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Mirantis’ ZeroOps Simplifies The Developer Experience With Kubernetes | Shaun O’Meara


In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk recorded at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU, Shaun O’Meara, Field CTO at Mirantis, discusses the new initiative they have launched called ZeroOps. Engineers can often get waylaid with looking after infrastructure or CI/CD toolchains instead of writing code and building applications that will build value for their customers. ZeroOps aims to use intelligent automation to make the developer experience with Kubernetes simpler.

On discussing how Mirantis is supporting companies by managing their underlying infrastructure, O’Meara says, “At some point, you’re going to reach a problem that you can’t solve, and that’s where we can step in and help you by providing those resources and that skill to build that extra code that you may need.”

Key highlights of this video interview are:

  • O’Meara discusses Mirantis’ new initiative, ZeroOps and how it is helping make the developer experience with Kubernetes easier to manage. He explains some of the challenges engineers are currently facing and how ZeroOps is helping.
  • Kubernetes is complicated. The DevOps team often spends a considerable amount of time on basics like upgrading and testing instead of focusing on building more effective applications. O’Meara explains how they are trying to solve this problem.
  • O’Meara explains that Mirantis is not looking to replace operations teams or to outsource. He emphasizes that they fit rather as a partner offering a 24/7 managed service.
  • O’Meara discusses how Mirantis aims to help customers by bringing the best security tools and programs and integrating them so they do not need to worry about the maintenance or management of the operation of those tools. He goes into detail about how they support customers.
  • Shift left aims to have operators and developers working together. O’Meara explains how this can be challenging in the real world because most enterprises have a separation of duties. He discusses why we need to cater to both models or to make use of a managed service like Mirantis’.
  • Even in low-code and no-code, you still need to manage the underlying infrastructure. O’Meara explains how Mirantis is supporting customers on that journey.

Connect with Shaun O’Meara (LinkedIn)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.


Here is the automated and unedited transcript of the recording. Please note that the transcript has not been edited or reviewed. 

Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is your host Swapnil Bhartiya. Welcome to another episode of TFiR Let’s Talk here at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Valencia, Spain. Today we have with us, once again, Shaun O’Meara, Field CTO at Mirantis. Shaun, it’s great to have you on the show.

Shaun O’Meara: Great to be here and to see you in person as well.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Yeah, of course. I don’t even know which day it is, but it’s Thursday of the KubeCon. What has been your experience so far at the event?

Shaun O’Meara: It’s been great. It’s really great to see everybody face to face again. It’s great to see that the community is growing again. After San Diego was the last big KubeCon where we had a great deal of people. It’s nice to feel that energy again. Los Angeles was fairly quiet. I think it was only 2,000 people there and mostly partners and vendors. So to see all the customers coming in and all the people outside of our industry who are coming in to learn more about the Cloud Native world, it’s great.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Perfect. Now, today we are going to talk about ZeroOps. First of all, tell us what do you mean by ZeroOps? What is it?

Shaun O’Meara: ZeroOps for us is just a new initiative that we are launching to have a better conversation with customers about how infrastructure is being managed and operated. We want to help customers focus on doing and work that builds value for their companies. So a lot of the time we have these great engineering teams within our organizations, but they’re spending a significant amount of time looking after infrastructure or looking after CICD tool chains, rather than spending their time writing code and building applications that are going to build value for their customers. For us, ZeroOpsis changing the way we provide that customer experience for developers. The way we’re delivering the services and the way we’re going to continue to deliver services, and the whole ethos behind ZeroOps is a combination of intelligent automation. So taking automation and using it intelligently, as opposed to just AI and ML being intelligent automation, and smart people.

We can’t do this without the right Cloud Native experts, and we can’t do it without partnering with those smart people who have the DNA of the businesses they work for in their minds. We’re doing this by accessing our talent pool, and we have this extensive talent pool. We’re also doing it by leveraging our technology partners, their talent pool, and their great products, with the ultimate goal of being the glue that binds all of this together for our customers. You’ve spoken to my colleagues about Lens and all the great things that are coming with Lens, and Lens is going to be a big part of the way we deliver these services going into the future and providing that glue for those customers.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Mirantis has been around for a while, while the whole evolution of Kubernetes you folks have seen, how have you seen the whole user space evolve? That’s why I know when we look at ZeroOps, you are trying to solve a problem for them.

