HashiCorp, HashiConf

This week saw HashiCorp’s HashiConf EU take place in Amsterdam, a safari of innovation consisting of deep insight into the functionality and use-cases of some of the hottest tools in the DevOps space: the HashiStack. Engineers from all disciplines flocked to the conference looking for information on the tooling that could give their projects the critical edge, pushing their ideas one step ahead of the rest and there was no disappointment.

Core things to take away from the conference all revolved around the future of the HashiCorp toolset, for those that are unsure what this consists of they are: VagrantPackerConsulTerraformVaultNomadSerfOtto.

And soon… Current!

HashiCorp recently acquired Vektra who have worked on a broad range of problems including the Tachyon configuration management tool, a distributed mailbox for messaging passing based applications, and Current.SH a multi-tenant logging solution. Current will be next addition to the HashiStack, providing log aggregation and search functionality that will likely be effectively integrated with some of the other core HashiCorp tools. 

Terraform is now becoming even more an essential to deploying into the cloud with the latest announcements. As of release 0.7 we can now make use of the ‘terraform import’ command. Import provides the ability to bring existing cloud resources under the control of Terraform, which is something that could be priceless if your organisation is looking to tame existing cloud infrastructure with the hope of effectively expanding it or making it more dynamic. As of this release Terraform can only import a single resource, however over the next year or two, once it is fully developed, there is scope for it being able to take control of a full platform in one command. If this is a critical ability that you are seeking, the guys at HashiCorp would love for you to contribute to the tool and it’s easy to get started. An addition of a Terraform state management CLI has been implemented too, ensuring that manipulating the state file is no longer a risky business. Lists and maps are now first class variables within the Terraform DSL, that means no more "${split(",", var.things)} and more [“cool”, “arrays”]. After some insight, Terraform Enterprise seemed to shine just as much as the Import feature, providing the ability to track all history of Terraform state, track differential between states, roll back to a previous state when things go wrong and also dump a Terraform state locally for development on a previous state.

Nomad is now a proven heavy-weight in the world of schedulers, definitely the one to watch. Mitchell Hashimoto (CEO, HashiCorp) didn’t hesitate to boast of recent load tests with Nomad, load that consisted of running one million containers. Nomad appears to be a solid scheduler no matter what load it has to deal with, meaning that burst, unpredictable workloads are not something to be feared, but something to be excited for. The ‘nomad plan’ function has now been added as of release 0.4, a unique feature amongst schedulers, similarly to ‘terraform plan’ gives the ability to see what could happen if a change to how Nomad is scheduling jobs has to be executed, which is critical within a declarative system. For example, if you were about to introduce one-hundred-thousand containers, you would want to see if anything would be affected, that safety mechanism is now available with Nomad.

Vault also continues remain a key-player in the secrets management space. Release 0.5 was fully audited which instills even more confidence in knowing that your secrets are safe with Vault. Vault 0.6 now comes with an AWS backend that harnesses AWS IAM to authenticate AWS resources with Vault, which becomes a critical feature when considering auto-scaling and scheduling while also looking to retrieve secrets from Vault.

That’s it for now, but if you’re looking to see how the HashiStack is adding value to some notable organisations, how it could add value to your organisation and how and where it could fit in effectively, check out Contino’s webinar that will be taking place July 6th 1600 BST, here is the link: http://unicom.co.uk/contino-webinar.html

  • Jordan Taylor

    DevOps Practitioner

    Jordan has a passion for being a central catalyst to organisational transformations; helping organisations achieve value through technological and process-related innovation.

    With strong understanding of the core discipline of automation, picking up any new technology at pace and delivering value with it is one of Jordan's prized skills. However, listening, understanding and interpreting conversations with clients form a combined skill that Jordan continues to demonstrate as the key to the success of any technological or organisational project delivery.

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