More and more IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software, and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud. And there is an ever-more interesting avenue for cloud, and that is developers themselves. Developers have immense power when they select their preferred tools and platforms. Join us with Raman Sharma, VP of Product Marketing at Digital Ocean, and Marko Klemetti, CTO at Eficode, to learn more about what a developer-friendly cloud means.

The podcast has a promotion for free credits on Digital Ocean. Listen intently!

Lauri (00:05):

Hello, and welcome to DevOps Sauna. My name is Lauri and I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Eficode. Gartner has predicted that by 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud.

Lauri (00:27):

Much of this transition is driven by the IT infrastructure and application teams, but there is an evermore interesting avenue for cloud computing, and that is developers themselves. Developers have an immense power when they select their preferred tools and platforms, which have implications to the infrastructure of the company.

Lauri (00:47):

We had an opportunity to discuss with Raman Sharma, Vice President of Product Marketing at DigitalOcean and learn more about what it means to be in the cloud for developers. If you are a developer yourself or a software team lead, you should listen intently, because DigitalOcean is giving away free credits to help you get going.

Lauri (01:09):

Now, let's get started with the discussion. Welcome, Raman. Good to have you in our DevOps Sauna podcast, indeed.

Raman (01:23):

Thanks for having me, Lauri. Are you able to hear me all right?

Lauri (01:26):

I am able to hear you all right, indeed. And we also have Marco from Finland on the line.

Raman (01:30):

Hi, Marko. How are you doing?

Marko (01:31):

I'm perfect. Thank you.

Lauri (01:32):

You're based in Seattle, is that correct?

Raman (01:35):

That's right. I'm in Seattle. We had a pretty big wind storm yesterday, because of which we did not have power for 24 hours. I experienced 18th century for a few hours there.

Lauri (01:47):

Wow. That is an experience, if it's a short enough. When it gets too long, then it becomes a problem.

Lauri (01:56):

We actually got a fresh, good snowfall here. Maybe a week ago we had some snow and now we have maybe anywhere between one foot and two feet. The snow came or winter came overnight, so to say.

Lauri (02:16):

Today, we are talking about DigitalOcean and more specifically, the things around developers taking advantage of DigitalOcean solutions, the challenges, opportunities and that alike.

Lauri (02:30):

I am going to hand over to Marko, who is going to facilitate our conversation and be your conversation partner here. Marko is our CTO and I'm our CMO. So I'm going to step back and give it to Marko and he can introduce himself, and then you'll be able to introduce yourself, and then off we go.

Marko (02:52):

Thank you. I'm Marko as already said. I'm the CTO of Eficode. I've been at Eficode for 15 years already, which is long for any modern IT, but at the same time, I've always worked on the startup scene. I have a few very active startups running that I'm either founding or helping to grow currently.

Marko (03:19):

My blood flows in the community and contributing and also development. I'm still an active developer also in GitHub, and using DigitalOcean services as well, myself.

Marko (03:33):

So as said, Raman, very, very happy to have you here today. If you could just with a few words introduce herself, and of course, DigitalOcean.

Raman (03:45):

Yeah, of course. My name is Raman Sharma, I lead product marketing and developer relations here at DigitalOcean. Been with the company a little more than a year.

Raman (03:56):

I would say before that, even before that, I've been almost entirely in the developer space, either as a developer myself or building products for developers or marketing products to developers. Developer tools or cloud services. So that's been my background, which is why explains why I'm here at DigitalOcean. We are a very, very developer focused company.

Raman (04:20):

In fact, we pride ourselves as the cloud for developers. We exist to serve developers. We exist to make their workloads easier on the cloud and to demystify cloud computing for anyone who wants to do anything significant in the cloud.

Raman (04:38):

So that's our mission, I would say, and I think we are succeeding at it and let's talk more about it.

Marko (04:47):

Sure thing. I guess my first question would be, how do you differentiate yourself from building for developers, rather than the C-level or for the whole organization or big enterprises?

Raman (05:02):

I think that's a great question. So I, myself come from a pretty big cloud provider, before I came to DigitalOcean. And my experience, and even my observation, looking at the landscape is that large cloud providers are very much focused on digital transformation and large enterprises who are trying to bring a lot of workloads from on-premises to the cloud.

Raman (05:27):

Well, that's a great space to be. There's a lot of money to be made there. But I think what we have seen is that there is an underserved audience and a set of underserved scenarios, where there's a lot of business to be done, and a lot of people to be served.

Raman (05:41):

For example, developers who do not necessarily want to deal with 160 services, understand every detail of all the different managed services that these big cloud providers are providing. All they want to do is solve their own problem. Whether it is hosting a website, building a small, simple application, automating some piece of infrastructure.

Raman (06:04):

So for those audiences and scenarios, we've found that there's an opportunity there. So that's where DigitalOcean came in. The three audiences that I would say we serve are individual developers, who are trying to either learn cloud technologies, or run their personal projects in their journey to becoming experts there.

