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How Do We Do Cloud at SolarWinds Brno?

Let’s have a look at how we cope with the challenges of cloud application development at SolarWinds Cloud Brno.
15. 5. 2018


Cloud applications’ development and operations is challenging in many ways. You have to keep pace with cutting-edge technologies, handle exponential growth of incoming requests, process more and more data, and continuously improve your application and master engineering practices as well. Let’s have a look how we are coping with such a mission at SolarWinds.

Cloud products have some specifics as opposed to an installed software. For example, you have to provide a great user experience because your competition is literally just a few clicks away. And current customers have fairly high expectations about cloud. They of course consider security and reliability as a must, they like things working out-of-the-box with user-friendly interaction, and they expect a flow of new features and the possibility of unlimited growth when needed. How the heck to do that and still keep everything under control?

You can choose your way somewhere in between two extremes.

  • To be a superhero: coding at meetings, doing peer reviews during coffee breaks, fixing bugs while commuting, ending the day exhausted when your stuff is finally somewhat working.
  • To choose the right way: be smart, dive deep into the best engineering practices, and use the right technology to do the job.

We have chosen the second way. Let’s have a closer look at what that means at SolarWinds.

Principally, our cloud products have a strong vision to be a comprehensive set of tools for monitoring other cloud products. All our products together (Pingdom®, Loggly®, AppOptics, and Papertrail) offer complete functionality to provide deep insight into what is happening in your application. They provide user sessions and transactions tracing, log aggregation, trace and logs analytics, and conversion into metrics with analytics on top of that. This cool product portfolio attracts the attention of nearly a million users.

A growing base of customers and growing amount of traces, metrics, and logs requires constant exponential growth of our service. Our management knows that we are not making just one-shot projects, we are developing subscription-based products. To support that, we focus on keeping technical debt under control.

Site Reliability Engineers (SRE), or what we call “DevOps on steroids,” are one-half problem solvers and the other half developers. All parts of the deployment and infrastructure configuration is automated, so there is no space for manual error. They keep an eye on the whole zoo of AWS® instances. Elastic cloud machines, Elastic load balancing, and software-defined networks are easily managed thanks to Terraform® and SaltStack®. One command on Slack® can deploy the latest build to test or production environments.

Our QA (Quality Assurance) engineers (testing on steroids) are one-half test strategists and the other half automation developers. They are testing our products, ingesting data at order of tens of terabytes a day, and testing our front-ends using Browserstack and Selenium®. And ensuring proper separation of front-end and back-end—APIs providing GraphQL via gRPC— is working correctly.

And our developers are developing like on steroids because they have efficient QA and SRE in the back, so they can fully immerse themselves into their precise work. Front-end developers form our user interaction at ES7—React, Node.js®, Next.js, Styled components, SemanticUI. Back-end developers strive to build distributed data processing pipelines. The services are built using Go or Java®, and are decoupled using Kafka®. Data are stored in ElasticSearch® or ClickHouse clusters.

Our teams are self-organised mixes of people with various personalities, roles, varying skill levels with overlaps into other specializations, and hobbies that work great together. And, just as a side note, engineering managers are software engineers as well, so they understand and support teamwork.

So, don’t miss the chance to participate in the SolarWinds Cloud mission. With our conduct, you could satisfy your desire to fulfill your potential — to grow both professionally and personally. And without unnecessary toil and stress in a friendly and motivating environment, of course. Do you feel the chance? Apply now for a job at SolarWinds.jobs.

Martin Bruzina,

proudly an Engineering Manager, SolarWinds Cloud Brno