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Lessons from Etsy: Avoiding Kitchen Nightmares - #ChefConf 2012
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Lessons from Etsy: Avoiding Kitchen Nightmares - #ChefConf 2012


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Talk by Patrick McDonnell (@mcdonnps) at #ChefConf 2012 …

Talk by Patrick McDonnell (@mcdonnps) at #ChefConf 2012

Chef makes it so easy to change configuration en masse that it can be dangerous if not used with certain precautions and in accordance with a well thought out testing workflow. In our use of Chef at Etsy, we have devised many in-house best practices in response to failures which have helped greatly in avoiding catastrophic outages. This talk will focus on mistakes we've made and how we've avoided repeating them by enforcing standards in cookbooks, testing changes before rollout through the use of environments and in conjunction with the Spork plugin for Knife, and linting cookbooks with Foodcritic. I'll also talk about using handlers intelligently to monitor Chef runs and how to generate reports from the myriad data available in CouchDB.

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  • 1. Image Service Outage
  • 2. postrotate /bin/kill -HUP `cat /var/run/ 2>/dev/null` 2> /dev/null || true
  • 4. It only takesone tinymistake
  • 5. How Do You Enforce This?• Documented standards and communicated best practices• Robust testing workflow • Environments • Knife Plugins• Linting with rules derived from standards • Foodcritic
  • 6. Testing Workflow
  • 7. How We Use Environments• Three environments: production, development, testing • Testing is unconstrained • Test nodes are depooled and “flipped” to the testing environment, then repooled and analyzed • Test nodes are then flipped back to production
  • 8. Working with Environments• knife-flip by Etsy engineer Jon Cowie ( % knife node flip testing % knife role flip SomeRole testing• knife-bulkchangeenvironment ( bulkchangeenvironment) % knife node bulk_change_environment testing production
  • 9. Keeping Environments in Sync• knife-env-diff by Etsy engineer John Goulah • Get it at knife environment diff development productiondiffing environment development against productioncookbook: hadoop development version: = 0.1.0 production version: = 0.1.8cookbook: mysql development version: = 0.2.4 production version: = 0.2.5
  • 10. Introducing Knife Spork• Knife plugin providing a testing/versioning workflow• Authored by Jon Cowie• Get it at
  • 11. Spork Features• Four stage process • Check: Look at versioning info for a cookbook • Bump: Automatically increment the cookbook’s version number • Upload: Knife upload and freeze • Promote: Set environment constraints equal to specified version
  • 12. git: enabled: true irccat: enabled: true server: port: 12345Spork Config channel: "#chef" graphite: enabled: true server:• /path/to/chef-repo port: 2003 /config/spork-config.yml gist: enabled: true• /etc/spork-config.yml in_chef: true chef_path: cookbooks/gist/files/default/gist• ~/.chef/spork-config.yml path: /usr/bin/gist foodcritic: enabled: true fail_tags: [any] tags: [foo] include_rules: [/home/me/myrules] default_environments: [ production, development ]
  • 13. % knife spork check foodcriticChecking versions for cookbook foodcritic...Current local version: 0.0.4Remote versions (Max. 5 most recent only):*0.0.4, frozen0.0.3, frozen0.0.2, unfrozen0.0.1, frozenDANGER: Your local cookbook has same version number as thestarred version above!Please bump your local version or you wont be able toupload.
  • 14. % knife spork bump foodcriticLoaded config file /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/config/spork-config.yml...Loaded config file /etc/spork-config.yml...Pulling latest changes from gitPulling latest changes from git submodules (if any)Bumping patch level of the foodcritic cookbook from 0.0.4 to0.0.5Git adding /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/cookbooks/foodcritic/metadata.rb
  • 15. % knife spork upload foodcriticLoaded config file /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/config/spork-config.yml...Loaded config file /etc/spork-config.yml...Uploading and freezing foodcritic [0.0.5]upload complete
  • 16. % knife spork promote foodcritic --remotePulling latest changes from gitChecking that foodcritic version 0.0.5 exists on the serverbefore promoting (any error means it hasnt been uploadedyet)...foodcritic version 0.0.5 found on server!Environment: productionAdding version constraint foodcritic = 0.0.5Saving changes into production.jsonGit adding /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/environments/production.jsonUploading production to server
  • 17. WARNING: Youre about to promote changes to severalcookbooks:logrotate: = 0.1.24 changed to = 0.1.23foodcritic: = 0.0.4 changed to = 0.0.5Are you sure you want to continue? (Y/N) nYou said no, so Im done here.Would you like to reset your local production.json to matchthe server?? (Y/N) yGit adding /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/environments/production.jsonproduction.json reset.