Raman (06:26):

The second is entrepreneurs and startups, who are looking to build a business on top of cloud. And the third is small and medium businesses, who are trying to bring their applications to the cloud. So these three segments, we felt were not really being served appropriately by anyone in the market. So we came in, and we are trying to carve out a niche for ourselves in that space.

Raman (06:48):

The way we do that is twofold. The first is simplicity of experience. Whether it is understanding what cloud technologies can do for you, or it is the simplicity of the product experience. That's number one.

Raman (07:03):

And the second is a big community flavor. If you see, a lot of what we do is provide education to developers on solving simple fundamental problems or solving how to do things in the cloud. So that's our mode of operation.

Marko (07:20):

If we start from the basics, what kind of services do you think are the differentiators for such SMB or individuals and the small, medium businesses that you would provide? So how does the cloud services differ from the ones that you would expect from the big enterprises?

Raman (07:44):

I think as I mentioned earlier, if you feel that the problem that a large enterprise is trying to solve is digital transformation or standardization of the cloud platform for all their applications, or all their portfolio of applications, usually what we see is that is not the kind of problem a startup or an SMB has.

Raman (08:04):

In most cases, our audience, they are actually digital native. They did not have a pre-digital investment to begin with. So what they want to do is actually create a business or spend more of their time on their business, rather than worry about how to automate infrastructure, how to provision infrastructure, learn every single detail of infrastructure as code. They want to get to their applications as soon as possible.

Raman (08:33):

That's what we're trying to do. If you look at our product offerings, we have core infrastructure, we call it infrastructure as a service, compute, network and storage. We have cloud native, which is Kubernetes. We have now PaaS, platform as a service.

Raman (08:50):

We look at our product portfolio with the lens of these three pillars. We add what we call foundational pieces to every pillar to allow people to solve 95% of their problems. We feel that the rest 5% are not worth our time and energy to go after. But we provide enough tools and open source guidance for people to be able to solve those things for themselves.

Marko (09:13):

Yeah. And that definitely is something that I've seen also as a developer role, but that's something that I feel that DigitalOcean definitely radiates. How do you define what the services should be? So how do you involve the innovators and the users in this process?

Raman (09:33):

Yeah, a couple of ways. Actually, one is that we have a very strong research arm within our product development team. So they do conduct a bunch of research, whether it is from our existing customers, potential customers, community at large. So through this iterative process, we are able to figure out are we building the right product? Are we going to hit product market fit? So that's number one.

Raman (09:56):

Number two is just because I said earlier, we have a very strong community presence, in terms of our tutorials, our Q&A, and our documentation. So the data that we get from that set of community material that we have out there gives us a lot of signals around what people are interested in, what kind of problems people are facing.

Raman (10:18):

In fact, one flavor that you will notice around our tutorials is that many of those tutorials are not even about DigitalOcean. They are not about how to do things using our cloud products. They are about solving generic computing problems for developers, whether it is Linux, infrastructure, cloud, automation.

Raman (10:38):

So through that, we get a lot of signals around what people are running into, what kind of problems they're trying to solve. And what we try to do is, again, going back to the 80/20 rule, we take the 80% of that problem and try to solve it using our products. And we feel that that mode of operation has worked quite well for us.

Marko (10:55):

Actually, I think that DigitalOcean is really, really well known on the tutorial side and the technical guides. If you look at any installation guide or similar, you always bump into two sources. That would be Stack Overflow and DigitalOcean, of course.

Raman (11:14):

And as you can imagine, even being spoken about in the same sentence as Stack Overflow is quite flattering, actually Stack Overflow is now the Google for developers.

Raman (11:27):

We absolutely understand this, that in many cases, the first interaction anyone, even many of our customers have with DigitalOcean is through these tutorials. We take it very, very seriously.

Raman (11:41):

Now, you can call it content marketing. We call it community, because we believe in developer education. I think it has worked out very, very well for us, both in terms of creating attention for ourselves and also in terms of serving the community and helping developers.

Marko (11:57):

Would you be so kind as to elaborate how much or how do you produce the content? Where does it come from? So it's always excited me how quality content it is. How have you come into creating such quality content for the tutorials? Because that cannot be easy.

Raman (12:18):

It has been a process, it is an iterative process. I would say we have three sources for that. The first is, we are very unique in the sense that our marketing team, actually a big chunk of our marketing team is very technical writers and editors who produce super high quality content. And you will not believe me, but the bar that we have for these tutorials is super high.

Raman (12:43):

Now, in many cases, many of our official pieces of documentation will not qualify to be hosted on our community site, because that is the level of rigor that we require before we put anything on our community site. So we have internal writers who keep a track of the popular topics, what kind of topics are working well, what people are looking for, and they produce content based on that.

