Armon Dadgar on HashiCorp Research, the Evolution of Infrastructure Tooling, and Standardisation
Published August 2, 2019
22 min
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    On this podcast, we’re talking to Armon Dadgar, co-founder and CTO of HashiCorp. Alongside Mitchell Hashimoto, Armon founded HashiCorp over six years ago, and the company has gone from strength to strength, with their open source infrastructure product suite now consisting of Consul, Nomad, Vault and Terraform. We discuss the formation of the HashiCorp research division, and explore some of the computer science research underpinning Consul and Nomad. We also cover the challenges of supporting teams when they are looking to embrace new modes of working with dynamic infrastructure, and Armon introduces the new educational website and accompanying community and support forums. Why listen to this podcast: - There is a lot of fundamental computer science research that underpins the HashiCorp infrastructure workflow and configuration tooling. This helps to ensure that these mission-critical tools perform as expected, and enables sound reasoning about scaling these technologies. - The HashiCorp founders recognised the value of creating an industrial research-focused department within the company even when there were only 30 staff. - The Consul service mesh and distributed key value store leverages consensus and gossip algorithms from computer science research, Raft and SWIM, respectively. The HashiCorp team contributed a novel research-based improvement to SWIM -- Lifeguard: SWIM-ing with Situational Awareness -- that was presented at the DSN academic conference - Initially HashiCorp produced a new tool every 6-12 months, focusing on filling gaps within the infrastructure workflow tooling market. Now the focus is on refining the operator/user experience of the existing tools, creating more integrations with other platforms and tooling, and facilitating engineering teams adopting these tools, via the creation of educational resources and community forums. - Standardisation within computing technology can offer many benefits, especially where interoperability is required or technology switching costs are high. Care must be taken to ensure the correct interfaces are created, and that the time is right to create appropriate abstractions. - The HashiCorp team are focusing on "marching up the stack", with the goal that a lot of the underlying "plumbing" should be hidden from, or easily configurable by, application developers. This will allow developers to focus on adding value related to their business or organisation, rather than getting stuck with managing infrastructure. More on this: Quick scan our curated show notes on InfoQ You can also subscribe to the InfoQ newsletter to receive weekly updates on the hottest topics from professional software development. Subscribe: Like InfoQ on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: Follow on LinkedIn: Check the landing page on InfoQ:
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