As we’re preparing to arrive at Kubecon with new capabilities, sessions, and a growing breadth of knowledge of Kubernetes and cloud-native architecture, we took some time to catch up with our Senior Sales Engineer Solomon Murungu on what he’s most excited about for the event.
What are you excited about seeing and doing at Kubecon and CloudNativeCon in Detroit?
This will be my maiden trip to both CloudNativeCon and KubeCon which bring together thought leaders and practitioners to discuss how organizations are addressing application modernization challenges as they de-emphasize monolithic applications in favor of microservice based architectures which have a broad set of requirements including configuration management, resource handling, autoscaling, load balancing and container management to name a few. To address these requirements, Kubernetes has become the dominant technology.
I am excited to hear from DevOps and DevSecOps and other practitioners, what their journeys are or have been, what their challenges are, and the solutions they are looking for to manage and secure their entire software supply chain.
Kubernetes being the epicenter of these conferences and knowing that many organizations have either deployed or will be deploying various tools to manage, support and secure their microservice/container enabled platforms, I will be interested in hearing the degree to which they are looking for visibility, compliance and security in those containers. Obviously different organizations have varying maturity levels and hearing the challenges and needs of these organizations at different points in their journey will be very interesting. DevOps and DevSecOps engineers are the tip of the spear when it comes to developing, deploying, and securing applications in the Kubernetes environment and their insights, experiences and needs will be invaluable information.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, being an umbrella for and sponsor of many open source projects brings a myriad of projects many of which augment and enhance Kubernetes, so it will be interesting to hear what the hottest projects are.
Definitely, and not only do those things happen in an event like this, but they happen with customers pretty much on a day to day basis. One of the things I have to really commend our company for is how nimble, fast, and responsive they are to customer needs. Oftentimes, when we do a POC, customers will say to us “it would be really nice to be able to do xyz” and it will happen very quickly.
For example, a couple of months ago I was at re:Inforce in Boston and one of the recurring themes was customers wanted to be able to explore a capability we did not yet have, and it was afterwards passed to the engineering team, quickly put on the front burner, and is now something that we will be releasing very shortly. So I think the power, beauty, and value of going to these conferences is also to hear what the trends are, sift through, and pick the winners to ensure we include those as part of our platform.
Would you say the nimbleness and agility required to create new product functionality for customers is a testament to our engineering team, as well as the power of our platform's capabilities?
I would say yes, both. As you know we build our platform so it is engineered to be able to ingest telemetry from multiple attack surfaces, so when a new attack surface comes up it is very easy for us to adapt our sensor, collect high fidelity telemetry, and bring it into the data engineering pipeline. Because we build such that the enrichment of the data, the normalization of the data, and the detection of any anomalies is built in, it makes it very easy for us to do that.
As for the engineering side, Ganesh has always been very particular about being customer focused. I think that’s one thing that is very unique and different about this company. Not only is Uptycs unique, but we talk about being customer focused and actually do it. Everybody likes to be customer focused, but it’s one thing to say and another to actually do. I’ve worked in other organizations and it doesn’t always happen that way. I really like the position where both you and I can text Ganesh and say ‘hey this is what’s happening.’ I’ve worked in various organizations where there were probably 15 levels with multiple chains I had to work through in order to get to someone who could actually listen to what the customer wants. So yes I think the way we’ve actually engineered our platform, as well as the desire to be customer focused are the two key elements to our success.
This is interesting because my initial impression of attending these events was that they were an opportunity to showcase our product to prospective customers, but you're saying they're equally valuable in their opportunity to learn what areas and ways our product can expand.
Definitely, I think showcasing what we’re able to do is also very very important, but as you know we’re there, potential customers are there, there are people there who are actually using these technologies, as well as other solutions. So it’s always also very important to get a good overview of the hot button issues across our entire prospective customer base, and competitors, and so on.
If there was one thing you would tell a prospective customer about what differentiates Uptycs from competitors, what would it be?
The fact that we have a high performance sensor. It’s very unique. It’s a high performance sensor that consumes very little resources on the customers endpoint, and when we’re talking about osquery that we deploy on an endpoint and how we’ve adapted that to provide an API desk integration for things like cloud providers AWS and the Kubernetes control plane, we have very strategically required that the data that is pulled from them be very high fidelity and usable immediately. And that’s something very powerful.
We check the data and store it in our historical flight recorder and are able to give customers the best of both worlds. If they want to be able to look at the data as it exists on the endpoints as well as go back and look at things as they existed in the past, we have the ability to do that. And when you are a customer who is investigating an incident, first and foremost, you need a very rich data set. You want to be able to say ‘I want to know the state of a particular endpoint or particular asses as it existed at a particular point in the past with as much data surrounding that incident as possible,” and I think that’s one thing that really differentiates us from anybody in this space. At least the last time I checked, we are the only organization that is providing our customers with that level of detail.
Beyond individual and respective customer challenges, is there anything else you're excited to learn about in the Kubernetes space in general?
I think this conference brings a lot of people and a lot of ideas. The cloud native conference is about exchanging ideas and learning so there are going to be a lot of different sessions that are talking about new ideas, new products, and new tools that compliment or augment Kubernetes in the many different projects that are out there. Being able to see what those tools are is going to be very interesting. And as I mentioned this is my first time so being able to hopefully see and meet some of the people that I’ve watched or read on paper is going to be interesting.
One of the things I have worked on is the idea of doing Kubernetes the hard way, or in other words, you can either build a Kubernetes cluster by doing a bunch of clicks in AWS or Azure or you can bootstrap it one resource at a time and it’s a very interesting and time consuming effort. Thanks to the gentleman named Kelsey Hightower who put this idea together many years ago and has become the de facto way for people to lend Kubernetes internal, my suspicion is he’s going to be there, and I am certainly looking forward to meeting him and other godfathers of Kubernetes so to speak.