Cloudflare TV

Latest From Engineering APJC

Presented by Rhommel Lamas, Zena Soans, Robbie Honerkamp, Ayako Kobayashi
Originally aired on 

Sharing what we do and who we are, APJC Engineering team. In this session, we introduce 3 engineering managers, their teams and their area of focus in 2022.


Transcript (Beta)

Okay, good morning and good afternoon everyone at APJC. Happy Friday. We are excited to introduce ourselves.

This is the first time APJC engineering team is live on Cloudflare TV.

We would like to introduce who we are and what we do. This is going to be the series of Cloudflare TV.

So please reach out to us and then share your feedback and comment.

We want to hear from us from the email Cloudflare TV in the box below the window.

You can send a message to us. So quick introduction about myself.

My name is Ayako. I'm a recruiter for APJC team. I've been with Cloudflare for almost three years and hiring for various teams in APJC.

Engineering team is one of my favorite team to work with as we continue to grow and evolving.

We always have exciting new engineering roles in the region.

So today I would like to introduce who we are, what we do, what types of role we are hiring.

And today I have invited three engineering manager in this episode. You will hear from them about their team and their story.

Let's get started by introductions.

Please tell us about yourself, your role. How long have you been with Cloudflare, your background prior to Cloudflare?

What's attracted you to join Cloudflare?

How is your Cloudflare journey? So I will hand it over to Romel. Yes.

Thank you, Ayako. So my name is Romel. I've been an engineer. I'm an engineering manager for the system for system reliability engineering team here at Cloudflare.

I'm based out of Sydney, Australia. I've been at Cloudflare for exactly six months.

And before that, I was the head of server reliability engineering at a fintech company called Aptio, where I let some of their teams throw us all the transition to an adoption of cloud services.

In my role at Cloudflare, I look after the operational improvements of our network in China, where we partner with JD Cloud.

And more recently, I started to get more focused on the observability side of all of our edge infrastructure.

I joined Cloudflare basically because I'm passionate about all of the products that we have.

Personally, I'm an early adopter for Cloudflare.

I still remember being on my living room, reading about what was being announced about Cloudflare, running out to actually try it out with my sites.

That was super cool.

And I consider myself actually a very lucky person on arriving to Cloudflare since I joined.

Something that I notice is the people that help me getting on board.

Everyone has been incredibly helpful and super empathetic. I really appreciate all the effort that my team, my peers and everybody else in Cloudflare has put into answering all my questions.

One of the things that I personally find really interesting about what we do here is the scale at which we operate.

We have all the tools and the capacity to spot when something is not really working really well on the Internet and be the first one to actually go and explain to people, yeah, why this is not working or how do you prevent this from happening in the future?

We have both the combination of the tools and the people that are capable of explaining those things to different people in a language that everyone can understand.

And a fun fact about myself, I shared my birthday with Cloudflare, which is something that I find pretty interesting.

Thank you, Romao. So over to Robby.

Hi, I'm Robby. I manage our core team here in APAC based in Singapore.

I've been at Cloudflare for almost three years now. Before joining Cloudflare, I worked at several managed Internet service providers and managed their technical operations departments.

And kind of a fun fact related to that is at one point, I spent a few really great years living in West Africa building wireless Internet companies.

So I joined Cloudflare because of its culture. And it reminds me a lot of an ISP I worked at in America way back in the early 90s, where the founder of the company, before he decided what he wanted the company to do, he decided how he wanted the company to work and how kind of the rules for engagement within the company.

And then he figured out what the company would do. And there were a strong set of core values and beliefs that everyone in the company, as corny as it sounds, it's like they really were the rules for the road of the company.

And it was just a wonderful place to work. And I've always, you know, I've been looking for years to find a company like that again to get back to that.

And the more I learned about Cloudflare and how people worked with each other inside the company, the more I knew that this was a place I really wanted to work.

There's a lot going on here at the company.

