Contact

Bryan Krausen

Author, Instructor, Principal Consultant – HashiCorp and AWS

As you probably know, HashiConf Global ’22 is right around the corner. Like anybody attending a technical conference, I’ve been busy planning my week with sessions I want to attend, networking opportunities, and local events I want to catch. Since HashiCorp’s products make up a large part of my day-to-day job as a consultant and content creator, getting the most out of the conference is very important to me. This year will be my 5th HashiConf in a row (and the 4th in a row to present), and lately, I’ve been reflecting on my expectations from the conference as compared to my first one. Fundamentally, HashiCorp is now a completely different organization than it was five years ago, which has naturally impacted how I interact with customers and HashiCorp as an organization. It also has drastically changed how I think about the conference itself and what my goals are for attendance.

If you think about the state of HashiCorp five years ago, there were probably around 300 employees, HCP didn’t yet exist (although I knew about it…shh), there were still only four primary products in its portfolio, and HashiCorp didn’t yet offer a certification program for practitioners to prove their skills.

My first HashiConf was in 2018 in San Francisco, and it was terrific. Even though I had only been working with HashiCorp products for a year or two, I was incredibly excited to attend a smaller conference where I could focus on learning technical skills and gaining knowledge I could use for my current and future projects. Back then, HashiCorp had a smaller catalog of offerings, and it was easy to focus on its core products and see how customers used them to solve real-world problems. I was also fortunate enough to know a large majority of employees. Hence, the conference was also an opportunity to meet and network with folks I’ve only met through conference calls. It was vastly different from the enormous conferences I was accustomed to attending, such as VMworld and AWS re:Invent.

One of my favorite memories of HashiConf ’18 was the keynotes. I can still replay the excitement, the announcements, and the ambiance of the overall conference in my head. I was so excited that I live-tweeted the keynotes as well. I specifically remember being excited about the announcements for my favorite products (Vault & Consul) and even remembering the colors of the lights changing depending on the product Mitchell and Armon were discussing. At the time, nothing could have topped this.

Fast forward to the upcoming HashiConf ’22, and I’m probably even more excited for the conference this year. First and foremost, I’m finally attending an in-person conference after the worldwide pandemic was responsible for turning HashiConf into a virtual event for the last two years. In a world full of Zoom meetings and virtual consulting work, I’m incredibly excited to see everybody in person. In the last few years, through content creation and consulting,

I’ve trained close to 40,000 people on HashiCorp products, and I’ll finally get to meet and network with many of those people in person. Very exciting!

But putting the social interactions aside, I’m looking forward to the broad range of technical sessions at HashiConf. HashiCorp is a much bigger player in the industry and offers its customers so much more these days. With eight different products in its arsenal, there’s truly something for everyone. So much, in fact, that I think HashiCorp could easily expand the conference by another day or two and still be valuable for attendees.

 

The Announcements

Powerhouses like HashiCorp tend to announce new features and products in the keynote, and it’s something I’m here for. As a techie at heart, the hour-long presentations about how the big, name-brand organizations use their technology don’t appeal to me. While important in its own way, that’s just not something that excites me.

I’m here to catch a glimpse of product roadmaps, new features I can use to further help customers solve problems and understand what’s next for the HashiCorp organization as a whole.

During the morning keynotes, HashiCorp’s massive Terraform community will closely watch for any announcements. Considering how many organizations have standardized on HashiCorp’s flagship product, Terraform, for Infrastructure as Code, it’s always a hot topic for any HashiCorp event. Even though Terraform v1.3 was just announced, I’d be willing to bet that HashiCorp still has something up its sleeve for the keynotes. Vault Enterprise customers will watch for improvements and new features to their favorite security platform. And, of course, there are bound to be updates to the cloud-based solutions hosted on the HashiCorp Cloud Platform.

Sessions and Hallway Tracks… read the full article here!

 

Or what automated customer testing environments and Infrastructure as Code across private VMware cloud have to do with it?

Both have the workforce, employees, laborers, whatever name we want to call them today, in common.

River Point Technology values the mindset and mental health of its employees (So much so, that they sent us all to Cedar Point for a day!) The connection between the satisfied laborer and revenue is obvious, meaning we need to prioritize our employees’ skills, comfort, and opinions if we want to see true prosperity.

This holiday weekend, take a moment to acknowledge how Labor Day originated to ensure we- nor our clients- end up with an uproar like the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886.

“The Haymarket Riot (also known as the “Haymarket Incident” and “Haymarket Affair”) occurred on May 4, 1886, when a labor protest rally near Chicago’s Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police. At least eight people died as a result of the violence that day. The Haymarket Riot was viewed as a setback for the organized labor movement in America, which was fighting for rights like the eight-hour workday.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to make a basic living. Children were found in the worst conditions and making a third of what their adult counterparts brought in.

People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with little access to fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks.

As manufacturing increased, so did the organization and voice of labor unions. These unions began to set up strikes and rallies to protest the poor conditions and convince employers to renegotiate hours and pay.

“Many of these events turned violent, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886. Others gave rise to long standing traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.”

It took four years from that bloody riot, until one union’s strike finally won the eight-hour day for its 28,000 members, setting precedent for others- but the victory wasn’t complete just yet.

As industrial centers across the country began to adopt the idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” to be celebrated on the first Monday in September, many states passed legislation recognizing it too. However, congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when workers’ rights swarmed the public eye.

On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representation.

Then, a month and a half later, the American Railroad Union organized a boycott of all Pullman railways.

Traffic around the country was crippled.

