Category Archives: Tech Skills

While front end development tends to get a lot of attention, we’d like to shed some light on the developers and engineers who work behind the curtain to ensure that the website or application you’re seeing is firing on all cylinders.

Back end developers play a critical role on Kenzan teams, managing and building everything from servers to databases and all the things in between. To learn a little bit about what it’s like to be a Back End Developer, I spoke to one Kenzanite, Nicholas Sledgianowski (aka Sledge), who’s been at Kenzan for 3 years and works out of our Denver office.

If you’re interested in joining our team of back end developers and are in the Denver area, RSVP for our Back End Developer Job Fair on December 13.  For those that aren’t in Denver, please visit our careers page for more information on our open positions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience.
I have worked as a software engineer for around 5 years with exposure to both the front and back end of websites. My original plan was to be a physics researcher but I switched to software during my college years. I live in Denver and enjoy hiking and ballroom dance.

How did you get into computer science/development?
In high school I tried to get into game programming with C++, I did not get very far but I took an introductory C++ class in college that got me hooked on programming.

What kind of projects do back end developers work on at Kenzan?
Typically, our setup is a single page web application with many microservice APIs behind it. Back end developers mainly work on Java APIs and sometimes data pipelines supporting microservices. We would be responsible for supporting logins, authentication, designing database tables, database migrations, debugging production issues and caching systems.  At Kenzan, back end developers can expect to be involved in everything behind the JavaScript running on the client’s machine.

What’s been your favorite project? Why?
My favorite project was a data pipeline we built to provide a unified user data layer on top of 3 legacy user databases. The client had undergone a merger and was moving all users onto a unified site. We had a Kafka topic which the legacy systems published changes to, then an Akka cluster handled denormalizing the data and writing it to a Cassandra database. I got to spend some time optimizing our Cassandra driver’s write throughput which was a blast!

What’s your favorite programming language? Why?
My favorite programming language is Clojure. It is really beautiful to work with and has very powerful abstraction and polymorphism features. Clojure is not the best language for web development but it is great in other contexts. I recommend checking it out whether or not you have played with Lisp before.

What technologies are in your tool box?
It is more of a question of what technologies are not in my tool box. I have done a little front end, a little mobile development, a lot of back end development and DevOps. I try to stay away from the front end and the JavaScript ecosystem, it moves quickly and I only have so much time. I like to know everything about everything so it is important for me to ignore things to avoid being stretched too thin.

What’s a new technology that you’re psyched about?
I am pretty excited in GRPC and its multi-language compilation capabilities. Other than that I want to try and build things with all the machine learning APIs we have available nowadays.

What qualities do you think make you a good back end developer?
I am really good at reading which helps because there is a lot of code in a typical project and if you really want to know what is going on you need to read a lot of it. Code is written by people and you can get an idea of what patterns and thought processes went into a program from reading it.

Where did you learn your skills?
Most of my skills came from programming and the free resources on the internet. There are blog posts for everything you can imagine in information technology today. I am always reading about projects people have done online and trying out their open source software. A few good places to look for ideas are,, and

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received at Kenzan?
I think the best advice I have gotten is to use the dependency management tools in Maven and Gradle (ex. mvn dependency:tree) to help you figure out tricky dependency conflicts. Without that you can get stuck for days trying to work dependencies out. My best piece of advice is to read the book The Phoenix Project if you want to understand project managers, it is like fables for project managers.

To learn about Back End Developer opportunities at Kenzan, join us on December 13 for a job fair. RSVP here

To see other open positions at Kenzan, visit our careers page.

What do you do when your monthly meetup attendance — usually around 20-30 people — all of a sudden jumps up to 100? Well, first you order a few more pizzas and a lot more beers. Then, you recruit a bunch of employees for some manual labor, start pushing desks out of the way, scramble for chairs, and hopefully end up with something like this:

That was the scene at Kenzan’s office in Rhode Island last week, and despite some last minute logistical hurdles, we couldn’t have been happier to see lots of new and familiar faces at our meetup. It’s a testament to the growing tech community in Providence, and we’re excited to be a part of it. As it continues to grow, Kenzan will also continue to be a resource for those looking to learn new skills and get hands-on with emerging technologies. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what we learned during last week’s presentation.

