Sponsored by Reblaze, creators of Curiefense
Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer | Tzury Bar Yochay
Hello and welcome to Committing to Cloud Native Podcast! It’s the podcast by Reblaze where we talk about open source maintainers, contributors, sustainers, and their experiences in the Cloud Native space. Today as our guest, we have Chris Ferreira, who is the Principal Engineer and Architect for the WebEx Platform at Cisco. Chris tells us how he started out in culinary school and ended up in the IT world, working in startups on the front end and the back end, working for Microsoft, and now Cisco. He shares the story of his first day at Cisco, the deal he made with his teammates, and the amazing results. We learn how he became a Product Advisor for Curiefense that started when he met Tzury, and what transposed after he drew his ideas on a napkin. Also, Chris explains the methodology behind the “Four Knows” that he believes the tech industry gets best. Download this episode now to find out so much more!
[00:01:31] We hear Chris’s unorthodox background and how he built his career.
[00:05:54] Chris tells us about getting introduced into Kubernetes and becoming a code contributor to Istio in a pretty big way.
[00:12:24] Justin wonders what was it that made Chris want to leave Microsoft to go work at Cisco.
[00:14:25] Chris shares his story about his first day of work at Cisco and what escalated from that day on.
[00:17:13] Justin asks Chris if he would classify Cisco as a hybrid architecture.
[00:18:31] We hear a great story from Chris when he met Tzury in London right before COVID.
[00:24:31] Chris shares Cisco’s strategy in the Cloud space.
[00:29:30] Chris talks about how layers of software add complexity and he explains what he does.
[00:32:40] Tzury wonders why tech is the pioneer of this open source phenomena and Chris explains the methodology of the “Four Knows.”
[00:33:55] Tzury asks Chris if there are features or capabilities that he would love to see in Curiefense for Cisco.
[00:05:56] “And at the time, Kubernetes was a whisper in the background.”
[00:06:06] “But, shortly after that I got introduced to Kubernetes and I don’t want to say it was love at first sight, but it was pretty darn close.”
[00:07:14] “The service mesh wasn’t really a defined term.”
[00:08:24] “And the response I got was no one’s ever moved a multi-billion-dollar AR business into microservices. He was probably correct, I’m not gonna lie, but like I said before, I’m pretty stubborn.”
[00:08:53] “And we started tinkering with the Linux containers doing code check-ins and doing things in the Kubernetes infrastructure, and implementing the Istio service mesh with the Envoy Proxy, handling communication paths and so on and so forth.”
[00:12:32] “However, an opportunity came over here in Cisco and it was like look, we want to run, not just in one cloud, we want to run in every cloud.”
[00:14:01] “They were building out data centers and geographic expansion would take months to do, to just stand up a single data center.”
[00:14:59] “I feel everyone should have skin in the game. If you don’t have skin in the game, then why trust the person?”
[00:15:21] “I don’t want to be building physical data centers, especially with the VM based infrastructure.”
[00:15:44] “We went down from a 6-7-month timeframe down to right around 60 minutes.”
[00:16:20] “We put the right tools in place that we could kind of track our capacity in a better way which allowed us to do that expansion so quickly.”
[00:21:43] “WAF doesn’t have to be this overbearing heavy component that you have to run into your infrastructure that adds extreme amounts of latency and it can become a security filter in the entire communication path.”
[00:24:43] “Cisco’s strategy in the cloud has been strategic, right, that you see certain acquisitions that have been done.”
[00:30:36] “For example, everyone has Android and iOS phones. iOS phones from a hardware perspective are significantly underpowered here too, the specs you see in the Android device. But for some reason, iOS destroys Android in those benchmark cases.”
[00:31:35] “Cloud Native has been one of the critical pieces to getting some of the things we have done recently, and it has allowed us to do so much more than we ever have before with so much less.”
[00:31:50] “The open source community is just so incredible.”
[00:32:49] “I always come back to the methodology that someone told me a couple of years back that there’s the four knows, and I think that the tech industry gets it the best. You know what you know what you don’t know, sometimes you don’t know what you know, and there are definitely cases where you don’t know what you don’t know.”
[00:34:09] “So, security in Cisco is not a P1 or P2, it is a P0! And it’s really important that a company that does networking, that does hardware in certain ways, security is the fundamental base of everything that Cisco does.”
