Automation of operational tasks with Remote Execution

This post is part of a blog series which tries to simplify the adoption of configuration management frameworks.

Getting a fully automated data center in a bigger company which does not yet have an “automation friendly culture” is very hard. Setting up a company wide configuration management framework like Puppet, Chef or Cfengine can take ages. Additionally I experienced some engineers, who are not involved in the setup of configuration management framework itself, think they should wait until the framework is 100% established. Earliest after that they plan to start thinking how they can automate their repetitive tasks.

I think this “waiting” is a huge waste of time. Everybody can start understanding and automating their repetitive tasks already without the availability of a central company wide automation framework. In this post I will cover how the Remote Execution framework Fabric can be used to basically automate your SSH sessions.

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Graphite - Visualizing Solaris performance the easy way

Last month, on the first Vienna Solaris Technical Day, I had the opportunity to make a small presentation about a simple method for drawing nice graphs from Solaris performance metrics. As several people asked me for the details, I will share them here.
The concept is simple, just use the Solaris command line utilities, like iostat and send the reformatted output to the popular open source tool Graphite.

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Collecting CMDB information of Solaris and Linux systems

As mentioned in the previous post I am working on a tool which collects essential information of Linux and Solaris systems. The first release is finally public available on GitHub (

Why have I written this tool? I needed it for my job and I found no other tool, which fulfilled our requirements. Additionally it was a nice opportunity to train my Python and RegEx skills.

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Map the guest ldom name to the operating system hostname

Keeping the documentation of the IT infrastructure by hand up to date is not really a lot of fun nor exciting, but still necessary. More automation in this area would be nice. After looking for an “Enterprise solution” for some months, I think there is no off-the-shelf solution which fulfills all our needs.

Therefore I started to develop a basic discovery script, which should discover all important information of our Solaris and Linux servers and feeds the info in our CMDB. Most of the stuff is straight forward and at best a opportunity to improve my Regex skills, but there are also some challenges which could be interesting for others.

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