Raman (13:11):

We also have an editorial team that works with content contributors outside our company, the community contributors. And we have a program called Write for DO, Write for DOnations. And as a part of which, you can submit your content, work with our editorial team. And then you can either get compensated or you can donate to your charity of choice. So these two sources are organic.

Raman (13:40):

And then most recently, what we also started to do is look at who else is ethos aligned, who else is solving developer problems in the same way as we are? And then try to form partnerships, either by acquiring that content, or building some kind of arrangement with these content providers.

Raman (13:59):

I would say those are the major ways that we are trying to slowly and gradually building our content repository. Quality is paramount for us. We believe in quality more than quantity.

Raman (14:10):

We now have more than 3,000, I would say. But you should not expect that number to become 10,000, just because we are going after growth. No, we're going after quality.

Marko (14:21):

As a consumer, I can say that that definitely pays back. And it's also with, for example, we do our blogging and similar content where we've written topics like Jenkins configuration and similar. It has been interesting to see that the similar interesting areas are emerging by of course our internal community here in Eficode, but also then you can replicate it or see against the DigitalOcean content and seeing, "Okay, this is something that's definitely a hot topic currently."

Raman (15:01):

Yeah, infrastructure as a code is a popular trend these days.

Marko (15:07):

Absolutely. So that's also, as said, this is something I wanted to ask just before is how would you differentiate? When you said that building the digital transformation and similar, but you have the same components within DigitalOcean, but more reachable for the developers and smaller communities.

Marko (15:31):

How do you produce, for example, the infrastructure as code or similar within DigitalOcean as compared to the others? Or is it...

Raman (15:46):

Oh, you mean how do we do internally for our systems?

Marko (15:50):

Yeah, I guess I would rather ask that a bit later. It's more like as you're doing the technical guides, does it somehow also transform into the product portfolio in a certain way? Or how do you reflect the...

Raman (16:06):

Yeah, if you ask me, infrastructure is good, we do put out a lot of content about it, both how to do it generically, and also how to do it on top of DigitalOcean.

Raman (16:20):

But having said that, you'd probably understand that infrastructure as code is still pretty much an advanced topic. Your everyday developer is not dealing with Terraform, and Ansible and automation of all these kinds. We do feel that it is our duty to serve that developer also, who may not be advanced in these topics.

Raman (16:40):

So what we do is we provide guidance out there. But we will not like to overwhelm your everyday developer with these concepts within the cloud control panel. We rely on our API and our tools and the community guidance that we build on, "Okay, if you want to use Terraform, Ansible," or what is that new one, the infrastructure as code? I'm forgetting the name. There's a new tool, which is entirely based on code, it doesn't use XML. Anyway, I'll come back to it.

Raman (17:15):

We do provide documentation of all kinds. But in terms of, we do not highlight this experience within the cloud control panel, I would say.

Marko (17:25):

This is also interesting to hear, because at Eficode as we are, we do DevOps consultancies in seven different countries, and we have 350 people working on DevOps particularly. It's interesting to see how, for example, Ansible is very much everyday for us and our customers.

Marko (17:47):

But still, if you look at the community, and the ones that consume your tutorials, it's definitely not like that yet as a majority.

Raman (17:56):

Yeah, you guys probably live and breathe DevOps and everything. And infrastructure as code and automation is now a big part of DevOps. But if you think about a small startup who's trying to build a SaaS application that they want to take online in a couple of points, they probably will not spend a ton of time making everything super automated, super streamlined, thinking about each and every DevOps practice. They will probably come back to that later, once they have their product up and running.

Raman (18:28):

Whether it is the right way to think about product development process or not, it's not for me to decide. But that's what we feel a lot of people do, actually. Okay, let's get this business off the ground, and then we'll optimize things later on, we'll make sure that the processes are right or so on.

Raman (18:45):

And you're totally right. This was my experience working previously in larger companies also, that DevOps and process optimization is almost a product in itself. Many people, they're not trying to build new products, all they're trying to do is optimize their current processes.

Raman (19:04):

So for that, things that you're talking about make total sense. For somebody who's just trying to create a product and get it off the ground, it probably is the next step.

Marko (19:14):

That sounds interesting. And that's actually a really good answer also to the so-called SMB question. Why DigitalOcean for individuals, teams, SMBs? It's definitely like that, getting up and running as fast as possible.

Marko (19:29):

I'm talking about much, and when I'm giving speaks, I'm talking about zero day delivery. The purpose of the idea is that if you come up with an idea, you should be in production the same day. And you should have the self-service portal or platform for that purpose, which would enable you to go to production and it should also change the concept of delivery and release in your mind in such a way that you can deliver it to production immediately, and then do the release when you decide to release your product.

Raman (20:07):

Yeah, Marco, as much as we'd like, not every developer in the world is as enlightened as that. We are getting there, the community is getting there. But I think it's a spectrum of how much people want to think about it at that stage of their journey.

