Monthly Archives: April 2012

Interview with Uhuru, and more events in the pipeline

As my new role continues, a podcast I recorded with Michael Surkan over at Uhuru Software has just gone online. Uhuru provide hosting based on the Cloud Foundry platform, and add first-class support for .NET applications. They also have some really neat add-ons for MMC and Visual Studio to make deployment easy. We talked a little about the role of a Developer Advocate, the groups I’ve been talking to about adoption of Cloud Foundry, and some of the “gotchas” to consider when taking an application to a Platform-as-a-Service environment.

(if you can hear any background noise on this one, it was because I was at the Scala Days event in London on the day we spoke, and not Michael’s fault at all! I don’t think it sounds too bad)

Coming up this week, there’s the big Cloud Foundry Open Tour London on Tuesday (based on the numbers I’m hearing about, it sounds like that is going to be busy). Many of us from the engineering and developer relations teams will be speaking at that one. The rest of the week, I’ll be at SourceDevCon in London where my head honcho Patrick will be speaking on Thursday afternoon.

To round the week off, there’s Horizons at the BFI on Saturday and Sunday, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ZX Spectrum. I was always more of an Acorn guy myself, but there’s no denying these classic machines really kickstarted my interest in this role space – and I can’t wait to hear MJ Hibbett perform “Hey Hey 16k” in person! 🙂

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Ubuntu 12.04 and Cloud Foundry

Well, it’s that fun Ubuntu release day again, and around the world, I’m sure there are parties aplenty…

I grabbed an ISO this morning (64-bit desktop version, natch), and quickly setup a new virtual machine to run on my Mac. A nice feature of VMware Fusion 4.0 is the “easy install” option which lets you rapidly pop in the basic information needed to setup the system, and the rest is taken care of for you.

In my case, I specified a user ID, selected that I wanted my home folder read/write shared into the VM, and then customised the machine to up the memory and add a CPU core. In a few minutes (my machine has an SSD…!) I had a new virtual machine, running full screen in a separate space on Mission Control. Fusion even took care of installing VMware Tools so it was able to do the file sharing, use the full screen resolution etc etc straight away.

So… first impressions? Much more slick than 11.10 which I was using on a daily basis until recently. In particular, the configuration options have been streamlined really nicely. I’m still struggling with discovery of applications in Unity but in general, it’s not bad at all.

Browsing through the available packages, I was interested to find that the Cloud Foundry tools are available in the default repositories:

Cloudfoundry client

That’s awesome! you can just run sudo apt-get install cloudfoundry-client and get the main tool for deploying apps and administering Cloud Foundry right from the repository using the regular apt method (actually this is simply a convenience package – under the covers it installs a package called ruby-vmc, which installs the vmc command-line Ruby gem… it’s nice that the Ubuntu guys have made it easier to discover, though).

So what’s the problem? Well – no big deal, but actually, if you want to keep up with Cloud Foundry as a developing platform, you might want to grab something slightly newer than what is available on tap in the repository. As I write this, the version of vmc available via the cloudfoundry-client package is 0.3.10 and the one we’re currently working with is at least 0.3.16.

My suggestion, therefore, is to do the following:

  1. Install rvm (Ruby Version Manager). That way, you can have different versions of Ruby itself installed, manage gems for the different versions independently, and also – importantly – not require root privileges to do your development work and install additional gems. A handy guide to installing rvm on Ubuntu is here, and it still works fine on 12.04. Just follow the commands shown in the Installing RVM and Installing Ruby sections and you should be all set and rocking ruby-1.9.2 on your new 12.04 setup.
    (I’m using rvm and JewelryBox to manage Ruby versions on OS X, incidentally. Great tools)
  2. Run either gem install vmc or gem install vmc --pre (the latter option will get you the very latest pre-release of vmc, if you like the bleeding edge). Note that, if you installed rvm and Ruby successfully, you should not need root permissions to install gems.
  3. There is no step 3 — vmc target http://api.cloudfoundry.com and then vmc login and you should be good to go. Looking for a sample app to deploy? You could take a look at the Sinatra example I added to the cloudfoundry-samples repository on Github last week…

It’s fantastic that Ubuntu is moving towards strong desktop / development environment support for Cloud Foundry.

