The Hoot - Episode 34 - Daniel Bryant from Ambassador Labs (Datawire) and InfoQ

Open-source technology, developing a cloud native mindset, and the importance of observability to developers, businesses, and customers

July 22nd, 2020
John Porcaro

This week, we have the opportunity to meet up with Daniel Bryant, Product Architect at Ambassador Labs (Datawire), News Manager at InfoQ, and Chair of QCon London. He is a leader within the London Java Community (LJC), and he writes for well-known technical websites such as InfoQ, O'Reilly, Voxxed, and DZone. He blogs at https://medium.com/@danielbryantuk.


Listen to the podcast: Episode 34 - Daniel Bryant from Ambassador Labs (Datawire) and InfoQ.



Daniel’s technical expertise focuses on DevOps tooling, cloud/container platforms, and microservice implementations. You may have met Daniel at international conferences such as QCon, JavaOne, and Devoxx. Or you may have been lucky enough to contribute with him on open-source projects.

Take ideas or have ideas, and then code, test, deploy, release, verify, and observe, which is super, super important. I look at the Humio folks a lot on this kind of stuff.”
Daniel Bryant

Product Architect at Ambassador Labs

At Ambassador Labs, Daniel is focused on making the onboarding experience to Kubernetes and cloud native tech—and Kubernetes in particular—as easy as possible, so they’re doing a lot of work at the edge. Ambassador Labs is the company behind Ambassador, the popular Kubernetes-Native API Gateway. It is available in both open source and commercial editions. Ambassador Labs builds other open source development tools for Kubernetes, including Telepresence and Forge.

John and Daniel talk about the open-source movement, and building commercial products on top of these things. Because Ambassador Labs products are pretty much open core, they rely on a fantastic community that has contributed in major ways.

“I'm continually impressed by what people do to contribute in the open source community. Rallying around the project you're interested in, finding kindred spirits—I think that's so key to the journey.”

Daniel is the News Manager at InfoQ, and has been a writer for them since 2014. They talk about the path Daniel took to become a writer for InfoQ, and his interest in DevOps and microservices. He credits much of his success to finding mentors and building relationships with them.

“One thing one of my mentors always said to me was to pay it forward. Once you get in a position to mentor other people, sponsor them to follow in your footsteps.”

As chair for QCon London, he helps with the planning and delivery of the developer-focused event. He claims to be only a very small part of the QCon machine, and that everyone has worked really hard to make sure that sort of the QCon values are evidenced in everything they do.

“There's a certain magic that comes from a practitioner-focused event. It's peers, it's knowledge sharing, but it's with a very pragmatic focus. That's something that I think is very unique to the QCon community.”

He shares his view on developing a Cloud Native mindset, and how it empowers developers. They then talk about the value of observability, especially within Cloud Native environments.

“It's really important to be able to complete that feedback loop—and that's all about observability. You're deploying stuff ridiculously fast, but you don't know whether it's making a customer impact. You don't know whether you're making the world a better place, or delivering value, or whatever. It's really important to get that observability piece to close the loop. And that for me is pretty much what the cloud native full lifecycle movement is about.”

Daniel discusses the importance of moving from simply collecting logs to understanding the semantic meaning of what's happening in those logs.

“It's no good being able to log a hundred different services if you can’t join the dots with a user's request. You need a product like Humio where you can ingest the sheer volume of stuff potentially coming out of all these online services. And then not only can you ingest it, but can you search it? Can you understand it? Can you pull out the semantics? Can you correlate the behavior?”

Staying informed about the latest developments is critical to anyone involved with cloud native technology. It’s important to remain “book smart,” and to keep tech skills sharp. One of the best ways to develop skills is to download and use trial versions of products.

“You can easily trial stuff. It’s really key to download something and get playing with it, and figure out if it's useful or not. I'm super happy with the ability to just pull something down and give it a trial without having to go through an onerous sales cycle. As a developer, that is super empowering. Does it work for me? Yes/No. Is the documentation good? Yes/No. Make a decision right there.”



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Listen to the podcast to get answers to the following questions:

  • How can you find ways to help in the open-source community?

  • What may (or may not) be happening with QCon?

  • How can a high school teacher help the trajectory of a student’s career?

  • How can Cloud Native be defined?

  • Where should you put your best developers: Developer productivity, the platform, or the core product?

  • What are the four key steps to consistently delivering value?

  • When is it worth paying for expertise to deploy open-source solutions?

  • How can developers minimize friction, to deploy, release, and observe on their own?

Daniel invites you to get hold of him at @Daniel BryanUK on Twitter, GitHub, or LinkedIn. Find out more about Ambassador Labs at getambassador.io, where you’ll find podcasts and articles from Daniel and the Ambassador Labs team. You can also contact the team on Slack.


Subscribe to The Hoot Podcast or download the latest episode. The Hoot can also be found on Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play, Apple Podcasts, RSS, or wherever you get your latest podcasts.


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