Marko (20:26):

I'm still going to ask next about Kubernetes. So you've enabled Kubernetes as one of the main lines of DigitalOcean. Can you tell how it has been, how people have taken it into use? And how are you running it currently as a product from your services?

Raman (20:47):

Yeah, I think Kubernetes is a big bet for us. Very, very important bet and I think it is already paying off, I would say. If you think about, every cloud provider these days has a managed Kubernetes service, irrespective of how large or small you are, without a Kubernetes service, you're not a serious provided these days.

Raman (21:06):

The way we think about Kubernetes is that I think we have a strength in the infrastructure space. We are known, our claim to fame is that we simplify infrastructure. Core cloud computing, compute network storage, virtual machines, load balancers, networking and all that, we have simplified it for your everyday developer.

Raman (21:29):

Now, the next step of that is how do you make it simpler so that people start using this compute and this infrastructure as a commodity, and they do not get married or fall in love with their servers? And Kubernetes does that for everyone. You probably have heard that, treat your infrastructure like cattle, not like pets.

Marko (21:49):

Yeah, exactly.

Raman (21:49):

Kubernetes is the perfect tool that allows people to operate in that mode.

Raman (21:54):

The great thing about Kubernetes is that it is sort of a standardizer across different environments, whether you're running an on-premises or AWS or GCP or any of these other clouds or DigitalOcean, for that matter. If you are familiar with Kubernetes, you can operate seamlessly on any of these places. And most people try to make sure that their managed offerings also play well with the Kubernetes ecosystem.

Raman (22:21):

We are trying to bring a similar approach to Kubernetes as we did to infrastructure. It is a complex technology, let's be honest. So number one, we want to demystify it for your everyday developers. But is it for everyday developers? That is the question that we still need to decide.

Raman (22:37):

I feel like Kubernetes is one of the hottest things going on in our industry right now. But the knowledge and the interest around Kubernetes is also, it depends on how much you want to care about it. And how much are you interested in that space?

Raman (22:53):

Sometimes it is less about whether you need it or not. It is more about do you want to do it or not, based on your experience and your interests? Some people have experience in that area. So they want to use Kubernetes.

Raman (23:05):

I'll give you a perfect example. I was talking to an AdTech company based out of Europe, one of our customers a few days ago. They are one of our biggest users of infrastructure, they use several hundred virtual machines. And that is the perfect use case for Kubernetes. If you have that wide of an infrastructure, why would you not orchestrate that using Kubernetes?

Raman (23:29):

But they felt that Kubernetes was an overhead. And they in fact went all the way, in terms of creating their own small platform as a service layer on top of our infrastructure rather than use Kubernetes, which is now the industry standard. So that's one extreme.

Raman (23:45):

On the other extreme is, we talked to a small five person SaaS startup, all of them developers, none of them came with DevOps experience. But they were building a developer focused product, an API service, serving millions of requests per day.

Raman (24:02):

And even this small team with no DevOps experience, not deep infrastructure experts, they decided to go with Kubernetes, because after their initial research, they found that it is taking care of a lot of problems for them, which they do not want to think about. So that's why I feel like it is more about interest and more about how much conviction you have in this platform right now. Rather than whether it is the right product for every scenario or not.

Raman (24:30):

I do feel like Kubernetes is a critical product. Several people say that this is the next Linux, this is the Linux of the cloud. I do agree with that mindset. No other project in the open source arena right now is getting as much energy, as much mind space as Kubernetes and that only makes it better I would say.

Marko (24:52):

That's for sure. I personally have been working with Docker and containers and then Kubernetes from the very birth, and it's really interesting to also see how the community reacts to that, and how fast it can grow.

Marko (25:08):

We've created actually a Kubernetes service for an offline network use, using also GitOps in such a way that once the network is regained, the Kubernetes cluster is upgraded, and also the applications within. So it's also been really interesting to see where Kubernetes can be used, even while many still think that it might be an overhead.

Raman (25:36):

I imagine in your conversations, when you're talking about DevOps expertise with your clients, Kubernetes invariably comes in. Even if people are not doing it, they're curious about, "Okay, hey, what is this Kubernetes thing? Can you tell us more about it?"

Marko (25:52):

Yeah, exactly. And then if we look at it say from the DigitalOcean service portfolio, you can pick the spaces, the volumes, the database from outside, and then just start building your application on Kubernetes. And it also embraces good development practices, like micro services and quick delivery and similar and it's built for that purpose.

Raman (26:18):

I think that's right. The great thing about Kubernetes is that people who try it, people who let's say give it a try for a few months, once they are past the initial education hurdle, this is what we have seen of how things grow within the Kubernetes usage of our product grows.

