What Matters Podcast

What Matters, Episode 29: Head in the Clouds with James D. Bohrman

What makes cloud-first development so prevalent? If it’s not the new hotness, why is it still how we get things done when deploying apps? And where does Kubernetes and Docker fit into all of this?

What Matters, Episode 29: Head in the Clouds

In this episode of What Matters, host PJ Hagerty sits down with James D. Bohrman, a cloud-native engineer and founder of CloudSpeakers.dev, to talk about the cloud’s past, present, and future.

And to hear more about the present, we are joined by Ben Lloyd Pearson with his most recent Open Source News update!

Listen to What Matters now! 

What Matters, Episode 29 is now available to listen to or download. Check out the full episode — and all our episodes — now available from Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud, and wherever you want to listen in! 

Episode Transcript

Introduction:

Welcome to What Matters, a podcast from the folks at Mattermost. We’ll be discussing ChatOps, open source, DevOps, and everything that matters most to you. Let’s see what we’re chatting about this episode.

PJ Hagerty:

Hey, everybody. Welcome to What Matters, a podcast from the folks here at Mattermost. As always, I’m PJ, your host. Before we get started, let’s get to the open source news from Ben Lloyd Pearson. Ben, what have you got for us this week?

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Thanks, PJ. So today it’s going to be all government stuff, which hopefully will be exciting and not too boring. The first is that the European Union has released a new study that evaluates the impacts of open source software and hardware on technological independence, competitiveness, and innovation in the EU economy. It has an extraordinary amount of detail. It’s nearly 400 pages that includes info about the importance of open source software to all EU member nations. The top-line metric that they gave was that for every one euro that an organization invests into open source, the EU should expect about four euros of growth. So in 2018, they estimate that open source improved EU GDP by about 50 to 65 billion euro and had a total economic impact somewhere between 65 and 90 billion euros. So it’s quite a substantial amount of money.

PJ Hagerty:

No kidding.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah. They also suggest that a 10% increase in open source contributions would generate roughly 600 new IT startups per year, and about a 0.4 to 0.6% GDP growth. So there’s a ton of deeper insight in the study, including a number of policy recommendations that would probably apply to governments outside the EU as well. So I mean, it’s really fascinating. And if you’re super geeky about policy, there’s definitely plenty there to absorb.

PJ Hagerty:

So I think one of the interesting things here is, I mean, we’re looking at the European Union, which is a major governmental body. And thinking back to some of the roots of open source, like back in the nineties, when governments swore they would never take a chance on open source because it was too insecure and you can’t just leave it up to everyone else. Like how do you control it? And now seeing in 2021, a report coming from the European Union promoting open source, really. I mean, not directly, but kind of giving their report of their usage and what they think is the value there. I think that just shows that open source has come leaps and bounds from where it was back 30 years ago when things got rolling.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah. And I think over the years we’ve seen a little bit of back and forth with the EU in terms of, and member nations in terms of their relationship with open source. So it’s really nice to just have hard-line numbers that we can draw from this to measure impact.

PJ Hagerty:

Yeah. And I also want to say, at 400 pages, Ben, thank you for looking this over for us so not everybody has to read all 400 pages.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah. I’ll admit, I didn’t look that deep, but there’s definitely a lot that I didn’t get a chance to look at. So yeah, I encourage people to read it if you really are interested in it. But speaking of EU member nations: So France is probably one of the most active nations when it comes to open source software in the EU, and they just published a new website that shows off more than 9,000 open source repositories from French governmental agencies. So the website is code.gouv.fr, and that gouv is actually spelled G-O-U-V. And it collates repositories from more than 1,000 organizations.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

So in France, source code that is bought or developed by public agencies is considered to be administrative documents that fall under open data regulations. So much of this code was already public, but the goal here was to make it easier for governmental organizations to find, use, and contribute back to the nation’s open source projects. And I think it is a good attempt at a problem that I see very consistently in the open source space, where developers make this really great code and then publish it, but they don’t always know how to convince people that it has value, to get people to stop by and check it out, to try it out. So I think this is a good first step in that effort.

PJ Hagerty:

Yeah. It’s fantastic. I mean, 9,000 open source projects, that’s huge. I mean, I’m sure that there’s literally millions of open source projects that open up every year, but it’s great to have some kind of backing, some kind of push to get that out in the public eye. And I applaud France for the work they’re doing to let people know that there are other projects out there that they need to be aware of.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll close it out with a few new projects that caught my eye that I think are pretty cool. The first, continuing this topic of governance: the Open Source Good Governance Handbook. This is a guide that teaches organizations how to implement professional management of open source software. So, if you’re at all interested in using open source within your organization, you should check it out. The next project is called Driftwood. This is a security tool from Truffle Security that detects leaked public and private key pairs on the internet. So, full disclosure, I have actually had GitHub alert me when I accidentally uploaded a private key to one of my repositories, so I definitely value tools like this one.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

And then the last one is this quirky little project that I just thought was cool so I wanted to share it. It’s Open Rally Computer. So this is a hardware device that’s used in motorcycle rally racing to show speed, distance traveled, and course heading. So I guess the guy that created this was just frustrated that the computers that people bought for the motorcycles were extremely expensive, so he just thought, well, I can do it myself. I think it’s pretty cool.

