Building Self-Healing Applications with Saltstack

Self healing infrastructure is something that has always piqued my interested. The first iteration of self healing infrastructure that I came across was the Solaris Service Management Facility aka “SMF”. SMF would restart services if they crashed due to hardware errors or general errors outside of the service itself. For today's article we are going to explore another way of creating a self healing environment; going beyond restarting failed services. In today's article we are going to take a snippet of code that connects to a database service and give that application not only the ability to reconnect during database failure but also give it the ability to automatically resolve the database issues....

 · 11 min · Benjamin Cane

A Quick and Practical Reference for tcpdump

When it comes to tcpdump most admins fall into two categories; they either know tcpdump and all of its flags like the back of their hand, or they kind of know it but need to use a reference for anything outside of the basic usage. The reason for this is because tcpdump is a pretty advanced command and it is pretty easy to get into the depths of how networking works when using it....

 · 26 min · Benjamin Cane

Understanding Exit Codes and how to use them in bash scripts

Lately I've been working on a lot of automation and monitoring projects, a big part of these projects are taking existing scripts and modifying them to be useful for automation and monitoring tools. One thing I have noticed is sometimes scripts use exit codes and sometimes they don't. It seems like exit codes are easy for poeple to forget, but they are an incredibly important part of any script. Especially if that script is used for the command line....

 · 6 min · Benjamin Cane

Removing packages and configurations with apt-get

Yesterday while re-purposing a server I was removing packages with apt-get and stumbled upon an interesting problem. After I removed the package and all of it's configurations, the subsequent installation did not re-deploy the configuration files. After a bit of digging I found out that there are two methods for removing packages with apt-get. One of those method should be used if you want to remove binaries, and the other should be used if you want to remove both binaries and configuration files....

 · 7 min · Benjamin Cane

Using salt-api to integrate SaltStack with other services

Recently I have been looking for ways to allow external tools and services to perform corrective actions across my infrastructure automatically. As an example, I want to allow a monitoring tool to monitor my nginx availability and if for whatever reason nginx is down I want that monitoring tool/service to do something to fix it. While I was looking at how to implement this, I remembered that SaltStack has an API and that API can provide exactly the functionality I wanted....

 · 8 min · Benjamin Cane