The Cloud Walkabout #AWS

Some people say that once you write a book - you never stop at only one. I think I tend to agree. There is something about creating something from nothing, and even more so for me - I enjoy sharing the knowledge I have accumulated with the rest of the world. I think I have always been this way. This blog would not exist if that was not the case.

I would like to introduce you all to my latest project.

The Cloud Walkabout

My focus has changed - a number of times over the years, first from Microsoft, then to VMware, on to OpenStack and now my day to day job has me focused exclusively on AWS.

The book is currently in production - and I expect to have a new chapter available on a monthly schedule.

Please take a few minutes to read my previous post - Self Publishing my New Book #AWS and understand how Leanpub works.

Even more so - I am asking you to choose how much you pay for it. There is a minimum price - but you can choose how much you think this book is worth to you. Yes - It might sound a bit crazy - but I have faith in you my readers, that this book will be of a huge benefit to all that read it and you should decide how much would like to pay.

Currently I am only publishing a digital version - when the book is complete - there will probably be a print version as well - we will see what the future holds..

The book is available for pre-purchase today - and this includes the first 3 chapters that are available today (if you would like a sample for free - it is available as well).

Please visit http://cloudwalkabout.com today for your copy.

The most important thing for me is feedback. I would like to hear from you what think about the book, are there parts that you think need improvement, are there things that are missing, or whatever you feel like sharing.

Feel free to reach out me either on Twitter, through this blog or on the book page.


Keeping Kosher at re:Invent 2017

I hardly mix my professional and personal life here on this blog. I will every now and again throw in some thoughts and feelings from my personal beliefs into my blog posts, when appropriate.

The last time I did a Jewish perspective on a technical conference was VMworld 2014 in San Francisco - VMworld - from a Religious Jewish Orthodox Perspective. It was really interesting to see the comments in the blog post and also the feedback I received on Twitter - which lead me to realization that people are completely unaware of the challenges others face because of the their religious beliefs and faith, and explaining these in a public forum - goes a really long way to help them understand


I was quite surprised that when I reached out the re:Invent team to ask about Kosher food at the event - the answer was that there was none. When I was at VMworld in Vegas (a good number of years ago) there was kosher food as one of the options (I don’t really understand why this was not a possibility at this event). It was actually quite amazing to see some of the looks from the people when I walked past all the lines straight to the “special meals” section without having to wait in line, and more than once.

Sometimes eating Kosher does have its perks.

Back to re:Invent (from the FAQ)


Basically - that means no kosher food throughout the day, which kind of sucks. The good thing about food in the US is that a good portion of the larger product manufacturers already are certified kosher - the most common being the OU. So I assume that some snacks and most of the drinks will not a problem.

So that means for me - bringing my own lunch. Dinner will be in one of the Kosher restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods. I have never eaten at any of these so I cannot vouch for the quality of their food or their service.

There is also a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the Venetian / Palazzo that might have a few kosher items during the day, personally I would not bet on it being a good option for lunch.

Here is a list of Kosher restaurants in Las Vegas (and information I took from Google Maps)

  • Ace of Steaks (5825 W Sahara Ave Unit M. - +1 702-899-4223). Open till 23.00 Sun.-Thurs.
    It is about a 17 minute drive from the Venetian
  • Anise Tapas and Grill (3100 S Durango Dr. - +1 702-586-4088). Open till 22.00 Sun-.Thurs.
    It is about a 20 minute drive from the Venetian
  • King Solomon’s Table (4561 W Flamingo Rd. - +1 725-244-4034). Open till 22.00 Sun.-Thurs.
    It is about a 10 minute drive from the Venetian
  • Haifa Restaurant (900 E Karen Ave # H102 - +1 702-940-8000). Open till 21.00 Sun.-Thurs.
    It is about a 11 minute drive from the Venetian
  • Jerusalem Grill & Bar (4825 W Flamingo Rd. Suite 10 - +1 702-341-5555).
    Open till 22.30 Sun.-Thurs. It is about a 11 minute drive from the Venetian.
  • Sababa Grille & Restaurant (3220 South Durango Dr. - +1 702-547-5556). Op
    It is about a 20 minute drive from the Venetian
  • Shawarma Vegas (2521 S Fort Apache Rd. - +1 702-703-7700). Open till 21.00 Sun.-Thurs.
    It is about a 25 minute drive from the Venetian
  • Simon & Joe’s (3720 W Tropicana Ave. - +1 702-759-0333). Open till 21.30 Sun.-Thurs.
    It is about a 10 minute drive from the Venetian.

Kosher Supermarkets (these are much further out - but have a good Kosher selection)

  • Albertson's Market (2550 S. Fort Apache). 25 Minute drive from the Venetian.
  • Smith's Food and Drug Store (2211 N. Rampart Blvd.) 25 Minute drive from the Venetian

Last but not least.

Eating alone sucks - it really does. I know for a fact that there will be a good number of people who eat only Kosher at re:Invent - but no real way to contact one another while at the event.

I have opened up a WhatsApp group - where you can feel free to ask if someone would like to go out for a kosher dinner on one of the evenings.

Please feel free to join in and share this information with whomever you feel it might useful.

Click on the link below to join the group and join someone for dinner.


See you all in Vegas next week!!


Self Publishing my New Book #AWS

If you have been following the hints that I have been dropping on Twitter - you may have noticed that I am about to go public with a new book.

Before I actually go live with the announcement - I would like to prepare you all for how this is going to work - because it could be slightly different from the conventional book launch you might be used to.
I have decided to use Leanpub.

Why did I choose to go with self publishing and not with a traditional publisher?