PJ Hagerty:

That’s really awesome. I’m going to definitely check that out because as many people know, I am a motorcycle rider. I’m not a rally rider, but I’d still like to just see, how does the software interface? How do you get it to work? I think that would be really cool. It’s great to see these kinds of applications. And to go back to the Driftwood one, yeah, I think we’ve all done that. Every single one of us has done that at some point in time. It’s being let known that is the important part.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah.

PJ Hagerty:

But awesome. Ben, thank you so much. So glad you came on the show to share more open source news.

Ben Lloyd Pearson:

Yeah. And if anyone wants to read more about this, just check us out on mattermost.com/blog.

PJ Hagerty:

Thanks so much and we’ll talk to you next time. All right. Thanks, Ben. We appreciate you sharing with us. Make sure you check out the blog article that follows up on everything Ben talked about. For this episode, I’d like to introduce you to James D, Bohrman, founder of cloudspeakers.dev. James, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

James D Bohrman:

Yeah, I’m a cloud-native engineer. I am self-taught and I had a really unique background. I started off as an SRE for an edge native startup called PowerFlex. We were building really electric vehicle charging stations. I did that for a while, that was really fun. And I ended up finding early on that I really enjoyed evangelism and educating developers.

PJ Hagerty:

Very cool. Very cool. When did you start, how long has Cloudspeakers been around?

James D Bohrman:

Cloudspeakers has been around about a year now.

PJ Hagerty:

So you were in SRE, you’ve worked in cloud for a long time. What first brought you into focusing on cloud first development? As an SRE, as a developer, what made you say, hey, cloud-first, this is the way to go?

James D Bohrman:

The main thing was the community. When I was self-educating, I think I was constantly on Twitter, just seeing trends and stuff. And I think I constantly saw the community and as well as just the things that could be done with cloud-first development. And that was one of the things that really just inspired me to play with it myself.

PJ Hagerty:

And were there a lot of people that were available to kind of show you the ropes?

James D Bohrman:

Yes. Back then, definitely. I mean, there still are now, but I had some very, very great mentors back then when I was first starting. One of them was a guy named Jamie Phillips here in Knoxville, and there was another one, another great mentor I had was my Senior EDF at PowerFlex, Nick Camp.

PJ Hagerty:

I think one of the things that you find as a cloud-first developer is eventually you start to get into Kubernetes. Everybody talks about Kubernetes. Kubernetes is always the new hot topic, or it seems to have been at least for the last five years. You have some expertise here. What’s something that people consistently get wrong about Kubernetes?

James D Bohrman:

Well, there’s always the idea that it has to be complicated. It’s been around long enough now that there’s definitely best practices, and I think that if people just do a little bit of research, they can definitely find the best practices when orchestrating Kubernetes clusters. And I think that another big thing that a lot of people get wrong is assuming that Kubernetes is just automatically secure. And I think a lot of people get Kubernetes security wrong and I think that is something that we, as a society, have to fix. Because at this point, Kubernetes and infrastructure in general is securing and supporting hospitals and things that are affecting people’s lives. And I think that is important.

PJ Hagerty:

One of the things that people get wrong is they think it needs to be complicated. Kubernetes probably essentially at its core is not that complicated, but it’s all the add on things that come to the side. And I think that gives people the impression that maybe it’s not for everyone, maybe it’s just for huge, large-scale deployments. Do you think everyone can use Kubernetes or it’s really just for deployments at a certain scale? Like you need to have an application that is a certain size or has a certain number of end users or certain complicated logic structures, then Kubernetes is good for you. But if you’re building a small e-commerce site, probably you don’t need it.

James D Bohrman:

No. I mean, I do think that there is the use case for spinning up a Kubernetes cluster for if you’re demoing something or if you’re… I see a lot of people giving flack for setting up WordPress with Kubernetes. And I think obviously for a long-term project, yeah, okay, I would never set up a WordPress site with Kubernetes. But I think that the power there is in education and learning. I think that, especially for me, when I was first learning, setting up stuff like WordPress and Magento with Kubernetes was where I learned the most. And I think that’s really the only reason people should be setting up smaller projects with that. And I guess when I said it doesn’t have to be complicated it’s more from a best practices standpoint. I think what I see is companies trying to orchestrate things from scratch and just not following best practices when a lot of this stuff is kind of fleshed out at this point.

