So.. what next?

December 9th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Here is the news! I have officially quit BrowserStack and right now I am serving last few days of notice.

This 3+ years journey was amazing and taught me a lot of things. I am quite happy with what I was able to achieve along with the entire team at BrowserStack. Before I talk about the team, I really want to thank Nakul and Ritesh for giving me an opportunity and freedom to work the way I work. Trusting a guy with 15 months of experience with the entire infrastructure and server operations is quite a risk and they took that. So thank you guys.

Now about the team, the one that we have at BrowserStack, is, simple put, amazing. We have been through good and bad times and always made it through, always helping each other. It was not always sweet, and we did curse each other a lot but we always came through for each other and that is what great teams do. Right from a security breach to feature releases to late night parties, we have seen it all and done it all.

I am really happy with what BrowserStack has become in these three years. From a tiny room with 4-5 guys, we are now 60-70 with a huge office in Andheri. I hope it’ll grow manifolds but now, it is time for me to move on. I hope I will get involved with BrowserStack in future in some other capacity.

So what will I do next?

I don’t know. I am definitely not looking for any full time opportunities. I, along with some more people, am planning to write short guides, articles, tutorials for various Devops related things. Whatever we write, we will try to release the content under a suitable creative commons license so that everyone gets access and can learn without things hiding behind paywalls. We will also welcome contributions by community and we hope we would be able to create a healthy ecosystem of sharing knowledge among people who want to understand Devops and Linux systems. If you need any help around the server operations, Linux machines, AWS, Docker containers or any random devops stuff, I am open for a conversation next month.

Pycon India 2015

October 9th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

I am just back from Pycon India which happens in Bangalore. It was a very short trip and I was there just for the workshop. I wanted to stay longer but when production requires a MySQL migration, then weekends are the only option you get.

Praveen Kumar and I proposed conducting an Ansible workshop and we started preparing for the content of workshop since quite some time. We decided that we will open source all the content and let people use it and improve it. Sadly for us, at the last moment, Praveen had to attend an important meeting at Brno, so I had to conduct the workshop by myself. The workshop went very smoothly and the attendees were very engaged. The QnA in the room and the hands-on trials were just amazing. Not only did we discuss Ansible, we also talked briefly about other tools and how to choose the right one for your infrastructure. We had good number of demos and hands-on stuff with us so attendees were quite happy.

This workshop made me realize that even basic things like configuration management can be very tricky in certain cases. With constantly increasing number of choices, the decision to choose the right tool and to use the tool in the right way is becoming difficult. There is a clear need to address these concerns. How to do that is something which I am still thinking about.

Devops Days India 2015

September 27th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

I had an opportunity to attend Devops Days India in Bangalore this year. Because containers are the “cool new tech” which everyone is so excited about, they had a track dedicated to containers which was great and I got my talk selected for this track. I had to skip the day 1 due to work commitments but I was very excited to be there for Day 2. The excitement had a minor crash because of all the confusion around the timings. None of the talks were running on time and a few of them were scheduled on the same time at the same place. Devops Days India can really do with better organization. My talk was about showing off how Kubernetes can manage a group of containers and how fault tolerant it is. I got good response from the crowd and QnA session was really great. Demo went a bit slow because of the requirement of multiple virtual machines which I had to run on my laptop.

I also got to catch up with Neependra, Atul and many others. Talking to these people is always a treat. We recorded a podcast for The NewStack which can be found here along with the transcript.

This one was a very short trip with me returning on the same day. So nothing much to add here.

Flock 2015, Rochester, NY, USA

August 22nd, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

This year, Flock, the annual developer conference for Fedora happened from 12 August to 15 August 2015 in Rochester, New York, USA. First two days were dedicated to talks and the workshops happened for the next two days. Our accommodation and the conference both were arranged in the same hotel which made it very convenient to go to the conf, organize meetups and hack groups. Day 1 started with Matthew‘s keynote on state of union. He showed us some very interesting numbers on usage of Fedora. Now getting the exact numbers is very difficult because we have no way to track our users but we try to estimate it by looking at the hits on the update servers and downloads. I am happy to observe that cloud images are being appreciated by users. At BrowserStack, we too deploy Fedora cloud images for certain applications. I attended talks on Yubikey by Nick and on Docker Security by Dan Walsh. Dan showed us the container coloring book which was awesome.

My talk was scheduled after lunch. The talk went smoothly but because of an unprecedented CPU spike due to xorg, the demo worked only partially. I did finish off the demo the next day during the flash talks but I really wished the demo would have worked fully the first day itself. I attended the SPC talk as well. Dan explained very nicely about how SPC can be used to do privileged stuff and why Atomic would have minimum number of binaries. We had an amazing board game night. I played a game where one person combined a power and a superhero to create a mega superhero and the next person will try to beat that with their combination. It was super fun.

