DevOps at Netflix: Posted and Upcoming Talks

I’ll be talking about DevOps at Netflix next week at JavaOne. In the meantime, I wanted to highlight some amazing talks that are already out there that go deep in some areas that I won’t.

In particular, check out these talks from AWS:Reinvent.

I hope to see some of you next Tuesday (11 am) or Wednesday (10 am) in San Francisco.

Highlights of Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2015

I’m writing this on the last day of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I truly wanted to attend my co-worker Lilit Yenokyan’s talk today, A Fine Line: Balancing Motherhood and Career, but instead I’m actually making good on that advice and heading home a day early because I haven’t been home all week.

I cannot express how inspiring it is to have spent the week with 12,000 women in technology. In a field that is still horribly underrepresented by women, it’s absolutely critical to bring together this critical mass to visualize those who are in the field. Maybe a picture will help …


Also at the conference, Netflix sponsored a Professional Development Leadership Workshop focusing on Showcasing your Work, specifically giving your first lightning talk. I had the privilege of introducing the topic, which is near and dear to my heart. I have both attended and presented lightning talks and I think that they are a great way to get people interested in something you’re passionate about. Getting more women to showcase their ideas and to get on stage is one of the motivations for the conference, and I’m glad that Netflix was able to participate in this way.

There were many great talks and keynotes, but the highlight of my week was Sheryl Sandberg’s keynote. I can only describe it as amazing, inspiring, and thoughtful conversation. The interview that followed with the incredibly talented and funny Nora Denzel was insightful and fun.

In both, Sheryl offered 3 pieces of advice to the audience:

I’ve done the “Three Things” on and off, and I think it’s definitely worth trying.  I suspect one of my coworkers from Netflix has already created a circle (can’t wait to get back to see!), and, of course, I agree with her advice to stay in tech. I’ll mirror what Sheryl said: Our jobs are impactful, well-paid, and flexible.

And men, here’s a call to action for you. If you’re in tech, I hope that you will encourage your wives, sisters, daughters, nieces and friends to go into computer science or stay in the industry. There are more of you, so the numbers game says that your involvement will increase our numbers faster. I hope you’ll help.



Why is Netflix at Grace Hopper this week?

If you’re at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing this week, you’re not alone. There are 12,000 people here! Wow! What a difference from the Michigan Celebrates Women in Computing conference I attended several years back, held at a remote Michigan State Biological station.

But — why is Netflix here? Why are other tech companies here?

Our industry is at a crossroads. We all compete for great talent to solve the interesting and difficult technical problems that we all face. And when we don’t reach women, we make this problem even harder. Why have women been underrepresented in our field? Perhaps women haven’t embraced the field because we haven’t accurately represented what it means to be a computer scientist in 2015. And it’s our job to help grow that awareness. I want women to know what it’s like to work at Netflix, of course, but I mostly want women to know the wide variety of problems and the diverse career that computer science can offer.

So — that’s why we’re here. We want to understand how the 12,000 women who are here are thinking about our industry. And we want to support them in their career growth and aspirations. And we even have a few really cool hoodies to give away.

Netflix is sponsoring a Professional Development Leadership Workshop today (Wednesday), from 10:30-12:30 and from 1:15-3:15 in the Grand Ballroom C, on Level 3. The topic is “Showcase Your Work: How to Give Your First Lighting Talk”. Please join us!

Netflix at DockerCon

Netflix at DockerCon

If you’re attending DockerCon in San Francisco this week and have been wondering what Netflix is up to with Docker, be sure to find us at the conference!

We’ve had an incredible journey with Docker over the past year. We’re running production batch applications in thousands of containers within the cloud and we’re moving toward running parts of our mission critical infrastructure as well. We’re going to share with you our work and experiences running Docker reliably at scale in Diptanu Choudhury’s talk “Reliably shipping containers in a resource rich world using Titan.”