- Executive Produced by Tzury Bar Yochay
- Produced by Justin Dorfman
- Edited by Paul M. Bahr at Peachtree Sound
- Show notes by DeAnn Bahr at Peachtree Sound
- Transcript by Layten Pryce
Chris [00:02]: Shortly after that, I got introduced to Kubernetes and I don't want to say it was love at first sight, but it was pretty darn close. I really liked the simplicity. I'm a very simplistic person. If it's over-complicated and over-engineered people just didn't understand the problem well enough, in my opinion. So when I looked at Kubernetes, I was like, okay, just something simple, you pass it in, you execute, it dies. That's the way things should be looking like.
Richard [00:28]: Hello and welcome to committing to Cloud Native, the podcast where we talk about the confluence of open source and cloud native infrastructure. Our panelists today are Justin Dorfman and [inaudible 00:38] and they're going to have an awesome conversation, I really enjoyed listening to it, with Chris Ferrera. Chris is joining us today from Austin, Texas. He's the principal engineer and architect for the WebEx platform at Cisco and I really hope you enjoy this conversation. Take it away, Tzury.
Tzury [00:56]: Hello Chris, how are you today?
Chris [00:59]: I'm good. And yourself?
Justin [01:00]: Hey Chris.
Tzury [01:02]: Doing great. Hey Justin.
Justin [01:03]: Hey Tzury. So today we have Chris here, Chris, our friend from Cisco and before we going to jump into our short story, which is [inaudible 01:13] we would love to hear Chris's history in the world and he has a bunch of great stories, which when I heard him back in the day in London, when we met about year and a half ago, I was fascinated and I hope he'll share some of those with us today.
Justin [01:31]: Chris, I want to hear what's your background, where'd you come from and how have you built your career?
Chris [01:37]: I have a bit of an unorthodox background, I think that's probably the best way to put it. When I actually went to college, I went for culinary school and I went there to become a chef. So that's kind of where my discipline and my rigor I think originated from because of the way you kind of operate in a kitchen is almost like a militant style. But I did go to obviously the IT world because I had spent a good amount of time in my youth and I always had a knack for it and I bounced around in a couple of startups to begin with and the startup story was pretty awesome because it was never boring, we got to wear a different hat everyday and you had to take on a different role every day. By doing that, I got to fill up my trivia pursuit pie if you will, of knowledge and I got to work on the front end, I got to work in the back end and then I started to kind of look into platform. But the last startup that I was at was a company called Parature, which was a CRM and we were completely cloud. Now we run our own data centers and [inaudible 02:41] and we had components at the time in AWS.
AWS was pretty much the only cloud provider around then. It was really kind of getting off those around and so on and we started doing cloud before Azure was a thing, Google cloud was even around and we did pretty well the first year in product and we were always punching above our weight class, working with companies like IBM, Nintendo, and stuff like that. So it was a really cool experience, however, one day we all come into the office and there are about 20 people there and we're like, who are these people? And obviously, the announcement came out that we were being acquired by Microsoft and at first everyone was like, whoa, what's going on here, we're a startup, why do we want to go to big tech? And there were people there for sure that were at the startup because they wanted to be a startup and there were folks that were pretty excited about the acquisition with Microsoft. Now, Microsoft was at the time still in the Steve Ballmer era before Satya came in kind of the...
Tzury [03:41]: Developer, developers.
Chris [03:47]: Yeah. I mean, it was interesting procurement too and shortly after the acquisition was actually when Satya became the CEO of Microsoft and Steve Ballmer stepped down. But the culture change that you brought in, took a little bit of time to reach all perimeters of the company and when I first got there, when I went out to Redmond for the first time and I had this Apple computer and I work at Microsoft during the Steve Ballmer, you get a couple of head turns like what the F, it's okay.
Tzury [04:16]: That's the culture he built.
Chris [04:22]: That's correct.
Tzury [04:23]: If you had an iPhone he would throw it against the wall but anyway.
Chris [04:29]: I can't even tell you how many Windows phones I saw during that time and I was certainly still an Apple ecosystem kind of guy. So I was always an oddball from the moment I arrived and while some folks would adapt to that culture, I didn't feel the need. So I've always kind of stayed true. I've always been super stubborn. So I just always used whatever I thought worked and that's what kind of got me going at Microsoft to be honest with you. At the time Azure was starting up, Azure was painful, I think is probably the best way to put it. It wasn't very intuitive, some of the components were not necessarily easy to work with and we were trying to design at the time a CRM portal, which is the dynamics CRM product and we wanted to run it in Azure and we were having so much pain and difficulties in that area. We worked through it, we worked with the Azure team and I'm not getting to go into every detail, but it was a hectic process. We did some crazy stuff. For instance, one time we tried to upgrade all of the CRM portals in Europe, and apparently, we took up like 80% of Azure's compute in Europe.
