Velocity 2013 Day 3 Liveblog: The Keynotes

Day Three of a week of convention. Convention Humpday.  The day it stops becoming a mini-vacation and you start earning your salary again.

As usual the keynotes are being livestreamed, so this liveblog is perhaps more for those who want the Cliff’s Notes summary later.  Yesterday’s keynotes were certainly compressible, so here we go! Also follow along in twitter hashtag #veocityconf to see what people are saying about the show.

Clarification on Keynote’s RUM – they announced it yesterday but I was like “haven’t they been trying to sell this to me for two years?” Apparently they were but it was in beta. And congrats to fast.ly who just got a $10M round of funding!

Winners of the survey follies…  Souders’ book, Release It!/Web Operations, and so on. Favorite co-host: Souders!

“Send us your comments!  Except about the wi-fi!” Actually it’s working OK so far this morning. Show is good, though they added yet another ‘vendor track’ which is unfortunate.  They have a front end dev track, an ops track, and a mobile track.  Last year they added a fourth track – “vendor talks.”  This year there is another fifth track – “more vendor talks.” Boo, let’s make space for real content.

Gamedays On The Obama Campaign

@dylanr on revamping the Obama site 18 mos. before election day.  40 engineers in 7 teams, ~300 repos, 200 deployed products, 3000 servers (AWS), millions of hits a day, million volunteers, 8000 staff. He had redone threadless’ site and was on to the next big thing!

Plan, build, execute, get out the vote.

Planning is the not-fast dreamtime. But for the tech folks, it means start building the blocks.

Build is when everyone starts building teams and soliciting $. Then tech builds the apps.

Execute is when everyone starts using it all, more and more of everything. Tech starts getting feedback (been building blind till now).

Get out the vote – final 4-day sprint. For tech, this means scale. A couple orders of magnitude in that span.

Funny picture of a “Don’t Fuck This Up” cake.  [Ed: That was my second standing order for my old WebOps team.  1. Make It Happen, 2. Don’t Fuck Up, 3. There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the standard way.]

They got one shot at this. So how do you do it?

Talk to your stakeholders, but they want every feature ever.  But working is better.  No feature is better than having a working app.  So frame the conversation as “if things fail what still needs to work?” Graceful degradation.

Failure – you can try to make it not fail, and learn to deal with failure.  You should do some of the former but not delude yourself into not doing the latter.  But not just the tech – make the team resilient to failure via practice.

“Game day” 6 weeks pre-election.  Prod-size staging, simulate, break and react. Two week hardening sprint and then on game day had a long agenda of “things to break.”  He lied about the order and timing though.

Devops (aggressors) vs engineers (defenders), organized in campfire, maintaining updated google doc

Learned that there were broken things we thought were fixed, learned what failure really looks like, how things fail, how to fix it

Made runbooks

They had a stressful day, went home, came back in – and databases started failing! AWS failure.  Utilized the runbooks and were good.

Build resilient apps by planning for failure, defining what matters, making your plan clear to stakeholders, and fail to the things that matter. And resilient teams – practice failing and learn from it, use your instruction manual.

Ops School

Check it!  Etsy and O’Reilly video classes on  how to be an ops engineer! Oh. They’ll be for sale, I got excited for a minute thinking it would be a free way to get a whole generation of ops engineers trained from schools etc. that know nothing about ops.  Guess not.  Damn.

W3C Web Performance Working Group Status

Arvind from Google gives us an update on the W3C. The web perf working group is working on navigation timing, user timing, page visibility, resource priorities, client side error logging, and other fundamental standards that will help with web performance measurement and improvement.  Good stuff if very boringly presented, but that’s standards groups for you.

Eliminating Web Site Performance Theft

Neustar tells us the world is online and brand reputation and revenue are at stake.  Quite.

Performance can affect your reputation and revenue!  Quite.

This talk is a great one for vaguely befuddled director level and above types, not the experts at this conference.  Twitter agrees.

Mobitest, the Latest

Akamai has cell nodes and devices for Mobitest, you can become a webpagetest node on your phone!  If you have an unlimited data plan😛 The app is waiting on release in the App Store. See mobitest.akamai.com for more.

If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Ops

Go to techleadershipnews.com and get Kate’s newsletter!

Influence – Gangster style!

How do you earn respect and influence without authority? Even if you’re not a “manager” you need to be able to do this to get things done.

You want people to hear what you have to say – need 3 things.

  • Accountability
  • Everyone is your ally
  • Reciprocity

Accountability – lead by example. Be the person who can get “it” done.  Always followed through on commitments. Generates the graph of trust. Treat everyone with respect. Be a reliable person. Be a superstar – always be hustling.

Everyone is an ally – make them your friend. It’s a small world. Who was nice to you? Who made you feel bad?  How about in return? Make every interaction positive.

Reciprocity – all about giving. You get what you give. What is your currency?  What do you have of value with others and how can you share it? How can you improve the lives of other people?

Success is about people. Influence is success.  Yay Kate!

Lightning Demos

httparchive and BigQuery

@igrigorik from Google about httparchive.org which crawls the Web twice a month and keeps stats. It’s all freely available for download – a subset is shown online at the site.

Google built Dremel, which is an interactive ad hoc query system for analysis of read only nested data.  So they put BigQuery + http archive! Go to bigquery.cloud.google.com and it’s in there! Most comon JS framework (jquery btw)? Median page load times? You can query it all.

In Google Docs you can script and make them interoperate (like send an email when this spreadsheet gets filled in).  Created dynamic query straight to bigquery. Oh look, dynamic graph! bit.ly/ha-query for more!

Patrick Meenan on Webpagetest

You can now do a tcpdump with your test! (Advanced tab). He shows an analysis with cloudshark – wireshark in the cloud! Nice.

Patrick Lightbody from New Relic

Real user monitoring is cool. newrelic.com/platform

Steve Reilly from Riverbed/Aptimize

An application aware infrastructure? We have abstractions for some layers – middleware, compute, storage – but not really for transport.  Software defined networking will be the next “washing” trend. It’s just a transport abstraction. Then we can make the infrastructure a function of the application. “Middle boxes” are now app fetures – GSLB, WAFs, etc.

Slightly confusing at this point – a lot of abstract words and not enough concrete.  Which is better than a thinly disguised product pitch, so still better than yesterday!

Decentralized decisionmaking… Location is no longer a constraint but a feature.  This makes me think of Facebook’s talk yesterday with Sonar and rewriting DNS/GTM/LB.

Jonathan LeBlanc from Paypal on API Design

Started with SOAP/XML SOA. But then the enlightenment happened and REST made your life less sucky and devs more efficient.

“Sure we support REST!  You can GET and POST!” Boo. And also religious REST principle following, instead of innovation.

Our lessons learned: Lower perceived latency, use HTTP properly, build in automation, offload complexity.

With no details this was very low value.

 

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