Monthly Archives: May 2013

Conformity Monkey: now open sourced

This week, Netflix open sourced yet another member of the Simian Army: Conformity Monkey. This monkey is charged with inspecting Amazon Machine Images (AMI) to determine if they meet the rules that we have specified.  At Netflix they range from ensuring that security guidelines are met to specifying failover information.

By open sourcing Conformity Monkey, Netflix has made this software widely available so that your guidelines can be specified as rules in your configuration. As standards emerge for cloud deployment, it can be a confusing place for new developers. The use of Conformity Monkey can help structure your environment around emerging best practices, developed internally or in the community as a whole.

Let us know how you might be able to use Conformity Monkey by commenting on the announcement post. We would love to hear from you.

Netflix is hiring for the Simian Army team. Join us to work on the monkeys!


Open Source Software at Netflix

Netflix has decided to open source many projects, contributing to the mindshare for cloud development. Follow the Netflix Tech Blog for the latest news, but I’ll also highlight things that I think might be interested as I have time.

The Simian Army is Netflix’s solution to keeping your cloud working well. From the Chaos Monkey (which improves your overall, long-term resiliency by shutting down your instances) to the Janitor Monkey (which detects and cleans up instances you no longer need), the Simian Army is worth investigating if you use the Amazon cloud. It’s available as open source, so you can use it and even choose to contribute.

Today, another team at Netflix open sourced Garbage Collection Visualization (gcviz). Being able to look at garbage collection as events is essential to understanding its impact on outages.

Oh, and if you REALLY like the Simian Army, maybe you will come join my team. We’re hiring for work on the Simian Army and Edda.

Ann Arbor Scala User Group to meet May 15

While I will be out of town, Nathan Dotz of Detroit Labs has graciously offered to help manage the Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts Group. The meeting scheduled for May 15 will continue as planned, with the Scala Koans. The koans are a way to learn Scala in a self-paced way, either in a group or individually.

The meeting will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 15, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.


New Adventures: Managing (my) career …

One of my favorite topics is career management. I like to remind those that I mentor that they need to be in charge of their careers. I’ve said that while your employer may manage your job, the responsibility for making sure that The Next Big Thing is in line with what YOU want to do is solely yours. At my keynote at 1DevDay in 2011, I described how to manage your career path, and gave examples of I have been actively managing mine through speaking, continual learning, and community participation. My book, Atomic Scala, co-authored with Bruce Eckel and recently published, satisfied my technical leanings, and participation in local and national conferences (OSCON, CodeMash, and the Java Posse Roundup) was a further demonstration of my commitment to both learning and to professional networking. Guiding your career along a path consistent with your lifelong goals, particularly as they evolve, is a big responsibility and requires active participation.

No one, at any level, should ignore this responsibility. You owe it to yourself and to your organization. If your current position isn’t working for you, either adapt it to work, or find something that does. In Open Spaces conferences, we call this the Law of Two Feet, and it’s quite liberating to apply this thinking broadly.

SRT Solutions recognizes that employees are most effective when fully engaged. This translates to better software, better communication with customers, and to being a better co-worker. And, to being a better boss. Even business owners are not exempt from needing to follow their passions.

So what’s my passion? I like bringing people together and building great software to match what they need. I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do that in my 13 years at SRT, but I’ve decided that I need a new adventure. I could have stayed at the company that Bill Wagner and I built until retirement, but I decided to use the Law of Two Feet to find my next adventure.

I’m excited to say that I will be joining Netflix in Los Gatos, CA, next week as Director of Engineering for Cloud Tools. I will be working with an amazing team as they build software to support cloud deployment and management, used both internally and often released as open source tools to the broad community. I’ll be working with the other teams to ensure that they know what our team builds, and to help ensure that what we build is useful for them. This is an amazing opportunity for me, but not one that I made lightly. It required not only asking Bill to take on full managerial responsibility for SRT but also moving my family across the country. I remain committed to SRT’s success, and to watching the personal and professional growth of the SRT staff.

My nine year old daughter is wise. She said, “Sometimes change is good”. Indeed, indeed it is.