In addition to Diptanu’s talk, several other Netflixers will be on hand to talk about how we do deployments and infrastructure. Vasanth Asokan can talk about how we are planning to expand our use of Docker; he can talk at length on the interesting aspects of containers at Netflix. And we’re definitely hiring to meet these needs. Andrew Spyker and Naresh Gopalani will represent Platform Services. They’re hiring for engineers to join Diptanu in developing Titan.  Dianne Marsh and Andy Glover represent Engineering Tools, and have 3 roles open: an engineering manager for Cloud Tools, a senior software engineer for Cloud Tools and a full stack senior software engineer for Delivery Engineering.

Find us! In addition to talking about the jobs listed above, we may even have stickers and, of course, monkeys.

You Did an Hour of Code … Now What?

This week, kids and parents and schools around the country are celebrating Computer Science Education Week with an Hour of Code. Even President Obama got involved, writing a little Javascript. But beyond writing code in school for an hour, what’s a parent to do to keep that excitement going?

Writing on a White Computer Keyboard

Here are some ideas:

  • The Khan Academy has some one hour lessons. Try Javascript or HTML/CSS!
  • The Python for Kids book is a great introduction for parents and kids alike. Programming books are often written badly, but I think that this one is well done.
  • Scratch Programming is all the rage at the elementary school level. Our local school is teaching a class which pretty closely follows this book.
  • Carnegie Mellon created the Alice Programming language for kids.

And, if you want to be the coolest mom (or dad) around, show your Minecraft kid how to program mods. First, read up on Minecraft mods on Wired. Next, here are some places to check out:

Hopefully that took you beyond the first few hours of coding and you made it fun!

P.S. There’s nothing saying that parents can’t do this … without the kids.

Continuous Delivery and Open Source: Taking it on the Road

I’m honored to be speaking at two conferences this week. First, I’ll be at the Open Business Conference in San Francisco.  Matt Asay is not only the VP of Business Development and Strategy at MongoDB, but he’s also one of the founders of the Open Business Conference. When he reached out and asked me to speak, I was honored and thrilled to be able to say yes. I’ll be speaking on how Netflix has woven together open source components to build a continuous delivery platform. Furthermore, other companies are able to use these projects as well, and build solutions that meet their needs. At Netflix, we’re pretty happy to provide these artifacts of our technology business practices to the community. We’ve benefitted from open source software as well, and it’s great to be able to contribute to the ecosystem. The Open Business Conference runs Monday and Tuesday. My talk is on Tuesday: “Continuous Delivery at Netflix: From Code to the Monkeys”. I’ll be participating in a town hall meeting in the afternoon as well.

And when Michael Keeling reached out to me about the SATURN 2014 conference, I was equally thrilled and excited. I was crushed when I realized that it was the same week as the Open Business Conference. With some clever finagling with both family and at work, I realized I could do both. So I’ll be delivering a keynote at SATURN on Thursday morning, “Engineering Velocity: Continuous Delivery at Netflix”.

So while I won’t get to spend as much time at either conference as I would like, I will get to attend both and only miss 2 bedtimes and 1 morning with my kids. And my team will rock through the week without me.  Hope to see many of you at one place or the other!

Michigan, Michigan Tech, and Netflix … oh my!

I was thrilled that the Michigan Tech Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley was able to make a stop at Netflix. My co-worker, Roy Rapoport, and I had some fun conversations with the students and I’m looking forward to their LinkedIn requests when they get settled back into life in the Copper Country. Oh, and fun tidbit — MTU was recognized in the “Top 20 Public Colleges with the Smartest Students” by Business Insider this week. Congrats to my alma mater!

And, this week, Evan Hauck stopped by Netflix to visit. He’s in town from Southwest Michigan to speak at the GPU Conference in San Jose. I first met Evan when he spoke at CodeMash Conference, two years ago. He’s doing some really interesting work on mass spectrometry while co-oping at Leco Corporation in St. Joseph, MI. What’s so unusual about Evan is that he’s a high school senior this year. A-mazing. Oh, and the connection with the Michigan Tech blurb above? Evan will attend Michigan Tech next year, and will study Computer Science. That “smartest students” thing is definitely getting a boost from Evan. Looking forward to seeing him on the Spring Break trip in a few years!