PJ Hagerty:

Correct me if I’m wrong. What you’re trying to say is maybe it’s not so bad to use it for smaller projects if you’re really trying to… The focus isn’t on the project so much as it is learning the Kubernetes environment, learning how to get a cluster up, figuring that stuff out. Then yeah, go ahead and use WordPress and build your little blog or whatever in Kubernetes just to get the Kubernetes experience. But if you’re doing hardcore production work, then Kubernetes is really for larger installations, right?

James D Bohrman:

But then again, I’ll also add the caveat that… I say this from experience, if you’re doing those projects, you better remember to take it down or your bill’s going to…

PJ Hagerty:

Yeah. Yeah. Everyone knows the horror stories of the, I have an AWS bill that’s $30,000 for my Jekyll installment blog, because I happen to spin up too many things as an example. I think that those bills still bite people in the keister, so to speak. Now, Kubernetes, I think the most interesting thing about Kubernetes is, you talked about security is something you need to focus on and best practices and things like that, and it seems like Kubernetes is fairly well-organized. But at its heart, Kubernetes is still an open source project, right? Do you think that, and this is just your opinion, but do you think when it comes to open source, is open source what actually advances cloud technology in general? Maybe not the hardware, but even some of the hardware, because I’ve seen a lot of bare-metal companies coming up where they’re like, “We’re open sourcing the way that we build our hardware.” So is open source the future of the cloud?

James D Bohrman:

So absolutely. And I’d even say for hardware, after looking at what Brian Cantrell with Oxide Computers, I would absolutely say both for hardware and software.

PJ Hagerty:

And what do you think is the actual future of cloud? What do you think is… We have Kubernetes, that’s kind of where we’re at. We’ll even make it more general. We have containerization, which is a way to package things up and send them into the cloud. What’s the future of cloud? What comes next?

James D Bohrman:

I want to say that I think WebAssembly is going to get really popular. I really do. I’ve been playing around with it myself a little bit and just the speed that it can run Rust functions, and I think the speed in which it can do serverless is people are going to start embracing that extremely fast. I mean, even Solomon Hykes, but he said if WebAssembly had existed back when Docker was created, we wouldn’t have needed Docker.

PJ Hagerty:

Which is interesting. I always feel like with cloud, it kind of goes like, hey, we’ve got this new software solution that works to do a thing. Hey, we’ve got this new performance-based software solution. So it’s like a constant cycle. It’s like, okay, so we started with bare-metal. Well now we’ve got the ability to deploy into bare-metal remotely, so we get co-location facilities. Then it’s like, hey, we’re going to take one, we’re going to make performance better by putting it in the cloud and doing platform as a service. Well hey, okay, so here’s one step more. We now have containerization so you can kind of copy the environment and have everything in the same place, looking the same production, local, whatever.

PJ Hagerty:

And then WebAssembly is like, cool, we’re taking that and actually making it more performance so it actually does the things you want to do. Okay. So the future, you heard it here. If that’s not true, everyone can go after James and attack him on Twitter. But he said WebAssembly is the future of cloud. So we’re kind of coming to the close of the episode. James, thank you so much for coming to hang out with us today. If anybody wants to find you on Twitter or on the internet, where can they do that?

James D Bohrman:

I’m on Twitter: @james_B-O-H-R-M-A-N. And that’s pretty much my only social media. You can also find me on Polywork, james.cloudspeakers.dev.

PJ Hagerty:

James, thank you again. For those of you listening, we look forward to bringing you many future episodes of this podcast. Keep listening and feel free to get in touch at [email protected] with your questions, comments, or episode and guest ideas. As always, you can find me, PJ, on the community server of Mattermost, community.mattermost.com. Get in touch and let us know what you think matters most.

Ending:

You’ve been listening to the What Matters podcast, hosted by PJ Hagerty, @aspleenic on Twitter. Music is Upbeat Party by Scott Holmes. For more information, contact [email protected]. Let us know what matters to you and we’ll talk next time on the What Matters podcast.

About the Show

What Matters is a podcast from the folks at Mattermost where we take a look at all the things we enjoy about the communities we are a part of — open source, ChatOps, DevOps, Go, and everything in between — and distill it into a podcast hosted by Senior Developer Advocate PJ Hagerty. Reach out and let us know what topics, guests, and other ideas you have for the show!

Read more about:

cloud native Kubernetes what matters podcast
mm

PJ is the Senior Developer Advocate at Mattermost and a board member at Open Sourcing Mental Illness (osmihelp.org). He is also an organizer of DevOps Days Buffalo, CodeDaze, and ElixirDaze . Additionally, PJ is a developer, writer, speaker, and musician. He is known to travel the world speaking about programming and the way people think and interact. He is also known for wearing hats.

We use cookies for advertising, social media and analytics purposes. Read about how we use cookies here. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.