Thursday night’s topic was on serverless architecture, and was presented by Marie Schmidt, a Kenzan developer based out of our Denver office.

Serverless is a popular topic right now, and for good reason. Serverless technology makes it easy to spin up a web API or event based computing tasks, with minimal server interaction and low cost. It allows developers to focus on writing code, while handing server management and provisioning to 3rd parties. At Kenzan, we have found serverless functions and APIs to be a growing part of our modern architecture and we wanted to share these findings with the community.

During our serverless hack night, we discussed the pros and cons of serverless functions, and what we’ve found to be their best applications. We then looked at the architecture of a serverless API built with AWS and demo’d a simple example: creating an API with two serverless methods called by an API gateway. We believe attendees learned some key applications of serverless technology, and a basic implementation knowledge using AWS services. View the presentation slides here and follow along with the demo on your own!

See below some resources we’ve found useful when diving in to serverless.

Building an Alexa Skill

AWS Developer Introduction to AWS Lambda (paid resource)

Using the Serverless Framework with Node.js on AWS (paid resource)

Lambda Deep Dive (Paid resource)


Kenzan hosts monthly tech meetups, and for the very first time, we’re opening up the floor to presentations from the community for our December 7th meetup.  We’re looking for technical presentations in one of these categories: Progressive Webs Apps, Machine Learning, Native App Development and DevOps. If you’ve got an idea that doesn’t fit into those areas, we want to see that too.

Submit your idea by November 20th!

The front-end development landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. The release of the latest EMCAScript specification in 2015 brought a new sense of maturity to JavaScript. It also introduced two key features: modules and classes. This has led to a proliferation of tools, libraries, and frameworks that have accelerated the development of front-end applications. But with so many great choices, how do you decide what’s best for your application and team?

In Kenzan’s latest series for, we set out to answer that question. We examine in depth how a stack focusing on Yarn for package management, webpack for application bundling, and TypeScript for writing application source code can give developers and organizations the building blocks to write more maintainable and better optimized applications.

For the next few weeks, will be rolling out the five-part series on their blog. The first part, posted today, gives you a short history lesson on JavaScript and delves into the core philosophies of front-end development. Throughout the rest of the series, you’ll learn more about the main components of our modern day front-end development stack. We’ll finish up with a case study of a working hello-world application that shows all the elements of the stack in action. By the end, we hope you’ll be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your own infrastructure.

Part 1: A Modern Front End Development Stack 
Part 2: Untangling Package Management in JavaScript Applications
Part 3: Faster Tied Together: Bundling Your App with webpack
Part 4: TypeScript: Our Type of JavaScript
Part 5: All Stacked Up: A Case Study

As with everything at Kenzan, this project wouldn’t have come to fruition without our incredibly talented team:

Co-writers and development

  • Marie Schmidt
    Front-End Developer
    Untangling Package Management in JavaScript Applications
  • Chris Pruyne
    Front-End Developer
    TypeScript: Our Type of JavaScript
  • Chris Joslyn
    Technical Architect
    Faster Tied Together: Bundling Your App with webpack


  • Paul Barry
  • Carlos Hernandez

Tech Writers

  • Ryan Daugherty
  • Mark Anthony


  • Owen Buckley
  • Nick Wester
Read the first part of our series on Set Up a CI/CD Pipeline with Kubernetes.

What’s an eight letter word that starts with K and is the name of a powerful container orchestration tool?

If you just shouted out Kubernetes (or if you were curious about the answer), then you’re ready to tackle the Kenzan Kr8sswordz Puzzle.

The Kr8sswords Puzzle is a crossword puzzle app that runs in pods on Kubernetes. It takes advantage of a full CI/CD pipeline in Jenkins that also runs in a pod, automating the entire build-and-deploy process. And it includes a bunch of other cool components that we don’t want to spoil for you because it’s much more fun to boot up the app yourself and see the different pieces in action. (Okay, here’s a hint: React frontend, Etcd caching, and MongoDB persistence.)

Kenzan designed the app as a four part blog series that is launching on today. Part 1 kicks things off by walking you through setting up a local Kubernetes development environment. Each weekly blog post will add components to show the Kr8sswordz Puzzle in action, how to spin up many pod instances for a load test, and how you can easily incorporate Kubernetes into a CI/CD pipeline.

