Eric D. Schabell: Devoxx UK 2023 - Tracing Adventures, Observability Architecture, and Tales

Monday, January 16, 2023

Devoxx UK 2023 - Tracing Adventures, Observability Architecture, and Tales

Anyone that follows my events and speaking articles knows that I have always been a big fan of the Devoxx series. Across Europe I've spoken as several of these events over the years and one of my absolute favorites is the Devoxx UK hosted in London.

Last year I was in London in May for the 2022 edition talking about architecture and tooling. This year they are hosting it from 10-11 May 2023 and I am more than excited to bring some of the new topics I'm exploring within the cloud native observability world to share with her attendees.

In the spirit of continued support for Devoxx UK, I'm not only sending in papers for my own talks, but I've enticed a few new and old colleagues to submit papers with me.

The following are my thoughts and ideas that I'm hoping to share with you in London in the Spring.

This first talk is with my new colleague Paige Cruz, a retired SRE and current Senior Developer Advocate at Chronosphere. She's very focused on tracing and all that goes with that at scale in a cloud native world. We have some ideas that you might be interested in exploring with us in this talk.

Tracing Adventures from Pull Request to Production in a Cloud Native World 

Many things can go awry on the journey from pull request (PR) open to merge to production deployment. Issues can arise from the application code, layers of YAML configuration, underlying infrastructure or pipeline logic itself. How can distributed tracing and trace-derived metrics bring developers and operators together for troubleshooting paradise? We'll unpack a deploy gone bad from both vantage points, gaining an empathy for the engineer who needs to deploy their changes and an operations engineer who is responsible for keeping the CI/CD system up and running. With signals from openTelemetry we will demonstrate how increasing the observability of your deploy system can facilitate better collaboration and quicker troubleshooting.

Key takeaways:

  • Tracing has use beyond production apps - helpful to follow the path from PR to production
  • Developers and SRE have different understandings and mental models of that path which can make troubleshooting difficult and long-running
  • Tracing the deploy pipelines can help developers determine issues they can address
  • Trace derived metrics can help operators determine infrastructure/build system issues to address

The second talk I've submitted is about how to make an impact with your stories and effect change within your organization. It's so important that we all are able to tell our stories, so join me for a tour of how you can start telling your tales of production effectively.

Telling Effective Tales about Production

Storytelling is as old as time itself…. Since the beginning of humankind, we share our experiences, we teach, we inspire, we relate to stories as told all around us. How can we learn to use this powerful mechanism to tell effective tales about our production environments when dealing with our management teams? 

Learn how humans listen to stories (tales) more than they pay attention to pages of charts, dashboards, and data. If you want to learn how to make sure your message lands and how to effectively manage upwards in your organization, this is the session for you. Attendees will depart with a small yet powerful set of actionable examples that almost ensure your stories will capture management's attention. One thing is certain, stories are being told, but what are your production stories and how can you become adept at telling them? 

Key takeaways - attendees to this session will be given a small yet powerful set of examples to help them effectively manage upwards in their organization. Humans listen to stories (tales) more than they pay attention to pages of charts, dashboards, and data. Learn how to tell your production stories and ensure your message lands with your management.

Finally, I'm teaming up with an old friend Marius Bogoevici, a Chief Architect at Red Hat working in the specific domain of financial services. In the past we put together some really interesting architectures that focused on use cases within financial services, but this time around we wanted to bring in some of the new cloud native observability stories I can share. 

Going beyond observability for running complex applications at cloud native scale

For many organizations, reliance on business-critical applications that need to be running 24/7, at scale, and with great resiliency has become a way of life. Among examples from many industries, the payments use case from financial services is one of the most illustrative: customers and merchants increasingly rely on real-time payments systems to carry out their day-to-day interactions.

This talk is based on real researched customer solutions focusing on open standards and open source tooling in the real-time payments domain as a foundation to discuss the problems of quickly identifying and remediating faults in complex business-critical applications. In such scenarios, it is not enough to simply collect, visualize, and aggregate data, but also to conquer the data overload and separate signal from noise.

Finally, the attendee will be presented with the observability pitfalls of running real-time payments at cloud native scale. We’ll share the challenges with observability data when using open source tooling like Prometheus, PromQL, OpenTelemetry and their open standards when your solution reaches true cloud native scale. Attendees take home actionable insights based on a real life large scale cloud native deployment and observability solutions.

Key takeaways - attendees to this session will learn about the challenges to be faced when implementing solutions at cloud native scale, based on a real-time payments use case supported by multiple researched customer solutions. They will leave with actionable insights for their cloud native observability and solution architectures.

I'm already looking forward to meeting again at the amazing venue that is Devoxx UK, so fingers crossed!

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