Link to PowerPoint Slide Presentation

Virtualization for developers
The benefit of a standardized virtual
stack for web development and the
LinuxFest NorthWest April 27, 2013.
Presented to Vancouver Linux Users Group
(VANLUG), January 21 2013.
Table of contents.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtualization for Devs
What it solves
An aquarium as an analogy
Stupid business practices
The future
Tl;dr; virtualization for web development is
really smart, but not always used.
Here is why you use it.
Look at some of the technical aspects.
The social benefits are even greater than the
Some of you may already know about virtualization
Consider the greater picture as I unpack all this for a
mixed audience.
So you can sell others on it. Let’s not just preach to
the converted at LFNW 2013.
About moi
 About
12 years web dev.
 The old Vancouver PHP Users Association.
 Organized Several Conferences with team.
 I don’t work for Oracle or other vendor.
 Dev and Project Management work.
 In my spare time: Blogger, biker, train in
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
A little credit to:
David Turner
Who knew how to do a lot of this already…
for helping me sort out some issues.
My turn to buy beer next time…
What’s in it for me? How can I
profit from this?
 Standardize
team skills.
 IT policy with a high degree of similarity
between development and production
environments, which means fewer
problems down the road.
 Fast & flexible team creation.
 Skills & tools refactored.
The absolute basics
Virtualization is the means to run an operating
system within a host operating system.
A form of an emulator.
Emulators have always been around.
Very useful for web development, although its
not what we usually think of when we are
talking about virtualizations.
 In
computing, a hypervisor or virtual
machine manager (VMM) is a piece of
computer software, firmware or hardware
that creates and runs virtual machines.
 For Virtual Private Servers.
 For Desktop environments.
Virtual Private Servers
-for web hosting solutions
 Something
between the palace of
dedicated hosting and the sewer of
shared hosting.
 The performance of a dedicated server
on the budget of a shared host.
 Good hosting companies provide VPS
service. IMHO, bad ones don’t.
VPS vs Shared host page
generation performance
on an index.php page
shared host: ~2.0
 VPS: Canadian Web Hosting colocated on Peer1: 0.00002 seconds.
 Or an improvement of 2*10-5 over
shared hosting.
 Holy crap.
VPS Hosting
Looks Like
FYI: key vendors
Aquemu for Linux
OK, so what?
This is a talk for a Linux Users Group.
Hypervisors run the LAMP stack.
The LAMP stack runs your website.
You can run a mirror of your web server locally with
many advantages.
The codebase is normalized across the team with
version control.
The whole stack can be normalized with virtualization.
I realize that some people may already get this, or do it.
But some don’t.
VMs on the Desktop
(for Development)
with it, I can do this:
 Use
virtualisation as a working tool to build
websites and things like it to have
performance and behavior tested to a
high degree of resolution.
 You are able to run the codebase on a
real stack, and even possible a mirror of
your production stack.
 Way gooder.
 Even deploy to Amazon EC2.
The prehistory – what sucked.
 Manual
install of Apache MySQL & PHP on
win & mac desktop
 MAMP (for Mac)
Dinosaurs died out for a reason
Dev prehistory (rant)
 Scratch
install: was always a chore.
 Still a chore for the L33t.
 Skill not very transferrable.
 Never done often enough to become
good at it.
 And if you are good at it, who cares?
Dev prehistory (rant)
cannot upgrade components,
must upgrade the whole thing.
 MAMP: port hassles (privileged ports, as
well as other issues). Under 1024 is
 A challenge to set up mail sending, https.
 Skills not useful for anything else.
 Friends don’t let friends use CYGWIN.
But the real reason these
dinosaurs will die out
 Because
they are not examples of the
real LAMP stack.
 No access to improvements served up by
the vendors.
 Technologies offer new things that aren't
included. These kits are a bundle. You fall
behind. It sucks to be you.
Because it is
not the real
Because it is not
the stack your
code is using in
Demo some stuff already!
Oracle VirtualBox is FOSS. Also consider other
Installing Gnu-Linux ISO distros is pretty much
the same as installing ‘on the metal’.
How to get the host and guest to talk to each
other like a desktop machine talks to a
remote server is the freakin’ trick.
See my blog,
The kind of things VMs for web
development can solve
Your website is middleware. It
lives in the host stack like a fish
lives in this aquarium.
Your fish cannot live very well outside
this aquarium. Neither can your website
live outside of the stack.
BTW, what is wrong with this picture?
You wouldn’t know if you didn’t see the
fish in the aquarium.
You don’t put cichlids in
with angel fish! Cichlids
are aggressive fish that
need brackish water.
Besides, these fish
cannot exist in the same
Ph balance as the
community environment
fish (the tetras). And the
plants you see would be
eaten by the cichlids.
The same problem exists with code as
with these fish out of an aquarium
Even common blog
middleware like Drupal
and WordPress push the
boundaries of the default
php.ini settings. To be
competitive and feature
driven, new middleware
products require tweaks
to the vanilla directives
in PHP.ini, my.ini,
Apache2.conf and other
software. Suhosin PHP
patch comes to mind as
Sometimes, in the business
world of web development,
the king has no clothes.
Sorry, I could not find an appropriate slide
for that.
