Meet the plumber

Hi! My name is Kim, and I’m the release engineer here at Splunk.

Thanks to my acquisition-happy former employer, Symantec, I’ve seen a variety of startup approaches to release engineering. Most frequently it seems some senior developer has a bug up you-know-where about how the build system should work, and some poor junior developer or sysadmin type person dutifully does the drudge work (usually by hand). At other sites, some very diligent and detail-oriented person creates and executes a process with a great deal of record-keeping and attention to detail but often not a lot of automation. Consistency across different build platforms usually isn’t a strong point.

Here at Splunk, things are a bit different. I called myself the plumber in the title of this post because that’s how I see my job: I create and maintain the plumbing that produces consistent, reproducible Splunk builds across all of our platforms, with as much visibility as I can muster. I see my contribution more as enforcing process through tools — ideally, tools that enable process in a way that is more convenient for everyone than “doing it wrong” — rather than personally pushing all the buttons and scribbling in all the logbooks. And I’ve had the good fortune to come into a culture that encourages this approach.

Whew. That’s a mouthful for an introduction. In the near future I hope to write a bit more about how the plumbing works, and some neat tools I’ve found along the way. I’m sure y’all will be waiting with baited breath. ;-)

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