We like free and open source software. Our products are built on top of open source software, and CipherMail Gateway has a community version that's released under the GNU AGPLv3 license. But we are not just putting open source in our products, the IT infrastructure that powers almost every aspect of our company also greatly utilizes open source software. Our servers run the completely free Debian GNU/Linux operating system, and are powered by the QEMU virtualization and Ganeti cluster management software.
Managing these 40+ servers is no simple task for a human being, and doing this by hand would make my job as a system administrator stressful and repetitive. So instead we are making use of Red Hat's Ansible IT automation engine to manage our servers, and I just tell Ansible how it should manage them.
That last part is where DebOps comes in. DebOps is a collection of Ansible roles and playbooks, essentially a set of highly configurable rules for Ansible, that we employ to manage our servers with. The power of DebOps can be found in its deep integration between roles, each of which is responsible for managing a logical system component. This makes it comparatively easy to set up and maintain one or more clusters of servers that provide a common service. See for example our email infrastructure, which is described in detail in this blog post.
DebOps is not just a software project, it is also a group of dedicated volunteers who work together to make it a success. The founder and lead developer, Maciej Delmanowski, decided early on that DebOps should be usable for more people than just himself and released the source code under the GNU GPLv3 license. Almost 15 000 commits later, DebOps is now a truly fantastic piece of work whose benefits are shared amongst system administrators and self-hosting enthousiasts alike.
Given our fondness of open source software, CipherMail's grateful use of DebOps and the fact that DebOps contributor Tasos Alvas recently made an awesome new logo (see above) for the project, we decided to do something that would strengthen this community. We've been contributing bug fixes and new features for quite a while, but felt that now is the perfect time to show how proud we are of the progress we've made together these past years. And what's a better way than wearing part of that progress as a t-shirt?
Fourteen of these shirts will be shipped to developers all over Europe. The dog remains ours, though :)