Super smart people everywhere you look, but everyone is very empathetic and very helpful.

And there's a level of teamwork here that you really don't find at other companies.

So my team is responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes services that support our Cloudflare services.

And we call these kind of our platform services.

And these are the foundational components that make a lot of the Cloudflare products you're familiar with that they run on this platform.

And there's a lot of systems, Kafka, Prometheus, Kubernetes. My team has engineers in Singapore and Australia.

And aside from supporting kind of the larger core platform, we also focus on, in this region, our observability tools that help give our product teams better visibility into what's going on with their software and how to improve the performance and make it more efficient.

Bobby, what's your Cloudflare journey for three years so far?

It's been great. I joined Cloudflare three years ago, and my team didn't really exist.

We had one engineer that we had coached from one of the other SRE teams here in Singapore.

It's been great building the team from scratch and kind of working out our own path and kind of the components that we want to work on within core, core observability.

It's been wonderful.

Everyone's been really supportive. You don't really see a lot of the divisions between teams here.

Everyone's working together for the same mission, and it's great.

Thank you for sharing. Zeena? Yes. So, hey, everybody. Good morning.

Good evening. Good afternoon to all of you who are listening, viewing us.

I'm Zeena Soans, and I'm an engineering manager for the data center engineering team here within the infrastructures organization here at Cloudflare.

And I've been with Cloudflare for about four years now. Actually, yes, four years next month.

And time surely flies. Now that I think of it, it feels like I interviewed yesterday for the SRE team.

And within all of the years, all of these years, these four years, I've had an incredible journey here at Cloudflare, with Cloudflare, working for their mission, which I personally feel is something that motivates me to be here.

And being in the company for four years, I have changed positions, which has absolutely changed my career path.

Professionally has made me more mature and given me a platform to basically hone my skills and showcase it.

And four years into the company, I've also changed countries.

So I had joined Cloudflare as a data center administrator four years ago in their San Francisco headquarter.

And during the four, during my, I was hired as a data center administrator, soon went on to become an SRE within a year's span, and then moved to Singapore and then came and then had the opportunity here to manage a global team.

So my journey definitely has been very, very, extremely interesting, fast.

And I think all of us here, you know, feel strongly about the Internet and want to be a part of the family that makes it better.

And yes, the mission is something that binds us and we have great people to work with.

And it's almost like it's fun. It doesn't feel like work.

Overall, just very positive. So it's been an absolute bliss working here for four years.

Thank you so much for sharing. Let's move on to know more about your team and which role you are currently hiring and what is ideal candidates.

So going back to Romuald to start. Yeah. So as I mentioned before, I'm an SRE manager and the big theme of our team is observability, which we work closely with Robbie and reliability of all of our services.

We're looking right now for folks that are curious about all folks that can help us develop the tools and services that can help us continue increasing the resiliency of our products and systems.

What else do we have? We have back-end engineers, front-end engineers that we're trying to hire for, people that have experience with ReactJS, with data visualization.

That's also something that we're really keen to explore. If that is you, if that's what you're interested in and steering your career towards that, let's talk.

We sure can find some exciting opportunities here at Cloudflare, which is basically about running the largest infrastructure in the world.

Any location particularly you're looking for?

Yeah. So we are looking for anywhere in APAC. So basically the locations where we can hire at the moment is Singapore, Australia and Japan.

So if you are looking at any of those sites, any of those countries, please send your CV.

Thank you. So Robbie, for your team. Yeah. So we're looking for a systems engineer for our core SRE team.

They can be based in Singapore or anywhere in Australia or Japan.

When we say ideal candidate, we're a pretty diverse team and there's really no cookie cutter candidate profile that we're looking for.

But some key characteristics would be we want somebody with solid coding experience, preferably in Python and Go.

Also solid experience with Linux system internals and troubleshooting systems and a good familiarity with network technologies.

I think one thing that's a bit different at Cloudflare from some other companies is because of our scale, we run our own internal cloud.

