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SaltStack at Scale – Automating the Automation

EMC discusses how their team uses SaltStack

EMC makes big data in the cloud possible and managing all that data is a complex and difficult task. In his SaltConf15 talk, Steven Gonzales, a principal software engineer at EMC discusses, how his team uses SaltStack at scale to manage an exabyte-scale storage platform that is distributed across data centers across the globe. The EMC team is running 14 SaltStack masters to orchestrate more than 10,000 nodes.

At first, EMC implemented SaltStack with one Git repository, a SaltStack directory and one Salt pillar directory. This worked at first but as EMC’s requirements became more complex, their SaltStack deployment had to scale with the project. At that time EMC had poor code reuse across projects and much of the logic associated with certain configurations was very custom and couldn’t be used across multiple states without causing problems.

To solve this, Gonzales subscribed to the concept of infrastructure as code…or in the case of SaltStack, infrastructure as data. But Steven took it one step further, determining that EMC needed to treat SaltStack like a software development project across the EMC team by implementing version control, same design patterns, code reuse, testing and consistent deployment.

In his SaltConf15 presentation, Gonzales focuses on the architecture and workflows for automating the building, testing and deployment of SaltStack formulas, states and pillars across a large infrastructure. To access slides from his presentation, go to Slideshare. Also, find more great talks in the SaltConf15 video content blog post.