Day 2 started with Major Hayden‘s keynote. He talked about imposter syndrome and encourage contributors to approach other project members and their peers with confidence. I attended the talks on Atomic architecture, Fedora cloud and container deployment best practices. Threebean’s talk on microservices was very informative. I think I would agree with him a lot that many times we create applications with best intentions but the over the period of time the code becomes unmanageable. Monolithic architecture is a big problem since code base is usually large in that case. Microservices can be of huge help here. I finished off my demo on lightening round in the end. We went to Strong Museum of Play. The museum consists of a lot of games, arcade, video games, wach-a-mole and many more. These were really fun.

Next two days were dedicated to workshops. I attended cloud working group workshop. Making Atomic the default offering of Fedora Cloud was proposed. This seems like a leading move. We also discussed on reducing the size of Docker image. I spent some time to package Docker v1.7.1 for epel6. Docker has said that beyond this version, they will not be supporting EL6 due to old kernel. We went to George Eastman house, the founder of Eastman Kodak company. It was a big house full of historic cameras, photographs and paintings. I also attended SPC workshop on Saturday by Dan Walsh. I had a return flight on Sunday. Flock is a really awesome event. I always appreciate the sense of putting faces to irc nicknames. I am eagerly looking forward to the next Flock.

FUDCon Pune, 2015

July 6th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

FUDCon Pune, 2015 concluded last weekend. This post will summarize the event from my point of view.

First off, a lot of respect for the organizing team. The way they pulled off this event was great. The maturity and the dedication of the team is commendable.

Pre-event events:
India team won the bid and did a call for proposal. Since I am working on Project Atomic these days, I submitted a talk on the same. Incidentally, Lalatendu also works on Project Atomic and was about to submit a similar talk. We got in touch during Rootconf and eventually decided to collaborate on the talk. As the timelines finished off, the selection panel got overwhelming number of talks and decided to spin off three tracks focusing on storage technologies, cloud technologies and container technologies. Ideally, Neependra would have been the in-charge of the container track but due to other commitments, Lalatendu and I were asked to fill in. However, Neependra remained involved and helped us out in organizing the track very smoothly. Without his directions, it would be very difficult to pull off the track, the way we did. Our talk on Docker and Project Atomic was included as a part of the main conference. The idea was to create some interest among the audience so that they feel encouraged to attend the track. Meanwhile, we kept on organizing hangouts with other speakers of the track to discuss the flow of the talks, the workshops and the overall track. We had some last minute back-outs but we managed well. All this while, both Siddhesh and Amit were very helpful in co-coordinating with us on schedule and updating it whenever we requested.

Day 1:
I reached around 4 am and caught little less than 3 hours of sleep before leaving for the conference. Luckily, I had no talks to deliver on day 1. Morning started with so many familiar faces which I was seeing after such a long time. I met Amit, Siddhesh and Suchakra (soon to be a PhD) after years.
Conference started off with Dennis’s talk on release engineering and the problems that we are facing around several things like rolling releases, rawhide, bi-weekly Atomic Host release etc. I also attended a bunch of other talks, including ones on dnf and vagarant. We also talked about the next FUDCon during APAC BoF to take a call on Cambodia’s bid but we eventually decided to defer it till Cambodia team comes up with ways to handle finances.
Harish demonstrated a tool to check up the health of any given open-source project. It was quite cool to see that such a thing is even possible

We had a nice dinner together and the day finished up.

Day 2:
Day 2 kicked off with Jiri keynote on Fedora workstation. I attended talks on SELinux and Fedmsg as well, both of which were pretty cool. Our talk happened post lunch in the Auditorium. Audience was quite responsive and both Lala and I had a great time interacting with the people who were listening to the talk. I attended PJP’s talk on DNSSec and the day ended with Tenzin’s keynote on achieving community goal and highlighting how they are using Fedora and Linux in general to combat some of their real life issues around security and privacy.

We moved to FUDPub and had a great time with all the contributors, organizers and volunteers. I reminisced the FUDCon Pune 2011.

Day 3:
This was, rather, a busy day for me. The container track started off with the Docker basics workshop and we made sure that the level of talk and the workshop was kept at a level so that students can easily follow them. The room was packed and at a point, I did asked volunteers to arrange for some more desks. The subsequent workshops saw great attendance and great content by all the speakers. We enjoyed all the interactions and I really hope that some of the students will try to contribute back to the community. The day ended with Rupali thanking everyone for doing a great job. She herself worked really hard to deliver a great event.

