You Build It, You Run It: The Right Way to Run Distributed Systems?

Natalie Miller

Natalie Miller

5 minutes read

Fri Jan 27, 2023

You Build It, You Run It: The Right Way to Run Distributed Systems?

Last week our Prague office had the honor of welcoming the kick off event for a series of panel discussions on the subject of You Build It, You Run It.

Hosted by Ladislav Prskavec, Software Engineer at Pure Storage and ex-SRE Lead of Apiary/Oracle, the panel shared their own experiences of how SRE, DevOps and platform engineering find solutions to complex systems. This panel featured a solid lineup of these community heavy hitters who offered their years of insight to the conversation:

Vilibald Wanca, architect, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Borek Bernard, CTO at Shoptet

Roman Pichlik, VP of Engineering in Ataccama

Jirka Brunclik, Senior Director of Engineering in Productboard, ex-Google SRE

The focal point of the discussion — whether to introduce YBIYRI and how, from the perspective of working at companies of different stages and sizes, from early start-ups to established international enterprises. The Q&A part of the session was just as engaging, where attendees asked the experts questions including:

  • What happened when you announced that engineers would be on call?
  • Do you plan to give rights to developers to deploy?
  • Who decides which team gets how much resources?
  • How do you handle a situation when you have teammates who may not have a certain skill or ability they need?

If you didn’t make it to this meetup, you can still watch the full recording from the discussion over on Lada’s YouTube channel.

For Czech speakers interested in learning more about this topic in the Czech language, check out Lada and Vilibald’s podcast YBYR.

The Biggest Takeaways?

We had a chance to meet after the discussion and share our thoughts about YBIYRI. Here’s what a few guests who stayed to network had to say about the event.

Jan Malcak | DevOps Developer

What brought you to this event?

“Most of my past experience was from smaller companies, and they have completely different struggles to the bigger guys. So I was interested in hearing their point of view, how they come to the problems they have, how they solve them.”

Do you work with these kinds of issues in your current roles?

“Maybe some of them because, as I said, we are a small team and we have to run the code we build. So basically, we are at the beginning. And it’s interesting how the small teams transition to two different teams, one for engineering, one for DevOps. And after that, they reach a certain point where they go back to where they started. So that was kind of eye opening for me.”

Biggest takeaway?

“It’s kind of hard to say because there were a lot of important takeaways. One of them is that everything is based on the processes and how you handle the problem. Because as Dagi said, they had to transition from two different teams to one team. And basically, there were two approaches. One of them was to just say, we are transitioning next month, and that scared people.”

“But on the other hand, when they plan everything ahead, they make processes, tooling and everything it seems to be moving more easily. Most of the time it’s about communication in a team and how you prepare them.”

Daria Grudzien | Site Reliability Engineer, Redpanda Data

Biggest takeaway?

“It feels like a lot of companies are trying to transition from the point when they have a divide between operations and development teams. It is a very sensitive topic that impacts the team quite a lot. There’s no easy way to do it. But it looks like a lot of companies are putting in the effort.”

Anything from the discussion you can apply directly to your own work?

“My team is at a very different point where a lot of what has been discussed here is a no-brainer. Also similarly to Vilda I worked in a company that is building infrastructure, which means that our developers are far more operationally skilled than average. And there’s a lot of overlap between what they work on and what SRE or DevOps teams’ expertise are. So we’re in a very different position and those struggles don’t really apply. However, I’m looking forward to future meetups and some other topics related to running production.”

Matej Volf | Developer, Apify

Biggest takeaway?

“I think the most interesting insight is that most companies start as small startups with very few people. And then naturally, people code what they’re coding, and then run it. You don’t have allocation for a specific person to run the deployment. And then at some point, companies hire a dedicated DevOps team, or just a few people. And we kind of shift away from this You Code It You Run It approach. And now we have to shift left, back to the you code it approach.”

“I think it’ll be at the point that when you start hiring people to do DevOps, it could be worth deciding if it’s not better to stay and do the You Code It You Run It approach and just hire somebody to consult with the team on to properly educate engineers, but keep it so the engineers are responsible for the deployment.”

“It’s not applicable to my current work, because I don’t work on back-end stuff. At my company, I believe that there’s one person who is an expert in DevOps, but he just consults with the team and checks that everything is alright and secure. But it’s really the whole team of engineers being on call and running the code they wrote.”

Want to join us at our next meetup? We have more exciting events in store and we’d love to see you there.

You Build It, You Run It: The Right Way to Run Distributed Systems? was originally published in Life at Ataccama on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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