The main reason behind this is not money, of course royalties are a nice little surprise every now and again - but having co-authored more than one book - I can say with no doubt - we do not do it for the money - definitely not the money,
The main reason - is because of flexibility. I have the option to decide the content - and I am the sole owner of what I want to have in the book. I do not have an ‘overlord’ looking out over my shoulder saying that this is not good, not long enough - or the words are not clear. I decide what goes in, how it goes in and when.
This has it’s up-sides and of course its drawbacks - but that is a topic for a future post.

Why Leanpub?

After reading Jeff Geerlin’s book (Ansible for DevOps) and his posts on using Leanpub - I decided to try it out for myself, and I found…
  1. I love the workflow, git commits, working with Markdown - simple smooth and it just works.
  2. I did not want to wait for the whole book to be complete - because I think that what I have now will be highly useful - and there is no reason to wait until the end for the information to get out there.

So how does this work?

  • I am currently actively writing the book and if you so choose - you can purchase the book before it is finished.
  • You choose the price that you are willing to pay (there is a minimum charge).
  • All updates to the book are free.
  • Currently (until the book is complete) - there will only be a digital version (perhaps a paperback in the future).

What is the book about?

Quite obviously - AWS.

When already??

A few more days.. I promise I will let you all know when it ready for initial launch.


I’ve Got a Plan for re:Invent 2017. Do You?

I am no IT conference novice. I’ve attended several VMworld events over the years (last year, together with over 25,000 other IT professionals). But even though I’ve been in this business for quite a while — since the days when cloud was known as “virtualization” — I haven’t been to re:Invent before.

This year, I knew it was time.


Over the years, as virtualization evolved into cloud, my skills and knowledge evolved, from hardware to VMware to cloud (with VMware) and then open-source cloud (with OpenStack), then containers, Docker, and now, most recently, the major public cloud providers. My day job the past year has been focused solely around complex deployments in AWS. How could I miss re:invent 2017?

Read more..


Pay Parity, Gender Diversity and All Things Equal

The past few weeks have been a bumpy ride for the folks at Google  - and before hand Uber was the center of a pretty big scandal.


What was portrayed in the Google letter was completely wrong - but also completely right as well!!

All should be treated in an equal and respectful way. There is a Mitzvah (a good deed) mentioned in the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) Chapter 19, verse 18, which says - "Love your neighbor - like you love yourself". This has been a cornerstone of Judaism from the beginning - where we are committed to treating others in a fair way - the same we treat ourselves. Do not cause harm unto others - the same way you would not want others to harm you. Looking down upon others - just because they are different than you - is completely wrong. Excluding others from an equal opportunity because they are different than you - is completely wrong.

I do not care care if you are Jewish, Christian or Muslim
(forgive me if I have left out other religions - I just go with what I am familiar here in Israel).

I do not care if you are white, black, brown, yellow, or green.

I do not care if you are American, Israeli, Jordanian, Chinese or Cuban.

I do not care if you are Romulan, Klingon, Elf, Dwarf or Hobbit.

I do not care if you are male, female, gay, lesbian, transgender or bi-sexual.

What I value are your capabilities and if you are the right fit for the position at hand.

That is the way the world should be, but unfortunately that is not the case today. There are minorities in the world that are consistently discriminated against - based upon religion, sexual preference, skin color and other reasons. This has been the way the world behaves from the early days of the human race. Countless numbers of wars have been waged over time - because of these discriminations, minorities and religious beliefs. There is still animosity and oppression based on this in our world today.

Let’s take another completely different example. Gender equality in the army and specifically in Israel.

There has been a (amongst other things also a religious) debate about making the army gender equal - including allowing women to serve in the armored corps (tank) units. Making women fully equal soldiers in all tank units.

I will go out on a limb and say something that might be considered blasphemy in some circles - and might be new to some.

Men and women are not the same. They are not built the same.

  • They have different physiology
  • They have different bone mass
  • They are not able to carry the same weight
  • They cannot run at the same speed

This is not discrimination - this the way we were created - we are different.

This does not mean that all women are slower than men, that all women are less strong then men. There the exceptional cases. I will never be able to run the 100m sprint as fast Florence Griffith Joiner. But no matter how much they try a man has always run the 100m sprinter faster than a woman.

A tank shell weighs about 35 kilos. Can a woman lift that weight - I assume so. Can all women lift that weight? I would assume not.

How are soldiers trained to prepare themselves for these combat situations? During their training they are modeled to carry this weight - gradually. They are taught different techniques of how to manage this weight, all of this to allow them to do the job they need to do.

The job that is ultimately defeat the enemy during times of war.

The army knows that women cannot endure the same weight that men can, numerous studies have been conducted over the years on the medical implications that the huge amount of stress has on the female anatomy. The solution they come up with is to reduce the requirements, women would carry less, they have a different effort bar than men, with different milestones.

And all of this is in the name of gender equality - because for some this has become the main objective for the Israeli military. And unfortunately they have forgotten what the main objective is - and that is:

To defeat the enemy in the time of war.

If a woman cannot perform the exact same job, cannot carry the same weight, run the same distance, exert the same amount of strength and force as a man and as result they fail to meet the objective that was set out for them - then the principle of equality has defeated the purpose was set out to achieve.

Back to the business world.

There are many companies, open source organization and even countries or governments that boast their policy of affirmative action, providing preference to minorities in certain positions. There are even certain jobs that if you do not belong to one of those minorities - you need not even apply.

Why are we looking to promote certain positions for certain minorities (and I am purpose using the word minority and ignoring gender)? Because we as a business are looking to present ourselves company that is looking to make the world a better place, a world where things where equality is a value.