And having experience working with servers, running on bare metal is a huge bonus.

That being said, we don't just look for technical skills.

We want to make sure everyone on the team is able to keep our internal customers in mind and just remember that the work we're doing supports them and the work they do for our ultimate end users and Cloudflare customers.

These are the ideal characteristics. Of course, not everyone is going to check every box and everyone has their own mix of skills across these areas.

So I would say even if you feel like, you know, I'm not strong enough in this area or that area, we still want to hear from you.

I would say an engineer with really solid foundational skills in these technical areas who's curious, empathetic and eager to learn and grow is wonderful.

And with the right attitude, it's easy to help mentor someone who might not check every single box.

And as Ayaka would tell you on behalf of the recruiting team, there's so many openings and even if there's nothing today, tomorrow there might be a dozen more.

Yeah. Thank you, Robbie.

So over to you, Zainab. That was actually very well put, Robbie. And we share similar traits and factors that we look for.

And I think it's across the board at Cloudflare.

So already the theme of my team is to basically we're a data center engineering team.

So the theme of my team is to expand aggressively. That means reach as many Internet users across the globe as possible and around the world and maintain the quality of service.

So my team basically aces with the data center and everything to do with data center and also is very engineering focused.

Our team mainly deals with three larger operational areas.

One is the maintain, which we internally call it as maintain.

So maintain engineers basically they maintain all of the hardware at our edge and core data centers.

So edge, thanks to Romel, their team helps us keep it all reliable and up and all of that.

And core, something that Robbie takes care of, Robbie's team takes care of.

Also, we handle all of the break fixes, the RMAs.

So anything that goes down your servers, your networking gears, your backbones, the fibers.

Basically all of the noise, the monitoring, the alert is taken care of by the maintain team.

We also have a team which deals with all of the interconnection between our POPs.

So anything to deal with PNIs, CNIs, your cross connects, network expansions is dealt by the connect team.

And thirdly, our build. So the team that takes care of the build aspect of work.

So where we plan, we build, we deploy all of our, you know, we spin up basically all of our newer data centers, our POPs, neutral and partners.

And we also are responsible to expand our existing core locations, our existing POPs, and also decommission them as and when required.

So the plan, the idea that we follow on our team is we plan, we execute, we deploy, and we then push the power button, but it does not stop there.

Once we push the power button, it then goes into a phase of, say, network provisioning, where we provision all of the networking gears.

Followed by which it goes into a phase of the logical provisioning phase, where we upload all of the software packages.

We, you know, we put the basically put the service into production.

So right from the planning to the point where the customer's traffic is flowing in the servers is our responsibility.

So it's a lot. So there are a lot of places where, you know, future candidates can be a part of the team.

And so if you may ask, what's the ideal candidate that might fit the team?

I'd say if you are highly interested in troubleshooting, and if you like problem solving, if that's your part-time gig.

If you're good at the L1 or the L2 layer, if you like working with Linux, with, you know, trying new hardware, testing them.

And in general, if you like collaboration, we collaborate across a broad, in a very broader view.

And specifically, if you like a fast-paced environment and an environment with scales.

I think Romel briefly mentioned earlier about the scale that we work at.

So just to give the viewers an idea, we have at present at about 250 plus data centers across the map, across the world.

And if you see our website, it says 250 plus. Road to 250 was an internal project that my team was working on as of December 2021.

And fun fact, we achieved that goal.

We surpassed that goal. And another fun fact, now that internal project has gone from being called Road to 250 to Road to 500.

So that's a big, big goal for us that we're absolutely excited to work towards.

And my point being is just to mention the scale and the fast-paced environment that we work at.

So every day is challenging. Every single day, you're welcomed with challenges, positive ones, that you can work with.

And just a fun place to work at.

And also automation. Like if you're interested in that, we have a bunch of teams that are hiring for people who have the mindset to automate things, to improve, to modify.

