Winston Lawrence

Project Manager & Occasional developer

Project Manager with a blog.

DigitalOcean #DOTIDE NYC simplicity at scale

DigitalOcean - TIDE NYC - Lunch before the Keynote address and opening #DOTIDE - [click to view]


DigitalOcean - TIDE NYC - Keynote address and opening #DOTIDE - [click to view]


DigitalOcean hosted a very nice event at their 6th avenue HQ in NYC. The event was called TIDE NYC: Simplicity at Scale and I was sent an invitation, presumably because I am one of their (long-time) customers - hosting my own and at times client web sites on their platform.

As I told the Marketing folks at the event - I came for their prices and I stay for their security - unlike some of their competitors (looking at you ****space) I have NEVER seen hacking attempts coming at me sites from their internal networks whereas with the other guys I had more to fear from their internal network and other hosted customers than I did coming from the internet facing interfaces.

Anyway enough of that this isn't a DigitalOcean AD - although I won't say no if they want to slipstream a friends-discount upgrade for this blog's economy platform server hosting to a sleek 4GB roadster model with the upgraded bandwidth trimmings :-)

You, dear reader, weren't there - or you were and so can skip this section, so I am not going to describe the food (lunch for one hour at 12:30pm, two networking breaks and a happy hour at 5pm) except to say there was a lot of it, definitely good for a Michelin rating or two and from what I saw (I just had the one IPA) top-shelf brand drinks if you wanted something stronger.

Onto the lectures:

I have some pictures as you can see, but Ben Uretsky, Co-Founder and CEO at DigitalOcean kicked things off with a quick keynote address - apparently he started off in the MSP space before DigitalOcean and segued into starting DigitalOcean around the time virtualization took off. I know I became a customer not long after they started - I couldn't believe (at the time) I was spinning up a new linux server with the basic services I needed in a few minutes - maybe even two or three when I wanted to quickly test something, whereas this would literally mean setting aside several hours to build an provision just one server with their competition and the price for one of their servers for a year was about what I was paying for a month of hosting elsewhere - literally a no-brainer to switch back then (they have competition now - but see my earlier comment above about security - its a valuable intangible in the cost equation - particularly if its you are first or only responder when things go bad.

The panel discussion on scaling out was good my only "nit to pick" was no audience questions taken - When the moderator, DigitalOcean's director of Product Marketing, led the discussion with the three DigitalOcean panelist/clients about scaling and how they handled it - I would have liked to have seen the same questions directed back at DigitalOcean :-}.

It was okay though since the forum format, let us get up and talk to the presenters/panelists and an "expert bar" during the breaks to ask the questions one on one. I did ask Reynold (Director of Product Marketing) if DigitalOcean had thought about adding a product/service for their clients to help with their scaling needs - since DigitalOcean clearly had the analytics in place for "in-house" use to determine where and when they should buildout their own points-of-presence around the globe. Being able to say to a customer, for example, that we notice that a lot of European traffic is hitting your San Franciso servers in the evening - have you thought about deploying some services in our London datacenter. Anyway its not a product/service currently - but who knows what the future holds.

Shout out to Brian Liles, staff engineer at Heptio, for an excellent discussion on Declarative Application Configuration. Personally I am just scratching the surface with Kubernetes now that I have a couple of Dockerized containers and services running but nice to see in a live presentation just what can be done with these tools.

Shout out to Tammy Butow, Principal SRE at Gremlin and an alumnus from DigitalOcean AND DropBox, for another excellent talk on the skill-sets, practices, engineering and architecture for scaling to hundreds of millions of users - something she did to take DropBox to 400 million users and then in just one year from 400 million to 500 million users.

One last note was a panel discussion on micro-services. It was a good discussion and I only briefly had a chance afterwards during happy-hour to ask some questions since in a previous life as an IT architect I had a lot of experience with building and deploying services, which we called back then an SOA or Service Oriented Architecture. I asked if the "new" micro-services approach had resolved any of the old problems in maintenance, delivery and upgrades once services have been deployed and used to build other services and if there were still stop-gap solutions for disc overy (UDDI for example - back in the day). The answer, referred to something that Tammy Butow had mentioned several times (MonoRepo) that I honestly had not "gotten" when she mentioned it but was essentially seems to mean a single code base for the organization such that all the code is visible via one repository and a change made affects all the code. We didn't get to discuss further but my takeway was that the service deployment problems were still without an elegant solution as I still didn't see how MonoRepo helped services deployed among many companies (my original use case) and even within one company "solved" the issues - just made the issues more granular. I think the big change from my SOA days is that the micro-service is basically doing "one thing" and so is unlikely to have core changes that affect its interfaces, whereas the SOA services were often "wrapped" applications, were far more complex under the covers, and more likely to see interface changes over time.

Anyway - wrapping this up - I had a great time DigitalOcean, please keep me on your mailing list for future events I want to sign up for the next one now:-)


DigitalOcean - TIDE NYC - Lunch before the Keynote address - on the balcony/patio area #DOTIDE - [click to view]


Winston Lawrence