Raman (26:35):

Once they are past the initial hurdle, after that point, they feel like they have now codified the platform and the practices on how to bring additional micro services or additional applications to this Kubernetes space. And after that point, it becomes very easy to bring in new applications and new services.

Lauri (26:54):

It's Lauri again. If this really intrigued you, my recommendation is to try it out yourself. DigitalOcean offers our listeners a free trial for 60 days with $100 worth of free credits. All you have to do is head to address do.co/sauna. Sauna is S-A-U-N-A. Do.co/sauna. Create a free account or sign up using your Google or GitHub account and you hit the ground running.

Lauri (27:34):

Now, let's get back to the talk.

Marko (27:37):

I think that's enough for Kubernetes. My next question would be, of course, naturally apps. So if you could just quickly walk through what's it like? I logged into DigitalOcean here and then I still see that there's a new label on apps, if you could, just a few words.

Raman (27:56):

Have you tried it around?

Marko (27:57):

I've clicked it a bit. I've browsed through what it offers. But I'm still going to give you the speak here.

Raman (28:08):

I think the best guidance I can give anyone who wants to learn App Platform is just try it out for five minutes and you'll figure it out. That's how simple we believe it is. It's a past product, App Platform. Yeah, it appears as apps inside the control panel, but the marketing name is DigitalOcean App Platform.

Raman (28:29):

And that's what it is, it is a platform that allows you to build applications and focus on your applications by bringing either your code or your container images. And that abstracts away the complexities of the underlying infrastructure. You don't worry about what size of a VM it is, how it is going to scale, do you need to patch it? Do you need to maintain it? All of that is taken care of for you. We take care of scaling.

Raman (28:56):

It is entirely container based. So that's pretty new. A lot many past services out there in the market were not created with this container and Kubernetes thing in mind. But we have the benefit of not only knowing about Kubernetes, but operating one of the most robust Kubernetes services in the cloud.

Raman (29:18):

So our App Platform past service actually builds on top of our Kubernetes service. We are already seeing great benefits from it, both in terms of the optimization of our operations, and also how easily we can provide an experience to our customers who are interested in potentially taking their apps to Kubernetes later on. We want to provide that path for anyone who's interested.

Raman (29:44):

Once you have created an app, a containerized app that can run in App Platform, at some point if you feel like you need more control, or need a little bit more flexibility with the underlying infrastructure, you can still take it to Kubernetes pretty seamlessly. That's our ideal scenario in mind.

Raman (30:01):

But other than that, I think App Platform is a PaaS environment. All you need is to point your applications to a GitHub repository and we're going to announce support for some of the providers, some of their source control providers as well.

Raman (30:15):

And then you get a live link, you get a URL that hosts your app. Of course, assuming your code actually works, right?

Marko (30:24):

It's actually really interesting to see, for example, Puppet and CircleCI publish their State of DevOps report every year. And this year, it's talking about platforms. And in Eficode, we have the route DevOps platform we provide for our customers.

Marko (30:41):

And what we try to approach is the self-service, not only for our customers, but also for developers within our customer space. This is the ultimate of the self-service, creating apps without any worry.

Raman (30:58):

Yeah, I think PaaS, the whole platform as a service space has come back in a big way in the last few years, I would say. Many people almost believe that PaaS was introduced to the market way too early. When people were not ready for it.

Raman (31:15):

Azure probably started with PaaS. GCP had had PaaS. AWS was never serious about PaaS, I feel. DigitalOcean, we were always in the infrastructure space. But in the last few years, we saw that even within the spaces that we operate in, there are a lot of people who would rather not deal with infrastructure. They are good with coding, they are good with designing their products. They are good with architecting. But they don't want to think about infrastructure.

Raman (31:42):

And for that crowd, I feel like our platform is a very suitable product.

Marko (31:47):

Yeah, most definitely. I have to say that also getting the security, like continuous delivery gives security on development time. Which means that you feel security that there is automated line, that makes sure that your application is working as expected.

Marko (32:08):

But then as said, the platform that you provide makes sure that the application is running for their customers, or your customer's customer. And that's really interesting.

Raman (32:22):

That's exactly right.

Marko (32:24):

Since you're running the Hacktoberfest, I would like to spend a few minutes also on how do you see the last year, which has in so many ways been quite crazy on both the community and then maybe we can talk a few words about the Hacktoberfest as well. But how do you see the last year from a provider point of view?

Raman (32:46):

It is not a secret that a lot of cloud providers, a lot of technology providers have actually benefited in 2020, as weird as it is to say that. But people were more at home, there was more network being used, there were more cloud services being used. There was more digital infrastructure being used. So we have been a beneficiary of that.

Raman (33:12):

Around Hacktoberfest specifically, it is one of our signature events that we do. A lot of people know us from Hacktoberfest, just because they participated in Hacktoberfest. So we have some goals usually around how many people participate, how many people register.