The Kr8sswords Puzzle app was a lot of fun to pull together. We hope you have just as much fun  building it out as the blog series goes on.

Kenzan is a family, and we would like to give a shout out to the many folks that made the app and blog series possible:

Chad Moon, Platform Engineer
Sean Korten, Platform Lead Engineer
Evan Yeager, Technical Architect
Geiser Menoia, Back End Developer
Justin Tomlinson, Director of Engineering
Marie Schmidt, Front End Developer
Scott Pullano, Director of Engineering
Rona Kilmer, Director of Engineering

Tech Writers
Ryan Daugherty
Mark Anthony

Oscar Santamaria
Matthew Gardner
Ben Sawyer
PJ Pannoni
Robin Morrison
Matt Poirier

Elana Krasner
Nick Wester
Craig Martin

Download our guide to continuous delivery with Spinnaker and Kubernetes.

The path to digital transformation is one that many companies, regardless of industry, are taking in order to bring products and services to market faster. As part of this transformation from traditional enterprise to modern software company, the role of IT is now a core part of business strategy with the responsibility of delivering software to users faster, safer and more efficiently.

Over the past few years, technology has evolved to enable this kind of delivery. The practice of continuous delivery has emerged as a way to enhance the ability of technical teams to deploy software to the end user faster, safer and more efficiently. Kenzan has paired two tools, Netflix’s Spinnaker as the preferred continuous delivery framework and Google’s Kubernetes as the preferred container management platform, in order to provide a continuous delivery solution that can support any enterprise that is pursuing digital transformation. 

Download our guide to continuous delivery

Since it was created in 2007, GitHub has not only become the primary destination for open source development and distribution, but also one of the largest collaborative platforms on the internet. GitHub’s open source practices have established the platform as one to the most important tools for developers and gives coders of all levels a place to learn new skills, contribute to a vast number of projects and work alongside other programmers. Kenzan is a company that leverages the benefits of open source software by opening many of our  projects to the community and contributing to others in order to support the technology landscape at large.

More than just a GUI on top of Git, the GitHub platform  offers many powerful tools  and features that can help maintainers of OSS projects provide a more useful, transparent, and open experience for their project and their community. In this post, we will walk through some of the best practices that can help make an OSS project successful and inspire community participation and contribution.

Getting Organized

In order to ensure a consistent path to PR integrity, acceptance and delivery, it is important to make sure team permissions are setup appropriately.  At Kenzan, we identify maintainer and contributor teams for our projects.  The primary goal is to establish a protected branch (typically master) for a given repo and those who should have write access to it. Protected branches allow you to give read access to everyone else in the organization or an internal contributing team, but only permit a small team to actually be able to manage the main line of development. Roles can be defined as:

  • Maintainers – Act as the stewards of the project with sole access to protected branches like master
  • Contributors – Community team within the organization that are allowed to read and push branches within the repo

Below is an example of a sample configuration that protects the master branch with options like:

  1. Ensuring only the maintaining team can push to master
  2. Requiring PR approvers
  3. Requiring PRs pass a Continuous Integration build

Always use teams for delegating repo access, for both maintainers and contributors. This will ensure easy addition and removal of members, as well as a simple and streamlined permissions strategy for your organization and repositories.

Welcoming Contributions

Great software is developed by many people contributing more than just code like testing, refactoring, documentation, and more.  However, each project is generally run in a particular way, and so clearly communicating these specific processes and workflows can help make a big difference in the growth and success of your project.  Guiding developers and contributors through the following recommendation will  help ensure understanding and onboarding from the start.

  • – First impressions are everything, so a README that includes important information like an overview (your “elevator pitch”), installation/setup, usage and example, license, etc., will ensure first timers to your project know exactly what it is, what it does, and if it is right for them.
  • – by including a in your project’s root, you can define the Contributing Guidelines for your project. With this, GitHub can prompt all users who open an issue or PR to your project with a link to read it.
  • LICENSE – Having a LICENSE file is important to disclose to users how your project can be consumed, used, and distributed. In addition, be aware of the license expectations of any dependencies your project has.
  • Webhooks – Webhooks allow “push notification” integration with 3rd party services such as a Continuous Integration server like Jenkins.  Anything that can be automated in your project (linting, static analysis, style guide, tests, etc) should be scripted and run against every PR to provide fast turnaround and feedback to contributors (i.e. pass or fail).  Kenzan uses GitHub PR Builder.
  • Issues / PRs – GitHub has done a lot to improve the features around these workflows, in particular Pull Request Templates, fields for reviewers, assignees and labels, reactions and many others.  These are great features for identifying/establishing ownership and status.

