Build resilient systems at scale
28–30 October 2015 • Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Beyond ad-hoc automation: Leveraging structured platforms

Bridget Kromhout (Microsoft)
14:40–15:20 Friday, 30/10/2015
Location: Emerald Room
Average rating: ***..
(3.14, 21 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Prerequisite Knowledge

Some familiarity will AWS will be helpful.


What is your platform? Everyone has one, whether it’s Docker wrapped in config management wrapped in thousand-line fabfiles, bespoke artisanal hand-crafted shell scripts… or both! What promises can your platform make and keep? What contract does your platform provide to your applications? Does your platform deliver value rapidly, reliably, at scale… or has it become a burden unto itself? Perhaps a bit of both?

Continuous delivery has gone from an aspirational nice-to-have to a must-have capability for staying competitive at the edge of innovation. Nearly every automation project sets out to provide self-service deployments for developers with visibility and reliability for operations. Whether using configuration management or embracing containers to package workloads, we need a long list of capabilities to fill gaps in the automation. How do you provision infrastructure? Who can provision? How much? How do you deploy? Who can do deployments? What can even get deployed? What about canary deploys? Rolling deployments? Monitoring? Metrics? Fault detection? Fault remediation? Everyone across the industry has needed to handcraft a platform specific to thei organization. (I’ve done it. I bet you have too.)

The operational needs of a continuously delivered microservice architecture bring with them new considerations and constraints. If the cost of deploying and operating a service is high, in terms of time or resources, deploying more things more frequently sounds like a really bad idea. The era of ad-hoc automation is coming to an end as the patterns of cloud native organizations who move quickly and safely are becoming more apparent. Between rolling your own from open-source components and implementing a turn-key platform solution, a vast array of choices exists. I’ll talk about where I’ve been (spoiler alert: containers in production without hype) and what I’ve learned on this journey.

Photo of Bridget Kromhout

Bridget Kromhout


Bridget Kromhout is a principal cloud advocate at Microsoft. Her CS degree emphasis was in theory, but she now deals with the concrete (if the cloud can be considered tangible). After 15 years as an operations engineer, Bridget traded being on call for being on a plane. A frequent speaker and program committee member for tech conferences, she leads the Devopsdays organization globally and the DevOps community at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She podcasts with Arrested DevOps, blogs at, and is active in a Twitterverse near you.