A New Challenge
About two years ago Joyent began offering Linux instances, running under KVM, stored on ZFS, and secured by Zones (“double hull virtualization”). Since then, I’ve been doing more and more work on Linux performance as customers deploy on these instances. It’s been fascinating to work on both the illumos and Linux kernels at the same time (a Linux guest in an illumos host), with full stack visibility of the guests, and hypervisor, down to metal. It’s let me better understand the design choices for each OS by having another perspective, something I talked about in my recent SCaLE12x keynote, and in my Systems Performance book. Apart from different OSes, I’ve also worked directly with dozens of customers, with many different applications, databases, and programming languages — too many to list. It’s been amazing, and I’m grateful that I had the chance to work and innovate in this unique environment.
However, I’ve decided to leave Joyent and pursue a new opportunity (more details about this later). It involves, among other things, working higher up in the application level, as well as Linux full time. Compared to the production observability I typically get on SmartOS/DTrace, working on Linux will at times be a challenge, but I’m interested in challenging myself and taking that on. I don’t know what tracing tool I’ll be using in the long term, but I’m no stranger to the Linux tracers: SystemTap, perf_events, dtrace4linux, ktap, and LTTng, which I’ve been using in a lab environment to solve customer issues. It’s been challenging, but also rewarding, to analyze Linux in new and different ways, and improve its performance.
I know some in the Solaris/illumos/SmartOS communities may be saddened by this news. I hope people can be glad for what I have contributed, and I’ll certainly continue to participate in these communities when I can. Also note that my change of job doesn’t change my technical opinion on those platforms and their technologies (especially DTrace, ZFS, and Zones) – which are still great, for the exact reasons I’ve publicly documented over the years and spoken about at conferences. I’m proud to have worked with them, and with the smart and dedicated people who build, support, and use them.
I have a new personal blog over here.