Tech Talk with a System Architect: Tech-telmechtel with Cloud Services [Interview]

Tech Talk Cloud Services
Erik Dommrich, cloud services team lead at dotSource

Welcome back to our Tech-telmechtel interview series on Handelskraft. Today’s interview guest is Erik Dommrich, cloud services team lead at dotSource, sports fan and amateur science fiction writer. Erik has been a member of the dotSource family for eleven years and makes sure that not only our clients, but also their customers are well looked after at all times. Find out in this article what this means apart from the business monitoring that Erik developed together with Martin and what Erik has to say about cloud-only, hybrid clouds and DevOps.

Tech Talk with Erik Dommrich

Alright, Erik, let’s go 😉 Who are you and what do you do at dotSource?

I deal with infrastructure set-ups and the operation of system landscapes. This includes questions such as:

  • How can I ensure ongoing operation?
  • How can I make sure that my systems are up to date and secure?
  • How do we know what’s going on?

I came here as an intern during my studies and stayed. I was responsible for QA, built up the QA team and switched to the IT team later on. This team was then split into internal IT and cloud services a bit later.

We’ve been providing cloud services for more than ten years – the combination of software development and software operation. In other words: what is called DevOps nowadays is something we already did back then ^^

Tech Talk: DevOps

DevOps – a trend that is highly popular and hotly debated. What’s your take on it? Is it a philosophy, an approach, even a person? You’re on the Ops side in this cosmos, right?

Yes, that’s one way of putting it. Nevertheless, I also think that it’s a way of working to design software projects.

There are various possibilities: do I separate both sides more or do I put them together completely? However, there are also nuances and grey areas in between.

So it also varies from client to client and from project to project?

Exactly. How those involved in the project want to work together concerns not only the client, but also the teams and how they’re set up.

Have you noticed a change in recent years when it comes to DevOps? Does everyone know what it is these days?

I’ve actually noticed a change, especially in larger companies. There, customers demand this change. They’ve already implemented it, know it and practise it. At other companies, we introduce it.

Tech Specialisation vs ?! Agnostic Approach

In previous Tech-telmechtel interviews, the experts usually specialised in a very specific technology. In your case, it’s more like you’re working on a wide range of topics. As part of the Ops side, you basically have to take on this monitoring role for all the systems and solutions that are out there, right?

Yes. We’re not limited to one software, but we specialise in certain solutions to generate synergy effects.

How can this be reconciled with the agnostic approach?

In fact, this is not really the question in my team because it’s usually already sorted out beforehand. When clients come to us, they’ve already made a decision and know what solutions they want.

We’re more focused on the other side. We don’t commit to the software, but we can help you to find your service provider, for example your cloud service provider.

We can get very involved and make a comparison; we have the agnostic approach in our cloud services team, but also other solutions, for example something local or regional. There are many different approaches and possibilities.

Tech Future = Cloud-Only Future

In some articles and publications we have released over the last two to three years, we’ve also extensively addressed the topic of cloud. One of the titles was: »The Future Is Cloud-Only«. Do you think we’ve already arrived in this future?

For me, the question is rather: what does cloud mean? I’d like to separate that. What’s software-as-a-service? In other words: we have the software, you can use it, but we take care of everything else. Then there’s the approach of cloud service providers: this means that I no longer have the software running in my basement, but in someone else’s cloud.

However, the data centres that we work with, for example, have also been setting up clouds for many, many years. Our partner Plusserver, for example, has joined a very interesting initiative. They’re building a German cloud that is operated by German companies in Germany and provides services similar to those offered by big service providers.

Cloud-only? Absolutely!

However, the question is: what’s best for me?

Tech Talk: Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds quick & dirty?

With older system landscapes, it’s possible to have the database at a data centre, while the rest of the infrastructure is located at a cloud service provider. This way, I can take advantage of both worlds.

Or I connect the software in my basement with cloud services. If I use a CDN (content delivery network), for example, I can store my content in the cloud and have something upstream…

The following question is always important: what are the services that are useful for me?

That’s a great way to start. Just be hybrid to begin with. What gives me an advantage? Is that alright? Can I work with it? Step by step, I can bring my infrastructure and software up to date and move into the future, e.g. with microservices, etc.

Why should the server be located in the basement?

Computers must always be kept cool. They used to be very loud as well – and the basement is cold and soundproofed.
We also have three server rooms…

But they’re not located in the basement 😊

No, they’re not located in the basement. That’s correct.

Tech Talk: Pain Points

In your experience, what are the most important points (and pain points) for companies and especially online shop operators when making decisions about cloud services?

I consider the use of services, stability, security and – of course – costs to be factors here.

Cloud services offer a wide range of services that you can use very, very quickly. A software architecture that I can operate properly on my own premises – I have to do a lot to achieve that, so it’s all the better if there are providers who take care of it and whom I can rely on to offer very sophisticated services.

Especially when there are peaks in demand, right?

Especially then, yes. It depends on my business model and how I want to proceed. Scaling is very important in certain cases, for example in newsletter campaigns for customers who then buy products as a result, but otherwise buy very little.

In the case of shops with limited offers, such as concert tickets (before 2020), or very seasonal businesses, for example in sports, I definitely have to think about peaks in demand and how I can proactively react to them so that my shop performs well. If I have a standard range of products all year round, it’s something different.

Erik, thank you very much for the interesting conversation.

My pleasure. It was fun.

Tech Insights: ESPRIT Sets the Course for Multi-Cloud Business

Innovation Fashion Retail ESPRIT

As Erik has explained, cloud services are becoming more and more important every day. Our client ESPRIT, the world’s first lifestyle brand, has realised this and thus decided to focus on its digital strategy development towards multi-cloud business. Find out in our success story how the fashion company has approached this transition while also strengthening its brand image.

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