So they didn't quite enjoy that and to get on the line with us pretty quickly, and kind of some of the folks in charge of that area, some really talented people that I worked with over at Parature kind of had to put in mechanisms to protect ourselves and we did lots of other crazy things along that time and we kind of, we were in the frontier but we were kind of starting things. At the time Kubernetes was a whisper in the background and we were still doing BM-based infrastructure. We were using Microsoft service fabric at the time and it was okay. But shortly after that, I got introduced to Kubernetes and I don't want to say it was love at first sight, but it was pretty darn close. I really liked the simplicity. I'm a very simplistic person. If it's over complicated and it's over-engineered, people just didn't understand the problem well enough, in my opinion. So when I looked at Kubernetes I was like, okay, so something simple, you pass it in, you execute, it dies. That's the way things should be looking like and I adapted to it pretty quickly. I became a code contributor to the open source community, and I did a whole lot of things for Microsoft in that area for a good amount of time, until I'd say around 2017-ish, I get wind of this product that was being developed by Google and IBM and folks over at Lyft in SEO.
I'm looking at it and I'm like, okay, I see what they're trying to do here and it's what every company always strives to do, but in some way or another, we always kind of screw it up somewhere. If we miss an execution step, if we miss a specific task in a specific area and we ended up like D-DOSing ourselves as we scale. The service mesh, wasn't really a defined term, I mean, there were things out there, there was Linker D and other components that were out there, but they didn't do everything they were advertised to do and I started kind of looking into this Istio thing, and this was around the 0.60.7 timeframe, the 1.0 came out I think came out a couple of months later and started working with that sort of tinkering with that, looking at that for different components in the Microsoft AI group and I brought that in-house and I brought it up to a GM at the time, and I said, I like what we can do here, however, I think we can do better and I would like to kind of do POC to put the platform into Kubernetes, into microservices. So it was embracing Linux at the time, the dot net core had just been released so we could run our code in Linux and do everything we were trying to do. So I was like, why not?
I made the pitch and I'm not going to call out names, but it was too soon. Timing is everything. Folks were not ready to switch away from BM-based infrastructure to microservices and the response I got was no one's ever moved a multi-billion dollar AR business into microservices and he was probably correct, I'm not going to lie. But like I said before, I'm pretty stubborn. So I went over to a group that was like, yes, we're into that kind of stuff. Let's cut our teeth and get this going. And I went over there and I joined that group has what is the dynamics FAX, dynamics 365 group and we were doing like ERP solutions and other components and we started tinkering with Linux containers, doing code checkings and doing things in the Kubernetes infrastructure, and implementing [inaudible 09:02] the Envoy proxy communication paths and it was just fun. It was just good time. We started doing things faster and we just got better and certain components that were building a legacy way to process them because they were on a single VM and we're taking over a day to finish and when we actually introduce those same components into horizontal pod autoscaler, being able to scale out the compute resource and memory resources. We took down the day of processing to get to an output. We took it down to minutes and when it finally came to customers were kind of blown away.
So something that used to take them a day to get an output, now it took them minutes to get an output and that's just one example of kind of what it brought and we became code contributors to STL in a pretty big way. Azure started to adopt it. A lot of Azure at the time was actually adopting Linux underneath the hood where everything prior had been nothing but Microsoft.
Tzury [10:05]: Windows XP. I'm joking.
Chris [10:10]: XP was a good one, we can't knock XP.
Tzury [10:15]: XP actually was my favorite.
Justin [10:18]: XP was my favorite operating system when I used Windows.
Tzury [10:21]: I would say NT4 is my favorite one and that's it.
Chris [10:27]: You would, NT4. We could throw away 2000, we can definitely throw away Windows 8 and some of those probably could have been skipped over but XP was pretty good, I have no knocks on that. And server was okay, kind of did its job.
Tzury [10:41]: 2003.
