LeaseWeb Tech Summit

Why we organize Hackathons at LeaseWeb

PrivateNetwork_2_ScaleLeaseWeb kicked off its sixth quarterly Hackathon on Thursday, July 21st. The Hackathons are a chance for employees to step outside the usual routine and allow them to get creative, work together in new ways, and have fun. Participants are given two full days and nights to work on any kind of project whether it’s to solve a work problem, learn a new skill, or try out a personal project they’ve had in mind. Whatever it is, they have the complete freedom to try something new with the goal being to present a functional demo at the end of the second day.

Hackathons begin with a presentation where all of the participants gather to kick things off. Everyone receives a Hackathon t-shirt designed specifically for the event and then they hunker down to start work on their projects. Hackathon isn’t just for the engineering department and individuals from all parts of the company are encouraged to participate.
image3Perhaps someone in marketing has been thinking about a new tool that could help them do their job better. They might team up with an engineer to try and create that tool. New ideas and collaborations that might not have otherwise fit into the usual busy schedule are given the opportunity to be developed and tested. Several projects and tools that have been created during Hackathons have been integrated into day to day operations.

After working hard all day Thursday, participants took a break to have dinner and some fun. A barbecue spread was set out and there was plenty of chicken, burgers, salad, and beer to go around. A 45 meter inflatable obstacle course was set up in the parking lot and participants competed with each other to see who could get the best time. The winner completed the course in just over 30 seconds. After a bit more relaxation everyone was ready to get back to working on their projects. Some stayed late into the night and crashed at the office, others went home to grab some sleep before coming back in the next morning to finish up before the afternoon presentations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Abstractions over Scale – interview with Docker

Aanand Prasad, an engineer from Docker, spoke about Abstractions Over Scale and Docker’s open-source software suite at LeaseWeb’s TechSummit in Amsterdam:

We wanted to get a little more insight into how tools like these are affecting the traditional ways of scaling technology:

LeaseWeb: A lot of times you see a gap between the engineers who manage servers and the developers who write the code. Why do you think this issue continues to exist and what are the common problems people face trying to fit two different environments?

Aanand: I think the reason it persists is two-fold: firstly they are dramatically different environments and there are very different problems with completely different concerns, at least underneath. My quixotic endeavor is to make the case that they don’t need to be. Which is an uphill struggle, because usually the job of getting something running in production and the job of getting something running in development are done by completely different people, completely different teams even who might not spend much time talking to each other. It’s nonetheless my hope that with tools like Docker and with abstractions like containers and networks and volumes, we can get to the point where the differences between those environments are minimized.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scaling Our Engineering Department (part 2)

Techsummit by leaseweb in Berlin, 13.4.2016 at Kulturbrauerei. Copyright Raum11/Jan Zappner

This is the second part in a 2-part series. Read part 1.

In my last post I gave an overview of how we started the process of changing the way we do agile development at LeaseWeb by setting goals, engaging our engineering teams, and developing a maturity model to get everyone working to the same standard. In this post I’m going to talk about how we set up our scrum teams, how we get all levels of the business involved in the development process, and how we calculate the cost to provide the most value for the company.

Our current Scrum teams are set up as follows:

  • Product Owner – defines the priorities of the team; responsible for the order in which features are built.
  • Scrum Master – in charge of the scrum process (coach): making sure the team does retrospectives, sprint planning, refinement, coordinating meetings.
  • DevOps – Development and Operations in one team of about 5-8 people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking back at TechSummit Amsterdam 2016

20160602-155855-IMG_9652- Bibi VethLeaseWeb’s annual Amsterdam TechSummit took place on June 2 at the Pakhuis de Zwijger, an old warehouse converted to a high-tech multimedia event center. The summit was sold out with over 315 attendees who came to hear a variety of presentations from professionals focusing on this year’s theme: Designing for Scalability.

Those who attended were a diverse assortment of software developers, operations engineers, and managers from companies both large and small. Many of the attendees were local but a good percentage of them had traveled from other countries including Germany, Spain, and even as far as Liberia. All of them were looking to learn about ways to help them grow not only from a technology perspective but how to scale up their engineering teams and how to anticipate and deal with the issues that result from that growth. The summit also provided a good opportunity to network with peers and learn about the challenges they face and what they’ve learned from past mistakes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Diving deeper into Kubernetes with Google’s Terrence Ryan

20160602-135618-_MG_0513- Bibi VethTerrence Ryan, a developer advocate at Google, gave a talk entitled Containing Chaos With Kubernetes at LeaseWeb’s TechSummit in Amsterdam on June 2nd. We sat down to find out a little bit more about his thoughts on the topic.

Interviewer: What issues are facing engineering departments who have just moved to containers?
Terrence: One of the large issues I’ve seen is how you manage and keep track of them all. Containers are ephemeral, so there is the switching over to the dev practices that supports that.

