Podcast with Adrian Cockcroft

I had the pleasure of recording a podcast recently with Battery Ventures Technology Fellow Adrian Cockcroft. Adrian is well known from his days at Netflix and can frequently be seen at major conferences presenting on DevOps, microservices, and cloud computing. Last month, both Adrian and I attended DockerCon in San Francisco. Our conversation started with a discussion about Docker.

I asked Adrian why Docker is so hot right now. He explained that people had been trying to work with containers and build their own platforms, but found that doing so was difficult. Once people got their hands on Docker and saw how easy it was to use, it took off like wildfire. Numerous vendors embraced Docker, which furthered the cause. One comment I found interesting was Adrian’s take on Docker’s having been a nonthreatening entity early on. Had the Docker software been introduced by a big company like VMware or IBM, people might have been threatened by it. But since Docker was a small company, people were more willing to adopt the technology without questioning Docker’s intentions.

I also asked Adrian what it is about Docker that allowed it to raise $190M from venture capitalists. Adrian stated, “if you want to raise a lot of money, it is really good that you can be the center of an ecosystem and have lots of companies orbiting around you.” Docker has indeed accomplished the building of a large ecosystem. The three public cloud giants—Amazon, Azure, and Google—have all embraced Docker. Companies including Red Hat, IBM, EMC, Cisco, VMware, and many others are embracing containers as well. Adrian says that Docker could build the next ecosystem, just like VMware did back in the day. Docker recently announced a joint endeavor with CoreOS to lead the Open Container Project, an effort to establish standards for containers.

In our DevOps discussion, we talked about Adrian’s quote “DevOps is a Reorg.” Adrian contends that there are two approaches to DevOps. In one approach, the Ops side engages with the Dev side to improve collaboration and use common tools. A second approach is to move operations to the developers, with a “you built it, you run it” mindset. In the reorg approach, the new organization structure focuses on a service, and everyone in that organization is responsible for the entire lifecycle of that service. Adrian went on to describe what that looks like and how people operate within the new structure.

The next question focused on the Netflix culture and what allowed the company, which was previously all on-premises, to move to a cloud-based microservices architecture. Adrian also talked about the early days when it overwhelmed AWS’s SimpleDB service before moving to Cassandra.

We finished by discussing the next big thing on the horizon. Adrian covered building new security architectures in the public cloud. He also discussed a future in which programming with terabytes of RAM at our disposal becomes a reality and examined how that will change the way we architect.

Check out the discussion. It is always a joy and a learning experience talking with Adrian.

Posted in Transformation & AgilityTagged ,