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Hi folks! We took a month off for summer vacation, but now we're back in action.
For our next meeting, we're planning something a bit different. Please bring the following with you to the next meeting:
• A laptop capable of running VMs (more about this later)
• At least one bona fide configuration management problem that you encounter in your day-to-day life.
Let me elaborate a bit on that second point. The problem you bring doesn't have to be the most convoluted, far-out madness you can think of; in fact, the more commonplace it is, the more likely that others will be able to benefit from the solution. It's important that the problem not be contrived, however. The web is full of generic sandbox tutorials, and we want to work with issues that come from reality.
Why do we want you to bring problems? Our idea is that the next meeting will go as follows:
• As quickly as possible, we get the various problems up on a whiteboard, then collate and triage them.
• Anyone who wants to make an attempt at implementing a solution (even just a proof-of-concept) to one of the problems indicates their interest.
• We assign one or two problem-solvers to each problem, and once we've run out of problem-solvers, we split up into groups, pull out our laptops, and actually work on the implementations.
• Finally, as we approach the end of the session, anyone who wants to briefly talk about their group's implementation does so.
But, what if you don't want to be a problem-solver? That's totally OK! Sit with one of the groups, watch and learn, ask questions, and get your teeth into the problem. It would certainly be nice if we walked away from this meeting with completed implementations of solutions for all the problem, but the most important part of the meeting is the opportunity to build skills and share learning.
This meeting will require a bit more preparation than our other meetings have done. In order that we can all get the most benefit possible from this meeting, please do the following BEFORE you arrive at the meeting:
• Install Vagrant (http://vagrantup.com) on your laptop (all the necessary components are free)
• Make a Vagrant Cloud (https://vagrantcloud.com) account (also free)
• Download at least one of the following Vagrant boxes from Vagrant Cloud: puppetlabs/centos-6.5-64-puppet, puppetlabs/debian-7.4-64-puppet, ubuntu-14.04-64-puppet (they all work, pick the distribution that you're most comfortable working with)
• Make a GitHub (http://github.com) account (also free) and install the Git command-line tools for your OS
Overachievers, or those more familiar with Puppet and Vagrant, may want to prepare sufficient infrastructure to stand up a Puppet master, PuppetDB, etc.
This preparation is important! If you all show up with nothing installed on your laptops, we'll spend the first half of the meeting just messing around with tools and waiting for downloads to complete, and that means less time hacking and learning. If you would like a step-by-step tutorial that takes you through everything you need to prepare for this meeting (and more!), check out the HUIT DevOps Vagrant tutorial (http://devops.huit.harvard.edu/vagrant-tutorial/).
What do you all think? Please feel free to discuss this idea ahead of time via Meetup; ask questions, post the problems that you'd like to bring, give suggestions, and absolutely let us know if you don't like this idea, especially if you can think of something we could do to make it better. In addition, please do RSVP! Not only is it helpful for our gracious hosts, but it also helps us streamline the start of the meeting, which means less talking, more hacking!