Raman (33:30):

And then something that we started a few years ago is we want people to do events, in-person events as a part of which they sit together and hack or build things, contribute to open source. We usually have goals for both of them, registrations as well as events.

Raman (33:46):

This time around, we obviously relaxed our goals for events because we did not want to encourage people to sit together and code. But I think both around events as well as registrations, our numbers were pretty impressive. We beat our numbers from last year.

Raman (34:03):

We got one feedback, this is one thing that we did differently this year and I'm proud of how we reacted to it. One feedback that we got within the first few days of the event was that there are a lot of... usually people are very enthusiastic about Hacktoberfest. They actually promote their own open source projects for people to come and contribute to.

Raman (34:27):

But we heard from some maintainers of open source projects that sometimes this brings unnecessary attention to their projects, and they are not able to keep on top of all the requests that are coming to their repositories for that. So we very quickly took that feedback and incorporated that into our program operations by making the whole process opt-in for different open source maintainers.

Raman (34:51):

I think that was received very well, both by maintainers as well as by contributors, because number one, maintainers are happy that they're getting high quality submissions. And on the second side, people who were actually submitting their pull requests, were all people who were genuinely interested in contributing to open source.

Raman (35:12):

And in addition to that, usually we give out a T-shirt. This year, we started this option of planting a tree as well. That has been received very well. And I think something we'll look to continue to do in future years as well. Yeah, super proud of how we operated this year.

Marko (35:30):

Thank you. And it's also like I said, it surprised me how you can even produce that amount of T-shirts, because you're used to having just a handful of T-shirts given out and then surprise, suddenly, you're in a position where there are tens of thousands of people involved, and you have to take care of all. So very different logistics than you would have thought.

Raman (35:56):

And trust me, my friend, people are really passionate about these T-shirts.

Marko (36:01):

I would imagine. Definitely. Are there any things that are coming in the future that you would like to talk about?

Raman (36:11):

Yeah, I think as I said, we have those three pillars. The first is infrastructure, where we talk about Droplets. The second is cloud native, where we talked about Kubernetes and all the continued related investments. The third is PaaS. You will continue to see investments in all three areas.

Raman (36:29):

If you look at 2020, we almost did equal amount of investments in all three areas. In Droplets, we contributed through new Droplet types, we introduced storage optimized Droplets, we introduced new tiers within the existing Droplet types.

Raman (36:47):

In Kubernetes space, we added new enhancements to Kubernetes. We introduced a new product called Container Registry, in which you can store your container images, which can then be used either with Kubernetes or with App Platform. And obviously we introduced App Platform.

Raman (37:02):

So if you think about these, then the enhancements going forward are going to be along these three lines. For apps, we'll continue to introduce new languages, that the platform can support, new frameworks. As well as new integrations with whatever community tools are popular. We had GitHub earlier, obviously, we'll be looking to look at other source code providers, other CI/CD tools that might be popular in the market, we'll look to integrate with those.

Raman (37:31):

Similarly in the Droplet space, just like we introduced storage optimized Droplets, we'll probably be looking to explore other flavors that developers are looking for. We always follow that 80/20 rule, we don't want to do something that is only for one customer, we want to make sure that a vast majority of our customers will benefit from it.

Raman (37:51):

And third is Kubernetes investments around scale and usability. Those would be the things that we would look at.

Raman (38:01):

One more thing is we have Managed Databases, a product that has performed very well for us. We have currently Postgres, Redis, MySQL and we'll be looking to add more database engines in future.

Marko (38:13):

How do you see the analytics and the measurement side of things, which is also an emerging theme, when you look at it from my DevOps point of view?

Raman (38:28):

Yeah, we have some in-built functionality for monitoring and insights. That is an area that we are looking to dig more into. In fact, right now we are doing some research, we are also exploring some partnerships. Nothing concrete I have to share on that right now. But definitely we are seeing more and more demand for that, especially as people are adopting things like Kubernetes, and more of these cloud native technologies.

Raman (38:58):

Things like insights and observability are becoming top of mind for a lot of people. We're looking to see how we can provide more of that experience from within the DigitalOcean experience.

Marko (39:09):

I guess the next similar question on the future would be the, as you said, for the Hacktoberfest of the open source community and helping that. Are there some plans regarding the open source community and the content you're creating, or will you continue on the same line?

Raman (39:29):

Yeah, I think there are a few ways in which we contribute back to open source. Hacktoberfest is probably the most well known one. But even outside of that, there are a bunch of projects that we do internally that we open source. We contribute back to existing large open source projects like Kubernetes and some other projects in the CN/CF space. We also sponsor through monetary grants, as well as credit grants, a lot of open source projects.

Raman (40:00):

But I would say what is the biggest one in my mind is contributing to making open source more usable by building the community tutorials that we have. I personally feel that is probably the biggest contribution.

