7 Jul 2015 in Kitematic, GUI

Getting to Grips With Kitematic

As you may have already heard, Kitematic is a new container management GUI for Docker. It launched for Windows and OS X in June this year, and allows for running and managing containers without spending any more time than is necessary on the CLI.

Starting a virtual machine can be a daunting task. The people this tends to intimidate the most are those just starting out in web development and developer operations. By using Kitematic with something like Deis, this stress problem can be side-stepped.

In this post, we’ll look at:

  • The advantages to Kitematic

  • The availabililty of pre-bulit Docker images in Kitematic

  • Setting up Kitematic on your PC

Before you get started, be warned: if you’re installing Kitematic for the first time on your PC you may see the install hang or crash. If this happens, Kitematic provides a CLI script to fix the problem on its page of known issues. Remember that Kitematic is still in alpha. If you find a bug, help the Kitematic team squish it by reporting the bug on GitHub.

Advantages to Kitematic

Kitematic offers an easy-to-navigate GUI, with popular Docker images available to run upon installation. These include Ghost, Minecraft, RethinkDB, and many more. Docker offers powerful container management, including upscaling and downscaling. For smaller development teams working on PCs, cloning, managing, and deploying an app through Kitematic is a seamless experience, and significantly more user-friendly than the CLI.

Having a GUI lowers the barrier-to-entry for beginners and will help them contribute to and learn about your project. Kitematic also provides a unique educational opportunity for people who want to take things like the stock Minecraft image and learn about system administration and operations through experimentation and modification.

When debugging an issue, time is of the essence. Kitematic offers powerful features for operating containers in a snap. PC users can view their currently running containers with ease, with the ability to start, stop, and execute commands from directly within the Kitematic UX. What’s more, Kitematic lets you debug securely, without affecting parent or child containers.

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2 Jul 2015 in Docker

Sailing Past Dependency Hell With Docker

Have you ever been excited to tinker with a software project, only to have dependency hell ruin all of the fun? As a software consultant, I face this situation all the time.

Luckily however, technologies like Docker take the pain out of spinning up additional components of your app architecture, like databases or job queues, or installing runtimes like Ruby or Python. By isolating processes from one another with very little overhead, you can sail past dependency hell.

Over the last year, I’ve worked on a number of different projects, encountered lots of of different requirements, and explored all sorts of ways of working through dependency conflicts. This is the story of my search for a solution, the pros and cons of each path I explored, and how I ended up using Docker.

Life as a Consultant, Day 1

When I started working as a consultant, I looked down at my beautiful new laptop and made a promise to treat it right. I wouldn't install a bunch of system extensions. I wouldn't tweak too many esoteric settings. I wouldn't bog it down with databases and other services.

Then came my first client project. Along with it came Python 2.7.6, MySQL 5.1.73, Ruby 1.9.3-p545, Node 0.10.29, Elasticsearch something-dot-something. And as I looked through the 500-line README, my heart sank.

My first reaction was to try to sidestep the dependencies. Occasionally, you can get away without a dependency. Usually, you're just delaying it for a while. Even for an optional dependency, skipping it meant a delicate dance of stubbed-out methods and dark hallways that must not be entered. Before long, this delicate dance turned into a clumsy stumble.

Faced with the reality that ignoring these dependencies was not a long term solution, I started to wonder why this project had so many dependencies in the first place. Certainly it had too many dependencies!

I may have been right about this one, but it's not a solution. Over time, I may be able to steer the project away from some of its dependencies, but that wouldn't do me any good at the moment.

I was ready to bite the bullet, beg forgiveness from my new laptop, and install all of this stuff. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up without a fight. If I took really detailed notes, I thought, maybe I could just uninstall all of this stuff later. Welcome to the world of Homebrew post-install notes.txt and List of rbenv files.txt. Now, in addition to a 500-line README file, I had a 600-line UNINSTALL file.

I ended up with a typical developer setup: the base OS, plus all of the services needed to run my application. Or, in a picture, this:

MySQL, etc. Over OSX

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25 Jun 2015 in Interview

Interview With Gabriel Monroy

Hello! Welcome to the new Deis.com blog. My name is Noah Slater, and I’m your friendly neighbourhood blog editor. To get things started, I’m going to chat with Gabriel Monroy, creator and current Benevolent Dictator of the Deis project.

Gabriel, why don’t you introduce yourself?

I’m Gabriel Monroy, the CTO at Engine Yard and the guy who started Deis back in 2013. I live and work in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, but I spend a lot of my time in San Francisco, New York City, and at tech conferences around the country. I love airplane wifi.