Chris [10:42]: Yes, Server was good. But when we made the switch over, when we saw how things were going, and it became like a wave and the wave started to build up and as you actually saw the resources that were dedicated at the time to the Microsoft service fabric, which they made open source, the community didn't rally to it. So Microsoft saw it and was like, okay, well, if they're not going to rally to us, we're going to rally to them and then became big contributors and all the resources that were on. Server's fabric were kind of swapped over to different things, a lot of them were reallocated to the work in AKS, the Azure Kubernetes Service and that's kind of when it all started to kind of really shift over there. And it took time and it's still going o from what I understand, I still speak to folks over there occasionally and there's still a whole lot of transition still going on, but it was no more, oh, it's only Microsoft, we can only use Microsoft. It was okay, let's use what works and if it's Microsoft, sure, if it's not Microsoft, okay and make sure that we make sure our customers are the priority and not the technologies we use underneath. It was great, it was great, but then someone came knocking on my door over here in Cisco.
Tzury [11:57]: What made you want to leave this rocket ship to go another company? Because I mean, it's got to be to kind of hard because Microsoft in the past decade has done some amazing things. Like Microsoft technologies I use every day is VS code and it's just like, there's such a big force in this industry, it had to be more than money to get you over there. What was it that made you go, yes, I need to go?
Chris [12:26]: It really wasn't money and actually, I said no a bunch of times or before I said yes, for full transparency. I liked what I was doing, I liked where things were going, however, an opportunity came over here in Cisco and it was like look, we want to run not just in one cloud, we want to run in every cloud and I knew that if I stayed at Microsoft, I was going to kind of be Azure-centric because you kind of have to eat your own dog food. So Azure-centric was always the way it was going to be. So upon the discussions and the capabilities that folks over here offered me to kind of pivot a lot of the stuff they were doing into a place they were willing to explore and willing to take bets on kind of got me excited. So I did it, I made the move. I left rainy Seattle, which I still love, no knock on Seattle. My kids grew up there and I certainly do appreciate the Washington area, but I was given an option where to go and I chose the place that has the exact opposite weather of Seattle in Austin, nothing but hot and dry all summer versus the soggy Seattle nine months of the year. So I showed up over at Cisco and I was given kind of the keys to the kingdom from a platform perspective for the WebEx contact center.
Now this wasn't a market that had huge amounts of competition, but there were some pretty good competitors for sure. However, where they were was they were provisioning in physical data centers. They were building out data centers and geographic expansion would take months to do just to stand up a single data center. So they wanted to start leveraging public cloud. How do we do that? So I went there and you can ask all the teammates, I showed up and while the morale was not the greatest because they kind of had been spinning their wheels, not really getting far but the first day I showed up which was June 24, 2019 and it sticks out in my head every day and I showed up and I said look, I realized that you guys have had some tough times before I arrived and my arrival may or may not help you, but look, I'll make a deal with you all. If you just give me six months to kind of turn some stuff around, we're going to do it but if I can't do it, I will give you all the power to have a vote and I will resign literally six months from this day.
Tzury [14:55]: That's some accountability.
Chris [14:56]: Yes, I feel everyone should have skin in the game. If you don't have skin in the game, then why trust the person and trust is critical to me and the people I work with. So the first thing I asked was, look, we have too much manual touch in production. By March, I want no hands ever touching production ever again. Second, I want to put us in a public cloud provider. I don't want to be building physical data centers, especially with the VM-based infrastructure, so that's kind of the shift they were trying to get to. However, maybe I was able to be a catalyst to kind of accelerate that particular element. So a couple of months later, we took all hands out of production. We automated and built out data centers in the public cloud, but we wound down from a six, seven months timeframe down to right around 60 minutes. So obviously a huge shift. In hindsight, it looked like a genius move. I'm not sure I would definitely call it a genius move but obviously COVID arrived and we had to start scaling up the contact center in pretty large proportions. So we were actually able to scale up the contact center about 500% in right on eight days. So it was a pretty big shift pretty quickly. It was trial by fire.
Tzury [16:15]: Wow. That's a big jump.
Chris [16:17]: Yes and we put the right tools in place that we could kind of track our capacity in a better way, which allowed us to do that expansion so quickly and throughout the early days of COVID, Cisco was trying to be there and help however we could. Contact center was going to be a big component, we were trying to help healthcare providers and governments and stuff like that, kind of make sure that when people had issues, they could reach out to individuals that could provide them the right information to guide them. I think the entire team kind of rallied around that and it wasn't even an ask, we all said it's going to take a little bit of extra to do this, but we all understand what's at play here. So I was really proud of the group I was working with because they didn't even bat an eye, it was not even a blink. It was just once we get it done and we did.
