Coming Soon: GET-IT: Endpoint Management 1-Day Conference on September 28th at 9:30 AM ET Coming Soon: GET-IT: Endpoint Management 1-Day Conference on September 28th at 9:30 AM ET
Developer|Microsoft Azure|MJF Chat|Podcasts|Uncategorized

MJFChat: Developers, developers, developers!

 

We’re doing a twice-monthly interview show on Petri.com that is dedicated to covering topics of interest to our tech-professional audience. We have branded this show “MJFChat.”

In my role as Petri’s Community Magnate, I will be interviewing a variety of IT-savvy technology folks. Some of these will be Petri contributors; some will be tech-company employees; some will be IT pros. We will be tackling various subject areas in the form of 30-minute audio interviews. I will be asking the questions, the bulk of which we’re hoping will come from you, our Petri.com community of readers.

Readers can submit questions via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn using the #AskMJF hashtag. Once the interviews are completed, we will post the audio and associated transcript in the forums for readers to digest at their leisure. (By the way, did you know MJFChats are now available in podcast form? Go here for MJF Chat on Spotify; here for Apple Podcasts on iTunes; and here for Google Play.)

Sponsored Content

Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management

Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.

Our latest MJFChat is all about what’s happening on the developer front at Microsoft, especially around DevOps, GitHub and Azure. My special guest for this chat — hot off the Build 2021 speaking circuit — is Donovan Brown, Microsoft Partner Program Manager, Azure CTO Incubations. Donovan answered a number of reader questions in this episode.

If you know someone you’d like to see interviewed on the MJFChat show, including yourself, just Tweet to me or drop me a line. (Let me know why you think this person would be an awesome guest and what topics you’d like to see covered.) We’ll take things from there…

Mary Jo Foley:

Hi, you’re listening to Petri.com’s MJF Chat show. I am Mary Jo Foley, AKA your Petri.com community magnate. And I am here to interview tech industry experts about various topics that you, our readers and listeners want to know about. Today’s MJF Chat is going to be on Microsoft’s love of developers, developers, developers. I think you’ve heard that somewhere before. My guest, hot off the Build 2021 conference speaking circuit is Donovan Brown, who is the Partner Program Manager with Azure CTO Incubations. Hi Donovan, thank you so much for doing this chat with me.

Donovan Brown:

Oh, it’s my pleasure. We were talking just a moment ago, we’ve been planning this for a really long time, so I’m glad we’re finally doing it.

Mary Jo Foley:

Me too. And a little funny story, I met Donovan crossing the street in Seattle. I think it was during a Build conference a few years ago. And I remember saying to you in the middle of the street, Hey, I want to interview you someday. So here’s some day, some day is today.

Donovan Brown:

I told that story not too long ago, either because I remember I was, I think I said something like, I can’t believe that person knew me. And then you said, everyone knows you, you’re rub DevOps on it. I’m like, oh my God, I guess that’s a thing.

Mary Jo Foley:

Yep. Yep, yep. But now you have a whole new job since that time, you’re in part of Azure I don’t really know called CTO Incubation. So I’m guessing you work for Mark Russinovich, who is the CTO of Azure, but can you tell us a little more about what do you do in your new job?

Donovan Brown:

Sure, absolutely. So you’re absolutely right. So, Mark Russinovich is the CTO of Azure and he has a team called his Incubations Team where we go off and take the feedback from our customers, from the community and try to figure out how we can solve problems that are going to disrupt the industry. So these aren’t adding features to existing products. This is all right, this is a serious problem that if we solve it correctly is going to change the way that people write software or use the cloud forever. And so one of the projects that we already released was Kata, which is a Kubernetes based, event based autoscaler. So you can basically, instead of auto scaling off of CPU or memory, you can, now auto-scale off of the contents of a queue. So as the queue goes down to zero Kata also allows you to scale down to zero, which most scalers don’t allow you to do. And then as it starts to see items, show up in the queue, it’ll start to scale up the nodes necessary to process that queue. So that came out of the Incubations Team. And then Dapr is the newest thing that came out of the Incubations Team, which is making writing microservices really, really easy.

Mary Jo Foley:

Good. I have a lot of Dapr questions coming up for you.

Donovan Brown:

Cool.