Unfortunately - there are times where this not only is part of us making the world a better place - it becomes more than this - it becomes a principal value - sometimes it exceeds all of our other principals. It becomes the one and only thing that that outweighs all others.

Each company has its set of principles (and I do not pretend to know what the principles of Google are) and that is what they should live by.

In my honest opinion most commercial companies are there to make themselves money. There are some that their sole purpose is to make the world a better place - but if that is the only thing they wish to do - then they should invest all their effort and resources in doing so. They should hire underprivileged people even if they are not qualified for the job. They should promote minorities - even when they are not qualified for the job. And that is probably the way their business runs.

(Again I wish to stress this does not mean that those who fill these positions will not do any less good a job as an a qualified individual)

If you are presented with two candidates - one less qualified but fits your diversity values and another that more qualified but does not come with the correct minority background - it becomes a question of which of your values matters more at that current time.

It will depend on a case by case basis. Take this theoretical scenario.

You have a team that comprises of sexist, catholic, chauvinist, white males (not going into the case of that should even happen), and they all work very well together as a team. A possible highly qualified candidate comes up - female, lesbian, not white - and not Christian. She meets the diversity goals in the company perfectly and aligns properly with the values you are trying to embed into your company.

Would you hire her to join the team?

Will she feel comfortable? Will there be sexist remarks made during the day (even if they are not appropriate)? The out of the ordinary outcome would be that they all learn to live together in one team, excel and exceed even the highest expectations. But most cases would not end so happily.

It will probably disrupt the team, could lead to inappropriate behavior in the workplace, bad publicity, and even lawsuits and financial loss.

So what am I trying to say?

Diversity is great. Equality is righteous and we should all aspire to make the world a better place. But as a hiring manager, an owner of the business (and again assuming this aligns with your business values and principles) your goal is to make sure that the company makes money, that the employees perform as a well oiled machine to continue to make money for the company.

The outcry that arose from the Google manifesto - was justified for the discriminative remarks against women - but I am afraid that the valid points made were moved out of focus. Was it the right thing to say - maybe not in this specific case - where the diversity value is one of the primary principles in Google. But it does not mean that the things in the document regarding preference of some people just because they belong to the correct minority group - even is there are others who more qualified - are not true. There are those who think that diversity is not and should not the ultimate goal in a company.

It is not a bad thing to say that we should hire the best person for the job - even if they do not make us look like a more equal opportunity or a gender diverse company.

Men and women are different. Forcing everyone to think that we are 100% equal in every single way is not natural, and should not be a goal in and of itself.

Should men and women have equal opportunity? Hell yes.

Should men and women receive equal pay for the same work? Yes!

Should a women receive preference over a man just because she is a woman / a minority / not equally represented? Hell no!!

That is as much gender discrimination as a male getting preference over a female.

Forcing people who are more qualified and better suited out of certain positions just because they are not the right gender/color/religion/sexual preference is in my opinion a big mistake - and one will in the end only have a negative effect on your business.

I am not saying that women should not pursue tech careers - I hope and believe they should continue to pursue their goals like anyone else - regardless of their gender.

I will repeat the first part of this post once more.

  • I do not care if you are white, black, brown, yellow, or green.
  • I do not care if you are American, Israeli, Jordanian, Chinese or Cuban.
  • I do not care if you are Romulan, Klingon, Elf, Dwarf or Hobbit.
  • I do not care if you are male, female, gay, lesbian, transgender or bi-sexual.

What I value are your capabilities and if you are the right fit for the position at hand.

I sincerely hope that if we all value people for what they can do - and not based on which tag you wish to pin on them - that will be proper equality.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.


Public Speaking - Like.. Y’know


I was rubbed the wrong way today - listening to a podcast.

This is a podcast that I hold in high regard, the hosts are people I have had multiple conversations with over the years and they are well renowned and public speakers.

Like y'know

This is a problem with society as a whole so I will not name the podcast as to not single them out - but I will use them as an example.

The podcast was about a certain configuration management product and what they are doing in the cloud space.

The total running time of the podcast 32:00

I collected some metrics from the episode.

Host spoke 09:08 (9 minutes and eight seconds).
During that time the host used the word “Like” 36 times and the word “y’know” 36 times

Guest spoke 22:52 (22 minutes and 52 seconds)
During that time the guest used the word “Like” 64 times and the word “y’know” 153 times

Assuming that for occurrence it takes approximately 1 second - that totals to 489 seconds of worthless content of the episode (15% of the duration of the episode was wasted these words)

I grew up in South Africa so I am accustomed to the Queens English - and therefore use the Oxford dictionary as my source of truth.

This is the Oxford Dictionary definition of like (and I would like to emphasize this entry)


1 informal Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker's uncertainty about an expression just used.
‘there was this funny smell—sort of dusty like’

2 informal Used to convey a person's reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech (whether or not representing an actual quotation)
‘so she comes into the room and she's like ‘Where is everybody?’’

3 (like as/to) archaic In the manner of.
‘like as a ship with dreadful storm long tossed’

This is the Oxford Dictionary definition of you know


1 Used to indicate that what is being referred to is known to or understood by the listener.
‘when in Rome, you know’
1.1 Used as a filler in conversation.
‘oh well, you know, I was wondering if you had any jobs for me’

Some of our generation (and almost certainly our kids generation) has forgotten how to speak - I know this is the case in English - and unfortunately - this has become a norm in Hebrew as well.

If you want people to take you seriously - then speak proper English. It does not make a difference if it on  podcast, at a presentation or even a customer call.

When was the last time you heard Steve Jobs, Donald Trump or Queen Elizabeth use “like, y’know”?