Raman (40:12):

You search for Linux, you search for any popular system administration or infrastructure topic, chances are you will end up on a DigitalOcean tutorial. I feel like that is a huge contribution, and something that we take very seriously and we'll continue to do. So these are some of the ways in which we contribute to open source.

Raman (40:30):

In addition to the fact that our cloud is widely known as the easiest cloud to operate open source projects. If you look at our marketplace, the DigitalOcean marketplace, our marketplace offerings are usually open source projects packaged, so that you can use them really easily.

Raman (40:49):

Usually what people do is people create a virtual machine, then they install and configure the open source projects. Using marketplace, you can very easily create a single Droplet, which is a virtual machine with a popular open source project pre-installed, pre-configured, pre-packaged and all that.

Raman (41:07):

So we live and breathe open source. This company would not exist if not for open source.

Marko (41:15):

I'm happy you're also giving back the same. As already said, DigitalOcean is the easiest cloud to take into use. I don't have to ask, how do I start using the services from DigitalOcean?

Marko (41:32):

But if I wanted to ask, how can I contribute or give ideas to DigitalOcean, what would your take on that be? As any of the listeners here, if they wanted to contribute somehow, or they had ideas on the future roadmap or requests for you, how should they approach?

Raman (41:52):

Yeah, a couple of ways. I think we have an ideas forum. If you go to any of our blog posts, at the bottom of that blog post, we always have a link of how you can contribute feature ideas, suggest feature ideas for our products.

Raman (42:07):

If you're already working with our products, or if you have any questions or you want some troubleshooting help, you can go to our community Q&A. So just like our tutorials, Q&A question and answers is also a big part of our community website. So you can go to that website and ask your questions. And usually you will get a response within 24 hours.

Raman (42:28):

Several people also use this Q&A website as a way to spark discussion around, "Hey, DigitalOcean provides this. It would be nice to have this additional aspect also." And our engineers and our support people are very active on that forum. They take it back to the product teams. So those are the two more prominent ones.

Raman (42:49):

Other than that, just posting, we keep track of a lot of activity, we are very active on social. If somebody writes an article on dev.to, several of our people are very active there also. People comment on our blog posts, we have a lot of debate and discussion in all those forums.

Raman (43:07):

But the ideas forum, as well as the community Q&A site are probably the primary ones.

Marko (43:13):

Thank you. I also presume that the same way as Eficode is always looking for experts, you're doing that constantly as well. Is there some flavor or are you doing it the same way as others? Or how do you find talent into digital?

Raman (43:28):

Oh, you mean for hiring?

Marko (43:32):

Yeah.

Raman (43:33):

Yeah, several people, a lot of interest that we get in terms of recruiting, technical recruiting is from people who have used DigitalOcean in one way or the other. And they're like, "How did you build this thing? This is a much simpler version of what cloud should have been to begin with." So that actually attracts a lot of talent for us.

Raman (43:51):

Other than that, we have a very smart and dedicated talent acquisition team. They are plugged into a lot of different areas wherever talent is to be found.

Raman (44:01):

I myself was a beneficiary of that. I must be honest, I did not know a whole lot about DigitalOcean before somebody approached me. And then with every successive conversation with DigitalOcean team members, my interest level kept on going higher and higher. And they convinced me enough to leave the company that I was with for 11 years.

Marko (44:24):

Because as I said, as a Scandinavian or from Nordic countries, you're humble and honest. And DigitalOcean is as said a huge brand in the developer's heart. So it was interesting also to hear how people have the bravery to apply and how do you find the correct people?

Raman (44:46):

Two things I would like to say, number one, I think you talked about humility. I think we take it very seriously. If you see, community is a huge value for us. And along with community, community cannot come with hubris. You have to be humble, you have to put yourself out there. A lot of people, it turns out actually appreciate that, a lot of people are like that. So that's number one.

Raman (45:12):

Second thing I would say is that we are a very distributed company. Even before the whole pandemic situation happened, we were 70% remote, and only 30% in our in-person offices. Right now, it turned out that setup really helped us step into this work from home distributed situation really nicely.

Raman (45:33):

So we are looking for talent wherever they are. We are not tied to a specific geography. We are a very global company. Wherever we have entities present, we are looking to hire people. We'll go where the talent is.

Marko (45:47):

Fantastic. We've talked about DigitalOcean for 45 minutes. Thank you so much for your time so far. Is there something you would like to add in?

Raman (45:59):

I think you've covered a lot of questions. I think you asked me more insightful question than I was prepared for. But the maybe parting note, what we are trying to do with DigitalOcean is we're trying to delight our users. We do not want to be the cloud that appears on slide decks and fancy marketing videos. We would rather delight somebody who signs in, becomes a customer and starts to create an application right there. That is the type of cloud that we are trying to be.