Below is an example of a PR making use of some of the available PR fields like

  1. Contributing guidelines (the yellow banner)
  2. PR templates (the content inside the textarea)
  3. Reviewers / Assignees

Always create an issue for any non-trivial change. This promotes discussion of the feature to happen independently of the code review itself.

If you link to the issue in the PR, using #XX (where XX is the issue number) GitHub will close the issue when the PR is merged.

Steering the Project

As a project grows and matures, planning out goals and improving documentation will naturally require some additional organization.  No worries, GitHub has you covered!

  • Project Management – Leverage features like milestones and projects to group issues into related buckets of work.  At Kenzan, we see projects as sprints (in agile terms with one or more projects making up a milestone. This allows a project’s mantainer to communicate their roadmap clearly and can help direct contributors to where help is most immediately needed.  It also helps establish feature / bug delivery expectations.
  • Release Management – Whenever a Git tag is pushed to your repository, GitHub will create a link to a page for that tag, thus enabling  the easy creation of release notes for every tag.  This is useful for tracking progress over time and to keep a record of features and bugs completed.
  • Wiki – The wiki is a great place to organize and manage supplemental information for consumers and developers. Rather than pack everything into the README, the wiki can be used to establish separate documentation for onboarding, migration guides, API docs and more.
  • GitHub PagesGitHub Pages are a simple way to generate web content from source code or even just markdown and deploy that to a domain. This is a simple way to create a nice product, marketing, or API documentation for users with minimal fuss and overhead.
  • GitterGitter is a chat platform that integrates with popular development/OSS tools like GitHub, Jenkins, Bitbucket, Trello, and others that can allow you to foster a real time community around your project, assist others or let the community jump in and help!

In the below screenshot, we can see an example of the project feature in action, tracking issues sourced from the issue tracker.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this has helped shine a light on some of the great features and workflows GitHub  offers to support the development of your own OSS project.  It is important to remember that Open Source is an inclusive process by nature, so make sure to be open to feedback and respectful of all contributions. OSS will undoubtedly attract contributors of all skills levels, so make sure to engage openly and without prejudice. Likewise, if there are small bugs or documentation tasks, you can recommend those to newcomers as part of your onboarding documentation. With robust documentation around your project and workflows, developers are more likely to contribute and newcomers can self-onboard, with minimal guidance from you.

Most importantly, developing software should be fun and rewarding.  When the right people get together with the right tools and in the right way, great things can happen. Happy coding!

JavaScript still reigns as king for many developers. In Stack Overflow’s recent survey of 64,000 developers across the globe, JavaScript came out on top for the fifth year in a row as the most common programming language.

But with so many tools, libraries and frameworks in the Javascript ecosystem, how does a developer make sense of it all?

Kenzan’s director of engineering, Owen Buckley, shared his insight into the world of JavaScript during one of Kenzan’s latest tech meetups in Providence, Rhode Island. Owen cover’s some important aspects including language & specification, libraries & frameworks, and development & tooling.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear it live, check out the recording below:

Visit our meetup page to RSVP for Kenzan’s next meetup! 

Continuous delivery has quickly become the choice method for faster, safer and more frequent software deployments. As more and more tools come into play in this arena, developers are looking for new ways to enable this kind of software delivery and maximize its benefits. This guide will show how I created a bare-metal continuous-delivery appliance using Spinnaker, running on a Kubernetes cluster of “mini pcs”.

Why build a bare-metal cluster?

Because it’s fun! Many times when using a cloud platform, much of the magic gets abstracted behind dashboards and APIs. When you set up your own cluster from scratch, it really helps to connect the dots and learn about how the pieces fit together.

