This is the second post in our blog series about the Weaveworks CRE team. As experts in both cloud native technologies and the GitOps methodology, they work as embedded team members in tandem with your team to deliver solid Kubernetes solutions and platforms.

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Paul Carlton, Customer Reliability Engineer

Paul is an experienced IT professional with over forty years industry experience comprising operations, system programming, Business Intelligence, devops and application development/design. Paul has worked for Tandem Computers, Compaq and Hewlett Packard where he designed and implemented stock exchange trading systems, OLTP and OLAP databases and most recently Openstack public cloud and Kubernetes-based microservice applications. At Weaveworks he has worked with our customers on Kubernetes and GitOps-based solutions.

Twitter: @paulcarlton414
Github: paulcarlton-ww

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

My wife is a Head Teacher so she goes to work very early each day. Once she has gone, I take our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Charlie, out for a short walk. Afterwards I give Charlie his breakfast and I eat my breakfast in front of my laptop while reading emails and slack messages, etc.

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I’m currently working with a large financial institution on an open source Kubernetes controller for deploying addons. I work on the backlog of tasks related to this. I’m pretty customer focused and probably don’t spend as much time as I should on Weaveworks company stuff or other things like reading interesting blogs and following developments in open source projects etc.

The exception to this rule is if another Customer Reliability Engineer (CRE) asks for help in our team slack channel or mailing list, I try to assist. I know what it is like when you are struggling with an issue on a customer engagement and are under pressure to address it and progress. This is where working for Weaveworks is different from other companies I’ve worked for. When a customer engages a Weaveworks CRE they effectively get the industry of one CRE and the combined knowledge of many CREs and other Weaveworks staff.

My working day usually continues until 7 or 8 in the evening, although I do take a couple of breaks to walk the dog. I find these walks therapeutic, I’m rejuvenated when I return to my laptop and the solution to a technical issue has come to me more than once whilst strolling in the Wiltshire countryside with Charlie!

Any words of advice for others trying to dive into cloud native and learn, build, implement Kubernetes platform?

Glance at the documentation for Kubernetes, it is excellent. Look at docs for Docker and whatever cloud provider you decide to use. Search online for examples and try to understand what they are doing and why. Open Source projects' source code often provides good examples of best practice. Then create something simple and iterate until your ‘hello world’ becomes something useful.

In practice I end up learning on the job, as I create things for customers, I tend to extend my knowledge.

Any talks or books you’ve come across lately that you can recommend?

Talks

  1. I haven’t attended many talks in recent years and don’t take the time to watch as many youtube talks as I should. One I did watch was a talk delivered by Alexis Richardson and Rajan Puddupatti, Cloud Platforms Architect at Fidelity Investments where they delivered a practical use case and an explanation of how Kubernetes and GitOps was successfully implemented into a large financial organization.

  2. On my second day at Weaveworks last November, I attended a workshop presented by Brice Fernanades which introduced me to GitOps and was a light bulb moment for me. I suddenly understood how to solve the Continuous Integration and cluster management issues I’d been struggling with for the previous few years.

Books

  1. I also learnt Go language a few years back using The Go Programming Language, which I’d recommend to anyone learning Go.

  2. At the risk of showing my age, Kernighan and Ritchie the C programmer’s bible, which I first used in the early eighties to learn C language and The Design of the Unix Operating System which I used extensively when porting UNIX to a Cray supercomputer in the late eighties.

What do you wish other people knew about Weaveworks?

Weaveworks is the GitOps company but it is so much more than that. Like most technology companies their true strength is their people and Weaveworks have some of the most knowledgeable and capable people I’ve met. They include some true visionaries and people who are driving the enterprise deployment of Kubernetes.

What’s your favourite cool new technology?

Kubernetes is pretty cool, and so is Go, but neither are that new. GitOps is the future, it solves so many problems. However, if you’d asked me this question in the past I’d have said Openstack, Corba, Tuxedo, DCE, SQL, UNIX and C language. My point being that this industry is constantly evolving so you never stop learning.