Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Nate Vickery, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

DevOps Interview: Ryan Frantz By @VictorOps | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

DevOps Interview: Ryan Frantz

ryan_frantzAs I travel around the country and meet folks who are interested in what VictorOps is all about, I’m often pressed with the question of “How are you different than some other alerting service?”. The responses are varied but more or less echo the sentiment that the initial alert is just step one in the incident management lifecycle.

The responsibility of being on-call is a much larger role than simply “ACK’ing” an alert pushed to your mobile device. Now that you’ve received the page, it’s time to get busy.

Would you prefer to have a ton of valuable context delivered to you automatically with the alert, or would you rather go look for that stuff on your own?  If you’ve ever been woken up in the middle of the night and responsible for diagnosing and resolving a huge problem, I think you know the answer to that.

Having useful information and insight into what’s taking place during an outage baked right in to the alerts you receive can mean a world of difference during the early stages of an incident. What if all of the things you were going to look for to diagnose what’s happening (logs, graphs, notes, runbooks, etc) were provided immediately with the alert? When placed in-line with related conversations from your team and everything else that’s taking place regarding the problem that woke you up in the middle of the night, that’s a huge win for the on-call team.

When I first met Ryan Frantz at the Velocity conference in New York, to my great surprise this is exactly what he was advocating for and presenting to a room full of agreeing attendees.

Later that afternoon, I was able to catch up with him and pick his brain on additional thoughts regarding this subject. VictorOps was just about to release the Transmogrifier feature, a powerful rules engine that allows users to customize their alerts to not only provide useful content, but also modify fields, and create automated actions. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Since then, Ryan and I have stayed in touch and I was ecstatic when I learned he’d be presenting the same talk he gave at Velocity for the upcoming DevOpsDays – Rockies event.

Etsy is at the forefront of the DevOps movement, advocating best practice concepts such as Ryan’s “Contextual Alerting” and John Allspaw’s “Blameless Postmortems” at nearly every large tech conference in the country. It only made sense to invite Ryan to take part in my DevOps Interview series.

Q: For those out there who are unfamiliar with who you are, can you give a quick intro?

A: I’m a Senior Operations Engineer at Etsy. I’ve currently got an itch to help solve advanced monitoring problems we all are facing, including improving signal detection, contextualizing alerts, and correlating events. I blog at http://ryanfrantz.com

Q: At what point did the subject of contextual alerting become a something of great interest to you? What drove you to giving talks on it and advocating for this type of stuff?

The first time I was on call and got paged! The information in the alert was minimal and I hadn’t been on the job very long so I was lacking valuable tribal knowledge and context that would have helped me address the problem. I’ve always tried to craft alerts to make some sense to the recipient. This really ramped up for me when I came to Etsy and was looking for a project to work on during our annual Hack Week. I was chatting with John Allspaw and he excitedly suggested it would be great if we could get graphs in our alerts. After cobbling together a proof-of-concept script to make that happen, I got into several conversations with like-minded folks that wanted to work on adding valuable, actionable context to alerts. Nagios-Herald is the result of that effort. Since then, I’ve been blathering about alert context to anyone that will listen!

Q: Are there any projects or events that you’re really excited about and want to share with us?

A: I have lots of ideas for several tools Etsy uses (and has open sourced) such as Nagios-Herald, Morgue (adding ways to surface information, and hopefully surprises), and NagDash (helping operators focus attention). I’ve implemented some of these ideas and am working on others.

I’m stoked to be speaking at DevOpsDays Rockies. I dig on the venue’s size and accessibility. I expect to meet a lot of folks with varied experiences from which I can learn and draw on.

Q: Where do you feel DevOps (the big picture) is now, compared to this time last year?

A: I think DevOps is gaining traction in older or more traditional organizations. I’ve seen it take root in single teams and portions of large companies. In each case, people are reaching out to others in their organizations to understand what the business’ needs are and to better communicate how their work contributes to that. There’s a strong recognition that the work isn’t about maintaining fiefdoms, but about providing value to the customers. Value can come from anywhere in the organization.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office recently invited me to speak at a DevOps event they hosted for employees and vendors. What struck me was how honest and open they were about their collective progress. Several teams were able to specifically describe the improvements they’d made, and how that meant improvements in other parts of the organization, all of which meant their customers were better served. Even more, they were open about where they still needed to improve and how they planned to address those issues. To me, the essence of DevOps is honesty. Honesty about one’s abilities, honesty about progress, and being truthful to the ideas and goals each of our teammates works toward everyday.

Q: What are your thoughts on the biggest impacts or benefits teams can gain from adopting DevOps practices?

A: I remember early on in my career thinking, “If I just had a seat at the table, I sure could show those folks a thing or two!” I learned the hard way that lack of humility meant I wasn’t focusing on how I could best demonstrate that my work was relevant to the business and its goals. DevOps means one needs to have an honest conversation about what the work is and how it fits into the larger organization’s purpose. Every company exists to serve people; collaborating with other teams to meet the needs of those customers demonstrates that you already have a seat at the table. I think that DevOps has captured that idea and helped to spread it more than any other I’ve seen in my career.

Q: Any tools/services that you’ve heard a little about .. and want to learn more?

A: Docker! I’m generally curious to learn more, partly because containers are so hot at the moment, and partly because, as an engineer, I always want to to stay up on the latest trends. Unfortunately, time is always a factor and I find it easier to tuck into new technology when I have a compelling use case for it. At the moment, I don’t have a use case for Docker, but I’ve been curious about containerizing several monitoring tools for easy deployment as a single stack.

Q: What conferences or events are you looking forward to attending this year?

A: I’m definitely jazzed up for DevOpsDays Rockies this year! I may even pop into DevOpsDays D.C. given it’s so close to me.

Q: How or where do you consume the latest ideas and topics regarding DevOps and/or Agile?

A: A copy of Devops Weekly rolled up under my arm, in my smoking jacket, in the study while two large wolfhounds warm themselves by the large fire. With a coffee.

In all seriousness, Devops Weekly is Gareth Rushgrove’s weekly compendium of ideas, presentations, and tools. He does an amazing job not only of sourcing new material, but keeping an eye on large and small trends.

Q: From all of the main DevOps topics, which one(s) take up most of your cycles?

A: Monitoring probably takes up most of the free cycles in my head. I think about issues and possible solutions all the time. I’m currently working to lay those problems down so that I can systematically research some ideas in the space and possibly develop some tools (and improvements to tools) that can help.

Q: Do you have any good books or resources that folks just starting to explore DevOps should check out?

Devops Weekly!

Follow Ryan on Twitter and check out his blog where he recently published a post related to Alert Design… and if you live in the Denver/Boulder area, check out DevOpsDays – Rockies (April 23rd & 24th) to catch his talk and chat about all things DevOps.

The post DevOps Interview: Ryan Frantz appeared first on VictorOps.

More Stories By VictorOps Blog

VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market.

With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.

@CloudExpo Stories
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...