The cloud is not cheap. Running Spinnaker in the cloud is quite pricey due to the resource requirements. When we run this on our own hardware, we pay up front around as much as one month in the cloud, but we can run it forever!

Free up resources. There are tools like minkube that allow you to set up your own single node Kubernetes cluster on your laptop. However this ties up resources. It’s very nice being able to use an always running cluster on your network without needing to constantly “spin up and spin down” environments.

Total control. Running a cluster via minikube or GKE is very convenient. However with bare-metal we can tweak our setup to our heart’s content. Want to install an nfs server for persistent volumes on a node? Go for it! Want to experiment with the Ubuntu Kubernetes distribution? Install the iso on a node! There is less magic and more “nitty gritty”. It really helps you understand how things work from the core.

Put your spare compute to work. It’s really satisfying to have your own “on prem” equipment. How many of us have raspberry pis or old desktops/laptops just laying around? Instead of just collecting dust, we can add these nodes to our fleet. We can then run jobs or applications that distribute this load. You can put the cluster behind your router and host web sites or run home automation applications. All without the overhead of the cloud. Plus it looks really cool sitting on your desk!

What is Spinnaker? is set of microservices that make it easy to build continuous delivery pipelines. Contributors to the project include Netflix, Google, Microsoft and Kenzan.

The project brings together best practices and patterns for easily deploying immutable infrastructure style software. Deploy targets can be instances or containers running on a multitude of platforms including AWS, GCP, Azure and Kubernetes.

Why Kubernetes?

Spinnaker can be run from any of the above platforms, however due to the nature of the resources needed it can be quite expensive. Kubernetes allows us to set up our own “cloud” on bare metal. We can then use our Spinnaker instance to easily deploy to other cloud platforms or clusters. It’s also pretty neat having a self contained “appliance” running Spinnaker. Hardware prices are constantly falling and it is pretty fun experimenting with software on our own “datacenter”.

Choosing hardware

While I was able to get the cluster turned up with the first version of this guide, The “Stick pcs” proved to be too weak on the memory requirement. I needed nodes that had at least 4gb memory. After some searching I decided on three “nexbox” pcs.

  • 4GB memory
  • Quad core atom processor
  • 64GB SSD
  • Ethernet port

It took a while for the boxes to arrive from Aliexpress but I was excited to get started when they did.

Installing Ubuntu

Unlike the tv-sticks, these boxes came with windows installed. That was not good for the cluster, so I began by trying to install Ubuntu server. Unfortunately since the chipset in these machines was “cherry trail” it had limited Linux compatibility. The nic did not work at all during install.

Thankfully, after some searching I was able to find an Ubuntu image with a modified kernel to support the chipset:

Burning the image to a thumb drive, I was then able to hold the ESC key and boot from the drive to install.

With Ubuntu installed on the boxes I was now able to install docker on each node.

Installing Kubernetes

apt-get update
apt-get install

I leveraged the docker-multinode scripts to get Kubernetes installed along with heapster and the dashboard.

Installation is relativly simple, you run the script on one node and on the remaining two nodes.

Tunneling 8080 into the master node and the dashboard displayed like a charm.

Installing Spinnaker

I then was able to make some minor modifications to the “spinikube” specs and get Spinnaker installed.

Overall, I’m very happy with how the cluster turned out. It’s great to be able to have a dedicated cluster without wasting resources on vms. I’m looking forward to running more workloads and monitoring performance. The next step will be to experiment with getting persistent volume storage in place with ceph or gluster. It will be great to take advantage of all the storage on the nodes. Stay tuned for part 2 of this guide, where we leverage Spinnaker to do a deploy on the cluster, along with some other advanced functionality.

Chad Moon is a platform engineer at Kenzan, based out of the Denver office. Specialties include crafting continuous delivery pipelines and containerizing all the things. Current work includes integrating Jenkins, Spinnaker and Kubernetes for large enterprise clients.

Have questions about building your own Spinnaker-Kubernetes cluster, or just about Continuous Delivery in general? Comment here or tweet at us: @kenzanmedia.