Prerequisites for Netflix Precompilers at CodeMash

In CodeMash-speak, we call the tutorials “precompilers”. If you’re planning to join the Netflix precompilers on Wednesday, here are the prerequisites (downloads, mostly) so that you’ll be ready to get started immediately. We only have 4 hours and lots to do!

Architecting for the Cloud: Hands on With NetflixOSS
Sudhir Tonse
Wednesday, January 8, 8:30-12:30

Browser (preferably Chrome or Safari as Netflix Asgard will not work with Firefox)
JDK 1.6 or later (Oracle SDK peferred)
gradle (See
(*) git (see
(*) Your favorite IDE. Instructions will be in Eclipse (Juno or later)
Gradle plugin recommended
(*) Apache Tomcat 7.X

The items marked in (*) are optional.
Git is used to clone the existing NetflixOSS repositories. If you dont have git installed, please download
IDE: Although useful you may also follow along with vi/emacs/<your favorite text editor> as well. We will use gradle to build and run the apps

Setting up your Environment for the AWS Cloud using Netflix OSS
Joe Sondow and Peter Sankauskas
Wednesday, January 8, 1:30-5:30

Your own AWS account (you can convert a shopping account), with Billing and Payments enabled.
Access to AWS console
git installed
Your favorite text editor.

We’ll walk you through the rest!

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Netflix schedule at CodeMash

If you’re interested in the cloud and how you might leverage Netflix OSS to migrate your company without starting from scratch, you won’t want to miss the Netflix sessions at CodeMash (January 7-10 in Sandusky, OH). We’ll talk about technology, culture, open source, and how they all fit together to make a great product and an amazing work environment.

Yes, I joined Netflix this year, and I’m thrilled that Sudhir Tonse, Roy Rapoport, Jeremy Edberg, and Joe Sondow will be experiencing their first CodeMash. And it’s gonna be a doozy — starting with snow-delayed travel. And, I’m also ecstatic that veteran CodeMash speaker and entrepreneur Andy Glover has joined Netflix (about a month ago!), and will be speaking as well.

Sudhir and Joe are doing a One/Two punch on precompilers. Sudhir will whet your appetite for NetflixOSS in a morning session on Wednesday. Through a test account, you will be able to quickly experience several NetflixOSS projects in “Architecting for the Cloud: Hands on with NetflixOSS”. If you’re sold on the concept, you can join Joe Sondow for an afternoon session, “Setting up your Environment for the AWS Cloud using Netflix OSS”, which will focus on bootstrapping NetflixOSS. We’ll use Peter Sankauskas’ Netflix CloudPrize winning contribution for usability: bootstrapping NetflixOSS with Ansible Playbooks and Cloud Formation templates. And, Peter will join us as a special guest!

We’ll help kick off the conference by joining a panel on “Open Source in Business” on Wednesday night at 7 pm.

You’ll also meet Jeremy Edberg, who will talk about architecting resiliency through failure in “How Netflix Architects for Survival” and how we created a system that allows us to reduce the bureaucracy around system changes while improving how we resolve problems in “Following the Changing Weather of the Clouds”.

Roy Rapoport leads our Insight Engineering team, a team that collects a lot of data and collates it into information then translates that into insights. He will talk about how Python showed up at Netflix and how our focus on Freedom and Responsibility made that possible. His talk is entitled, “Python in the Back Door: How We Brought Python into Netflix”.

And I’ll be sharing Roy’s theme about how programming languages evolve at Netflix, doing a variation of the talk I did at OSCON, “Sneaking Scala Through the Back Door”. Coincidentally, Roy’s team is almost exclusively Scala!

And — we’ll have a vendor session on Thursday, where we will talk about NetflixOSS in an open discussion format. Ask questions about getting started, why we do it, how the culture works. We’ll be there.

Here’s a PDF of the scheduled Netflix talks.

Looking forward to seeing you. Safe travels to Ohio!