Mary Jo Foley:

Yeah, one time I was interviewing Mark Russinovich and he started trying to explain Dapr to me, assuming that I know what things like the actor model are, and he’s like, you know what that is, right? And I’m like, so no, and he’s like, I know, you know what that is. And I’m like, I’m not a developer Mark. I don’t, I don’t know what it is. So, yeah, but I’m going to ask you more about that in a bit. But before I jump into my questions, we got a lot of interest on Twitter for this chat, which I wasn’t surprised about. And some of these questions could be books in and of themselves. So I’m going to try to skip around a little and do some serious questions and intersperse them with some fun questions to keep things light.

Donovan Brown:

Sounds good.

Mary Jo Foley:

Okay. So the very first one, let’s just start with one that we got from several people. I think you saw this on Twitter Tero Alhonen asked it very succinctly, he said, okay, GitHub or Azure DOps? How is a developer going to decide?

Donovan Brown:

That is the number one question I get asked every time I’m anywhere for any reason, they ask me which one should I use? And I’ll tell you the exact same thing I tell our customers, you need to evaluate them both because they both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses. And what you need to do is determine which one of them solves the problem that you’re currently having. The best analogy I can think of, and I see this in my head every time someone asks me that question is, if you’ve ever worked with building a lot of things you’ll come across a screw where the head of it clearly is designed for a Phillips head screwdriver, which is the one that looks like an X. But if you look really closely at that screw one of the lines goes all the way across the screw, which means you can also use a flathead screwdriver and still drive that screw.

Donovan Brown:

So there’s no wrong answer. It’s like, which one do you use? You know, which one you’re gonna use, you’re gonna use the screwdriver that’s closest to you. If you have a flathead, that’s closer to you than a Phillips head, you’re going to use that flathead screwdriver. And you’re going to drive that screw. If you happen to have a Phillips head screwdriver, which would fit better and less likely to strip, you’re going to use that one instead. And I use the same analogy when you’re thinking about where should I do my CIC? Should it be in GitHub Actions? Or should it be inside of Azure DevOps? Well, which one’s closest to you? And if your code is already in GitHub, the closest thing to you is going to be GitHub Actions. And what you need to do is evaluate that and say, does this have all the features that I need to achieve the goals that I currently have? And don’t waste time talking about, oh, but it doesn’t have this feature and that feature that you have no intentions of using. I used to hate that debate where people are like, oh, this one’s best in class. And then I would ask you what makes it best in class? They’d rattle off three or four features. I’m like, great, which of those features are you planning to use? Well, none of them, I was like, so why are we talking about that?

Donovan Brown:

Why are we wasting time? So stop looking at which one’s the best in the industry, which one has the best XYZ. Look at the one that solves your problem, the best, and that’s what you need to be focused on. And we support them both. So there’s no wrong answer. To me this is a question of choice. And at Microsoft, we love giving our developers choice. Which is why you have Visual Studio and VIsual Studio Code. Which is why you have the Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell. And this is why you have GitHub Actions and Azure DevOps, right? We give you options all across the board here at Microsoft. And this is just another example where we’re giving you that. And we have features that just dropped in Azure DevOps on the 26th. What was that, yesterday, day before yesterday? So there’s still development there. There’s still active support there.

Donovan Brown:

So the first question I ask all my customers is where is your source code? If it’s in GitHub, fine, let’s go evaluate GitHub Actions and see if it does everything that you need. If two things, if your code, one, is not in Azure and GitHub, then GitHub Actions aren’t an option. Or, two, you found a feature that you really need that GitHub Actions doesn’t have today. Well, then let’s go ahead and switch over to Azure DevOps, which can get your code from anywhere and is older. So therefore has by the nature of that more features and has been battle-tested and is used by companies of all sizes across the world. So, and we’re still going to support it. We can’t not support it because it’s so popular, right? To me, there’s no wrong answer. You just need to find the one that fits your problem the best. And I use them both just to be very transparent. There are projects where I’m still full blown Azure DevOps, and there’s other projects where I’ve either migrated them or started from scratch and was able to achieve my desired goals in GitHub Actions. And it was convenient because all my codes are pretty much in GitHub now anyway. So my answer is evaluate them both and choose the one that solves your problem the best.

Mary Jo Foley:

That’s a great answer. I’m like so happy to hear somebody give a succinct, clear answer to that because I think the reason people ask it a lot is people are afraid that Azure DevOps is going to be discontinued. And so they’re already panicking and way ahead of time they’re like, yeah, but what happens if Microsoft discontinues it because GitHub is the favorite child and I’m like, you know what they haven’t said they’re going to, and if they ever do, I’m sure they’re going to give you a very long runway and a big heads up on that.