FUDCon 2015


  • Always have plan B when you are organizing a conference. Our container track saw a few walk-outs just a few days before the conference. We were lucky that the rest of the speaker were extremely cooperative and accommodated the change in schedule and the pace of track.
  • Entry barrier is very high in certain areas of Fedora, for example release engineering. I would love to be a part of it but I am not sure where to start. I wish there were an “easyfix” list of tasks like we have for Fedora infra.
  • For new comers, even “easyfix” tasks are not easy enough. We have to organize targeted workshops and events to induct them in areas where they can contribute easily. Packaging and filing bugs are such things where more newbies can take part.

FUDCon APAC 2015 is here!

June 16th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Fedora Users and Developers Conference (FUDCon) is the annual conference for people interested in Fedora in any way. For Asia Pacific region, this year the host will be Pune from 26 June to 28 June. Pune has been the FUDCon host 4 years ago, in 2011. The team is experienced in organizing such an event and consist of a lot of long time Fedora contributors.

As always, FUDCon will present several interesting talks around Fedora and Fedora ecosystem. We have a lot of topics from development, engineering, translation, quality engineering and documentation area. Dennis Gilmore, Harish Pillay and Jiri Eishchmann will be giving keynotes. I am really looking forward to these sessions and various other talks. Along with regular talks and workshops, this time, FUDCon will have three tracks, one for each day, on distributed storage, OpenStack and containers. Since Neependra will be away for Red Hat Summit, Lalatendu and I am going to conduct the container track. We have some excellent speakers lined up for the track. Idea is to create a story which even a beginner can follow. So we’ll start with an introduction talk and then conduct workshops on Docker and Atomic. We’ll eventually dig deeper towards Kubernetes and OpenShift. Here is the complete outline for the container track:

We have an entire day dedicated to container technologies. This presents a very unique opprtunity to learn from the people who are actually using containers and are contributing to several upstream projects. So join us during FUDCon APAC in Pune on 28 for the container track.


Rootconf 2015, Bangalore

May 29th, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Rootconf is a devops centric conference which takes places in Bangalore annually. Rootconf attracts very tech-savvy, niche crowd, something that is not easily avaialble elsewhere in India. This year there were at least 300 people present at MLR Convention Center and I had the opprtunity to talk about two topics, Project Atomic and a security breach that happened at BrowserStack. The talks which were planned for 40 minutes were scaled down to 15 minutes due to time contraints. It wasn’t the ideal situation but that was all I got. Both the talks went smoothly, however the demo was cut short. I enjoyed it nonetheless and I hope it went good for the attendees as well.
I really enjoyed the SaltStack and Icinga introduction talks. Akbar’s talk on Kafka was very interesting. That will possibly the next tool I’ll add to BrowserStack arsenal. Another interesting find was Inframer by Saurabh Hirani. I’ll probably work on that too but it is not super critical at the moment. Introduction to Rancher OS by Shanker Balan was great. It looked very much like Project Atomic from functionality standpoint. There were many more great sessions.

Rootconf had Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions this time. That was something I liked a lot, a simple discussion around the most important and interesting topics in the industry. I helped conducting Infrastructure BoF along with Mike Place. Mike is a SaltStack developer and a very experienced fellow in automation and configuration management. Most of all, he is a strong believer of “containers are not a silver bullet solution for everything”. That is something which we should all appreciate and learn. I also met up with Mark Lavi, who works for Idea Device. Mark was one of the developers at Netscape Navigator and had all sorts of stories around the old internet.
Gaurav ran another interesting and much needed BoF on coping with burnout. I could only attend a part of it because my talk was also scheduled in the same timeframe but I have some very interesting takeaways from it. One of which I am going to implement right away, never carry forward your vacation days to next year.

I had a great time at Rootconf 2015 and I am already looking forward for Rootconf 2016.

PS: My talks on Project Atomic and BrowserStack security breach are on Youtube.

Watch the entire Rootconf 2015 videos here.

FOSSAsia 2015, Singapore

March 22nd, 2015 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

FOSSAsia is the largest open source conference in Asia. This year, it was hosted in Singapore and I had a chance to speak there about Project Atomic. Singapore is a beautiful place but unfortunately I had a bad throat as soon as I reached there. That killed most of the fun but nonetheless the conference was great. I met up with a lot of new and old faces. The conference was kick started by Hong Phuc and Mario. Day 1 had a lot of interesting talks by Harish, Lennart, Brian and a  lot of other interesting people. Novena project had an interesting talk by Bunny who showed why failure of Moore’s Law is actually a good news for open hardware hackers. I heard about Novena during Flock and I must say that it has come long way since. Most of all I enjoyed the talk given by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on open data. The efforts of his team to bring data to public is really commendable. I wish more politicians think the way he is thinking. The day concluded and there was a barbeque in the evening but I had to skip it due to bad health.