And even if it, like I always like to say, even if it saves five minutes of your day or of your team's day, it's a win for us.

So yeah, that's my team in a nutshell.

And then what is the ideal candidate for your team? Yeah, so just like I mentioned, like anybody whose world revolves around troubleshooting, who has an automation, anything that we have said intrigues you or interests you.

Not necessarily, you don't have to be 100% in all of these areas, like Robbie mentioned.

But even if you have the interest and just if you want to be a part with us, like be a part of the mission that we share of making the Internet a better place for every single body that uses it.

And then just be a nice person, basically, like who wants to do good quality work at the end of the day and be satisfied with what you do.

So if any of that intrigues any of our viewers, please and honestly, please reach out to us.

Like we said, I might not have an opening as of now externally, but you never know what comes up.

And we, like Ayako and I, we've collaborated on so many hires before.

And not necessarily every time do we have an opening or a specific title that you're searching for.

So I request that please reach out and then we may spin up one for what you know.

And if you feel like if there's a fit, then we may just spin up a new role and see how we can collaborate together.

Thank you so much for sharing all of you for the exciting opportunity that your team has.

And I also hear from you how, you know, like a lot of things you worked on is impacted to the company.

And then we are actually building a company and building a better Internet as a whole.

So just quick, we have 10 more minutes and we also have live questions.

So I wanted to answer those questions as well. Before moving on to the questions, if you are interested in applying for Cloudflare or interested to join us, check out our career page and then select by department, location, or keyword.

And then you can find which is existing, you know, currently hiring. But as Robbie said, Zena said, we are not necessarily like, you know, you know, like hiring people who fit into the, you know, like the job opening.

If you find somebody great, we try to make a role or maybe down the road, three months, six months, we have a new opportunity because we keep growing and evolving.

So feel free to reach out to us if you're interested in just like send us your profile or resume and let's start talking what you are passionate about.

So that's a quick announcement.

And then I'm so excited, there's a question coming in. And the first question is, are there any technology that you are particularly excited about and or that you are looking for candidate with experience?

Do anyone want to answer this question?

I think that from SRE, one of the things that we're pretty interested in these days is, at least in APAC, is how do we build like internal developer platforms so we can actually provide to the rest of cloud for control plans, developer internal platforms, et cetera.

The technologies that we're kind of thinking around are anything related to data visualization.

So that observability is very tied to how you present that data to the rest of the engineers and to the rest of the company.

So we want to make really great experiences for everybody to ensure that everything is extremely usable, great user experience, great APIs, great visualization.

So using those tools becomes something that is very easy for people to know.

I think additionally to that, obviously, in terms of technologies, I think one thing I really like about Cloudflare is how we think about programming languages and how we pick our technology.

I was very excited when I joined Cloudflare and saw people actually going after Rust, trying Golang, trying different things.

And also it's not something that we deliberately think about.

It's only obviously everything with a lot of thought put behind it, right?

Like why do you want to use this language? Why do you want to use this sort of framework?

And yeah, at this point, probably Golang React is something that we're really interested in.

I would add from the core observability perspective, one of the things that we're really starting to consider now is we have these different observability platforms that give us different signals.

So we've got logs in Kibana and we've got metrics in Grafana and we've got Jaeger distributed traces coming in.

But when you're trying to troubleshoot a system, it's really tough to tie these signals together across the different panes of glass.

And we're having some discussions and thoughts now about how could we tie these together so that we can tie these logs to these metrics to these traces and these alerts and bring them all together to help more quickly reduce mean time to repair whenever we've got problems on the network and just help support teams and product teams quickly see what's happening with their software on our platform.

So I guess particularly interested in new thoughts and ideas about how we could get there.

Right. Thank you so much. We have more questions, but let's answer one more question.

And the next question is, how is the day-to-day work looks like?

I think this translates into we have a bigger mission to help build a better Internet.

But what actually your day-to-day job looks like?

