Soundbyte 186 – Different shades of blue


Don’t worry about the title, this Soundbyte has nothing to do with fifty shades of anything. It has everything to do with great blues music however. “Different Shades of Blue” is the latest album by Joe Bonamassa, which Bert Ertman and me went to see live a week ago. Coming back to the familiar topic of “being the best”, well there you have it, the concert was simply amazing. In a relatively small hall (Carre, Amsterdam), on a not very impressive stage without any fluff, he and his band delivered one of the best concert I’ve seen.

In the past few weeks my focus has been on the Amdatu RTI, our next generation infrastructure services. We started work on a platform that makes it easier to bring projects to production grade infrastructure with a lot less effort. Our experience with hosting PulseOn in the cloud showed that these kind of infrastructures are far from trivial. Cloud providers give us services to use, and DevOps tools are introduced at warp speed, but integrating everything and making things like blue/green deployments, auto scaling and failover possible requires knowledge of too many pieces to re-invent this in every project. We’re cherry picking the best tools in the industry wherever possible, tying everything together for the bigger picture while making opinionated choices based on how we believe application should be developed and deployed. While having many choices offers freedom, it’s also frustrating at some moments that it just seems impossible to keep up with all of it, to be able to make the best possible choices. It’s very easy to get lost on one of the many side-tracks that pop-up while working on the many aspects of this. Defining small steps towards each goal has been key, together with a very agile process where we redefine priorities constantly based on new insights. In every aspect a very interesting and challenging experience. A (small) part of what we’re working on will be the topic of the presentation that Arjan and me will give at the DevCon: “To Docker and Beyond – production grade cloud deployments”.

Of course we are clearly making things more difficult than necessary, the solution to all this production grade infrastructure stuff  is much simpler. When GitHub went down from a DDOS last week, one of the brighter lights of the internets suggested that they should maybe just move all their infrastructure to the hosting provider of their status page, because that one always works!

In an interesting turn of events the work on the Amdatu RTI also made Arjan and me register for the Microsoft Ignite conference in May. I definitely didn’t see that one coming, and I believe Marcel had a good laugh about it as well 😉 I’m not planning on installing Visual Studio any time soon, but Microsoft is doing some very interesting things with Azure, which is a key platform for our first Amdatu RTI customers. While Azure is the reason for going to the conference, I’m also looking forward to get a feel for the “new” Microsoft, because there are some interesting changes in motion.

Besides work I’ve been focussed on the CrossFit Open this month. This is a world-wide competition over the span of five weeks. Every week a workout is announced which should be completed that week and scores are posted on the online leaderboard. To get an idea of the workouts, this are the instructions for each week. To keep things fair the workout must be officially judged or recorded on video. Top competitors in the Open are invited to the “Regionals”, which are the pre-rounds for the CrossFit Games where they compete for the “Fittest man/woman on earth” title. The Open is a nice way to see how you perform compared to others. Although I’m in pretty good shape, training almost daily, I’m scoring only about a third of what the top athletes are scoring. But, you might say, those athletes have all the time of the world to focus on training…. This turns out not to be true at all. A nice example is Julie Foucher, ad med-school student who’s also happens to be one of the strongest competitors. It’s much more about dedication and very hard work. Stories like this show what it takes to be the best. The video below gives some nice insights in the history of CrossFit as a sport, and the lives of some of the best athletes.

To me the daily training is an excellent way to not get lost in work completely. Working on something that you find truly interesting, specially while working from home, easily result in working days that just never end… While this is probably a downside of remote working, I wouldn’t ever want to change this. It obviously saves time, and allows for optimising your schedule to a way that you’re most efficient. Another aspect is that we now have a great group of colleagues spread around different countries that we would never have been able to work with otherwise. It does get us into awkward situations from time to time; during a face to face meeting last week we almost decided on using screen sharing for a demo while we were all in the same room.

Last but not least, in case you missed it, there have been some huge updates on the Amdatu website in the past few months, including a large number of getting started videos. An extensive written tutorial is being reviewed right now, which will be published very soon.