Tzury [17:11]: Would you classify Cisco as a hybrid architecture or have you just shut down all the data centers inside a hundred percent?
Chris [17:20]: No, I don't believe a full public cloud strategy is always the right thing for the right applications. I think Cisco's always going to be a hybrid cloud. I don't see why they wouldn't want to be, especially since Cisco builds most of our network switches and all the components that run in the data centers anyway. So why not leverage what greatness you have at Cisco and leverage the diversability and scalability you can achieve with the public cloud. So I think Cisco is always going to be in that hybrid mode because it just makes the most sense. Work with our partners, work with other cloud service providers and build our data centers because if anyone's going to know how to troubleshoot networking issues it should be Cisco, so let's kind of leverage what we do good.
Tzury [18:06]: Yes, I don't think a lot of cloud providers would be too happy if Cisco went into the cloud computing space because it's like they have all got your routers and it would just be terrible. But I liked that approach though of this and I think that's kind of where a lot of shops should definitely look at is the hybrid approach rather than just going all in on one cloud and then they're stuck.
Chris [18:32]: Yes, and right before COVID I went over to London, sync up with my security architect over at the contact center and I met this guy with this crazy beard and I'm sitting in the Bedfont Lakes office and Tzury is giving me his sales pitch and you know I love sales and stuff because I'm not exactly the best at bed fluff, very direct and I had a time to look at three buys product and what it did. However, when we sat down with Tzury and he showed me what they did and they had a, this is a compliment, don't take it as a negative, he had a twinkle in his eye is probably the best analogy I could put with you can believe he actually cared about what he was doing. Some folks, they sell you things and it's just, okay, it's a thing to them. But for Tzury, it felt like this is a passion, this is what he does and this is what he wants to do and I was like, look, I like you, I like your technology. However, the implementation of it does not fit what I'm trying to do over here at Cisco. I'm trying to go to, at the time while we were doing all that cloud automation stuff, we were building out a new platform that was from scratch, completely microservice-based, handles horizontal scaling workloads are basically agnostic to cloud so that you can run on any cloud service provider or in our Cisco data centers and I was like, I like your product, but it doesn't fit what I need.
So I think it was literally that afternoon, we sat down and drew on a napkin basically, how I could see the [inaudible 20:14] in the stuff that they did over there becoming this thing that kind of would re, kind of invent how people think of web application firewall instead of being an extra hop in the communication path or being kind of hung up in DLB, we were able to; well, we did some crazy stuff to begin with, I'm not going to lie there. We were watching what was going on with Istio, we were seeing what was going on with Envoy and we started an idea and you began iterations of that idea and then I think a couple of months later, I was sitting at the Google campus and I was sitting down with the product managers over at Istio and I was like talking through the roadmap, talking through what we were trying to do and at the time they were trying to get away from a model that added extra complexity to the communication strategy between the proxy and the control plane. So they were removing components from the service mesh that we had originally thought we could depend on to be where we could plug in [inaudible 21:17] and we went through it and then we started to look at proxy filters. We were looking at some of the websites and stuff that they were trying to get towards and Tzury and the folks over there and they were crazy enough to take a chance on it and make that bet.
I mean, I'm sure as hell glad that they did. I think it's kind of defined a new frontier. [inaudible 21:41] doesn't have to be this overbearing heavy component that you have to run into your infrastructure that adds extreme amounts of latency, it can become a security filter in the entire communication path. It can so much more lightweight, so much more effective as far as the way your services run internally in the cluster and the way things come into the cluster as well from outside and by having this capability to keep everything within your own trust boundary, and not have to offload to elsewhere and go over the open internet. Even with encrypted traffic, you never know what you're susceptible to across the opener network. We can all admit that it's the wild west out there, so if we can reign it in and clean it up and not have to worry about extenuating circumstances, it just became so valuable and it had some bumps, I won't lie. It had some bumps at the beginning, but it's really kind of evolved and the folks over at [inaudible 22:42], they made themselves available to us to kind of work through these obstacles that just made it that much better and I'll forever be grateful to Tzury and his team over at [inaudible 22:54] for that because they took a chance on some crazy guy from Texas to do something that nobody was even thinking about yet.