Raman (46:34):

And the other thing is, irrespective of your taste and experience and expertise for infrastructure, we want to serve you where you are, based on your skill level. If you are somebody deeply expert in infrastructure, there's a place for that. If you're somebody who's looking for cutting edge Kubernetes cloud native technologies, there's a space for that. If you're somebody who's looking to just build your applications, just by writing code and pushing the code out to the cloud, there's a space for that.

Raman (47:04):

So we're trying to cater to the entire spectrum. That's something that we are trying to create more awareness around as well, because traditionally, we have been known as an infrastructure cloud. But now with all this, the entire spectrum of offerings that we have, we would love for people on all regions of the spectrum to come to us and work with us.

Lauri (47:25):

You mentioned earlier about the other technology platforms that many, many cloud platforms are focused on, digital transformation. And you said that there's a lot of money to be made there. And admittedly, a lot of companies have made that move.

Lauri (47:41):

But if there is an IT or software R&D leader who is listening to this, and they have made that move, and they have listened through this conversation, what is the message you would send to those people?

Raman (47:55):

I think depending on if you're an enterprise that is looking for digital transformation, and I think in most cases what people do is they standardize on a cloud provider. But with multi-cloud, what a lot of people are trying to do is also trying to figure out if there are pockets of applications that might make sense for a different kind of cloud, either because of the nature of the application, or because of the nature of the teams that are working on that application.

Raman (48:24):

I would say even within these large pockets of usage of big cloud, there are opportunities to use DigitalOcean. So that's for large enterprises.

Raman (48:34):

For smaller startups and SMBs, I don't think they think in terms of digital transformation. That's a term that we have coined for ourselves in this industry. Your everyday developer, your everyday startup does not think that, "Oh, I'm going to digitally transform this 5% shop that I have." Or if I'm a 50 person small and medium business, trying to create a developer focused product, that's not how many people are thinking.

Raman (49:03):

So for them, our message is that you want to focus on your business. We have the right products that allow you to do just that. So that you can skip all the marketing hype around cloud and you don't have to feel overwhelmed by the complexity that is otherwise thrown at you. Come to our cloud and we'll give you just the right set of products to solve your problems. That is what I would say the message would be.

Lauri (49:30):

Am I right to assume that the people who are on the edge of trying something new, regardless of what the party line of the corporation is, so even though there would be the infrastructure services available for them, for their perusal, they would still go for something that they perceive as easy and attractive?

Raman (49:53):

Absolutely. I was telling you about my own personal experience when I was leaving my previous employer, Microsoft. I must say I was less aware of DigitalOcean and its offerings.

Raman (50:06):

But when I told people where I was going, so many people, mostly developers internally came to me, "Yeah, we use this solution all the time. I use it for my projects, or I use it to do this small project with my buddies." I heard that from so many people, which tells me that the audience that we are trying to cater to, developers, I think that has worked out really well for us.

Raman (50:06):

In many cases, what these developers will do is, number one, they'll use it for their own personal projects. Second, they will evangelize on our behalf because they love our products within those spaces. Thirdly, when they become entrepreneurs.

Lauri (50:06):

Thanks Raman and Marko for the enjoyable talk. As usual, our show notes have a lot of links for both Eficode and digital awesome resources. If you for some reason missed the free offer from DigitalOcean, here it goes again.

Lauri (50:16):

DigitalOcean offers our listeners a free trial for 60 days with $100 worth of credits. All you have to do is head to address do.co/sauna. Create a free account or sign up using Google or a GitHub account and you will hit the ground running.

Lauri (50:35):

That's all for now, stay safe and keep zero day delivery.

Raman (50:38):

They will build their offerings. 

Marko (50:38):

I would also say that SMBs and also big enterprises have lots of people who pilot new practices, new ways of working and new application deliveries and just installing new applications on DigitalOcean first.

Raman (51:03):

Yeah.

Marko (51:04):

Fantastic. As said, I humbly thank you for your time so far. Is there anything else you or Lauri would like to add?

Lauri (51:14):

I would have so much, but I need to contain myself, pun intended.

Raman (51:20):

Thanks a lot for having me. What time is it for you?

Lauri (51:23):

It's about 6:00 p.m.

Raman (51:25):

Oh, 6:00 p.m. is not that bad. Okay.

Marko (51:27):

Yeah. And it's mostly thanks to you Raman, because you're there early and I'm happy that we were able to do it this way.

Useful references:

DigitalOcean Homepage: www.digitalocean.com/?utm_medium=pr…t=devops_sauna

-DigitalOcean App Platform: www.digitalocean.com/products/app-p…t=devops_sauna

-DigitalOcean Community: www.digitalocean.com/community?utm_…t=devops_sauna

-DigitalOcean Open Source Sponsorships: www.digitalocean.com/open-source/?u…t=devops_sauna

-Raman’s Medium Post on PaaS: rasharm.medium.com/multiple-stops-…its-6b921ed82f2

-Cloud capabilities with Eficode: hubs.ly/H0FwMBJ0