Having applications and architecture that is fault tolerant in the sense that these containers go away and that should be ok because the data is stored persistently somewhere else. All the app is doing is computing stuff and sending it back to the users. One of the big challenges we’ve seen and one that Kubernetes tends to solve is, “I have all of these containers, how do I keep track of them?” Those are the two problems we see come up. Kubernetes solves the management of the containers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Scaling our engineering departments (part 1)

AdServing_01_FlexibilityIn this blog post I’m going to cover how we are scaling our engineering department at LeaseWeb: where we started, the lessons we’ve learned, and how we are hoping to move forward. LeaseWeb was founded in 1997 and we currently have over 350 employees throughout the world with the majority working at our headquarters in Amsterdam. The engineering department currently has about 100 employees and manages 65,000 servers in seven locations (with more to be added soon).

In the past development was based on shifting priorities rather than planned business cases. Developers weren’t able to concentrate their efforts on thoroughly building, testing, documenting, and presenting a demo for one project before another more urgent one was moved to the head of the line. Operations and Development were working on different schedules and weren’t able to meet each other’s requirements to their mutual satisfaction. We wanted to change this.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Seven Deadly Sins of Web Scale (Part 2)

joshua_web_scale_part_2In this 2-part mini-series, Joshua Hoffman examines some of the common issues companies face when designing for scalability. Read part 1 here.

In my previous blog I looked at what I call the first three sins of web scale – pride (the refusal to use tools not invented here), envy (the desire for a more exciting project) and gluttony (ignoring scope and capacity). Today I’ll discuss the other four sins you need to be aware of when building and deploying your app or product. So without further ado, let’s check them out.

Read the rest of this entry »

The seven deadly sins of web scale (Part 1)

joshua_web_scale_part_1Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work at a variety of different companies both large and small. They each had their own set of unique challenges regarding growth but one thing I noticed with time and experience was that the solutions to the problems they faced were not specific to the company itself. The approaches that were taken and the lessons that were learned could be extrapolated and applied to many of the situations facing a company looking to expand and grow technically.

There is a concept in some religions that before you save a sinner you have to tell them how they have sinned. In other words, if someone doesn’t know what the problem is they won’t be able to change. For a company just starting out, there are no wrong ways to build and deploy your app or product. Once you begin to grow however, you realize there are things you didn’t know and that some or all of the decisions that you made at the beginning were mistakes. This is the point where you need to decide how to address these issues. New companies are started all the time so I decided to draw from my experience to put together what I call the Seven Deadly Sins of Web Scale using seven real world examples from my career.

Read the rest of this entry »

Techsummit Berlin 2016 Podcast: Owning your reliability

Who do you trust? What do you control? What are your dependencies? Reliability in the Internet is an adrenaline adventure but we all want a good night sleep and working service. Adam Surak, DevOps Engineer at Algolia previews some of the reliability nightmares he’s going to discuss at TechSummit Berlin.

TechSummit Berlin takes place on 13 April 2016. Join others from the tech community for a day of informal chat and information exchange – all in the cool surroundings of Berlin. More info, full lineup and tickets: www.techsummit.io/berlin

Techsummit Berlin 2016 preview: Managing secrets at scale

Managing secrets is hard to get right, and can be very expensive if you get it wrong. In our latest podcast, Alex Schoof, principal engineer at Fugue, previews some of the topics he’ll be addressing during his presentation at TechSummit Berlin.

TechSummit Berlin takes place on 13 April 2016. Join others from the tech community for a day of informal chat and information exchange – all in the cool surroundings of Berlin. More info, full lineup and tickets: www.techsummit.io/berlin

LeaseWeb on Twitter

TechSummit DC - Catch our insightful speakers from Google, Skillshare, Netlify, Leaseweb and more! lsw.to/lkZ

test Twitter Media - TechSummit DC - Catch our insightful speakers from Google, Skillshare, Netlify, Leaseweb and more! https://t.co/zTJUhw9xxx https://t.co/sFSe3gnWOc

Get 3 months of Acronis Backup for free with no obligation when you sign up before November 30th! Sign up now lsw.to/lkB

test Twitter Media - Get 3 months of Acronis Backup for free with no obligation when you sign up before November 30th! Sign up now https://t.co/L55JqyNoUb https://t.co/ARPmRp6lIa

Don't miss Cloud Expo Asia! Discover DevOps, Containers and come say hi at booth K80 or make an appointment at: lsw.to/lkQ

test Twitter Media - Don't miss Cloud Expo Asia! Discover DevOps, Containers and come say hi at booth K80 or make an appointment at: https://t.co/MwP8jcAW2l https://t.co/f9stgEHshY

Update: Frontend Developer Meetup moved to October 23rd. All information can be found at lsw.to/lkR

test Twitter Media - Update: Frontend Developer Meetup moved to October 23rd. All information can be found at https://t.co/9STVNY8YCN https://t.co/993hkpfkaj