Oh, there’s another story with Precise Pangolin,  too – you can rapidly install the server side pieces to build your own cloud using the Juju Charms which provide Cloud Foundry support. But… that’s a story for another post, in another time and place…. 🙂

Update 15/05: I raised bug #998111 against Ubuntu to ask for the ruby-vmc package to be updated, in case you feel like tracking progress via Launchpad.

First week with VMware and Cloud Foundry

Hello, VMware.

Well – that was bracing!

I don’t expect to be posting “week notes” like this on a regular basis, but as a one-off it seems like a nice way to encapsulate just how much happened in the first week of my new role.

Tuesday

Joined VMware. Met new colleagues in London office. Started to look at the User Account and Authentication component in Cloud Foundry. Ran samples against cloudfoundry.com, modified the documentation. Issued first GitHub pull request 🙂

Wednesday

More hacking on samples. Updated the Cloud Foundry Google+ page. Agreed to present Cloud Foundry at the London Real-Time hack weekend for the RabbitMQ guys. Watched (and tweeted) the live webcast of the Cloud Foundry first birthday event in San Francisco – very exciting news! “more clouds, more community, more code“, including a broader range of partners, a new governance process around the cloudfoundry.org Open Source project, and the announcement of BOSH being released to the community, too – multi-cloud deployment, here we come!

Thursday

Trip to the VMware Frimley office for some HR stuff. First call with full Developer Relations team for event planning. Briefing with the two directors I work for. Nothing to see here, move along…

Friday

Setup new laptop (custom order from Apple so there was a small delay). Prepped for demo at London Real-Time. Started making a lot of noise on VMware Link (aka Socialcast, the social sharing/discussion platform) internally 🙂

Saturday

My first speaking gig – a Lightning Introduction to Cloud Foundry, taking Chris Richardson’s much more comprehensive Boot Camp presentation and cramming the essentials into ~15 min including a live demo, for a bunch of hackers at London Real-Time.

Oh, and it was caught on video.

[vimeo 40379801]

Four or five of the hacks ended up running on Cloud Foundry, too, which I think was rather nice 🙂 I was also interviewed on realtime and the importance of cloud at the event, but I’ve not seen that video appear just yet.

Monday

More laptop setup, HR stuff. Prep for Scala Days. Started to improve a sample app (Ruby/Sinatra) I’d used in the past by adding Twitter Bootstrap and restructuring the code.

Tuesday/Wednesday

Scala Days in London – helping to man the sponsor stand talking about Cloud Foundry, answering questions, and meeting many new colleagues from the US who were presenting on Spring, Scala, and Cloud Foundry (including an announcement that Play 2.0 framework support and standalone apps are coming to cloudfoundry.com Real Soon Now). Recorded a podcast interview with Uhuru about what a Developer Advocate does.

Summary

I’m pleased that I was able to be so productive so quickly. I’d had a little previous experience with Cloud Foundry but it’s a testament to how quick it is to learn the basics and get moving that I was able to rapidly start playing with a bunch of code. It was also exciting to be out on Github on my first day – not something I could have done in a former life… it’s nice to be working in an organisation that is innovating with Open Source at this level.

There’s much to learn, and to be honest, a couple of the key aspects of Cloud Foundry actually make it more challenging (and interesting) for me to get to grips with. It’s open, and with BOSH, can potentially target different IaaS offerings (initially vSphere and the beginnings of AWS support; a hackathon yesterday aimed at adding OpenStack to the list) – so suddenly I need to know about those. It’s a polyglot platform, which means I need to broaden my language knowledge – I’m already making a start on Ruby and node.js, to complement existing Java and PHP knowledge.

It’s also exciting to learn more about what VMware does, the layers of technology that they offer, and their vision. My previous experience has primarily been with the desktop virtualisation technology, but there’s a huge and vibrant community around the server-side virtualisation tools, and products like Socialcast, Sliderocket and Zimbra in the collaboration space too.

There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in this space. It’s thrilling to be here. Thanks to all of my new colleagues for a warm welcome and support – looking forward to working with you!