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Insights from a day at TEQnation in Utrecht

Hello, my name is Marten van de Sanden and I joined Kopano three weeks ago as a senior C++ software developer, having previously worked for Bloomberg in New York

Today I had a great time attending the TEQnation software development conference in Utrecht. The reportedly 1000 attendees and numerous companies hosted in this old revitalized factory building made for an amazing atmosphere. I saw some great talks from ABN AMRO, Spotify, Google, Red Hat, Ordina, KLM and of course Kopano.

Among other things, I learned about the struggles of implementing modern technology, like the infrastructure behind the ABN AMRO TIKKIE app, on top of legacy systems. Apparently, the settlement system backing all the transactions was only designed for about 30 transactions a day.

Spotify told us that migrating from private data centers to the cloud is hard, but feasible if you don’t over think it and take it one step at a time. That the cloud has very different characteristics than data center hosting and isn’t necessarily cheaper when your architecture is not designed for cloud use. Continuing to explain that in a large cloud base infrastructure “there is no cattle, only the herd.”. Meaning that cloud components can fail more often, but recover fast and one should look at the overall health and not try to shift overall hosting to a different region if one instance turns red.

From Google there was a great talk by Seth Vargo explaining about the right way to encrypt secrets, specifically in Kubernetes, using envelope encryption and a Key Management Service.

In the subsequent keynotes we heard from Marcus Biel about the importance of a good work/life balance and that spending 80% of your energy on work turns out to be more productive than pushing yourself to 130%. As well as showing us that Java in the cloud is feasible when you use Quakus.

Tim van Deursen has a mission to make a positive contribution to the world and he wants to do it from an engineering perspective. He showed some very nice examples of how he helps elderly people have a virtual life as well as an impressive documentary he made on using VR to show rival soldiers in Uganda their situation through each other’s eyes.

I saw a very good talk from KLM in which they show the right way to do software engineering by developing an infrastructure for predictive models used to predict, among other things, how many passengers will eventually board any specific KLM flight. Improving from their previously ad-hoc ways.

And last but not least I saw a talk by our very own Felix Bartels about how OpenID Connect works and showing us how easy it is to use Kopano Konnect as an OpenID Connect provider.

 So, in summary, I learned a lot while having a great time and I’m looking forward to attending again next year.