Tzury [23:04]: If I may share an observation from my end, my listening to the stories you shared with us, I would say you are a man of transformation, if I may. So think about you got in to Microsoft, decades in the industry trying their way in the internet and literally failing with the players, with the browser, with all sort of strategies and it seems like Azure was the platform that took Microsoft, brought them into the game and made him into this frontier and futuristic company. So for me, you were right there in the right place, in the right time to contribute to this transition. Then I'm looking at Cisco, your capital invested in Cisco, when was it like 80s, 70s? When was it, the company who invented their routers right to CPIP was at the beginning. Cisco basically started the internet from an infrastructure perspective and cloud, the more cloud became popular and taking off companies such as Cisco and others who were relying mostly on appliances and hardware really needed to redefine themselves, redefine their strategy and readjust and it seems like Cisco is playing a significant role in the cloud even today, just looking at acquisitions, recent years like duel port shift, and others. Do you mind sharing a little bit about Cisco strategy in the cloud space?
Chris [24:32]: So everybody kind of knows the duo stuff and the office that I actually sit here in Boston is actually the original duo office out here in Austin. So I'm very familiar with that group. Cisco's strategy in the cloud has been strategic, that you see certain acquisitions that have been done, they're all very specific purposes. And when I look at WebEx, because that's where I am now, and I have a lot of familiarity with a lot of the recent acquisitions of Babel Labs and other components as they wanted to get into the cloud, as they wanted to enhance the telepresence components, they knew that we can build things and we will build things, but there are other things out there that they do the job and if we get those components and we add a bit more of that muscle that the company has behind it, we can make them that much better and that's kind of what I saw with the acquisition specifically of [inaudible 25:30]. Getting that assistant into the WebEx platform that takes all your meeting notes and sends you an email at the end of the meeting with all your meeting notes, so you didn't need someone to be sitting there typing everything down. That's a huge value, especially during a COVID world where all your meetings are basically happening over a telepresence like this.
So that one in particular sits at home because not only did the founder of that company become the GM of the contact center and I have immense amounts of respect for him and the group that helped build [inaudible 26:04] but the product kind of enabled what Cisco's overall vision of WebEx was to become. But now that we have G2 coming over from box and other things, there's a real fire that's going on right now and you can kind of feel it, it's a big shift and it reminds me a bit what happened when Satya came into Microsoft, not when he came, he was always there but when he became CEO of Microsoft, it was okay, we've reached a point, we know what we are. We want to be this now, so let's fire on all cylinders to get that and it's exciting. It's always exciting and does everything go smoothly? Not a chance. I don't think it ever will, but the transformation that is going on daily and the feelings that are behind it are just very, a lot of energy and I appreciate that kind of environment. I love energy and I love fight and I love people that are willing to take chances.
Tzury [27:07]: Well, the third transformation I didn't mention was transformation of Reblaze that you played a major role in Chris, and we're grateful for that.
Chris [27:17]: I just drew on a napkin and I don't know, I drew on a napkin how I could see it, but you guys, you all really did it. I mean, we had an original idea and we had a second idea, and we had a third idea. I think we ended up with a pretty good one around seven or eight, but the folks over at Reblaze, I'm telling you, when we ever had an issue, literally they would be up to all hours of the night and I didn't want them to do this, but I don't think I could stop them even if I tried, they be up to all hours of the night working through it and the next morning it'd be fixed. I mean, how can you not appreciate that kind of passion and that kind of commitment. So it was pretty easy for me to be okay with that Tzury, even though I would have told you all you guys should sleep, it'd probably be good. You probably want to spend a little bit of time with your families, not with just your code, but they were dedicated to kind of the revolution that needed to take place in this space and I was pretty excited about it.
Tzury [28:14]: Definitely, definitely, highly appreciate it, Chris. I believe we will talk a lot about that soon, but you mentioned families, time with families. Before COVID I remember you being traveling probably 70% of the time, wasn't it the case? How did you adjust staying at home in Austin next to famous neighborhood? Not mentioning names, obviously.
Chris [28:38]: I love every minute of it. I have little kids so being home with them is always different and being here too with my wife, my wife is the rock that helps me to do these things. I couldn't do any of this stuff without her and she's the key piece to all the good stuff that has happened, she enables me to be able to travel to India, to London, to California, to Boston, to wherever I am. I know she's got it on lock at home and it's just been a blessing. It's been a blessing and a curse, COVID itself is a very sad, horrible thing but being home for the last year has been one of the more, it's the silver lining in the black clouds that I've experienced over the last year. Being at home with the kids and spending time with them more and spending time with my family.
