Rootconf 2014

On devops and cloud infrastructure

Cowboy Coder's Guide to Infrastructure Nightmares

Submitted by Akshay Mankar (@axeman) on Thursday, 30 January 2014

Section: Full talk Technical level: Intermediate Status: Rejected


Given that more developers are moving into "devops" and enjoying their ooh-aah moments, this talk aims to shatter their dreams and bring them back to reality, so there are less cowboys handling servers and the infrastructure world doesn't look like the "Wild West"


Since past 1 year I've been "devopsing". Starting with basic knowledge of linux and some experience in developing websites, I started this super awesome joy ride. And as not expected by the super over-confident(yet innocent(yet cowboyish)) me, I faced a lot of problems, I fell into a lot of pitfalls, brought down servers, deployed wrong artifacts to production, and what not?
This talk will cover a few common and not-so-common mistakes(with remedies!) that newbie and advanced infrastrucure automators usually make.
We've been using chef to provision our servers, so this talk will mostly have examples from chef.

I'll cover things like:

  • Some pitfalls in writing cookbooks, with code snippets
  • "Good Practices" to replace some very common but not-so-good practices in cookbook writing
  • Cookbook versioning and promotion
  • Leveraging community cookbooks
  • Isolation testing of cookbooks
  • A few Useful tools
  • Some Tips and Tricks

Speaker bio

Developer at ThoughtWorks



  •   Vamsee Kanakala (@vamsee) 6 years ago

    Hey Akshay, can you tighten up the focus of the talk and also try to rewrite the title please? Right now it sounds a bit vague. Thanks.

    •   Akshay Mankar (@axeman) Proposer 6 years ago

      Hi Vamsee,
      Thanks for commenting.
      I’m planning to keep the talk very much focused upon the prevention of pain(Nightmares) that one has to go through while developing/maintaining an automated infrastructure. Especially when it comes to debugging and answering why something is not working or even worse why it is behaving weirdly. Also the tools which I will talk about are for making the workflow less painful and prevent mistakes, as handling mutiple environments/servers can be super dangerous.
      And I really like the title. So please don’t mind :)

  •   Vivek Juneja (@vivekjuneja) 6 years ago

    Hi Akshay,

    I like the idea that you intend to portray in your talk, however I think it needs to get more meat so to help potential attendees.

    Can you put some concrete ideas around your agenda ?


    •   Akshay Mankar (@axeman) Proposer 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago)

      Hi Vivek,

      Thanks for commenting.
      I have added a few more points under things I would cover, please go through it and let me know if it is more concrete.

  •   sandeep (@sss) 6 years ago

    @akshay - will you cover using chef to automate your laptop setup ?

    •   Akshay Mankar (@axeman) Proposer 6 years ago

      No. I will be covering general chef practices which apply to any chef setup.

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