The Federal government responded by sending troops to Chicago, which inspired a flood of even more riots.

Congress sent in the troops, and at the same time, legislation passed the first Monday in September as a federal legal holiday to recognize and celebrate labor. This became one of the crucial pillars in American History that prioritized the well-being of our workers.

River Point Technology agrees with Anne Frank who said “whoever is happy, will make others happy too.” We understand the need for comfortable, safe, and efficient working conditions AND an environment that optimizes talent and resources.

All the concepts Labor Day is about.

A client of ours, who is one of the leading healthcare payment solutions providers connecting payers, healthcare providers, and members most cost-effectively and efficiently, was struggling with their workers spending more time and energy on projects that could run without their influence— if the right tools were put into place.

They knew the challenges faced with cost and duration of provisioning their on-premise infrastructure. And the employees knew full well their skills could be better utilized.

This client was smart. They too believed happy workers equals happy customers.

Our client needed automated customer testing environments and Infrastructure as Code across private VMware cloud.

Right away, our team recognized the need for Terraform Cloud with VMware vSphere Provider for rapid and consistent infrastructure deployments; in addition, to Self-Service provisioning of environment build-outs with Terraform and GitLab integration.

These solutions resulted in 5X reduction in deployment time and reduced a multi-day process down to less than one hour. This allowed employees to optimize their skills with other tasks and innovation. RPT also enabled the process to quickly onboard new customers and demonstrate new application features to existing customers in a repeatable way.

It didn’t take long before our client’s employees felt the shift in their working conditions and were finally able to do their best job.

Like the Haymarket Riot of 1886 proved, unhappy employees can lead to the demolition of greatness.

More importantly, the contrary is equally true.

If an employer optimizes the workers’ well-being and skill set, like our client did, their staff feels valued, works more efficiently and in the end increases revenue. Like Anne said, “Whoever is happy, will make others happy too.”

Happy Labor Day to all! Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and direct contributions to the growth and goals you have influenced.

These results are not guaranteed and each circumstance has its own challenges, goals and accomplishments to achieve

 

When we think of the Liberty Bell, what comes to mind first for most of us, is the infamous crack, (funny how we think of the failures first, huh?).  How we begin often has a direct effect on how we end.

Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

Earlier that week, in the late afternoon of July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted.

Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly Isaac Norris first ordered a bell for the bell tower in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London.  This company was known for casting Big Ben, and is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as Great Britain’s oldest manufacturing company.  Though, it didn’t seem to matter how prestigious or famous this company was when it dropped the ball on the bell, casting it with metals too brittle to last.

 

The crack and the mystery of how it happened.

 

Chalk up the Philly landmark’s famous blemish to faulty building materials from across the pond.

When the bell arrived in Philadelphia in 1752, it cracked on its first test strike. Two local craftsmen, John Pass and John Stow, twice cast a new bell using metal from the cracked English bell. Then later, others tried to prevent further damage by boring out hairline cracks on the bell, to keep them from expanding dangerously.

Oddly enough, there’s no one widely accepted story for how the recast bell got its now-famous crack. Fast forward to almost a century later and the Philadelphia Public Ledger chronicled the bell’s final peal in a Feb. 26, 1846, story:

“The old Independence Bell rang its last clear note on Monday last in honor of the birthday of Washington and now hangs in the great city steeple irreparably cracked and dumb. It had been cracked before but was set in order of that day by having the edges of the fracture filed so as not to vibrate against each other…It gave out clear notes and loudly, and appeared to be in excellent condition until noon when it received a sort of compound fracture in a zig-zag direction through one of its sides which put it completely out of tune and left it a mere wreck of what it was.”

The Craftsmen did everything they could to revive the bell, and in the end, unintentionally made things worse. The Liberty Bell moved from a signal to a symbol, and even though its main function has been moved to the back seat, it still holds a place in America’s heart.

 

The BIG question.

 

What would have happened if it was created properly the first time? What costs could have been avoided? What losses might have been wins instead?

How we start a journey is almost as important as how we finish.

River Point Technology (RPT) is a key component to a successful start. One of our clients, a Global 500 life sciences company, with more than 117,000+ employees worldwide, might not have lost as much as they did – if they started their journey with RPT.

Our client was struggling with speed to market, the overwhelming burdens of operational overhead, and their multi-tenant service offerings. Moreover, they were experiencing challenges in providing solutions to the 500+ tenants that needed to be supported on a consistent platform.

This company quickly developed a significant 7-figure monthly spend in AWS. Which totaled nearly $1M in direct and indirect costs all related to AWS. Eventually, they noticed this was an increase from the average $750,000 monthly spend in their AWS consumption.

It didn’t matter what they seemed to do on their own, expenses continued to rise as productivity and revenue stayed the same.

 

Time to do it right.

 

Call RPT to the rescue!

RPT was engaged to help our client reduce their AWS cost in a variety of ways.

 

RPT helped our client achieve MONTHLY savings of approximately $100,000.

 

The craftsmen of the 1800s learned a valuable lesson over and over again. Continuing to do what you have already done, in the way you have always done it, will end up the same way it always has: cracks that keep splitting.

We recognize there’s no “one-size-fits-all” scenario and RPT goes beyond packaged offerings to provide clients with a truly customized solution.

Setting up success means the right materials, the right people, and the right processes all working towards the same goal.  River Point Technology understands each client and coordinates our suite of solutions to help achieve their goals.  In the case of our client, we got called in late, but it’s never too late for the right solution.  And at least their challenges didn’t become a national symbol!

 

 

 

These results are not guaranteed as each client brings a unique situation to the table.