  • 18. Spork’s Logging Mechanisms • Irccat: Logs to IRC channel ([11:35:33] <irccat> CHEF: pmcdonnell uploaded and froze cookbook ldap version 0.1.27[11:35:43] <irccat> CHEF: pmcdonnell uploaded environment production[11:35:43] <irccat> CHEF: pmcdonnell uploaded environment development • Graphite: promote --remote sends to deploys.chef metric • Gist: Added to irccat notifications on promote --remoteEnvironment production uploaded at 2012-05-15 18:35:42 UTC by pmcdonnellConstraints updated on server in this version:ldap: = 0.1.26 changed to = 0.1.27
  • 19. Linting
  • 20. Foodcritic• A lint tool for Chef cookbooks written by Andrew Crump (• Comes with a good set of default rules and is very easily extensible• To enable in spork config: foodcritic: enabled: true fail_tags: [any] tags: [foo] include_rules: [/home/me/myrules]
  • 21. Etsy’s Rules• A work in progress, but newly open-sourced at• Our rules are “style”-tagged rules that serve to enforce what we consider to be best practices in our environment • ETSY001 - Package or yum_package resource used with :upgrade action • ETSY002 - Execute resource used to run git commands • ETSY003 - Execute resource used to run curl or wget commands • ETSY004 - Execute resource defined without conditional or action :nothing • ETSY005 - Action :restart sent to a core service
  • 22. Rule Resulting from Image Outage• ETSY005 - Action :restart sent to a core service • Trippable services include httpd, mysql, memcached, postgresql-server% foodcritic -t etsy -I ~/git/chef-repo/config/rules.rb ~/git/chef-repo/cookbooks/apacheETSY005: Action :restart sent to a core service:/home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/cookbooks/apache/recipes/default.rb:39
  • 23. Rule Resulting from Image Outage30 template "/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf" do31 source "httpd-conf.erb"32 owner "root"33 group "root"34 mode 0064435 variables(36 :fqdn => node[:fqdn],37 :port => "80"38 )39 notifies :restart, resources(:service => "httpd")40 end
  • 24. Memcache Outage
  • 25. 02:27 < jallspaw> [Sat, 10 Jul 2010 01:45:01 +0000]INFO: Upgrading package[memcached] version from 1.4.2-1.fc10 to 1.4.5-1.el5
  • 26. Don’t leave“known unknowns”lying in wait
  • 27. Resulting Foodcritic Rule• ETSY001 - Package or yum_package resource used with :upgrade action • Enforces always using :install% foodcritic -t etsy -I ~/git/chef-repo/config/rules.rb ~/git/chef-repo/cookbooks/memcacheETSY001: Package or yum_package resource used with :upgradeaction: /home/pmcdonnell/git/chef-repo/cookbooks/memcache/recipes/default.rb:20
  • 28. Resulting Foodcritic Rule20 package "memcached" do21 action :upgrade22 end Changed to:20 package "memcached" do21 version "1.4.2-1.fc10"22 action :install23 end
  • 29. Reporting and Monitoring
  • 30. Using Handlers • Etsy’s handlers ( • Log failures to IRC[10:52:03] <irccat> Chef run failed on[10:52:03] <irccat> • Graph aggregated metrics with Graphite • Graph chef “deploys”
  • 31. Graph with Graphite• Metrics reporting made possible by knife-lastrun, authored by John Goulah ( • Provides a handler and knife plugin for reporting on the most recent chef run, storing data as node attributes • Elapsed, starting, and ending time • Exit code status • Backtrace/exception information