Every time you use these as filler words, a kitten dies, a unicorn loses some of its color, and we all become the slightest bit more and more stupid.

If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t. If you need to collect your thoughts - then do so - in silence. I promise you, no one will think any less of you - quite the contrary.



Buying a Car or Understanding the aaS Concept

This past week - I have been working a lot with an account team to provide an RFP for a potential customer, and it is quite clear that sometimes the sales teams do not understand what an As-A-Service solution means, and even more so - from the potential customers list of requirements that was part of the RFP - they have absolutely no idea either.

A colleague of mine came up a great way of explaining what aaS is and how to explain to your potential customers.


You buy a car - for arguments sake - let’s say it a Lexus LS.

When you buy the car - you know what you are getting. You get:

  • 4 wheels
    • You know the dimensions of the wheels 235/50R18
    • You know what the tire pressure needs to be.
  • A V8 Engine
    • It goes from 0-50 mph in 5.4 seconds
    • The maximum speed of 130 mph
  • Your car can hold 22.2 gallons of fuel.

You are presented with a manual of how you should operate the car, how to take care of your car - and what you can do with your car, how many people can sit in it, when it should be serviced.

And that is your car.

Once it is yours - then you can abide by the terms of the usage - and if there is anything wrong with your car - then you will take to the garage to be fixed - it is under warranty, and if you have used it in accordance to the instructions - and something went wrong, then it will be fixed.

Depending on the terms agreed upon during the purchase - you could be guaranteed a replacement car during the time it is in the shop, you might be entitled to a free taxi ride to work and back , maybe even a chauffer that will drive you wherever you want to go - it all depends on the terms that were agreed upon at the time of purchase and what the car vendor agreed to provide.

But because the car is yours - you can choose to not adhere to the instructions provided by Lexus, and you can choose to modify your car.

You can:

  • Use rocket fuel to make the car go a lot faster maybe 250 mph (or blow up - who knows)
  • You can change the tires - to a bigger / better / more durable ones
  • You can add an external fuel tank to ensure that you can hold 500 gallons of fuel.
  • You can tweak the onboard computer to enhance the experience
    • Shock any potential thieves when they try to break into the car
    • Install a crystal ball for an awesome disco effect.

What is important to understand - is your car could perhaps stop working - or alternatively - it could become a better, faster, more attractive, more reliable car than it ever could have been out of the box.

Will Lexus fix anything in the car after you modified it - or did not follow their instructions? Hell no. If that is a risk you are willing to take - then you will.

You will not be able to demand from Lexus to put all those changes into their car - and expect them to comply. You might be willing to say - that you will pay Lexus to make all those modifications for you - and there may be cases where they will actually accept the proposal - it is all a question of financial viability.

It Lexus come to the conclusion that all that it takes to install a crystal ball in your car is a few screws and one days work - then it is no biggie - and they will charge you (probably through the roof) for it. But if they decide that in order to add the capability of storing another 500 gallons of fuel in the car - they need to make modifications to the Chassis and re-inforce the axles, use bigger wheels, put in a bigger engine - and in order for all that to happen they need to modify their whole production line - then it is not going to happen. No matter how much money you are willing to pay - there are too many things that need to change. They may say that they can incorporate your requests for modifications into our next model that will be out in a few years - if they see there is enough market demand for such requests - but at the moment the car is, what the car is.

You cannot come to Lexus and say - that before I buy your car - I would like to see that your engineering plant is compliant with all the regulations that are enforced on me by the country that I live in.

  • The car parts cannot be shipped out of the country for repair
  • The engineers that take care of my car - will only be from country X
  • Any diagnostic information that is collected from the car cannot leave the country - even for diagnostic purposes
  • Anyone that has ever had anything to do with the manufacturing process (from engineers, to IT people, to janitors, to CEO’s and even 3rd party suppliers) need to have a secure and compliant process that ensures their emails are secure and encrypted, and stored for 7 years.

Coming to Lexus with such demands - will probably get you thrown out on your butt - and barred from ever entering another showroom again.

It is obvious - that your demands (even though they might be required by your own regulatory rules) are ridiculous.

Again - you are buying a car.That is the product, it has a set of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that you expect to be fulfilled - and if not - you can demand compensation - or resolution to your satisfaction because that is what the seller.

So how is this connected to aaS solutions?

Think of them in the same way - but instead of buying a car - it is a using a service.

The service will have specific KPI’s, terms and SLA’s - that the provider needs to abide by. You as the buyer will have set of rules of how you can use the service - what you can do with it.

If you decide to deviate from those set of instructions - you may - but you cannot raise any complaints to the other side that it is not doing what you want it to do. It is possible that by daring to think out of the box - you will able to create a product or a service of your own, that has never been built, something that everyone wants - and you now have the most successful and amazing product event since sliced bread.

Take Netflix for example. They built something on top AWS - that no-one ever thought would be possible. They have found ways to make use of the underlying infrastructure that no-one has ever done before. They have developed tools, processes and an organizational culture around their innovation and brought it to a place where it is revered as the Cinderella story in the cloud world today.

Were they able to come to AWS to say - we would like you to see this feature implemented in the services you have today, we want a new region? Yes of course they were able to. Were they able to get what they wanted? I assume sometimes yes - and other times they were not.

Did they come to AWS and mandate that before they would purchase their services - all AWS would required to adhere to Netflix’s regulatory requirements? That every host that served any of the instances that they provisioned - would have to send its logs to a central log server that Netflix hosted on-premises? P8090093

Maybe they did. Maybe they did not. But I assure - even if they did - the answer they would have received from AWS would be, “Go and take a very long walk, off a very short cliff.”

