Saturday, December 27, 2008

ModularIT a new community project for system administrators

I want to write today about what I have been doing lately.

After finishing my job related with public administrations' migration to free software in Extremadura and Malaga, Andalucia, Spain, I began to work again in November with my Canary Islands teammates (Grupo CPD) in ModularIT. This is a project we released under GPLv3 a few monthes ago that was ready to use but not to contribute to. In practice, as it happens too often, projects are published as free software but, since they don't have the proper design and a right tool, it is not possible for developers to work on it, so nobody use them.

This was exactly what it happened to us. We made a big effort then but another extra effort was needed. It is not enough to public the software and wait for the community to use it. You also need to take care of a few other things. We decided not just to offer a new 100% percent community project, but also to release a new version of ModularIT, to make the release more attractive. So additional technical wok have been done. My job has been (still is) to design and organice the community project, as long as helping in translations, requirement definition and promotion.

Yesterday, december 26th of 2008, we published ModularIT 1.1 (codename "Timanfaya") as long as the new project design, a new collaborative tool and a distributed repository (redmine + git). The first language for this new project is english, although we are still translating deployment and support guides from spanish. We hope some people and companies from other countries cooperate with us in this new adventure.

For a small company like us, mostly dedicated to give services to other companies, having a 100% community project means a lot of effort, but we are really happy for reaching this point. ModularIT is something we've been looking for so long ... We always felt that we have recieved more than we gave from the community. This pretends to change that feeling. :)

¿What is ModularIT? This is a hard question....

ModularIT is an architecture of distributed, virtualiced, integrated, monitored, and centrally managed network services based on software libre. You can get a better description here

ModularIT uses, among other technologies and projects, XEN, Puppet, Munin, Nagios, Posfix, Hylafax, Jabber, AIDE, SElinux, Dirvish, Alfresco, Samba, OpenLDAP, Asterisk or eGroupware. Our goal is to deploy, support and migrate a variety of network services with a limited amount of human resources, trying to manage them with an affordable effort, alowing us to increase the number and dimensions of our customers (number of servers and services) under our control (in different levels). ModularIT is a step forward in that direction, not the final solution, obviously.

Previous versions of ModularIT have been deployed, supported and maintained in our customers the last few years. What we present is an evolution of what we have been doing. It is not a new software that haven't been in production nor a bunch of appliance. We have been migrating our customers to this new ModularIT version for a few monthes and we feel confortable with the result. ModularIT has show us to be efficient. It is worth it for us. We hope it will also for other companies and system administrators.

You can try and judge by yourself. If you are interested in this solution, download it, deploy it and give ModularIT a try. If you think it is worth it, collaborate with us.

Merry Christmas