PHP outside of a web server is
about as useful as a fish on a
 They
want the fish without the fishbowl.
 The whole product of the enterprise is
never held as a discrete object.
 You never own a product unless you can
separate it from everything else, including
hosting, and can demonstrate it at will.
Stupid business practices
Stupid business practices
 No
comprehensive IT policies in place is
too often the reality.
 No effort to standardize working stack,
beyond version control.
 Team leaders & management express
total indifference to how team members
build their environments.
 A total disconnect between what a dev
does and a sysadmin does.
More stupid business practices
Teams are made up of multiple roles, Devs,
SysAdmin, designers, JavaScripters, lead, PM,
sales, management, Qa, executives,
deployment, consultants, third parties, clients,
interns, kitties, puppies, and sociopaths.
Different roles have different skill sets, and no
effort is made to standardize skills across team.
Standardize skill sets - use of this skill set is a way
to determine if a person is competent to be on
the team.
More on that…
 The
old way burns money on unproven
 OR jobs that the client hasn’t paid for just
 Valuable SysAdmin skills, knowledge,
authority is ‘hoarded’.
 Devs aren’t given authority extending to
It got me thinking…
 Standardized
virtual dev environments
provides a way to easily support team
members, because no two people in a
chair are alike.
 Hypervisors can definitely help
homogenize the technology the dev
team runs on.
 Hypervisors can definitely support the
cause of spreading Gnu-Linux and the skill
set for using it.
Use hypervisors to spread Gnu-Linux
like the Norwalk virus in Vancouver in
Using Hypervisors is an easy
way to get into
Lost productivity, lost
 Sure,
no uniform dev team practices are
not a problem most of the time.
 But it can cause confusion, poor
communication, persistent bugs, and
additional deployment issues - FRICTION.
 Opportunity to use the software in
different ways.
 Improvements provided by vendors &
community – patches!
Other wisdom
separation of concerns”
Stefan Priebsch,
Refactoring - every coders
mantra, from which Design
Patterns sprung forth.
Other wisdom
 “A
grouping of Concerns.”
 When you standardize skill requirements,
any team member can support another.
 You become TRULY AGILE, can create
teams in an ad-hoc fashion (even though
‘Agile’ was concocted up to sell things to
people and create buy-in by giving team
members the illusion of control).
Test web security offline
functionally, with virtual cats and
fishes. Create disaster scenarios.
Another reason why
What if you wanted to do things that were just
a leeetle bit off of the beaten path?
You will be SOL, or something like that. Or you
need a budget. Or a lot of time. Or a really
good excuse. Or beg your hosting company.
Or a dev server.
But we have a dev server.
But we have a dev server.
 You
pay for using and maintaining the
service one way or another.
 Code in development is noisy in the logs.
Logs that fill up the server hard drive.
 Security issues also apply to dev, not just
production servers.
But we have a dev server.
 Compare
to $0 cost.
 This toolset is useful and available to any
size of project.
 A common skill set for setting up new
desktop machines for development.
But we have a dev server.
One developer can own several desktop
machines, and needs to have common dev
tools regardless of platform.
dd command can publish ISO.
Virtual appliances are easy to share or
convert for use in other hypervisors.
Share the VM with other team members over
.torrent protocol.
Sharing Gnu-Linux via .torrent was why it was
made in the first place.
Dream Big on teh internets
Not every idea on the Net is going to turn a
Business burns cash like rockets burn fuel.
BUT teh internets haz free tools can be
obtained to develop ideas for little or zero
Host any number of projects on virtual
machines without incurring costs while the
project is in incubation, or is dormant.
Rapid deployment.
Or quick and dirty, if you like.
Make throwaway experiments.
Use it for a single task.
DOS utilities may be available, but working in
MS DOS is hideous. Shell is universal.
Working in the real shell may suit your job.
FTP without concern for bandwidth use.
A job with ffmpeg, editing videos from the
cmd line, or other resources too big to
manage any other way.
Do more
with less
 Comprehensive
policy promotes
The Future
Bundling middleware with
the stack for distribution.
 What
evolved in the wake of the dying
 Prebuilt stacks ready for deployment.
Some have already taken
this really far.
Amazon EC2 deployments.
Vagrant & Chef (Ruby). But I like to tinker under
the hood a little bit more.
Automated scaling. Open Shift (Red Hat). uses Murder to deploy in seconds
what used to take hours.
Not the most technical talk on
virtualization out there.
I did not intend it to be.
I really wanted to discuss the social aspects.
This is your real take away. Now go make
some money with it.
Not everyone understands the power in these
Teams can assemble quickly.
Big ideas can turn on a dime.
Put the growth of this area in perspective, see
its potential for growth.
Things to get working next
Date should synchronise without having to
Employ a fake date in the system for testing
year change behavior.
Refresh IP address without reboot.
Serving with a fake secure cert (HTTPS).
Try Vagrant, Bitnami, Turnkey Linux offerings.
Try ESXI and other hypervisors.
Convince a team of developers to use this
Shameless plug
at the end
 Twitter:
 Tech blog:
 For relaxation and modern social skills:
 Thanks LFNW 2013
 Supporting blog posts, talk is online.
Sloth says thank you.

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