In reply to Luke Kanies

shitIt didn’t take many hours for Luke Kanies to pick up my provocative blog post and express his disappointment:

I’m not going to complain for his words: if I was him I would have thought the same things, and maybe also written the same things. At the same time, it’s kind of funny that a lot of the inspiration for that post came from Luke himself. I’ll explain.

Last year Luke was part of a panel at Configuration Management Camp. There is no recording unfortunately and I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember him saying that configuration management vendors kept reinventing the same things instead of learning from each other and building on each other’s work; he also compared the situation with the scientific world saying that if each scientist that didn’t like a small part of the work of another scientist redid everything from scratch, there would have been very little progress.

Those words have settled in my mind and started digging like a worm. They were telling me something that I fully realized only recently, when I posted a message to the help-cfengine mailing list. I kept thinking over it and put together the ignite talk that I presented at Config Management Camp.

But it was only when I saw the schedule of this year’s Config Management Camp a couple of weeks before the event, and when I read of James Shubin’s mgmt that I understood how widespread the dissatisfaction was. And when I saw how much interest mgmt was able to get for something that James himself called “a prototype” I realized that if a vendor was able to put together something that (barely) addresses as many features as possible among those that people are crying for, it could take the market by storm.

Luke is known for being quite frank. Again addressing my blog post as shit, he went on and tweeted:

To be honest, that is exactly what I am hoping for. I don’t want to see today’s vendors fold. I have had the privilege to meet people from the various companies that were both nice and smart, I became friends with some of them. The last thing I want to see is their companies shrink, lay off people or go bankrupt.

The community is not asking you to fold. We are asking you to hear and innovate, configuration management vendors can have a look at Walter Heck’s slides for some suggestions (his presentation talks about a new language but I see him talking more about features). The last thing we want to hear is “our tool is not designed to do that” especially when what is being talked about makes perfect sense to many: we are asking you to design something different that fits the problems we have today. In my personal case I love my CFEngine, but it hurts so bad when something that is supposed to be easy is complicated to implement, or cumbersome, if not impossible.

So please go ahead and prove me wrong. That’s all I want, all I hope for.

Long live the CM vendors.


2 thoughts on “In reply to Luke Kanies

  1. Interesting and funny how you tackle the issue of configuration managment vendors. it is a surprise that CFengine is still thriving with all the new modern CM tools and frameworks around, I love Ansible agentless, Saltstack scalability, Puppet insurance of desired state, however it is as you said, the tool has to deliver to its users the features that he needs and not be faced with limitations, and workarounds. mgmt concept of notifications, and orchestration is a step in the right direction. always a pleasure to listen to other experienced practitioners opinions. Walters emphasis on the issue of the CM framework sometimes needs to be managed, or not providing guarantees of availability, and reliability are true concerns. as well as the dire need of mature orchestration, the data center CM, not just a server/node CM. the need for a complete simple ECO system. Thank you again for highlighting issues with the current state of CM, and CM vendors. love to hear from you always

  2. Pingback: The future of configuration management – mini talks | A sysadmin's logbook

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