If I were on the AWS side of things, my answer have been, “We provide a service and this is how you can use it - this is what we provide and these are the KPI’s we will provide. You want to use it - go for it. We are not going to change the way we do business just because you want us to. If we see that there is a good reason to open up a new region in a new continent - we will - we cannot commit to a timeframe, but this is what the product is .Take it or leave it.”

I would like to thank Oliver Moore for inspiring me to write this post.


Cloud-Agnostic: Friend or Foe?

I have been working on a project for a while that includes the deployment of a large number of moving parts that are in a significant state of flux. Drops every two weeks, new features added all the time, and, of course, with a system this size there is a great amount of complexity involved. Complexity in the Continuous Integration stage, complexity with the end-to-end testing, and, definitely, complexity with the Continuous Deployment.

A good part of the intricacies comes from the fact the development team wants to assure that the deployment will be cloud-agnostic. But before I go into if this would be a good or a bad thing, let me first explain what this means, and offer a few examples.

Cloud Agnostic

It is no secret that almost no OpenStack cloud is identical to another. The network setup could be different (provider networks vs. private networks). Some clouds have Swift installed by default, while others do not. There are nuances and differences between an on-premises OpenStack deployment and using an OpenStack cloud provider, such as RackSpace. APIs are different, versions are different. This makes things very difficult for people writing software to interact with the cloud to address a fully cloud agnostic solution. APIs, authentication mechanisms, and the way you can access resources will change from one cloud to another.

Read the rest of the article here


What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure? Three Cloud Experts Answer

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appears to have been confusing people ever since 2012, when the term was first coined by Steve Chambers and Forrester Research. While computing experts agree on the basics of HCI as a system of IT that’s intended to bring a more powerful virtualized infrastructure to big enterprise, there is still a lot of disagreement as to what defines and delineates HCI.

By the standard definition, in HCI the elements of computing, SAN, and networking are virtualized and all the networking and storage tasks are implemented virtually using software rather than physically in hardware. But since “hyperconverged infrastructure” originated in marketing lingo rather than in purely technical terminology, its meaning isn’t quite so defined. Divergence of opinion about what constitutes HCI shows that even experts are uncertain about the role and importance of the approach.

How are we to understand what HCI is and the role it’s likely to play in enterprise IT? We decided to go straight to the top to get a clear answer for you. We asked three experts with long-term experience in data center and enterprise IT how they define hyperconverged infrastructure, and this is what they told us.

Read the rest of the article at the source.

Screenshot at Jul 17 18-14-42


Giving - Just for the Sake of Giving

There comes a time in one’s life where you ask yourself, “Is this it? Is this all I am doing? Is this all I want to do?”

There are people who love their job, I do. I get to deal with technology all day, every day and at all hours of the day. I learn new things - all the time. I solve problems and sometimes I even amaze myself (and others) at what we accomplish and how we actually manage to do what others said could not be done.

I have a blog, which has exceeded more that I ever thought was possible


I have my name of two different books, I have presented at international conferences. I have done things that again I never thought would happen these past 10 years - but yet they have - and I have enjoyed every moment of it.

But about 6 months ago I came to a realization that as much as I love what I do, as much as I am grateful for my wonderful family and the time that I can spend with them, that I needed something else - something that was not technology, something that was not family, just something else.

I posted a while back - this on Twitter

Approximately six month ago I enrolled in an “Emergency Medical Technicians and Ambulance Drivers” course through Magen David Adom here in Israel. I saw an ad in my local community newsletter that they were looking for additional ambulance drivers to volunteer. I decided to give it a chance

As a side note. A bit about the emergency medicine here in Israel.

Unfortunately I happen to live in a country that is no stranger to terror attacks, bombings, and other kinds of ‘unwanted’ activity that happens almost on a daily basis. My home town - is also no stranger to any and all of the above. A big part of this huge medical ‘enterprise’ relies on volunteers and donations, last year alone an astounding amount of 1,500,000 hours were filled by volunteers, both adults and teenagers alike.

I had no previous medical experience - none was needed - and I embarked on a 6 month long course, investing 10 hours every week - to learn how to help others in their worst times.

During this course we learned many things. 30 people from my local area spent time away from their families, from work, from other activities for 6 months to go through the course. All of them with one thing in common. They wanted to give - to give back to their community.

We learned a lot.

How to open an IV (which was not always successful)


We learned how to interact with the fire department during different trauma incidents.

Fire Dept.

We even leaned how to treat people during a Hazardous materials spill.


And yesterday we graduated.


Now before you get any funny ideas..

No - I am not quitting my job.
I am not leaving technology.
I love what I do and I will continue to do so.

I am just adding something else to my weekly/monthly schedule, that is 100% about giving to others.
(Of course there is some self benefit here (indirect) - by deriving personal satisfaction and personal fulfillment from helping others)

I think we need to challenge ourselves on a regular basis - that is the only way we can continue to grow, continue to help others grow, and contribute not only to your employer - not only to those in your immediate family - but to humanity as a whole.

I know that some will say - I have no time, I can’t do this.

To that I would like to say - time is what you make of it. Yes I am guilty as well of sometimes saying that there is not enough time in the day - to do what I want - I always have a backlog - I am too busy. All of that is sometimes true - but only by prioritizing what is important to you can you actually do what you want.

For me - Work is important. Family is important. Helping others is important. There will be times that one will take precedent over the other, that is life. It is up to you decide how to divide your time, allocate your focus and when each part should receive your time. Yes I will sometimes be doing a night shift - and then go directly the next morning to work. I will sometimes take of a day of work - to go an spend 8 hours answering emergency calls, and helping those when they need it the most, and yes I will sometimes be spending an 8 hour shift after work - at the expense of my family time.