Donovan Brown:

You nailed it. You just nailed it. And if you go through my Twitter feed, I think you’ll find a response that was very similar to that. I said, stop listening to rumors, wait til you get an official announcement from us and look at TFVC, right? They had the exact, remember when we started investing in, Git, and people panicked about TFVC, and guess what? You can still use TFVC to this very day, right inside of our product. So like, stop, I understand you don’t want to invest in something that’s going to be taking away from you. But I have a, this is just me. we don’t do that with something as popular as Azure DevOps. Right, It’s just, we couldn’t do that because it’s so popular and it’s such a great product. I’m obviously a huge fan. I was on the team for a while. So I’m a big fan of it as well.

Mary Jo Foley:

Okay. Speaking of Git, you just gave me an excellent segue into the next listener question. Ian Ceicys, I think is how he may pronounce his name, said, ask Donovan, what is the difference between DevOps and GitOps?

Donovan Brown:

I’m going to try my best, not to get on my soap box about all the ops. I am about sick of the ops. I mean, we don’t need all the,

Mary Jo Foley:

What about MLOps, what about this, what about this?

Donovan Brown:

And DevSecOps, which I had a lot of talks on, and I don’t even know if I ever said that term, if you notice, like those are DevSecOps sessions, but I just said security, because to me you need security. Even before you’re doing DevOps, you need security on your actual dev machine. You need to have that bit lockered and protected and multi-factored authentication. You need to have it in your repository, in your pipeline and in production. To me, security is something that we should have been thinking about a long time. And I didn’t need a special word to say it. For me, GitOps sounds a lot like infrastructure as code, but we’re going to confine it just to using Git repositories.

Donovan Brown:

You can’t use TFVC or Subversion or some other thing. And I just, pardon me, I almost rolled my eyes when I read that. I’m like, really, like, we need another ops? Like it’s infrastructure as code. And just because you’re confining it to only use Git based repositories to me, it was just like, all right. I mean, I just shrugged it off because I’ve already been doing infrastructure as code, as part of my DevOps pipelines, because I think infrastructure code it’s one of the unsung heroes of DevOps best practices. And I was a late bloomer to that. I wasn’t a big believer because I come, I started my career at Compaq Computers. I remember deploying my software on ProLiant servers that were the same configuration a year later that they were the first time I deployed to them.

Donovan Brown:

So infrastructure as code and configuration as code didn’t really pop for me, cause I was like, I don’t change my infrastructure very often. So why am I going to invest in automation of something that never changes, but then you fast forward to the cloud and you realize no Donovan, those environments change all the time potentially. And you’re going to want the ability to tear down an environment and spin it back up again, like your dev and your QA environments that don’t need to live forever. And then all of a sudden that light bulb comes on. wow infrastructure as code is really, really powerful. And then you start talking about disaster recovery because if I have this script, this automation that I can use to stand up another version of my environment, somewhere else in the world, when a catastrophic failure happens. No longer, is it a all hands on deck, no longer are we ordering in take out.

Donovan Brown:

And everyone’s in the war room trying to figure out how to get our services back up. It’s just like everyone go back to sleep. I’m just going to push this button and we’re going to stand up another one and go back to sleep. And that’s when the light came on for infrastructure as code. So when I started reading about all this, GitOps stuff, I’m thinking this just sounds like the things I’ve been doing already. And I even found some articles that compared the two of them or talked about what is GitOps versus infrastructure as code. And even then I was having a hard time saying, I haven’t been already doing this stuff, call it whatever you want. I think infrastructure as code is a very important DevOps best practice. One that people should be employing as quickly as they possibly can. If you want to call it, GitOps great, but don’t confuse yourself. Thinking that GitOps is one thing and then DevOps is another. You should be doing infrastructure as code in your pipeline that you’re deploying your applications with. I hope that answers that question.

Mary Jo Foley:

Yeah, that’s really good. Another nice, clear answer. I liked it. Okay, Mickey Gousset, who I think you may know, what is the next big thing after DevOps? What’s the next big catchphrase or idea? And the reason, I think, you’re being asked this is because one of your big claims to fame was popularizing the rub a little DevOps on it concept. Right? So I think everybody wants to know, what do you think is going to be the next big thing?

