In April, C2C hosted its first 2Gather event in the Atlanta, Georgia area, a unique installment of the Let’s Talk Tech series, cohosted with Google Cloud and featuring Google Principal Developer Advocate Kelsey Hightower. Kelsey joined a roster of distinguished speakers including Alex Barnes, Head of Infrastructure at Calendly, Russ Ayres, Senior Vice President of Security Architecture and Engineering at Equifax, and Rae Williams, Director of Customer Engineering at Google, for a full program of conversations tackling some of the biggest issues facing the cloud technology space today. Read on below for a roundup of some of the terms, products, and themes the conversations covered.
Open source: Any software whose source code is freely available to all users for collaborative review. Russ and Alex are both sympathizers with open source philosophy, and Kelsey is a veteran of the open source community. In his words, “When you go out into the open-source world, you get to define technology for the world.”
Serverless: A cloud computing model allowing customers to access resources allocated by providers on demand without having to interact with a server, which Kelsey called “The final chapter of a mature compute pattern.”
Platform engineering: Streamlining infrastructure to make tools and services immediately available to teams for operation and use. According to Alex, platform engineering allows an organization to “present all capabilities as things you can consume programmatically to unlock velocity.”
Configuration management: The process for ensuring that products and systems maintain the same design and perform the same way. Russ contrasted configuration management from policy with the mantra, “If it was appropriately written it would be following the policy.”
Google’s open-source containerization solution for software deployment and scaling has been setting standards and unlocking potential in the cloud space for nearly a decade. Kelsey’s history with Kubernetes is well known, and Rae made sure to capitalize on the opportunity to press him for his comments in front of a live audience. For context, Kelsey compared Kubernetes to contemporary projects in DevOps, insisting that DevOps engineers too often miss the forest for the trees. “What Kubernetes represents is a ten-year-old pattern for assigning software to servers,” he said. “It’s the system you would build if you had the big picture.”
Calendly is a business communication platform offering unique scheduling solutions for organizations looking to maximize efficiency. Head of Infrastructure Alex Barnes joined Aiven Vice President of Product Marketing Amy Krishnamohan (
Alex expanded on these comments via email after event. “The partnership with Aiven and Google Cloud has allowed us to build a robust cloud data infrastructure that can handle the demands of our users,” he told C2C. “And it has given us the flexibility to scale up quickly, without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure.”
Predictably, many members of the audience were excited to ask questions about recent developments in AI. Kelsey was quick to dispel any notions that AI is going to make tech professionals irrelevant or push them out of the market. Instead, he said, AI is providing a new baseline for innovation. When looking at generative AI solutions like ChatGPT, Kelsey said, users and developers should ask, “What is the dataset, and where is that dataset created?” Tech practitioners can still develop new solutions beyond the limits of the datasets used to train these products. “If ChatGPT can generate the code,” Kelsey told the audience, “It means we need a different interface.”
Security was the main focus of Russ’s comments during the customer panel with Alex and Kelsey. As Senior Vice President of Security Architecture and Engineering at Equifax, Russ is responsible for securing highly sensitive personal data at one of the leading financial services organizations. However, Russ originally came to security as a developer. Coming from that background, Russ believes that “Good security is good engineering,” and vice versa. “Most security solutions try to be everything to everyone,” he added. From his point of view, though, teams should aim to build with purpose on the front end so that solutions are designed to run efficiently and at scale with minimal risk.
Hear from more industry leaders on these topics and join the conversation in person at our upcoming 2Gather event in Los Angeles: