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The Livin' On The Edge Podcast Series

At Ambassador, we're more than just a cloud-native application development company. We're a catalyst for change in how enterprises design, deploy, and manage microservices on Kubernetes.

About the Podcast Series

Join us to learn about best practices for releasing functionality via continuous delivery pipelines, and investigate the latest developer tooling, API gateway technology, and service mesh implementations.

In our "Livin' On The Edge" series, we interview practitioners and senior technical leaders from organizations such as HashiCorp, Lyft, GitHub, Ticket Master, Buoyant, and more.

Our Host: Markeo (Kay) James

Kay James is a solutions engineer at Ambassador Labs and currently resides in New York. Passionate about technology, good food, and creating great music, Kay enjoys being able to help others solve technology problems. Prior to joining Ambassador Labs, she graduated from New York University with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

All Episodes


Developer Control Planes: A Platform Engineer's Point of View

In the growing cloud-native landscape, there are as many different approaches to cloud-native development as there are companies in the space. One recurring theme, though, is the adoption of a developer platform or control plane as a clear way to ensure developer productivity, workflows and developer experience. These developer control planes are likewise as varied as the companies using them, but to be effective, the design of the platform needs to match the business problems they aim to solve and the goals and challenges of the developers who use them. Several key takeaways surfaced: Support developer efficiency and success with an opinionated developer platform: Meeting business goals comes down to how people, and in this case developers, get their work done. At Zipcar, the platform team strives to help developers become more effective at their jobs and do this with a developer platform. "We are focused on the developer experience and on building developer understanding of how their work interacts with the other components in the system. We want to pave a seamless path to production." For Zipcar, this has meant ensuring that a developer can get up to speed and contribute right away using the tools and processes of the platform. At the same time, the platform is designed on the principle that "a developer can come up with a new idea for a microservice any time, and in a self-service way, create everything they need to get it to production. With a couple of pull requests, they can in fact be in production within an hour". While most developers might not do that practically speaking, the idea is that the platform makes it possible.


Developer Control Planes: A (Google) Developer's Point of View

Notable themes emerged during the conversation: The pure developer - upsides and downsides: While many developers just want to code and not worry about the challenges of infrastructure -- and companies like Google make the developer experience seamless and easy -- there is a twofold tradeoff. First, the developer never needs to learn how it works under the hood, which isn't helpful if a developer goes to work in a company that insists on developer ownership and autonomy. Secondly, the Google-like experience, while convenient, shields the developer from understanding of the complexity of shipping and running their code. This can be positive, keeping the developer focused. At the same time, it removes the responsibility for considerations like provisioning resources, which would be valuable knowledge for full-ownership developers. 


S3 Ep5: DevOps & AI Unveiled: Exposing 'You Build It, You Run It' Myth

Key Highlights of This Episode: Debunking the DevOps Mantra: Natan Yellin articulates the impracticality of expecting developers to both build and operate their software, likening it to expecting a mechanical engineer who makes screws for airplanes to also fly the plane. This analogy underscores the distinct skill sets required for development and operations, highlighting the potential chaos in conflating these roles. Empowering Developers: Yellin advocates for a shift in the DevOps culture, emphasizing the importance of developers understanding the entire software lifecycle. This understanding motivates them to write cleaner code, implement effective error handling, and proactively address potential issues, balancing the focus between new features and stability.


S3, Ep2: Flynn from Buoyant & Cloud Native Happenings

To kick off Season Three, we figured who better to bring on the show than Flynn, the Tech Evangelist from Buoyant. Flynn was one of the original creators of Emissary and a previous Ambassador Labs team member himself. As someone who’s been a part of the Emissary and Edge Stack story from the early days, his 40 year’s worth of knowledge and experience is something we can all learn from. Flynn’s day-to-day life revolves around dealing with the complexity of the cloud-native world and the rapid pace of change that comes with it. I sat down with him to discuss some of those complexities, as well as what he’s looking forward to right now in the cloud-native world.


Crafting Dev-Friendly Spaces via Telepresence & Automation

Xavier is also an involved Community Advocate here at Ambassador Labs, so he’s quite familiar with our tools, particularly Telepresence. Our discussion revolved around how automation, their use of Telepresence, the role of platform engineering, and the importance of standardization all come together to create a developer-happy environment. Key Takeaways from the Episode: Hybrid Development with Kubernetes & Telepresence: Voiceflow transitioned from local to hybrid development using Kubernetes and Telepresence. This shift was due to the challenges of running full stacks locally, which became resource-intensive.