Why Automating Everything Adds to Your Toil

Friday, 4 October, 2019 - 11:0011:45

Colin Thorne and Cameron McCallister, IBM


An often-heard phrase whenever there is toil is just automate it. You would expect that from an SRE who has a software engineering background. It is what distinguishes Site Reliability Engineering from operations. But the wrong automation and too much automation can replace the existing toil with different toil, or in the worst case grow the existing mound of toil.

Find out when you should or shouldn't add automation, and how to build the right, sustainable automation.

Colin Thorne, IBM

Colin is the worldwide SRE lead for IBM's Kubernetes Service with a career-long dedication to clean code and architecture. He loves learning and applying new practices and technologies, and then sharing them with anyone who happens to be near.

Colin runs new graduate education, cloud native workshops and code retreats in IBM to help promote good Software Engineering practices. He is on a mission to get Software Engineering seen as a proper engineering discipline within the world of engineers.

Cameron McAllister, IBM

The hardest thing for Cameron McAllister when automating something is coming up with a good name for it! With that problem solved, he has been responsible for many automated systems, most of them with slack integrations, providing a self-service model to enhance development and SRE alike. Ultimately his vision for automation over the last 2 years has proved successful, allowing huge growth in customers with no SRE growth.

Cameron is an SRE for IBM's Kubernetes Service and a lifelong advocate for automation. He hates doing anything more than once and ultimately wants to automate himself out of a job. He loves the SRE discipline, with many deep and difficult problems to solve, and great flexibility on how to go about solving them; this keeps him happy as he can bring his creativity to the fore.

Prior to working on IBM Kubernetes Service, Cameron had over a decade of experience in IBM Storage Systems, leading test and development teams across both clustered file and block storage controllers.

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@conference {239464,
author = {Colin Thorne and Cameron McAllister},
title = {Why Automating Everything Adds to Your Toil},
year = {2019},
address = {Dublin},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

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