Welcome to the StackPod! In this podcast, Anthony, our host and former SRE, invites subject matter experts from all over the world to discuss topics related to observability, site reliability engineering and working in tech in general. We publish an episode every other week. Enjoy!
Want to know more? Visit https://www.stackstate.com
#18 Tech: Why It’s Always About the People and Never About the Technology With Jujhar Singh of Thoughtworks
I am so excited to announce the guest of this show: Jujhar Singh! A few episodes ago, we talked with fellow podcaster and tech evangelist Dotan Horovits. During that episode, Dotan shared with us that he wrote a blog post together with Jujhar called ‘How Much Observability Is Enough?’, and we were eager to invite Jujhar to the StackPod as well to dive into this topic a bit more.
So, to give you some background information: Jujhar has worked in tech since he was very young and when he was in his mid twenties, he was already an IT manager. After a while, he decided to take a paycut because he wanted to be in software engineering instead of management, which was, I quote: “the best decision I ever made, man”. Currently, Jujhar is a lead consultant at Thoughtworks, with a specialization in DevOps and Infrastructure, where he has the chance to work alongside some of the writers of his favorite software book: Accelerate: The Science of DevOps.
In this episode, you will hear Jujhar and Anthony discuss why tech is always about the people and not about the technology, how you can enable engineering teams to make their lives easier and prevent cognitive overload and why platform teams can be an answer to that, why diversity is crucial for successful working environments, and much more.
#17 Keeping Customers Happy in Complex Situations With Martin Lako of StackState
Today we are talking to Martin Lako. Martin is Director of Customer Success here at StackState and has been here since almost the beginning - for over 3.5 years now. So to give you a little bit of a background story: As you might know, the StackState observability product is offered as both a Saas and an on-prem solution. On-prem solutions are often used by large enterprises with highly complex IT environments consisting of many different, sometimes mission-critical, technologies. That means StackState not only needs to be implemented very carefully by Martin and his team, the team also needs to be able to integrate StackState with many different technologies.
When onboarding gets complex, you might expect that it is hard to keep a high customer service level. Nothing could be further from the truth for Martin and his team. According to many of our customers they do an amazing job. On technology review site G2, one customer said: “The StackState team listens to what their customers need and has fantastic customer support.” Another customer said: “Vendor/Friend with which I would like to grab a beer!”
So obviously, we wanted to invite Martin to the StackPod to ask him about this: What does his team do to keep our customers happy, even if onboarding can be very complex? How does he deal with all of the different time zones? How does he make sure he and his team continue to deliver the same level of customer service now that the company is growing?
Apart from that, Anthony and Martin talk about Martin’s biggest hobby: playing the guitar, which he started when he was 40. Martin shares why you are never too old to learn and his top tips on learning to play a music instrument.
#16 Dotan Horovits on Why Observability Is a Data Analytics Problem
In today’s episode, we are talking to fellow podcaster Dotan Horovits. Dotan is an open source and technology enthusiast: he is the host of the OpenObservability podcast, he writes articles about open source and observability, he is an avid speaker at events like KubeCon and Conf42, he’s a co-organizer of Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s local chapter in Tel Aviv, Israel and in his day job, he is a developer advocate at Logz.io.
One of Dotan’s recent blog posts is titled: “Observability is a Data Analytics Problem,” and in this blog post he explains that observability is not just the simple sum of logs, metrics and traces, but for effective observability you need to fix the data analytics problem. We wanted to invite Dotan to dive into that a bit more. So, listen to this episode, to hear Dotan and Anthony discuss why logs, metrics and traces are not enough anymore, what it takes to start solving the underlying data analytics problem, and what responsibility observability vendors - like Logz.io and StackState, for example - have in solving this problem. Let’s get started and enjoy the podcast.
#15 Defining and Executing a Clear Product Strategy With Andreas Prins of StackState
In today’s episode we are talking to Andreas Prins. Andreas has over 5 years of experience in different product management and product strategy roles and at the moment he is our VP of product here at StackState. So, if you are familiar with the product management role - either because you are in a similar role or you work closely with product managers in your job - you might be aware of the fact that product management is often a very diverse role: you’re responsible for the product roadmap, you’re the one who’s connecting different teams so that everyone works towards this certain goal, and you are often also the external spokesperson when it comes to things like webinars and interviews. And then I probably still forget some tasks and responsibilities.
So, you can imagine we were very stoked when Andreas said yes when we invited him to the podcast. Not just because he’s a great guy and because he’s great at explaining things very clearly, but also because we were looking forward to hearing directly from him about what it’s like to be a product manager. How do you make sure the team stays focused on the long term goals? How do you make decisions in a scale up when you have big hairy goals but perhaps not the big, hairy resources? Also, and this may sound like they are wandering off but not so much - what do baking the perfect stone oven pizza and Lego have to do with software development? Well, that’s exactly what Andreas and Anthony talk about in this episode.
#14 Moving From Network Engineering to Site Reliability Engineering With Murali Suriar of Snowflake (Former Google)
So in this episode, Anthony talks to Murali Suriar. Up until a few months ago, Murali worked as a Site Reliability Engineer at Google, where he also edited the ground breaking book that is the foundation of the SRE practice: The SRE playbook by Google.
So, to give you a quick overview of his career: after finishing his computer science studies, Murali first started working as a support and then network engineer at Goldman Sachs. After Goldman Sachs, he started as a network engineer at Google, then dove into the SRE roles and ultimately became an SRE tech lead for one of Google’s services. After about 8 years at Google, he very recently switched roles: Murali now works as a senior site reliability engineer at Snowflake - a cloud data as a service provider.
We were very happy that Murali said yes when we invited him to the StackPod, because he has a lot of experience in different roles at these very different types of companies: from a very large, perhaps more traditional bank, to a tech giant and the founder of the SRE practice to a - still big but much smaller than his previous companies - software scale-up.
So, in this episode, Murali and Anthony discuss how and why Murali got into SRE from network engineering, what are some of the differences and perhaps similarities when implementing the SRE practice at different types of companies and how you can implement the SRE practice if you are interested in it, but - for example - you work at a smaller company and perhaps you don’t have that many resources. Murali has some great tips on that too. Enjoy the episode!
#13 Open Source Observability With Michael Hausenblas of AWS
In this episode, we’re talking to Michael Hausenblas. Michael is an open source observability enthusiast and is currently part of the open source service team at AWS. This means that he keeps a close eye on new open source platforms and technologies like Promotheus, Grafana and - of course - OpenTelemetry to see how AWS should integrate with these new technologies to provide the most value for the customer. Michael also wrote a couple of books about observability, he has a weekly observability newsletter that you can sign up for and he’s very active on Twitter, so we’ll make sure to add links to these in the transcript of this episode on our website, stackstate.com.