So what is my point in this post? I don’t really know - I guess more of a way for me to share what I went through - and why I did it. It feels to me to as the right thing to do - not only for the benefit of those around me - but also for my own inner self.

This journey has helped me - in many ways. Challenging myself, doing something that is completely out of my comfort zone has helped me grow.

If you would like leave a thought, a comment, or share a story of your own - please do so in the comments below.


3 Things I Learned - Week #17

As you might have noticed, weeks 15 and 16 are missing – life just got in the way – my apologies. Life does go on and so do I (and no – I am not going to post 9 things this week – to make up for it), so here are three thing that I learned this week.

  1. There is a great analogy of the On Pioneers, Settlers and Towns Planners Or Understanding My Personal Brand – from Matt Brender (now Broberg). I came across another great analogy of how your AWS VPC is built the same as a town - AWS VPC Core Concepts in an Analogy and Guide.
  2. An excellent read on - What is DevOps?
  3. As you might (or might not) know an AWS instance can assume a role assigned to it – and access the AWS API - as long as you have 3 things.
    - aws_access_key_id
    - aws_secret_access_key
    - default region
    The first two - are provided by the role - but the third is something you need to provide to the instance.

    Here is how you can extract this information from the API.

Next week in Memorial and Independence day in Israel. Have a great week!!


3 Things I Learned - Week #14

I spent most of the half the week in Texas, and the other getting ready for Pesach. Here are 3 things that I learned this week.

  1. JFK was assassinated in 1963, and to this day – there are so many unanswered questions. It was interesting to see that two Jewish Orthodox Scholars (Weiss and Ashkenazi) played such an important part in uncovering the fact that there was a 4th shot from the grassy knoll.
  2. AWS now have a host based rules that you can use to apply to different target groups in their ELB. Read more details here -  New – Host-Based Routing Support for AWS Application Load Balancers.
  3. If you are having problems with your root partition of your Linux instance not automatically resizing to the full size larger than the original image (such as this) – then this tool will do the trick for you.

Pesach is here next week! Chag Sameach to you all !!



3 Things I Learned - Week #13

I have spent most of the week here in Texas at an internal DevOps conference. As things go with these kind of events – the most interesting parts are always those where you speak to others – outside of the informal sessions.

Here are 3 things I learned this week.

  1. Our youth is amazing. My daughter was one of sixty 11th and 12th graders that presented the summary of here thesis that she has been doing in researching remodeling of neurons, neuro-transmitters, and the mushroom-body.

    The reason I say why youth is amazing – is because each of the presenters there – had completed if not as – but a more complicated research project.

    And yes I was an extremely proud father – watching her present at her first scientific conference.
  2. Lists are awesome. I just found a whole new world of awesome-lists. Have a look at the topic on github.com. I have to be careful to make sure that this does not become a time sink.

  3. AWS has a new resource tagging API. Looking further down the road with my journey to AWS – this is going to be very important and useful.

Catch you all next week!


3 Things I Learned - Week #12

I am a bit late with this post – life has really gotten mad as I get ready for a trip to the US next week.

Here are 3 things I learned this week.

  1. Here is a great read on how taking control of AWS costs – can save you a huge amount of money -The million dollar engineering problem
  2. Here is a nice AWS solution based on Lambda to monitor if you are coming close to a resource limit on your AWS account (something that happened many times this week)
  3. Did you know that you can build a global transit network on AWS?

I think it is pretty obvious what I have been doing most of the past week – isn’t it? 


3 Things I Learned - Week #11

Crazy week – but one of the best I have had. I work with an amazing team of people – who have accomplished the almost impossible.

Beside working weird and wild hours, here are 3 things that I learned this week.

  1. From dotCloud to Docker is a relaly good read about how docker started out a few years ago. It is hard to believe that is has evolved into what it has today.
  2. It seems that Gitlab is not going to be leaving the cloud after all.. Running your infrastructure is so much more that nut, bolts and how much money you pay to a provider at the end of the day. Gitlab was publicly discussing why they wanted to get off the cloud – and how they would do it, and this post explains that maybe you do need people that understand the underlying infra (all of it!!) if you choose to go the route of managing it all yourself.
    Really good read!
  3. Did you know that many hit songs are comprise of 4 basic chords?


Catch you all next week!


3 Things I Learned - Week #10

Well – another week has gone by – and winter is practically over here in Israel. Learning never stops and here are 3 things that caught my eye this week.
  1. This is a great set of posts about how Evernote moved their whole infrastructure to Google Cloud.  Part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  2. docker-aws is a nifty little container – with all the tools  you will need to interact with AWS. A huge thumbs up from me on this one!
  3. It seems that I was the only one who really missed that Github have changed their TOS.

    Here are two different takes on the subject.
    what I would ask my lawyers about the new Github TOS and Rational thoughts on the GitHub ToS change.
Purim is here – catch you all next week!


3 Things I Learned - Week #9

Honestly this week has not been my best – far too much going on at work – after work and yet there are always new things that I learn.

  1. I tried to upgrade my Raspberry Pi to an updated version – it did not go well. But all is not lost, after installing Minibian which is perfect for my needs – I was well on my way again with less RAM and resources in use.
  2. Amazon US-east-1 melted down this week, and took down a substantial number of dependent sites and businesses that rely on their services. US-east-1 is the oldest and biggest region that AWS has in use today. I was personally affected as well – as we have an ongoing project in that region.
  3. To continue the point above. There is so much to actually say – but this will lead to a whole new blog post. Two short point on the message that was posted last night.

    a. Human’s are the weakest link – there is no doubt about it.
    b. There are parts of AWS that have not been started in Years ! I don't know if I should be happy about that – or really really scared!

