Developing a Perfect Cloud Foundry Engineer

by Carlo GutierrezSeptember 28, 2016
Altoros CTO Andrei Yurkevich talked about the qualities of a perfect Cloud Foundry engineer in front of a sold-out crowd at the Cloud Foundry Summit Europe.

The Unconference | Day 1 | Day 2 | Top 100 Quotes

Andrei Yurkevich, CTO at Altoros, gave a lightning talk on the second day of the Cloud Foundry Summit Europe 2016 in Frankfurt. He focused on the traits and characteristics needed for a perfect Cloud Foundry engineer.


A perfect Cloud Foundry deployment

Before talking about a perfect Cloud Engineer, Andrei first covered a perfect Cloud Foundry deployment. He compared it to moving into a new house only to find out that “the water is leaking, the garage is too narrow for your car, and there is some terrible smell in the bathroom.”

cfsummit cloud foundry summit europe Keynote Andrei Yurkevich deployment

The situation is similar to when developers move to a “shiny new cloud-native platform and they have issues with logging. They don’t have proper services configured for them. They don’t have CI/CD pipelines set up.”

According to Andrei, this is an issue wherein there are insufficient preparations for surviving a disaster. “Companies rely solely on BOSH to solve all their problems. They don’t do proper testing,” said Andrei.

“BOSH is not a technology that covers you from everything.” —Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros

This lack of preparation and education leads to developers simply stopping from using the platform or worse, “continue doing the things the way they used to do with their old infrastructure.”

cfsummit cloud foundry summit europe Keynote Andrei Yurkevich deployment failure

“Often, we see engineers deploy their applications to cloud-native platforms, but they do this in their old way.” —Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros


What skills and traits are needed?

Andrei focused on the activities Cloud Foundry engineers need to perform. These are (not being exhaustive, of course):

  • Deployment
  • Maintenance
  • Educate users
  • Monitor the platform
  • Build high-level infrastructure
  • Ensure proper security
  • Write deployment manifests
  • Develop BOSH releases

To successfully deal with these tasks, ideal Cloud Foundry engineers would be expected to have knowledge and experience in the following areas:

  • IaaS
  • CI/CD
  • 12-factor apps
  • Versioning, source code repo
  • Disaster recovery
  • High availability
  • Networking
  • Performance tuning
  • Virtualization and containerization

“They need to understand the difference between a virtual machine and a container. Some candidates just don’t understand it.” —Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros

Just as important as the technical skills are the soft skills:

  • Verbal and written communication
  • Understanding Agile methodologies
  • Understanding SLDC
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Team player
  • Self-education
  • Curiosity
  • Pro-activity
  • Problem solving

cfsummit cloud foundry summit europe Keynote Andrei Yurkevich soft skills

“Cloud Foundry engineers need to have soft skills.” —Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros

Aside from the technical and soft skills, there are a few more traits that help to make a perfect candidate:

  • Having the correct mindset
  • Having an ability to see the big picture
  • Understanding of the constraints and specifics of the company
  • Helping drive the cultural change in the company
  • Being realistic


Anything else?

Once all the necessary skills and traits are there, knowledge of Cloud Foundry components is needed:

  • BOSH
  • Diego
  • NATS
  • Router
  • Loggregator
  • Cloud Controller
  • CLI
  • Buildpacks
  • Service brokers
  • UAA
  • etcd

The next part is knowing about the Cloud Foundry operations:

  • Logging
  • Monitoring
  • Services
  • CI/CD tools
  • Secret management

Finally, there’s knowing how to configure everything:

  • Backup/Restore/Disaster recovery
  • High availability
  • Security
  • Risk management
  • Auditing

cfsummit cloud foundry summit europe Keynote Andrei Yurkevich team specialists

“We’re getting a univeral soldier—a man with many, many hats.” —Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros


Education is needed all the time

At the end of the day, engaging a universal soldier is a tough task. A diverse team of specialists may also be an option, but the knowledge, skills, and traits gained are key to developing perfect Cloud Foundry engineers anyway.

“It’s up to you to decide. Do you want universal soldiers or a team of specialists?”
—Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros

In both cases, education is an ever-lasting process. Therefore, at the end of his presentation, Andrei introduced the audience to an online Cloud Foundry training platform developed by Altoros. It’s a cloud environment where companies starting digital transformation can play with Cloud Foundry deployments and learn cloud-native development first-hand.

Andrei urged potential candidates to sign up for free—while the platform is in beta—and provide feedback. The training platform is expected to go into production by the end of October, 2016.



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About the speaker

Andrei Yurkevich, CTO, Altoros bio
With 10+ years in the software development industry, Andrei Yurkevich serves as President and Chief Technology Officer at Altoros. Under his supervision, the engineering team has grown from zero to 250+ specialists across seven global locations. Currently, he is responsible for technology alliances in big data and PaaS. Andrei has successfully implemented strategies for software product development, marketing, motivation systems, personnel performance management, and team building.