Shaun O’Meara: The oldest story in the book is everyone says Kubernetes is complicated. And yeah, Kubernetes is complicated, but the reality is it’s more about the ecosystem around Kubernetes that’s really creating the complications for us today. There’s so much choice. There are so many interleaving bits and pieces that people have to take care of. Just getting Kubernetes to run on its own you need etcd as an example. Never mind various CNIs and everything else you’ve got to put on top of it. And the challenge is, once again, the evolution of the complexity of choice is what I think is hamstringing a lot of people from growing faster. The oldest story in the book is your average developer in a large organization isn’t spending their time touching Kubernetes. In fact, they probably don’t really care about Kubernetes. Kubernetes is handled by a DevOps team more often than not.

But if that DevOps team is spending its life doing basics like upgrading or trying to decide to test between five different service mesh offerings, they’re not spending their time working with the application developers to build more effective applications. And so from an evolution point of view, I think we’re starting to see more acceptance of the fact that we can outsource or… Not so much outsource, but we can get those services as a service in a managed service model. So we can partner better to do the operations of that infrastructure.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Once again, if I go back to the openness tag days of Mirantis, that was also time you folks also did some acquisition. And once again, the idea was to help folks with managed cloud and services like that so I think the pattern is same to-

Shaun O’Meara: The pattern is very much set for us. We’ve cut our teeth doing effective managed services with customers, partnering with customers, operations teams, so the clear message which you want to put out there is we’re not looking to replace operations teams. We’re not looking to outsource. What we’re looking to do is to partner to provide that 24/7 managed service.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Excellent. One more thing is that we are hearing a lot about securities there, as bumps are there. Once again, it’s no longer someone else’s problem. So how much of you help customers with, or that’s outside of the…

Shaun O’Meara: So for us again, and I’m going to use the term partner quite a lot, but what we’re looking at here is how do we bring in the best of breed security programs and security tools for our customers to use, integrated for them so that they don’t need to worry about the maintenance and the management of the operation of those tools. And then hold their hand through the process of consuming and using those tools. And that’s really important. We want our operators, our DevOps teams, our developers, to have somebody that can go to and say help. To have somebody when a pipeline needs to be set up with a new CVE, it’s just done. They don’t have to think about it, which means again, I keep going back to this, they can focus on what’s important to them.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Once again, when we talk about security, we also use a lot of jargon, right? Sometimes I don’t really know how much of that is just a term versus being used in practice. It’s interesting, we talk a lot about shift left. What exactly is shift left means?

Shaun O’Meara: Good question. Ultimately shift left for a lot of customers is this idea that you have your operators and your developers working together, and your developers look after more of the infrastructure. And that’s a great idea for a team of 10 in a small startup company. The challenge with shift left, and this being this blanket term for what is effectively a lot of complexity, is in the real world most enterprises have a separation of duties, especially in regulated industries, have a separation of duties between those who write applications and those who deploy applications. We need to cater for both models, of course, in the real world. But we have to start to realize that a lot of that separation of duty, you could have somebody do as a managed service for you. So we can reduce that complexity for our customers.

Swapnil Bhartiya: One more thing, reducing complexity for customers. We are also seeing evolution of Low Code, No Code there, to lower the barrier of entry folks can at least get it started regularly. Very what role do you see that actually plays? And from Mirantis perspective, you folks don’t actually…

Shaun O’Meara: Yeah, we don’t play in that space. But there are a lot of great companies looking at the Low Code, No Code-

Swapnil Bhartiya: My question is that a lot companies who have embraced Low Code and No Code, but they come to Mirantis, so how do you… Because, once again, it doesn’t matter where they are in the journey, you want to help them.

Shaun O’Meara: We do want to help them, and where we are and where we can help them is because even in Low Code and No Code, you still need to manage the underlying infrastructure. There are still containers to be managed. There is still communities that needs to be updated. What we’re doing for them is we are owning the platform and we can support the platform along with the partners, that the Low Code, No Code systems are running on top of. So we can deliver everything that comes underneath that, and then partner with those customers on that journey. Because Low Code, No Code is fantastic. It’s a fantastic idea. But you’re still going to end up writing some code. At some point, you’re going to reach a problem that you can’t solve, and that’s where we can step in and help you by providing those resources and that skill to build that extra code that you may need.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Shaun, thank you so much for taking time out today and talk to me. And the most important thing is we got to do this in person. But I hope that we’ll be talking more, either in person or virtual to further see what else Mirantis is doing in this space. Thank you.

Shaun O’Meara: Thank you very much. It’s good to see you.