Building and maintaining complex distributed systems
June 19–20, 2017: Training
June 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

Everything you thought you already knew about orchestration

Laura Frank (Codeship)
2:10pm–2:50pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017
DevOps & Tools
Location: LL21 A/B
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 4 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Developers, DevOps engineers, engineering managers, and engineering team leads

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience running a highly available service with an orchestration system, such as Docker Swarm or Kubernetes

What you'll learn

  • Explore the main challenges of running a distributed system (state management, scheduling, etc.)
  • Understand what quorum is, and how it is achieved, the right number of managers needed for your distributed system, the process of leader election, and task scheduling algorithms


Orchestration systems attempt to take the complexity out of running highly available services, but in truth, they just abstract that complexity away from you as the user. Orchestration systems have two main areas of focus—maintaining consensus and scheduling tasks—from which many counterintuitive patterns emerge that can be disastrous in production if not treated with caution. (For example, running a cluster with two managers actually doubles your chance of losing quorum.) Unfortunately, these problems aren’t easily recognizable on the surface.

Laura Frank explores the algorithms that power all modern container orchestration platforms and shares actionable steps to keep your highly available services highly available. Instead of learning things the hard way in production, join Laura to gain a deeper understanding of the complex topics behind your production applications.

Photo of Laura Frank

Laura Frank


Laura Frank is a Docker Captain and the director of engineering at Codeship, where she works on improving the Docker infrastructure and overall experience for all users of the CI/CD platform. Previously, she worked on several open source projects to support Docker in the early stages of the project, including Panamax and ImageLayers. Laura lives in Berlin, where she can be found eating döner or attempting to try every type of gin in the world.

Comments on this page are now closed.


06/21/2017 8:43am PDT

Great talk! It got me excited about reading up on raft again.