Day 2 started with Brian’s workshop on oVirt. oVirt looks like a great tool for managing virtual machines but it only supports KVM. After Brian’s workshop, I attended a couple of talks on Docker and Fluentd. They were good. Probably, I would use Fluentd sometime but right now I am happy with my logstash setup. I gave my talk on Project Atomic explaining various components like Kubernetes and OSTree. Shivji gave a talk on MySQL replication controller which was great. This wrapped up the day 2. I went to Little India after this and had a great time with ginger tea. :)

I checked out various projects in breakout rooms on Day3. Hamara Linux is one such project which is focusing on increasing the outreach of Linux by translating them to local languages and developing an OS for low end devices. That sounds kinda interesting. Next up, I attended Harish’s workshop on creating an emergency network. That got me into thinking that probably we should be prepared. I am going to try my hands on ham radio. That should be fun. Last three talks in Devops talk were on testing and on configuration management. There were some really good insights on web testing by Anisha. Working for BrowserStack, I can understand how much pain web testing can be. Anyway, the day ended with Hong and Mario giving concluding speech and we went to Sentosa to check out some attractions.

Overall I had a great time. It was nice meeting all the old Fedora crowd and the new ones. I hope to see everyone again at FUDCon Pune. :)


Flock 2014, Prague: Day 3 and Day 4

August 11th, 2014 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

flock-2014 This one is a combined post for the last two days of the Flock.

Friday had a session by Kevin Fenzi on Fedora infrastructure highlighting short terms and long term goals. Since Ansible migration is almost done, we can move on to other things. His talk gave a pretty good idea of what to expect from infra team in future. After this there was a session on which was an intro of all the WGs and then a QnA.

We gathered for a Infra meeting post lunch where I was promoted to be a member of sysadmin team. So now I can directly commit to the repos :)

Ralph Bean organized a workshop on Fedmsg which went great. We made a twitter bot to tweet when a badge is awarded. I liked it a lot. Probably I’ll try to make a few more Fedmsg clients and see if we can use them in production.

Saturday started with a session on yum and dnf. Dnf is soon going to replace yum in upcoming Fedora versions. The QnA after the talk was very interesting where people pointed out the things that are missing from dnf and what they’d like to see. I enjoyed Paul’s talk a lot where he highlighted his experience being both Fedora Engineering Manager and a Red Hat employee. We did a group picture later clicked by Jared. Most of my post lunch time went into catching up with others and trying to resolve a couple of tickets in infra trac which were in “open” state since ages.

Flock officially ended but it helped me a lot in several ways. I got to meet a lot of people from infra team and others. Of course, learning to play with new things like Fedmsg is always an added bonus but most of all, now I am a part of the sysadmin team with commit access. Beware! :)



Flock 2014, Prague: Day 2

August 11th, 2014 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

flock-2014Day 2 for Flock has started and I am suppose to deliver a talk on Ansible and a workshop on Docker. I am quite excited about it. I dropped by the Yubikey talk. I didn’t knew yubikey can be used for a lot more that just OTP. It seems Yubikey Neo has a lot more to offer. Although I have no immediate plans to hack on it but it does looks cool. My Ansible talk was next. I introduced Ansible and the way we are using it in Fedora. I talked about the issues that we are facing and how people can contribute towards Ansible and Fedora Infra in general to help us reach our goals faster. I think the talk went fine. The session was quite interactive so I actually ran out of time otherwise I could have put up a demo. Paul, former Fedora Project Leader and current Fedora Engineering Manager, wrote a nice article about the talk for Fedora Magazine.

Post lunch I attended the QnA session with FESCo which actually gave a good insight about what is going on in Fedora and how engineering decisions are taken. My Docker workshop followed this. The workshop as such went fine and I was able to show most of the stuff that I intended to. I guess, since it was a introductory workshop, very few people were actually doing hands-on stuff. Docker is a very young project and a lot of things are yet to be determined by upstream, by Fedora and by users. So use of common sense while using Docker is highly recommended.

After the workshop, we concluded the second day and went for a boat party on Vltava river. That was a really amazing experience. The boat just moves to and fro between a small part of the river for a couple of hours but the view around during the evening and the cool breeze was so amazing that words might not be enough to describe the feeling. We called it a day after the boat party and went back to hotel.

Here is the recording of my Ansible talk