Donovan Brown:

It’s funny because I didn’t even know that was going to be a big thing. It just, I remember the first time I ever said that I was sent to a customer to prove to them that we can build their gradle scripts these big, giant gradle scripts using VSTS at the time. And they didn’t think that we could do it because they were a Java shop and Microsoft doesn’t have this reputation for Java, especially at the time that I did this back in, I think it was 2015 when I was there. And I’m in this war room and every time they brought up what they thought was a challenge I’m in there and I have my peers with me and we just would solve the problem immediately or write a custom task and just showing how flexible the tool was.

Donovan Brown:

And then they came up with another one I just said, oh, we’re just gonna rub a little DevOps on this. And this problem is going to go away. And everyone in the room laughed. And I thought, ooh wait, I’m going to store that one away. Maybe I’ll be able to use that sometime because I didn’t expect that reaction. 2016, I get the keynote Build and that’s the first time I ever said it out loud to a public audience. I said, do you remember that application you just saw on the last demo? We’re going to rub a little DevOps on it to make it better. And the next thing I know, it’s all over Twitter. And people, some people hated it. Some people thought it was hilarious. And I remember there was a fun story where one of the people who really, really hated it, I met him in England and he was just giving me this hard time. He’d already attacked me on Twitter. We’re having fun with it though. And then he came to a meetup that I had that night and I didn’t say it. And he was just furious. I’m like, dude you hated it anyway, and I didn’t say it. And you’re like, well, how did you not say it? You say it all the time, I said, Oh my goodness, this has gotten way out of control.

Donovan Brown:

There’s been news articles written over that phrase. It’s just been nuts. So what will be next? I have no idea because I didn’t even know that was going to be a thing, it just seems to happen. And I’ve noticed that when I’m on stage, what people pick up on is not what I expected them to pick up on, because I rehearse everything that you see.

Mary Jo Foley:

I’m sure.

Donovan Brown

I’ve said all those lines, hundreds of times. And I kind of in my mind think, okay, that’s going to land there. And I’m usually pretty good and the jokes pretty much land, and I’m like this, this is going to trend and it never does. But how did that not trend? I orchestrated that to happen and nothing. And then all of a sudden they picked up on something else I said, or did, or there’s a meme of me kind of dancing around because I said warm and fuzzy once.

Donovan Brown:

And I kind of pantomimed it and all of a sudden, I become a GIF. Oh my goodness, that’s what you latched on to. But not this other thing. I’ve been saying a lot though, that might catch on. I haven’t actually been saying it. I picked it up from my buddy Mark Fussell, who is on my team now. He uses the term Dapr-ize a lot, which is funny. Cause you want to talk about Dapr and we’ll get to that. But to Dapr-ize an application is first of all, very easy to do. And you get a lot of free stuff just by running your app in the context of Dapr, you get traceability, you get observability, you get security. And it’s all a lot of cool stuff and he calls it to Dapr-ize your application. And then another thing that we’ve been saying is that Dapr does that and it became a hashtag during a show I was recording.

Donovan Brown:

I didn’t even realize that I was saying it a lot. Just Dapr does that. I don’t have to worry about that, cause Dapr does that. And next thing I know, I look up and there’s a hashtag Dapr does that, I mean that’s kind of cool. So I think there might be some Dapr specific trends coming up. But to answer the first part. So one of them is what’s the next trend or what’s the next catch phrase? I think Dapr is going to have something to do with that, if I’m right, but I’m probably not. So it’s probably going to be something I’m not even thinking about, that’s going to take off. The other thing was, what’s going to be the next big thing after DevOps or where does DevOps go? And I think a lot about this question still, even though DevOps, isn’t my primary focus, because when it was my primary focus, you’re constantly thinking about what’s going to be next.

Donovan Brown:

And what I kept telling people is I hope there’s nothing next because I’ve been writing software since ’96. I joined Compaq Computers in.’96 and I remember setting up a CI system was only the brightest on your team could do that, because you had to make files. And you had to figure out how to trigger the CI system whenever a commit happened. And we weren’t using Git or Essentia, like it was just you had to be really, really smart to set up a CI system. And today It’s a checkbox. Like you can go anywhere and click a check box or add a value to a YAML file. And you get CI automatically, nobody thinks about it, it’s not a big deal. What I hope is that DevOps goes that way, to where DevOps is literally a checkbox or a value that I check set somewhere.

