Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 53 - Page 87

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Darragh Curran , CTO , Intercom
What are your principles when it comes to how you manage risk , for example , or how will you approach technical trade-offs and make key decisions ?
will end up operating a technology or platform in which you have limited skills and experience to support . Go for stability : thinking about the work as an evolution of the architecture you have today , rather than something more revolutionary . Architecture choices can have a fundamental impact on your velocity and companies with large and disparate technology stacks may struggle to make fast progress . Being highly opinionated about the type and size of tech stack you choose to run leads to simplified implementations across all your projects .
It ’ s beneficial to be technically conservative , sticking to familiar solutions like Amazon Web Services where you can build up deep expertise in its services and technologies over time . This allows you to keep things simple and avoid introducing additional complexity where it ’ s not needed . Instead of harnessing a new technology , or trying to build complex cross-region data infrastructure , think about how to simply build a near exact replica of an existing region production environment in your new region .
Embrace automation
Hopefully you ’ ll have made investments in automation in the past and this is where it will pay off . Infrastructure as Code platforms allow you to ‘ blueprint ’ infrastructure configuration within your network and across server fleets and database clusters , which can then be used to automatically provision new infrastructure in a new location . This approach helps ensure you are not
starting from scratch when it comes to configuration , accelerating you through the build phase , while also ensuring that your existing security controls are applied consistently to the new jurisdiction . This is essential because although speed is impressive , you can ’ t compromise security .
There are governance benefits here too . All infrastructure changes are documented as peer reviewed pull requests , with the resulting state captured in auditable files .
Our own commitment to automation forms part of Intercom ’ s ‘ Zero Touch ops ’ philosophy . It ’ s an approach that values systemic investment in infrastructure automation , with no tolerance for manual systems management or configuration . It ’ s part of what helps run lean infrastructure organisations with outsized capabilities , and the ability to move fast and adapt . The impact of this approach is visible elsewhere in the critical systems our own infrastructure teams run ; our continuous delivery pipeline that gets code from a developer ’ s laptop runs thousands of tests and deploys it live in our production environment and into the hands of our customers within 12 minutes .
Companies who adopt these approaches will find that a seemingly complex and risky infrastructure project can start to appear much more manageable . p
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