Meet the VMware Cloud Native Apps Field Engineering and Education Team

September 24, 2019 Paul Lundin

Our Field Engineering and Education team is gearing up to publish a series of blog posts around Kubernetes. The blog posts will include tips and tricks, outline new technologies, and share use cases. But before we continue our dive deep into the world of Kubernetes, I want to introduce to the world the Field Engineering and Education teams that make up our global Kubernetes and cloud native practice.

As a team, our focus is on solving the hard problems our customers face when it comes to adopting Kubernetes and cloud native technologies. How we do it is the most interesting part.

What Does Field Engineering Do, Exactly?

For most software companies, a key component of their strategy is professional services or consulting. The most basic premise of these teams is to help customers install, configure, and integrate software into their environments. Pretty cut and dry, right? Yes and no.

When you’re working within the open source ecosystem, it’s fairly common for customers to need to extend or enhance the community-provided software in some way, particularly for newer projects such as Kubernetes. We help in this area by providing patches to upstream components to extend functionality and by contributing new software, including both simple and complex tools. Operating at the cross section of business needs and open source—that’s where our Field Engineering team thrives.

With technology as flexible as Kubernetes, there are many possible ways to provide a desired outcome. Our industry-leading experience allows us to help our customers navigate complex scenarios while staying on supportable paths and still achieving their desired business outcomes. For the duration of an engagement, our Field Engineers are effectively members of the customer’s development or site reliability engineering (SRE) team. Tapping into our years of combined Kubernetes experience, we work with the customer to architect the best outcome for the customer’s needs.

We also take the lessons we learn in each of these scenarios back to the community and to our internal product teams. Because many members of our team are highly active within the open source community, you’ve likely seen members of the team on TGI Kubernetes—a weekly YouTube series—or working on Kubernetes special interest groups (SIGs). Our team members also routinely present at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. This community involvement helps us provide direct bidirectional feedback loops from our customers to the community and from the community to our customers. This involvement also ensures that we provide real, earnest expertise on the technologies we are working with—something that is often absent in similar scenarios across the industry.

We are a team in the truest sense of the word, and we thrive on not only tackling hard problems but also disseminating lessons learned from our work within the community and with our customers. A recent example is Kubernetes Academy Brought to You by VMware—a free, product-agnostic Kubernetes and cloud native technology education platform. Our team worked to document and push our knowledge onto this platform to help accelerate adoption of Kubernetes across the industry. Based on our experiences with customers, we will continue to extend this contribution, including more designs and courses for all skill levels, from beginner to intermediate and beyond.

No matter the medium—on the ground with customers, in courses on Kubernetes Academy, through their open source work—our Field Engineering team works to ensure you’re on the right path with Kubernetes and cloud native technologies.

What Does the Education Team Do, Then?

The education team makes up the other half of our organization. The Education team comprises classroom instructors and curriculum developers who help codify the knowledge we’ve gained and turn that knowledge into formalized learning paths. The educational content they create and deliver is offered through a mix of free and paid training. While free, on-demand training is available on Kubernetes Academy, our more advanced and niche trainings are delivered by the Education team directly to our customers online and in-person.

The Education and Field Engineering teams work together to take an earnest end-to-end approach in ensuring our customers are successful on their Kubernetes journey. A typical engagement with one of our customers is kicked off by having their key operations and developer personnel attend one (or more) of our classes to arm themselves with the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful with Kubernetes. We then quickly follow-up that course with a Field Engineering engagement to help them design, install, and integrate Kubernetes or deploy and modernize applications on top of Kubernetes.

Wrapping Up

Our Field Engineering and Education teams have amassed a sizeable amount of Kubernetes knowledge. They share their knowledge daily with customers and the community, but we realized there’s an untapped avenue for these two teams to take their knowledge sharing a step further: a blog series.

Beginning next week, you’ll see a regular cadence of blog posts from various members of our Field Engineering and Education teams in an effort to spread Kubernetes wisdom far and wide.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for content you want to read from these two teams, please drop us a line in the comment section below.

Lastly, if the Field Engineering or Education team’s work piques your interest—we’re hiring! Learn more here.

About the Author

A highly experienced industry leader with nearly 20 years in the industry, Paul has spent the past 5 years focused in the emerging Cloud Native and distributed systems space, primarily focused on Kubernetes. During this time Paul and his teams have successfully helped numerous Fortune 100 companies navigate Open Source, solve complex business problems and adopt Kubernetes and similar technologies into their production environments. Paul joined VMware via the acquisition of Heptio and currently heads the global Cloud Native & Kubernetes practice within the VMware PSO.

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