Donovan Brown:

And I don’t think about the infrastructure as code the security that I have to apply. How am I going to deploy the application? I want all that taken away from the developer. I want the developer to say, here are my files. Here’s the URL I want to access those files from. Azure, take care of the rest. I don’t want to know if it’s going to AKS or Azure App Service or to Azure Functions or Static Web Apps. I don’t care. Like I honestly, as a developer, I really don’t care. I just want my app to show up when I type in DonovanBrown.com. Go make that happen.

Mary Jo Foley:

Nice.

Donovan Brown:

But what I’m hoping is that yeah, DevOps goes that way. Right? It just, we don’t think about it anymore. We just hand Azure our files and our URL. And five minutes later, our app is running. And if Azure decides it needs to move it from Static Web Apps to App Service or from App Service to Kubernetes. Great, go ahead, Azure, do what you gotta do to make sure that my customers get the best experience that they can. I really don’t care. So I hope DevOps is not what we’re talking about 10 years from now.

Mary Jo Foley:

Okay. That’s very interesting. And I get your point. There are certain concepts here, like it can’t just go away or be replaced. It just has to become a natural part of the whole way you operate. Right?

Donovan Brown:

Absolutely. Because CI didn’t go away. We just made it so easy that no one cares about it anymore. No one talks about it anymore. I shouldn’t say, we don’t care about it. We care about it because it is an extremely integral and important part of your CI/CD pipeline. But it’s just not something that you’re losing a lot of sleep over because setting up CI has become so simple to do. And I want DevOps to be that simple to do. We’ve got a long ways to go. But I think it’s clearly possible because we’re getting these patterns. We’re getting these systems that work over and over again, we’re getting down to containers, just becomes that one unit of distribution, which makes things a lot simpler for us to go off and automate in a very consistent way. So I think in the future, DevOps isn’t as popular as it is right now. And we’re gonna be talking about something else and DevOps will go the way of CI.

Mary Jo Foley:

Okay. So we’ve danced around this long enough, I’m ready to take the bull by the horns. Let’s talk about Dapr. Okay. Dapr, distributed application runtime. Now here’s your challenge for me, explain in plain English to somebody who’s say an IT pro, why this is important, what it is and why they should be thinking about it? But keep it and keep it like kind of high level. So that even a journalist like me can understand it.

Donovan Brown:

Okay. Challenge accepted. Let me see if I can do this for you. I’m going to give you a little bit of an anecdote first and maybe that’ll help tie it together. I’ve been a developer for a really long time. Distributed applications are very difficult to write. And one of the reasons that they’re difficult to write, are there are so many moving pieces. You have to worry about how you call other services. How do you find out where they are and what their names are? What if there’s 10 of them? Which one of those do I call? What if I’m calling it too often? How do I back off and know how to back off? What if my first call fails? And I need to try again, what’s that retry logic look like? That’s a lot of code that I’m writing. And if I want to connect to something like Redis CAS, I now have to download their SDK, have to learn their API.

Donovan Brown:

But what if tomorrow we switched from Redis CAS to Azure Cosmos DB. Well, that’s another SDK I have to download. And another API I have to learn and code I have to change because it no longer points to Redis and now points to something else. And that’s just one example of just where I want to store state. You have to multiply that by service discovery, secrets management input and output bindings, all those things come with their own tacks of SDKs. You have to download dependencies, you have to have in code you have to write. But what if I were to tell you, there is a world where you don’t have to write that code. You don’t have to learn those APIs. You don’t have to download those SDKs, but you have the exact same power you had before. That’s Dapr. Dapr is that piece that you rely upon that understands how the talk to Redis and also understands how to talk to Cosmos DB so that I don’t have to know how to talk to those things.

Donovan Brown:

I say, Hey, Dapr, I need you to store this for me. I’m going to ask for it later. Okay, no problem I’ll store it for you. Whenever you want it just ask for your dog’s name and I’ll give you dog’s name back. Might be stored in Redis cache, might be stored in Azure Storage, might be stored in Cosmos DB, might be stored in AWS, might be stored in GCP. I don’t know, nor do I care, but I know that when I ask for that secret, I’m going to get it back. When I ask for that state, I’m going to get it back. There was an app that I’ve been demoing quite a bit, where I actually take in tweets from Twitter and I take the text and I send it to Cosmos, I mean, to Cognitive Services, to get the text analyzed and tell me if it’s sentiment analysis.

