chef

#sudo gem install chef

5.To verify chef installation

#chef-client -v

6.Build the chef repository

#cd ~
#git clone https://github.com/opscode/chef-repo.git

Knife reads configuration files in .chef. so we need to create those as well

#mkdir -p ~/chef-repo/.chef

Copy the keys and knife configuration you downloaded earlier into this directory:

#cp USERNAME.pem ~/chef-repo/.chef
#cp ORGANIZATION-validator.pem ~/chef-repo/.chef
#cp knife.rb ~/chef-repo/.chef

Run the following command to confirm knife is working with the Hosted Chef API.

#cd ~/chef-repo
#knife client list

output : “ORGANIZATION-validator”

7.Now i need to download the apache2 cookbook on to my workstation, customize if required and then upload it to my account on the opscode platform

#knife cookbook site install apache2

this will notify git and also pulls down the desired cookbook

8.Upload the cookbook using the following command

#knife cookbook upload apache2

9.Enter the following command, sit back and  enjoy the show!!!

#knife ec2 server create -G default -I ami-1212ef7b -f m1.small -S <aws ssh key id> -i <ssh identity file> -x root -r ‘recipe[apache2]’

Before proceeding it would probably be a good idea to take time out and read the Opscode  Chef Recipe wiki which has a nice clear explanation on cookbook name spaces. Also remind yourself of the components that make up a cookbook it’s worth noting that recipes manage resources and those resources will be executed in the order they occur.

Splunk on AWS EC2 CloudSplunk

Whats is Splunk ?

Splunk is a log, monitoring and reporting tool for IT system administrators with search capabilities. It crawls logs, metrics, and other data from applications, servers and network devices and indexes it in a searchable repository from which it can generate graphs, SQL reports and alerts. Splunk can be easily set on the AWS machine archival storage as EBS volumes and periodically syncing the archive from EBS to S3 Bucket or taking EBS snapshots for backup of the logs for the future use.

Generally its hard to track the logs from the server. We do have different monitoring tools such as Nagios, Zabix, here is a new tool named Splunk, which is a kind of bigger solution for providing monitor the visibility inside all the dynamic and complex environment. For example you have an application seems to be very slow, its not because the app have some issue , its because of the lack of free memory on the server. Such kind of details can be obtained from inside the splunk server.

Why do we go for Splunk ?

In auto-scaled where the instances are running under load-balancer scenarios, the servers gets scale up and down, and also there are some situations like some instance gets terminated without any alert. During this situation it will be good to get the login sessions during the server-down state, also the server access logs, so that we can track the reason for the server down. Managing logs on server is really hard, and also the logs will be available on different location. Inorder to address this problem, here we have setup Splunk to listen on a TCP port for any network traffic passes all others servers log to this host, then you will have a centralized, indexed log repository for all of your services.

Here i will guide you on deploying the splunk on the AWS EC2 and configuring splunk forwarder on the remote machine. Splunk is very flexible and is easy to install on any servers. You can select the appropriate hardware capacity planning for your Splunk deployment from here.

Once you have installed the Splunk server , follow the steps given below to start the app:

Now start the Splunk using the command given below:
[NOTE: The here Splunk is installed in /opt location]

/opt/splunk/bin/splunk start

Now you can access the Splunk web UI using the URL given below:


The Splunk need to be configure in such a way that it should be able to receive the data from the remote machine. For this you will need is to follow the following steps:

1. Login to Splunk WebUI eg.
2. Go to Manager –> Forwarding and receiving –> Receive data
3. Click on New Button and add default port i.e. 9997
4. Click on save button to save the settings.
NOTE: Make sure that the port is opened for the server to accept the data from the remote machine.

Next you will need to install Splunk forwarder on the remote machine. Once you have installed the forwarder start the app as shown below:

/opt/splunk/bin/splunk start

Then enable the forwarder using the command and restart the Splunk app.

./splunk enable app SplunkLightForwarder -auth
Splunk username: admin
Password: changeme
./splunk add forward-server -auth admin
./splunk restart

Now after few minutes you can see the Splunk dashboard indexes all it logs on the realtime dashboard.

Generally in Splunk deployment , we have a deployment server which pushes the configuration on to the deployment client, grouped into server class. The Splunk deployment server is a centralized manager which manages several splunk instances known as deployment client. The deployment client is the Splunk instance installed on the remote machine and parse the log on to the Splunk deployment server.



The Splunk generally collects the data from the remote machine which contain  the machine-to-machine and also from human-to-machine interaction. With these collected data it indexes to the engine and generates the reports and also drives alert. The email alert can be configured for the specific conditions like. For example we can configure the alert mail when it finds any log containing the error messages. The Splunk will access all these large volume of data and also provides the visibility and intelligence to IT and data ware house. And also will be able to perform the real-time and historic analysis of all the bulk data from the remote machine.

Its easy to use, also to install and also easier deploy method make this application different from others. The Splunk will be very useful for the developer team for finding and fixing the bugs and also helps to provide real time insights.