  • 32. % dsh -g all -c -M grep "Chef Run complete in" /var/log/chef/client.log | head -n 3 2>&1 | tee /tmp/tee && grepChef Run complete /tmp/tee | sort -n -k +13 | tail -5dn0035.doop: [Mon, 14 May 2012 03:21:07 +0000] INFO: ChefRun complete in 512.936813012 secondsdn0004.doop: [Mon, 14 May 2012 04:28:03 +0000] INFO: ChefRun complete in 677.423964906 secondsdn0006.doop: [Mon, 14 May 2012 04:29:51 +0000] INFO: ChefRun complete in 770.231469266 secondsdn0025.doop: [Mon, 14 May 2012 04:26:13 +0000] INFO: ChefRun complete in 787.183615612 secondsdn0030.doop: [Mon, 14 May 2012 04:30:42 +0000] INFO: ChefRun complete in 848.586507872 seconds
  • 33. Finding Run Time Outliers• Knife doesn’t currently support Lucene’s NumericRangeQuery • Elapsed time is a floating point number, but we can only match it as a string due to query limitations in knife • Work around it with knife search -a
  • 34. % knife search node elapsed:[200 TO 225] -alastrun.runtimes.elapsed4 items foundid: cent6-vmtemplate.ny4dev.etsy.comlastrun.runtimes.elapsed: 21.642378406id: sandboxmisc01.ny4.etsy.comlastrun.runtimes.elapsed: 211.749555id: smardenfeld.vm.ny4dev.etsy.comlastrun.runtimes.elapsed: 22.184596id: bob0120.vm.ny4dev.etsy.comlastrun.runtimes.elapsed: 21.348335354
  • 35. % knife node lastrun sandboxmisc01.ny4.etsy.comStatus failedElapsed Time 211.78604Start Time 2012-05-15 07:43:18 +0000End Time 2012-05-15 07:46:50 +0000BacktraceOmitted for brevityExceptionChef::Exceptions::Package: package[diffutils](installerz::diffutils line 1) had an error: Yum failed -#<Process::Status: pid 21293 exit 1> - returns: ["yum-dumpRepository Error: Cannot retrieve repository metadata(repomd.xml) for repository: PostgreSQL-8.3-x86_64. Pleaseverify its path and try againn"]
  • 36. What Did Chef Just Do?• chefrecentupdates by Etsy engineer Laurie Denness ( chefrecentupdates...1 resources updated in /var/log/chef/client.log-20120505.gz:[Fri, 04 May 2012 17:49:42 +0000]INFO: cookbook_file[/usr/bin/gist]...
  • 37. Preventative Measures
  • 38. Knife Preflight• By Jon Cowie ( knife preflight memcache::datacacheSearching for nodes containing memcache::datacache in their expandedrun_list...4 Nodes founddatacache03.ny4.etsy.comdatacache04.ny4.etsy.comdatacache01.ny4.etsy.comdatacache02.ny4.etsy.comSearching for roles containing memcache::datacache in their run_list...1 Roles foundDatacacheFound 4 nodes and 1 roles using the specified search criteria
  • 39. Continuous Chef• Using Jenkins and base virtual machine images
  • 40. “Out-of-Band” Management• dsh (distributed shell) works even if Chef server is down • Etsy’s dsh groups are managed by Chef and generated from the list of nodes corresponding to each role
  • 41. Configs Bundled with Packages• Be careful with configs distributed with packages overwriting Chef configs • They must be replaced by Chef before restarting services, so watch out for resource order
  • 42. Jon will be at Velocity!• Workshop: Michelin Starred Cooking with Chef • 11:00am Monday, 06/25/2012 • Topics • Team-wide familiarity and understanding • Critical approach and experimentation with workflows • Plugin writing 101
  • 43. We’re Hiring!• TONS of engineering positions open!• Especially looking for a talented network engineer; referrals welcome!