Have a great weekend and never stop learning!


3 Things I Learned - Week #8

All in all this has been a good week – some ups, some downs – but knowledge is a never ending journey.

Here are some of the things I learned about over the last few days.

  1. Randy Bias wrote a very interesting point about how risky it can be to ‘check’ your into a CI/CD pipeline. Continuous Delusion at the Infrastructure Layer is a good read at understanding thta not everything belongs in the pipeline – you should consider how big your blast radius is.
  2. I am currently doing a Ambulance drivers course (that is the subject for a whole different post) but I never knew that there three different kinds of Hepatitis – where Hepatitis C – is the worst – and there is no cure known today.
  3. I did not even know that there were such large numbers Nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808). Announcing the first SHA1 collision discovered this week by Google. I know that this is really nerdy – but still a good read.


3 Things I Learned - Week #7

A week where our Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu went to visit President Trump in the U.S. will always be an interesting one – no matter how you look at it.

Here are some things that enriched my knowledge this week.

  1. One of the things that someone told me regarding AWS and IAM roles attached to a instance – was that you only have a single chance of assigning a role, and once you do it, that’s it – no going back.
    So it seems that this is not the case. Attach an AWS IAM Role to an Existing Amazon EC2 Instance by Using the AWS CLI will show you the light and how to change a role after an instance has been provisioned.

  2. S3 is a great webserver – specifically if all you need to do is serve files. One such a repository that fits the bill perfectly – is a yum repo. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but this is the only one that I could find that would allow you to create a yum repo with multiple versions (with minor differences between them) – without having to duplicate the packages for each and every version.

  3. Never underestimate the powers of Social Networking. And of course – there are just some people who are just willing to sit down and have a conversation about technology. One such person is Kelsey Hightower. Thank you!


3 Things I Learned - Week #6

Where has the time gone by? This past week – I was up to my neck in architectural discussions and meetings for a big upcoming project on AWS.

Nevertheless - here are three things I learned this week.

  1. Many a time I want to look at a file and what better way to do that than with less <filename>. But then comes that moment where you want to actually edit the because you see a mistake. So instead of exiting the file and then opening it up again in vi – try this.

    Edit a File When You Are Viewing It Using more / less Command Pager
  2. I did some digging into NTP this week. How to secure NTP, the different Stratum levels, and how to read the weird output from ntpq –p. These articles were very helpful.

    How to debug ntp issues?
    Real Life NTP
  3. I use Cisco Spark daily as my main medium for communication at work. I love it.

    Here is a useful list of Keyboard shortcuts – that will save you some throughout your day.

Catch you all next week!!


I am Running for the OpenStack User Committee

Two days ago I decided to submit my candidacy for one of the two spots up for election (for the first time!) on the OpenStack User committee.

I am pasting my proposal verbatim (original email link here)…

Good evening to you all.

As others have so kindly stepped up - I would also like to self-nominate myself for as candidate for the User committee.

I have been involved in the OpenStack community since the Icehouse release.

From day 1,  I felt that the user community was not completely accepted as a part of the OpenStack community and that there was a clear and broad disconnect between the two parts of OpenStack.

Instead of going all the way back - and stepping through time to explain who I am and what I have done - I have chosen a few significant points along the way - of where I think I made an impact - sometimes small - but also sometimes a lot bigger.

  • The OpenStack Architecture Design Guide [1]. This was my first Opensource project and it was an honor to participate and help the community to produce such a valuable resource.
  • Running for the TC for the first time [2]. I was not elected.
  • Running for the TC for the second time [3]. Again I was not elected.

    (There has never been a member of the User community elected to a TC seat - AFAIK)

In my original candidacy [2] proposal - I mentioned the inclusion of others.

Which is why I so proud of the achievement of the definition of the AUC from the last cycle and the workgroup [3] that Shamail Tahir and I co-chaired
(Needless to say that a **huge** amount of the credit goes also to all the other members of the WG that were involved!!) in making this happen.

Over the years I think I have tried to make difference (perhaps not always in the right way) - maybe the developer community was not ready for such a drastic change - and I still think that they are not.

Now is a time for change.

I think that the User Committee and these upcoming election (which are the first ever) are a critical time for all of us that are part of the OpenStack community - who contribute in numerous ways - **but do not contribute code**.

The User Committee is now becoming what it should have been from the start, an equal participant in the 3 pillars of OpenStack.

I would like to be a part, actually I would be honored to be a part, of ensuring that this comes to fruition and would like to request your vote for the User Committee.

Now down to the nitty gritty. If elected I would like to focus on the following (but not only):

  1. Establishing the User committee as significant part of OpenStack - and continue the amazing collaboration that has been forged over the past two years. The tangible feedback to the OpenStack community provided by the Working Groups have defined clear requirements coming from the trenches and need to be addressed throughout the community as a whole.
  2. Expand the AUC constituency - both by adding additional criteria and by encouraging more participation in the community according to the initial defined criteria.
  3. Establish a clear and fruitful working relationship with Technical committee - enabling the whole of OpenStack to continue to evolve, produce features and functionality that is not only cutting edge but also fundamental and crucial to anyone and everyone using OpenStack today.

Last but not least - I would like to point you to a blog post I wrote almost a year ago [5].

My views have not changed. OpenStack is evolving and needs participation not only from the developer community (which by the way is facing more than enough of its own challenges) but also from us who use, and operate OpenStack.

For me - we are already in a better place - and things will only get better - regardless of who leads the User committee.

