GoTo, Kubernetes: Seb Daehne shares Oracle CloudWorld 2023 preview

August 28, 2023 | 5 minute read
Brian Wood
Product Marketing (AI for AppDev)
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Today, we’re featuring Sebastian "Seb" Daehne from GoTo, one of the technology experts and IT leaders, who’s speaking at the upcoming Oracle CloudWorld event September 18–21 in Las Vegas.

Read this short Q&A to get to know Seb and get a sense of what you can expect from his talks, "How GoTo Runs a 24/7 Cloud Native Platform Across Multiple Clouds", "Lessons in ISV Transformation with GoTo and TriNet", and the panel session in which Sebastian is participating, "Kubernetes for ISV, SaaS: American Airlines, Informatica, GoTo Share Their Story".

Sebastian Daehne of GoTo

Q1: Your origin story: Tell us a little about yourself, your career path, and your role in the company.

Seb:  I’ve been with GoTo and its predecessor companies for 23 years! I started as a student doing Linux administration, and when DevOps started, I got involved with DevOps tooling with a few others on the team. As we grew, the team needed a manager, so I volunteered for the challenge, and since then we’ve continued to grow, and I’ve added more to my responsibility.

Today I’m director for DevOps Engineering and lead the Kubernetes platform and observability teams. We provide a Kubernetes platform for the entire organization—over 50 teams with hundreds of developers—based on an opinionated deployment of managed Kubernetes services from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and other clouds. I credit my teams with initially thinking about and pursuing the use of Kubernetes a few years ago. They were the ones to come up with the idea and do a proof of concept. Now it’s the default deployment platform for a good portion of new services that GoTo provides.

Q2: You’ve been leading digital transformation and modernization initiatives for a while in very complex, demanding organizations. Looking back at your career, what are some of the challenges (organizational, business, and technical) that you encountered with modernization initiatives?

Seb: Time zones! No, really. The Atlantic Ocean is vast and managing people and teams across time zones is a challenge, especially to align on the "how" across a global organization like GoTo. I prefer teams that are geographically regional with the manager being in the same time zone with their members. It makes it far easier and more efficient for all involved.

In fact, getting consistency across all deployments is one of the main benefits for why we use Kubernetes. It’s why we’ve worked to develop an opinionated platform which the rest of the company can use to deploy. For example, OCI flex shapes offer a huge range of choice for compute and memory, but many of our apps don’t need a special combination of resources, which is why we offer a few generic choices and then monitor and scale according to how compute and memory are being used. In other cases, an app might very well need a specific level or ratio of resources, in which case it is simple for us to specify exactly what is required and then let OCI Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE) do the rest.

Q3: Any a-ha moments or key learnings you want to share with other leaders going through a similar journey? Anything you’ve learned that surprised you?

Seb: Tools like Kubernetes and processes like DevOps are one thing, but culture really matters. Getting consistent adoption of practices organization-wide needs to be driven from the top, it can’t just be individual teams trying to get others to do the same thing. Our CTO has been good at driving this effort and leading by example.

It’s also the case that creating something new, today, is much easier to do. All sorts of code snippets and apps and tutorials are available on the internet. But what most people forget, based on some general observations that I and numerous colleagues across different organizations and industries have made, is Day-2 operations—the ongoing management of all these systems that might be easy to create but not to subsequently maintain. Fifty different people creating 50 different databases has the potential to become a challenge to manage if they’re not consistent, which is why we like to curate the available choices.

Q4: What are you most excited about for the conference and the two GoTo sessions, "How GoTo Runs a 24/7 Cloud Native Platform Across Multiple Clouds" and "Lessons in ISV Transformation with GoTo and TriNet"?

Seb: Really what I’m most excited about is the interaction with others, the discussion and collaboration. Anyone can watch a session online, so that’s not the sole or primary reason why I come. I want to talk directly with people, learn about the OCI roadmap, brainstorm with people and provide ideas and feedback, and so on. The conversations and face-to-face engagement are what get me energized.

Q5: This has been great. Is there anything else that you think people might want to know about you?

Seb: Well, one of my big passions is road biking, and I’ll be doing a 24-hour (team of 4) road bike race on the weekend before Oracle CloudWorld. It’s more for fun than competition, and so between the jet lag from Europe and the bike race recovery, it’s possible that I’ll be a little tired when you see me in Las Vegas. But I love it!

Another thing that some people find interesting is that I have my own Kubernetes deployment at home for an internet-of-things network. I also use an Oracle cluster and have it connected to lights, locks, Raspberry Pi devices, and other things in my home. Having a home network is fun, and I love learning about and experimenting with new technology.

We hope to see you there!

Oracle CloudWorld is a wonderful opportunity to learn, share, meet, and play. Join us to discover the latest on Kubernetes and other cloud native technologies, and how customers like Seb Daehne of GoTo are putting OCI Container Engine for Kubernetes to work.

If you haven’t already registered to attend the event, register now. For more Kubernetes, containers, and cloud native sessions, see the conference agenda.

Brian Wood

Product Marketing (AI for AppDev)

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