For more information about Kenzan services, contact


As more businesses prepare to make a digital transformation, containers have become the choice cloud computing architecture for faster, more portable and reliable deployments. With the growing interest in containerization, the question arises about how containers integrate with existing infrastructure. In this post, we will look at how containerization affects service discovery and present a network routing solution that allows NetflixOSS Eureka to provide unified discovery between both containers and with VM-based services.

Kenzan specializes in cloud technologies with extensive experience in Amazon Web Services (AWS). We have adopted a number of tools from the NetflixOSS stack for use in AWS, such as Zuul, Ribbon, and Eureka. The discovery service feature of Eureka allows us to build dynamically scalable AWS environments without the need to setup fixed routing and load balancing infrastructure.

Docker introduced a new networking layer that changes everything we know about networking in the cloud. This makes discovery and routing with Eureka challenging. Containers have their own IP addresses, belong on a different subnet, and are only routable from the host running the Docker daemon.

We have experimented with tools like flanneld that create virtual networking layers between Docker hosts, allowing for cross-host communication between Docker containers. Flanneld is easy to setup and does as advertised, but requires hosts wishing to network with containers to be running the flannel daemon. All-in-one Docker solutions like Kubernetes do everything from networking containers to orchestrating and managing multiple Docker hosts, but still cannot network with containers from outside the Kubernetes cluster.

What we are looking for is to spin up containers like we do with EC2 instances, have them register with a discovery service, and allow us to send traffic from anywhere in the VPC. Let’s start simple with a cluster of Docker hosts, which is something that EC2 Container Service (ECS) will provide us. We launch a few applications as Docker instances using ECS, but we get containers that can’t talk to each other and can’t be reached from any external service.

As an application in a discovery-based world, you need to tell the discovery service who you are and how others can reach you. This is easy on EC2 instances because the application can provide the host IP address and the port it’s listening on. Containers in Docker are given IP addresses that are only routable to containers running on the same Docker daemon. We can expose internal container ports as host ports, but that port (which port? That = ?)has to be static and non-conflicting with other containers on the same host. e want to be dynamic and not have to remember which ports are used versus which ports are free.

ECS provides an option to expose containers through an Elastic Load Balancer (ELB). Issues with ELB’s include consuming several VPC IP addresses, requiring management of limits on how many ELB’s can be created, and adding additional AWS costs. Our applications now have to remember a series of hostnames representing ELB endpoints for each environment, adding more configuration overhead. ELB’s  have the advantage of security groups, which is something we may expect to lose in a container world. The new networking layer on top of Docker does not play nicely with network based firewalls like security groups in AWS.

The goal is to find a non-conflicting dynamic way for containers deployed to a cluster of Docker hosts to identify themselves to a discovery service and have their identity be reachable. To achieve this, we need a tool that will find other containers on the host and route traffic based on a series of rules. Traefik is that tool. Traefik is a discovery based HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that can discover Docker containers with minimal configuration, as well as several other means of discovery.

Let’s look at what it takes to get Traefik running with a Docker based backend:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 8080:8080 -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock traefik –web –docker –docker.domain=docker.localhost

That’s it.  The front end is now listening on port 80. Notice what we did here is we mounted the docker.sock file as a volume launching the container. This gives Traefik API access to the Docker daemon so that it can find other containers.

Alright, now it is time to add some containers for Traefik to find:

$ docker run -d –name nginx -l traefik.port=80 nginx

We added an Nginx container, and added a Label of traefik.port=80. Traefik will use the Docker metadata API exposed through the mounted unix socket to find container labels and bind the listener to port 80 that Nginx is listening on.

The Nginx container can be seen on the Traefik admin page listening on port 8080

Notice how the Rule is Host:nginx.docker.localhost. This is a combination of the container name we provided to Nginx with the –name argument. The docker.localhost part of the domain came from the –docker.domain=docker.localhost we gave to Traefik at startup.

Running a curl to the Docker host with a Host header of nginx.docker.localhost returns the Nginx welcome page.

$ curl -H “Host: nginx.docker.localhost”
<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Welcome to nginx!</title>

Traefik is routing requests with this Host header to our Nginx container. We didn’t tell Traefik to do that, but it did (and that’s alright).

We can use other labels attached to the Nginx container to control how Traefik routes requests to it. Let’s try a path based rule.

