Category Archives: News

Early in september Netflix invited a handful of Spinnaker’s core contributors and companies to its engineering headquarters in Los Gatos California to discuss all things Spinnaker. Here’s a recap of some key takeaways:

Extending Spinnaker
David Stenglein, Kenzan’s SVP of architecture and engineering, moderated a panel focused on extending Spinnaker. Panelists featured speakers from Google, Armory, Netflix, Oracle and Cerner. The panelists gave advice on how to best extend and modify Spinnaker by doing things such as adding your package to the classpath of Spinnaker. If you want to extend Spinnaker to better support your company and infrastructure this discussion is a good place to start.

Canary Deployments
One of the most widely anticipated features of Spinnaker is first class support for canary deployments. Google and Netflix have teamed up to work on a new microservice called “kayenta”. While Spinnaker can already do the first half of a canary deployment it’s still lacking a proper judge. Kayenta plans to fix this by monitoring metrics such as disk utilization, CPU, and error rates and compare them to a baseline deployment to determine if any given deployment is healthy enough to get full production traffic or if it should be automatically rolled back and the developers notified.

At the end of the conference Netflix, Google, Kenzan and several other companies sat down to discuss the future of Spinnaker and its roadmap going forward. A few things stood out:

  • Many of us had faced the same problems and came up with identical solutions, often using the same programing language.
  • We realized just how big of an impact open sourcing even our smallest tools could have.
  • We also talked about the limitations of using Slack, Github, or Stackoverflow when used for long term planning, discussion, and sharing. We came to the consensus that we need some sort of message board system so that we can share our pipelines, projects, and ideas in a single and easily searchable place.

We all play a vital role in Spinnaker’s future and we very much look forward to more actively engaging with the entire community.

You can see all the main presentations and breakout sessions here:


After a bit of a hiatus, Kenzan held another hack night at our Denver office last Wednesday, May 25. This time out, Russell Perkins, from the Kenzan DevOps team, and David Zuluaga, a Kenzan front end developer, discussed a video game they are developing that uses the Unity engine for a number of gaming systems including the Oculus Rift. They also gave a broad overview of the game engine market, explained why Unity is such a great choice (it’s relatively easy to use and it’s free!) and shared a point of view about why so few gaming companies are successful at creating their own engines.

Chris Pruyne, another Kenzan front end developer, gave an overview of his project: the embedding of a brand-new LED screen and a super-tiny Raspberry Pi Zero into an original 1989 Gameboy DMG body. With those electronics, some soldering, dremeling and case modification that will enable the dremeled out holes to contain X and Y buttons on the original controller board, Chris will be able to play most video games on gameboy, NES, SNES and several Sega systems.  He will be able to play just about any of those games with a controller by simply adding a few USB ports.

Doug Melvin, a Kenzan PMBA, brought a Raspberry Pi project, using a slightly larger model to embed a computer, screen and more, in a repurposed external hard drive case. With bluetooth, wifi, ethernet and a number of USB ports, this Raspberry Pi is capable of running myriad operating systems. In addition to this hardware project, Doug presented a python project he has been working on that will manage conference room usage in the office.

Stay tuned for information about our next Denver Hack Night, and if you’re in the New England area, our Rhode Island hosts their own too, so be sure to RSVP.

Kenzan, as a professional services company, has a history stretching back over 10 years. Most of this time has been spent outside the public eye, quietly working hard for our clients. More recently, we gradually began increasing our public participation. This blog is a step in the journey.

This journey has been exciting for us and follows in the same path that many others have taken. Like many engineering firms, we’ve always made extensive use of open source code in our projects. Rather than being a cost motivator, open-source projects have simply become best-of-breed for many supporting technologies.

Over time, we’ve taken the steps to make patches and contributions to open source. As any good citizen of the community, you begin to feel compelled to make contributions to the tools you use. In this day and age, it’s no longer a question of whether you should contribute to open source, it’s a question of how much you can contribute.

Taking the next logical step, we’ve started building some of our own open source projects. We’re ready to contribute new ways of doing things or to build missing pieces we haven’t been able to find anywhere else. Our projects, which you can find at, span areas from front-end tools to java development and devops.

We have a number of projects under way internally that we hope to be releasing over the next several months in areas focusing on NetflixOSS apps, continuous delivery with Spinnaker and configuration management.

In addition to contributing our code, we have one more thing we want to share: it’s what we’ve learned. Over the years we’ve gained a tremendous amount of experience building microservices,  working with NetflixOSS in the cloud, creating HTML5 applications on many different platforms and devices, providing DevOps services and guidance. We’re planning to share our experience in creating best practices in architecture, software design, cloud DevOps and our development process.

To find out more about Kenzan, checkout us out here. And, if you’re interested in the things we’re doing, we’re hiring.