Okay, first things first… How do you pronounce Deis?

It’s pronounced DAY-iss but I’ve heard about every pronunciation you can think of. Some of the more common ones are "dice" and “DEE-iss”, which make me cringe a bit. But at this point I’ve given up on trying to correct people—I’m just happy they’re using it!

Engine Yard recently acquired OpDemand. As an Engine Yard employee, I think the whole thing is very exciting. How do you feel about it?

It’s thrilling but also very humbling. Engine Yard has been doing PaaS since 2006. They’ve helped scale some of the largest web properties on the Internet. The amount of domain expertise here is so impressive. I can’t think of a better company to join forces with.

What does all this mean for the Deis community?

It means the Deis project is getting a massive boost. Given the number of folks who rely on Deis to run their production applications, it was really important to me that we partner with someone who shares our deep commitment to open source. We’ve done that.

However, the Deis community needs to judge us by our actions. If you look at the hires we’ve made, the announcements we’re about to make, and the introduction of the open roadmap and planning process, you can see how serious we are about open source.

How are you finding it as CTO of Engine Yard now? Can you share any plans?

I don’t get as much time to hack on open source. I miss that. Though it’s probably for the best, since I was never a great coder anyway, and the Deis core team is amazing! I do get to spend a lot of time with customers and large-scale Deis users. That part I really love.

With regard to plans, we have some truly next-level stuff in the works but I don’t want to share too much. Suffice to say, we are just getting started.

What are you most excited about at this point?

I’m excited about the next 3 years.

The whole "container" movement is less about containers themselves and more about the type of distributed applications they facilitate. I think we’re going to see a big shift in the way software teams write applications—not just the trendy companies in Silicon Valley, but the more conservative software teams around the US and the rest of the world.

I’m excited to help those companies succeed in this new world of distributed applications.

Do you have your eye on any cool OSS projects at the moment?

I’ve really fallen in love with Kubernetes over the last few months. The Google container team is doing fantastic work. I’m also keeping a close eye on unikernel development. I think projects like MirageOS and Clive are really onto something.

22 Jun 2015 in Announcement

Welcome to Deis.com

Welcome to the new Deis.com website. This site provides a place for the extended Deis community to meet, gather information, and work together as we move Deis into production across the industry.

Things are moving fast! Since OpDemand joined Engine Yard, we have:

Massively expanded the team working on Deis (2x, and still growing) Deployed our global support team to care for Deis deployments 24/7 Launched Deis PRO, featuring improved UX for clusters of containers

The entire Deis.com effort will be focused on building, extending, and supporting the Deis open source project. We value the community’s input and will continue the open roadmap process on our community website: Deis.io.

This is an exciting turning point for Deis. It is already been established as the leading platform for deploying containerized applications, with almost one million downloads total and over 1,000 downloads per day. It’s clear that hundreds of technical teams are deploying applications with the ease of use and reliability of Deis.

To support the success of Deis in the market, Engine Yard is now providing full 24/7 support that spans the globe. The Engine Yard support team is one of the best in the industry and is made up of engineers with years of experience supporting real-world large-scale production deployments.

Take a look at Deis.com and check out Deis PRO, our web based deployment tool for Deis on Amazon AWS. Deis PRO also comes with a number of support services that help you take your application from concept to production.

With a transparent roadmap and project planning process, we are committed to an “upstream first” policy that recognises the importance of the open source community. If you have any questions about this, please get in touch!

It’s your app, your way. We’re here to make the ops easy and reliable.

16 Jun 2015 in Announcement, NYI

Announcing Deis & NYI: Containers on Metal

Today we are excited to announce a new partnership with NYI, a colocation provider that is now offering Deis-on-metal solutions to customers in New York, New Jersey, and throughout the Northeast. As you may already know, Engine Yard’s Deis is the leading Docker-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for deploying and managing distributed applications. As Deis has matured, we’ve seen more and more users running on bare metal. We’ve also learned containers on metal offer significant price benefits, consistent performance, and a strong security and compliance story.

As part of this partnership, NYI is providing Engine Yard with the power, space, and dedicated servers for a distributed systems lab that will be used to harden Deis for large-scale colocation environments. This lab will allow us to test failure modes, network partitions, and performance deltas between Deis releases. The lab will also help ensure container on metal solutions meet customer standards for high-performance, scalability, and high-availability.

We are excited to work with the NYI team to see Deis and containers on metal reach its full potential. If you're interested in an in-person demo at an NYI facility, or just want to learn more about Deis and containers on metal, please contact our customer success team.