Can you share with us on that? I could say that the day-to-day in the life of an SRE at Cloudflare really varies.

As I mentioned before, we're operating one of the largest and fastest networks in the world.

So what I find often thinking is why this technology doesn't work the way we expect it to work or the way it's advertised to work.

And I see most of our teams actually trying to figure out how to fix it, how to improve it, and how to accommodate that to our scale.

To add a little bit to what Robby was saying before, we have all these tools together to make telemetry from all of our systems.

But normally what happens is you're running a product in a couple of regions.

If you add all the number of data centers that Synapse team is provisioning, we have to start figuring out how to present that data to all of our teams and also play around what's happening all over the Internet.

How everything is going on in this part of the world.

If there is a nature event happening, how everything starts changing on the patterns, how everything starts working.

So all of our teams are often troubleshooting those events.

I think it's also a little bit different with some of our development teams as well.

They can have much more focus in certain areas.

We have smaller teams that actually have focus in one product or in one feature or one set of features, while we have some other teams that are more taking care of keeping Cloudflare up and running 24-7 to ensure that our customers get the best experience that we can offer.

Do you also want to talk about Puro, the Sun?

Yeah. So in the SRE, on the side that I'm working on, which is what we call our edge platform, our edge network, and that's what Sina is referring to, the Road to 500.

We have a follow this on support model that we share with our peers in London.

Sorry, our peers in EMEA and our peers in the US. So we normally do a handover across each of the time zones.

And then we keep track of what we're doing through handover notes, through handover meetings.

We have certain level of service that we have to adhere to.

And we actually ensure that all of that is working 24-7.

All of this team is distributed all over the world. As we know, after COVID, there is not enough that concept of we have an office time.

So basically, we have people that are even in different times within the same region.

So we need to accommodate to all of those situations.

Anything to add on, Robbie or Sina?

We have three more minutes. But yeah, just maybe like anything to add on.

I can quickly go by like the day in the life of an SRE.

It's very different than the life of a BCE or a data center engineer. And just a few highlights that basically we work on, like I mentioned before, we work on a very collaborative platform.

Our work becomes success based on the successes of a lot of other teams, including the SREs, including our data center selection team, our capacity planning team, our network engineering team, our infrastructure engineering team, the logistics.

And just like how Pramil mentioned, logistics has been such a huge issue for us just because of COVID and everything is delayed.

And it just adds to the issues that we have.

But nonetheless, the collaboration that we have across teams, no matter which team you're from, I think that outshines at the end of the day.

And that's when we look back at our accomplished work, then you feel like, oh my God, that's a lot of boxes that you've ticked.

Although your goals can be as big as you want to set them, but we do take a minute to just look back.

At the end of the day, we're literally helping all of the Internet users across the world to be more safer, to be faster.

And nothing like it, right? We've seen throughout COVID how Internet has been a game changer in every single person's life, no matter which part of the world you're at.

And a lot of it has to go back to Cloudflare's network being reliable and stable.

And that is literally each one of our jobs here to make sure that that stays up and running 100%.

And I know we're going to soon run out of time, but I just wanted to conclude that just after hearing all three of us, if any of this intrigues or piques your interest, please, please reach out.

We're all waiting for your resumes. We're all waiting for your ties here and there on LinkedIn.

Just find us out anywhere possible, and we can get some conversations started.

We're absolutely ready for it.

And just be a part of the family that helps build a better Internet, I guess.

Yeah, thank you so much. So we have a 50-second more, so just quick announcement.

We have a lot of other questions like career path or interview process, so we'll talk about it next episode.

So next month, stay tuned. Feel free to let us know, like send an email to Cloudflare TV or find us on LinkedIn and message us.

We are here to talk about and then, you know, just share anything you are interested in to know.

So I really had a great time talking to you, Romel, Lovie, Zina.

And yeah, thank you so much for your time, and have a good Friday. See you, everybody.

Thanks, everybody. Thank you. Thanks, everyone. Take care.