Thank you for your consideration - and I would like to wish the best of luck to all the other candidates.

Best Regards,
Maish Saidel-Keesing

[1] http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-openstack-architecture-design-guide.html

[2] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2015-April/062372.html

[3] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2015-September/075773.html

[4] https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/AUCRecognition

[5] http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2016/03/we-are-all-openstack-are-we-really.html

Elections open up on February 13th and only those who have been recognized as AUC (Active User Contributors) are eligible to vote.

Don’t forget to vote!


3 Things I Learned - Week #5

January has come and gone – and of course this week is no different than the last – always something new.

  1. Exposing everything to the outside world is never a good idea, but there are times where you have to leave something open in order to manage everything else in the remote location. That is where a bastion host comes in.

    How to Record SSH Sessions Established Through a Bastion Host – is a really interesting way of monitoring what is happening on this node – and how to create an audit trail.
  2. Gitlab had a meltdown this week. Two lessons I learned from this mess.
    1. make sure you have proper backups.
    2. Backups are not worth anything – unless they have been validated
  3. The AWS Spot marketplace is a fascinating concept, something that I am not yet comfortable using – but will be happy to learn more about

Till next week!!


3 Things I learned - Week #4

Another week has gone by.

  1. Children have a totally different outlook on life. At a family meal this week we were talking about life insurance – why it is needed – and how that money can help the family that is left behind in a financial way.

    My 11 year daughter asked – what would we do with all of her money – if something would actually happen to her (heaven forbid). The numbers that the adults were talking about were in the 7 digit figures and the amount she was talking about was her life savings – somewhere around $500.

    I learned a very important lesson from this conversation. The amount she has was just as important and worth just as much to her  as the amounts we talking about.

    People cherish what they have – no matter how much it is worth – worth is only in the eyes of the beholder.

  2. Sometimes you just want to have a simple bloody if… then… else…
    Bashing my head against the wall for a number of hours finally brought me to this ternary. This is the closest I option I could find for my quest.
  3. IRC – Do you remember that thing from the 1990’s – Well it is alive and kicking – being used heavily – by a large number of Opensource communities. The Ansible community uses IRC as well – which is where I found out about the point above.

    My thanks go out to all those community members (regardless of the community they belong to) who are willing to answer the same silly questions from newbies – with such patience.


3 Things I Learned - Week #3

This week has been a busy one. So here goes…
  1. Netflix is big.. Really big. Their monthly bill is 100’s of MB in size, it contains over 800 million lines of information. Netflix has a dedicated Hadoop cluster – whose only purpose is to load their bill (I find that hilarious!)

    Seriously though – this presentation from AWS re:Invent 2016 is a treasure trove of information – and well worth spending less than an hour on.

  2. Synchronizing two completely different git repos is not that difficult – but when they are hosted on two completely different providers (github.com and bitbucket.org) then it not simple.

    gitwatch helped me solve that issue.
  3. Writing an ‘artificial intelligence’ is not a simple task – and people don’t like interacting with robots – they prefer of course to interact with humans. I guess that my preference for interacting with a bot would be to not even know that it is a bot – it should be as human as possible – its name, its behavior and its responses.

    So giving your Bot a name might not be the best idea
Till Next Week!


My Goals for 2017 - Q1

I was thinking of putting up a post about what I want to achieve in 2017 – but I think that I would really be kidding myself – trying to set expectations for the next 12 months.


Making plans for the next 12 months are always great – it is good to have a vision of what you want to do in the long run, but as we all know, in our field things are so dynamic – and especially when working Agile – which is per sprint (between 2-3 week periods), making plans for the 12 months – is something that is not that realistic and will change over time.

The reasons for this vary – for me personally (and will probably change on a person-to-person basis) and include:

  • Technology changes
  • Business priority changes.
  • Role changes

So for me this was I want to accomplish in the next 3 months (and hopefully I will be able to hold myself accountable)

  • Ansible. I need to get more acquainted with Ansible – using it for day to day work as much as possible
  • AWS. Start using AWS as my default cloud platform for all my work in the cloud. This is dues to a work priority change (so expect a number of posts on AWS as well)
  • Kubernetes. Again a work priority call – but since the whole world is moving in the container direction, I would like to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Read at least one book. It will probably be technical in nature. I find it invaluable to actually take the time to disconnect and concentrate on doing some in depth reading on a specific subject – instead of just going over a blog article (or four) on a subject.
  • Blog regularly. Something that I have neglected this past year for a multitude of reasons. I will try and keep up my 3 Things I Learned series on a regular basis

I am mainly putting this up here – to keep myself honest.


3 Things I Learned - Week #2

We are constantly learning, evolving and improving (well at least I hope we are).

Personally I learn new things each and every day, not all of them are technology related, but still – I am pleased to say that knowledge is really infinite and we should actually never stop.

I am going to try and post a short note with three (it will sometimes be hard) things that I learned about this week. They will not be lengthy topics – just a byte size sentence with a link or two on the subject.

Starting from today – I hope to make this a weekly occurrence.

  1. The Mandella Effect. Are we actually living in a parallel universe – some of these 20 Examples Of The Mandela Effect That'll Make You Believe You're In A Parallel Universe. The one that really blew me away was “No, I am your father”
  2. How do you find the TTL on a specific DNS record? – Sometimes you really need to know how long you (or your customers) are going to have stare at the wrong content – until their clients perform a refresh.
  3. Even if you run for a seat on the OpenStack Individual Member Director Elections – you should not be spamming all of the community each and every day to remind them to vote for you.
    By the way – if you have not voted yet – then you should.

Till next week!!