Donovan Brown:

I didn’t have to write a single line of code that understands the API from Twitter. I didn’t have to download any SDKs for Twitter. I just said, Hey, Dapr, whenever you get a tweet that looks like this, call me please. And there was like, no problem. And next thing you know, all these tweets just come funneling into my code. And all I wrote was I think 12 lines of code. That’s it. Once I get a tweet, do this with the tweet. So Dapr makes writing microservices easy because it takes away all of the heavy lifting that an engineer would normally have to do. And it also reduces the amount of code you have to change. So let’s say on my local machine, I’m running against Reddis CAS cause it’s convenient, but then I’m going to be running against, I don’t know, Cosmos DB in the cloud. I don’t have to change any of my code. I just change my configuration and it just runs there. And so to me, in a nutshell, Dapr makes writing microservices easy because it does all the heavy lifting for you.

Mary Jo Foley:

That’s good. Where does it sit? Like if somebody wants to use Dapr, where is it?

Donovan Brown:

No, that’s a good point. So Dapr, when you’re running inside of a Kubernetes cluster is a sidecar. So a sidecar is another basically container running right next to your container in the same pod. So you just communicate with Dapr and Dapr does all the translations of communicating to everything else for you. So it’s just a sidecar, but it doesn’t only run inside of Kubernetes. You can actually run Dapr locally on a VM, if you’re still on-prem and you have systems that need to communicate with each other or store state, or get secrets, you can still use Dapr. And it just runs as a process right next to your application on the same VM as well.

Mary Jo Foley:

Okay. That’s good. Yeah. Mickey also wanted me to ask you about air hockey and racing cars. I’m like, you know what? Those are two topics I know even less about than I know about Dapr. So I don’t know even what I would ask you. I just, I have heard you’re really big into car racing.

 Donovan Brown:

Yes, back in ’97 I bought a BMW M3, which is a very, very fast car. And a friend of mine convinced me that I should autocross it. And autocrossing is where you’re the only person on the track at a time. So it’s not wheel to wheel racing and you’re timed against a clock and everyone has to drive the exact same course and the person who drives it fastest without any penalties, obviously wins. And eventually, I tried it and was just amazed by the vehicle that I had purchased. Cause when you’re driving it on the street, you really don’t understand all the engineering that you purchased. But when you track a car, you start to really appreciate how amazing they are. And I obviously being a software engineer figured out a way to create a registration system for people who wanted to race their cars and turned it into a business that I ran for about 20 years.

 Donovan Brown:

But it also was a cool way to race my car because I was getting paid to race my car. I felt like a professional driver because I was sponsored by the website that was about racing cars. And I raced all over the United States at the national level, which was a lot of fun. So I still race every once in a while. Not near as much, since COVID hit, I haven’t raced. But now that I’m fully vaccinated, I think I’m going to start to venture out and track my cars again. And then I did the same thing with air hockey. Abel Wang is my best friend and he and I played air hockey a lot and thought we had to be the best two air hockey players in the world. I mean we had to be. We played hundreds of games. There’s no way anyone plays air hockey as well as we do.

 Donovan Brown:

So we started searching on the internet for if anyone else played air hockey like we did. And lo and behold, two weeks out from the day we started searching was the Texas state tournament in Dallas, Texas on, I think it was 2007 when this happened, I was like, Abel, man, we got to go to this tournament and teach these people how to play air hockey. This will be awesome. And unfortunately Abel couldn’t go, but I could go. So I flew to Dallas and I show up at the hotel, there’s players from all over the country there. And I remember a gentleman comes up and says, you want to play? I’m like of course I want to play. I’m like, this is awesome. Finally get to teach these people how to play air hockey. I get on the table, the game lasts probably 30 seconds. I don’t score a single point. This guy is doing things I’ve never seen before. Things I didn’t know you were allowed to do on the air hockey table. And all I remember doing is picking up my phone and texting Abel, we suck. He’s like really? Like, dude, we’re horrible at this game. These people are amazing. And I’ve been hooked ever since. So again, created a website, created an app that scores them. So we could broadcast the matches from my house over the internet and was ranked 11 in the world at one point.

