DevCentral Top5 03/14/2013
You know the saying "Nothing can keep us down!"? So about that, as it turns out some things can. Namely a nasty flu followed up by a body rocking infection. It isn't super fun to be basically house bound for a few weeks, but it does give one plenty of time to peruse the internet. I swear I read the entire thing. Twice. After I finished reading all of it for the second time, I wandered my way back over to DevCentral and, much to my completely un-surprised pleasure, I found that there has been some awesome content going on whilst I fought off the plague. Completely un-surprised because, let's be honest, this DevCentral thing is a relentless engine that chugs forward without fail (What is dead may never die!), which is grand for the many users out there depending on it for their day to day well being, in a technical sense. Pleasure because I'm a frackin' geek and love this stuff. It was great to slip back into the trusty ole' office chair and dig through what's been going on. I am here today to share with you the first harvesting from the bounty of goodness I found in my perusal. I give to you this week's Top5:
Monitoring APM Session Limit Availability from GTM
APM is wicked cool. For those not in the know, APM (Access Policy Manager) is a product that allows you to manage user access to particular networks or resources. It's kind of a "smart VPN" sort of thing, in that it does massive amounts of inspection, detection and massaging if you want, as well as authentication and authorization into your network(s) or network based applications and resources, on demand, from a multitude of platforms. It's nifty, and powerful, and gets used all over the place for all kinds of fancy things. As with any similar solution there are, of course, limitations in some ways. One of the most common is a maximum number of allowed concurrent users connected through a given APM at a time. This is normal, and many folks will roll out a series of APM devices and balance across them in large deployments. Jason posted a pretty darn cool article about making this easy and intelligent all at once. A fellow F5er, Harry Kleinbourg came up with the original solution and handed it off, showing how to monitor how many sessions an individual APM has left available to users via GTM. In this way you can build in not only "Is this APM up?" type monitoring but "Does this APM still have available user slots for me to use up if I send a user there?" type monitors, which are, I think we can agree, way cooler. Oh yeah, and more useful, too. For the details and a pretty, picture based walk through check out Jason's tech tip. I liked this one for sure and was glad to see it got put out details and all.
The Future of Programming
Is AppDev stagnant? Are there new and exciting trends and movements that you're seeing in that arena as compared to, say, the hardware world which is racing onward to faster, smaller, more mobile, more capable devices all the time? It's an interesting question to ponder, honestly. As a developer myself I hadn't really stopped to consider it until I read through this post from Don. Unnecessary self deprecation aside, it's really quite a good, thought provoking read, in my opinion. I often get so caught up in what it is I'm working on right now, that I use it to judge the rest of the world. Whatever stick I'm holding becomes my measuring stick, as it were. It's good, however, to step back and look at the state of things every so often. What really is happening in the AppDev world at large? Whether it be mobile devices, tablets, a new breed of touch screen laptops, server driven applications or just about anything else; are we stagnant? After doing some thinking and reading, I tend to think we're not, but I can definitely see how Don get where he did in the post that fueled this one, and I rather appreciate his wandering, thoughtful resolution to those thoughts here. This one isn't a "get a cool tool and put it in use today!" kind of post, but it's thought provoking and interesting for those coding geeks among us. Enough so that I'd recommend it.
Security Orchestration: Herding Digital Cats
This title couldn't possibly be more accurate. If you've ever worked in IT security you already know what a headache this can be. Now start talking about layer 7 security and watch the hair gray right before your eyes. Well, that which isn't being pulled out by the fistful, that is. Security, more than any other iron in the DevOps fire that I've had to deal with, is notoriously slippery to deal with. It moves and changes at an astonishing rate, the stakes are intense, and it's often times you against the world, or so it feels anyway. It's no wonder that managing security can be a full time (and then some) job, when dealing with multiple systems, platforms, applications and the like. It is interesting, however, to see possible solutions that may help with those rapidly advancing worry lines, at least in this regard. Lori points out a pretty cool looking and intriguing app that just might help, or at least give hope that future such offerings may help. Check out this post to see what the offering is, how it works, what it tries to do, and her thoughts on it. I hadn't heard of this one and while I am by no means offering it my stamp of approval, having not touched it, I can say that it does at least sound handy, and interesting. Perhaps worth a closer look? Judge for yourself.
RSA2013: Interview with Jeremiah Grossman
Speaking of security, one of the major things that passed completely over me while I was down and out with the brain bugs is RSA. RSA is one of the more prominent security conferences that goes on every year, and every year F5 sends folks down to check it out, represent F5's role in the security world, and learn what they can about all things up and coming. One such F5er is Pete Silva who got shipped to RSA packaged conveniently with his video camera. He was able to grab some good footage at the conference, which is all available on his DevCentral blog for those interested in getting a feel for what was on display at the con. Perhaps the most tasty tidbit, to me at least, is this interview with WhiteHat founder and CEO Jeremiah Grossman. Having met Jeremiah a few times and chatted at relative length I can say that he's a good guy and really knows his stuff. It's no shock, then, that this interview was a solid one. The guys chatted about several things including but not limited to WhiteHat in general (what it is, what it does, funding, etc.) mobile vulnerabilities and the headaches they cause, and penetration testing as a good thing, even if it is kind of hacking yourself to beat the bad guys to the punch. I'm not a security guy, per se, but these topics are all interesting and relevant, and the video's worth the time in my estimation. WhiteHat does some very cool stuff and the collaboration between F5 and WhiteHat is nothing short of phenomenal when it comes to quickly and easily patching app layer vulnerabilities, which makes this all the more relevant to, well, darn near everyone. Take a gander and see what you think yourself.
DevCentral Weekly Podcast
Last but not least I offer up to you the DevCentral weekly podcast, which is not at all unusual as the podcast often has some really good stuff in it and talks about what has been going on in DCland, which is kind of awesome. What is unusual, however, is that Joe and Jason, the hosts for this particular podcast from last week, decided to include a very particular blog post of Joe's. Joe was kind enough to thank me for my time (Nearly 8 years! sheesh) on the DevCentral team. Why would he do that now, you ask? Well, I've switched roles within F5. I'm now part of a different team doing some different kinds of stuff which is equally hawesome and fun, with a bit of a new twist for me in my world. I am, obviously, still writing for and a part of the DevCentral community. That will in no way stop, nor will my gallivanting around the globe to preach the good word about iRules, iApps, or just about any other F5 technology people will listen to me yammer on about. It was super kind of Joe to post the awesome, flattering blog and very much blush inducing but endearing for Jason and Joe to chat about it and give me a bit of a send off in last week's podcast. So thanks, gentleman, you are phenoms yourselves and I definitely look forward to continuing to work with you both, as well as the rest of the DC crew, in the new role. I just couldn't go without saying thanks for the kind well wishes and farewell so - thanks! That being said, there is also some other awesome DevCentrally goodness in this podcast. It's not all just sappy and sweet and stuff, the guys geek out too, I swear! They talked about the awesome new Performance Report being put out by F5, wherein some hardcore testing of our products is done and published along with the entire testing methodology used, so you can see what we did, the results we got, repeat it yourself if you like, etc. They also mentioned a new article series I'm pretty excited about dealing with WA that will be coming out quite soon and should be a solid one, so keep your eye out for that.
That'll do it for this week's Top5, but don't' worry there will be plenty more coming in the next edition as I continue to catch up with what's been going on. In the meantime get out there, browse DevCentral yourselves, ask questions, post, feel free to write if you've got comments or otherwise and until next time...code hard.