Tzury [29:27]: Another question I have for you Chris is I know that you hate management layers, your personality and your style, I think you said it yourself. Now, when we'll look at what we call Cloud Native, Kubernetes, Cisco and it's direct co-system you meet tons of layers of software and configuration management and one on top of another before you get to the actual application code. The application code is what 20% of the code base running in real-time, 30%. But it seems to be take off anyhow, what's your take on it?
Chris [30:05]: Yes, like I said, I'm not a fluff guy, so layers, add complexity. So what I typically like to do is strip it down to bare bones and iteratively build, but make sure that we're building in a way that we're looking at the holistic picture while the application layer may only be 23% of the codebase. I want to always be thinking about how does that application work with the hardware? How does that application work with the orchestration behind it? For example, everyone has Android and iOS phones. iOS phones from a hardware perspective are significantly underpowered compared to the specs you see in an Android device but for some reason, iOS destroys Android in those benchmark cases. That's because the software is built for the hardware and that simplification, that unison that's designed into it. If you take that into account and the way you build through those layers, you end up with something pretty remarkable and you can do more with less and coming from the startup world, I didn't grow up in big tech and the billion dollar budgets. I grew up startups and oh, we can't afford to do that so find a cheaper way to make it happen and I still have that frugalness when it comes to how I design and implement.
Now, do I take a couple of million-dollar shortcuts sometimes? Sure. There's no doubt, however, if I can avoid it, I'm always certainly willing and Cloud Native has been one of the critical pieces to getting some of the things we have done recently and it has allowed us to do so much more than we ever have before with so much less, it's just been incredible. Open-source community is just so incredible and you can't really think of industries that have this kind of community around it. People just contributing to a single component that is used by all. How often do you actually see that in verticals? You don't right. There's always some business agenda in the way communities work in other verticals, but in this industry, the agenda is just to make it work and make it work better and that has been one of the critical, amazing pieces that I've kind of been blessed with over the last couple of years.
Tzury [32:23]: What do you think is the reason actually tech industry is the one who introduced probably to the world the open-source concept sharing and collaborating across even so many cases, our competitors, different companies, right? Why is tech the pioneer of this phenomenon?
Chris [32:42]: Because we're crazy. We're crazy to begin with, we're in tech and that was a dumb idea. I always come back to the methodology that someone told me a couple of years back that there are the four knows and I think that the tech industry gets it the best. You know what you know what you don't know, sometimes you don't know what you know, and there are definitely cases where you don't know what you don't know and having that humility and having that understanding kind of enables tech to do these sorts of things.
Tzury [33:10]: I would say it also has to do with the gigs that make up the community.
Chris [33:17]: And I'm a huge nerd so I'll be perfectly honest. I'm probably at one of the biggest nerds in the world. I'll play video games with my kids, I'll watch Star Wars. That's fine, I'm proud of it. I own it. I'm a geek and I'm good with it.
Tzury [33:29]: So back to [inaudible 33:30] Chris, if I may, we're planning to release in a few months, the entire AI base platform, automatic analysis, detection and prevention and so on. We're also looking into integrating with our wings and operations within Cisco, the threat intelligence company. So we're looking into integrating with threads feeds [inaudible 33:50] will be synchronized with those feeds in real time and so on. Are there features, capabilities that you would love to see in [inaudible 34:02] because your demand is our command.
Chris [34:06]: So security in Cisco is not a P1 or P2, it is a P0 with an exclamation and it's really important that a company that does networking, that does hardware in certain ways, security is the fundamental base of everything that Cisco does and in the container space, it does get a bad rap sometimes from a security perspective and if you can add that blanket of security that [inaudible 34:37] provides, it definitely helps me sleep at night and I'm sure it definitely helps others that are on call 24/7, not getting phone calls because of a security threat or because of DDOS or something like that. So, yes, security is fundamental here and everything we do is focused around it.
Richard [34:58]: And that's it. Thank you so much, Chris, for being on the podcast. Thank you, Justin and Tzury for holding the conversation together and being amazing people. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed this one. Do tune in next time, we're really excited about our lineup of guests. We have super exciting guests next week. Can't wait to share him with you. As well check out the show notes for this podcast at https://podcast.curiefense.io. That's C U R I E F E N S E, podcast.curiefense.io for the community to Cloud Native podcasts. You could also just use Google, but either way thanks again for listening, tune in next week, catch you later.