$ docker run –name nginx -l traefik.port=80 -l traefik.frontend.rule=PathPrefix:/nginx nginx

Now all requests with the path prefix of /nginx will go to our Nginx container

$ curl
<head><title>404 Not Found</title></head>

We of course get a 404 since our nginx doesn’t have a /test resource, but we can see in the Nginx logs that the requests are coming through. – – [10/Jan/2017:22:48:37 +0000] “GET /nginx/test HTTP/1.1” 404 169 “-” “curl/7.49.1” “”

That was a quick proof-of-concept to show how quickly we got Traefik running as a discovery based routing service with Docker. By putting a Traefik container on every Docker host, we can  dynamically setup routes to our containers running on those hosts. All we need to do now is identify our containers to the discovery service as the host IP address and the port that Traefik is listening on. The applications calling the services have to remember to include the path prefix in the request. Below is an architecture diagram showing Traefik set up on multiple Docker hosts.

Darren Bathgate is a technical architect at Kenzan. Over the course of his 5+ years at Kenzan, Darren has worked extensively with Java, MySQL, PHP, Cassandra, Node.js, oracle, Jenkins, Netflix OSS and Docker.

From the cloud, to the Internet of Things, to big data, companies are embracing digital transformation to help them quickly react to marketplace shifts, consumer demands and new opportunities. The roadmap for digital transformation is different for all companies and often calls for customized software, which can be a significant investment of time, money, attention and resources.

Software development can sometimes be seen as a slow and expensive process, especially at the enterprise level. Managing these factors are fundamental priorities and few people are better equipped to keep things under control than project managers.

Many organizations that are on a path towards digital transformation don’t fully recognize the value PM’s add to software development teams. According to a 2016 report from the Project Management Institute titled “The High Cost of Low Performance”, less than two in five companies surveyed place a high priority on creating cultures that recognize the importance of project management as a driver of better project performance.

That’s not the case at Kenzan, where our project managers play a central role on each development team and are vital for success. We’re not the the only ones that have seen the positive results of project managers. Organizations that invest in project management waste 13 times less money because strategic initiatives are completed more successfully.

But for those who might disagree, we’re here to dispel some myths about Project Managers:

Myth: Project managers are clueless.

Busted: Technical comprehension is as critical to the success of a project as leadership and strategic business management. While a PM doesn’t write code, they spend their days working with those that do. In order for a PM to adapt quickly to changing conditions, assign and re-prioritize tasks, communicate effectively and spot risks, they need an understanding of  relevant tools and technologies that the team uses.    

Myth: Project Managers just schedule meetings and manage calendars.

Busted: Project managers guide the structure, scope, quality and budget of a project while also representing the interests of the product owner. The real value of a project manager is as a leader, liaison and mentor. With a big picture point of view, the project manager balances and guides software development teams while defining requirements and goals to ensure the teams meet expectations — on time and on budget.

Myth: Project managers are just paper pushers.

Busted: Project managers define policies and procedures that enable success. Without the structure of process, a project can easily fall apart. A project manager knows the operational requirements (things like time sheets, budgets and resource allocation) and can navigate communication channels with clients so technical team members can focus on what they do best – developing software.

Myth: A Project manager’s top priority is execution.

Busted: Project managers support the team from start to finish. While the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) is the guiding framework for development, it doesn’t stand alone in supporting and achieving business objectives. Project management methodologies work in tandem with the SDLC for the initiating, planning, monitoring and delivery of projects, which provides consistency and stability of process through every phase of the SDLC.

Now that we’ve dispelled some of these major misconceptions about project managers, it’s (hopefully) clear how important they really are. Think about all the projects you or your organization have worked on that went over budget, missed a deadline or derailed entirely. It may be too late to go back and right those wrongs, but it’s not too late to consider how future projects — and your company as whole —  will benefit from the guidance of project managers.

For companies that are looking to get or stay competitive, strong project management practices can play a crucial role in driving the business forward through digital transformation. Contact to learn more about our project management and other services.

As a certified Scrum Master in Agile methodologies, Jennifer Aczualdez leads Kenzan’s project management and business analysis team . She manages the scope, budget and timelines of projects and acts as a central point of contact for both internal and client teams. She is involved in the full software delivery cycle, from initiation and planning to monitoring, delivering and closing.