 Mary Jo Foley:

Wow. Really? Interesting,

Donovan Brown:

Yes, that was my best finish ever. And it was a finish where my wife and I went to Denver for the world championships that year. And I just went to support the community. Cause I wasn’t in practice. I hadn’t been training and I was just like, let’s just go have fun. Let’s just go support the community. So we flew to Denver and not taking it as serious, I ended up 11th in the world. And the reason I think I ended up 11th and not 10th is because when I went to the 11, 10 spinoff, I started taking it seriously thinking, oh man, I will be in the top 10 player in the world. And I took it so seriously, I psyched myself out and I lost. And it’s just interesting where you just do it for fun, I ended up playing better than I had when I was taking it way too serious.

 Mary Jo Foley:

I wonder if that has implications for developers, I bet it does.

 Donovan Brown:

I think so as well because most of the developers will tell you the ideas and the solutions don’t come when you’re sitting in front of the computer.

Mary Jo Foley:

Right.

Donovan Brown:

They’re coming to you when you’re falling asleep or when you’re waking up or when you’re doing something else. And then you have to run back to the computer to get that out of your head. But sometimes if you just, you look at it for too long, you can’t see that one semi-colon that’s missing or that one logical, that one line, and it’s usually one line or one character that’s wrong. That’s been blocking you for the last day and a half. And you won’t see it when you’re staring at it and you’re just focused on and determined. Sometimes you just have to turn your brain off, go watch Nacho Libre and laugh at stupidness and then come back and the answer will be right in front of you.

Mary Jo Foley:

Exactly. All right, we’re running out of time here. I want to sneak in one more question. I know you spoke at Build this week and one of the sessions you spoke on, I’m very interested in, I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m going to. It’s called Running Open Source Applications Your Way on Azure. And I’m wondering if there are any bits from that, that you think would be important for IT pros to know. Like a key takeaway or two from that session that you can kind of summarize here for IT pros.

 Donovan Brown:

It’s interesting you qualified it as IT pros because I think what I’m about to share everyone needs to know. It doesn’t matter if you’re a developer, an IT pro, or PM. If you’re working in an organization, I think you need to understand that at Microsoft, we can support you with your Java workloads. People don’t associate Microsoft and Java, but they don’t realize that LinkedIn has I think a hundred. What is it? 1800 microservices running Java right now. Minecraft uses Java. I think we have Java in Azure itself. We also have Java in other places inside of Microsoft. So we have a vested interest in making sure that Java runs well in Azure. And we have a lot of experience running large enterprise workloads that are written in Java in Azure. And we can help our customers with that as well. So that’s a message that I hope people take away from that session is that we’re not just here to help you with .NET.

 Donovan Brown:

We can help you with any language that you’re writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s Go or Java. We have a lot of investments to make sure that any code that you write runs really effectively inside of Azure. So that open source session is about, doesn’t matter what language you program in. It doesn’t matter what open source databases you use. Doesn’t matter if you’re running on Linux or Windows, here at Microsoft, we’re here to help everyone be more effective with their job. Be it a citizen developer, which is a low code, no code type of developer, a pro developer, that’s writing really low-level microservices, doing proper infrastructures code for your spring boot applications. It doesn’t matter what hat you wear in your organization. If you want to run open source in Azure, we’re here for you.

Mary Jo Foley:

Oh good. Okay. I’m definitely gonna watch this now. That sounds really good. Donovan, thank you so much, especially doing this at the end of a super busy week. Really appreciate you taking the time.

Donovan Brown:

My pleasure.

 Mary Jo Foley:

And for everyone else, who’s listening right now to this or reading the transcript. I’ll be putting up information soon about who my next guest is going to be. And once you see that you can submit questions directly on Twitter like people did for Donovan all week this week, using the #MJFChat. In the meantime, if you know of anyone else or even yourself who might make a good guest for one of these chats, please do not hesitate to let me know and drop me a note. Thank you very much.

Listen now and subscribe on

Also On: RSS |

BECOME A PETRI MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Sign up for a Petri Account

Register
Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Live Webinar: Active Directory Security: What Needs Immediate Priority!Live on Tuesday, October 12th at 1 PM ET

Attacks on Active Directory are at an all-time high. Companies that are not taking heed are being punished, both monetarily and with loss of production.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to prioritize vulnerability management
  • What attackers are leveraging to breach organizations
  • Where Active Directory security needs immediate attention
  • Overall strategy to secure your environment and keep it secured

Sponsored by: