Delphix Hackathon June 2015
For the past few years the Delphix Engineering team has been holding hackathons where all the engineers get together and build fun and interesting projects. They are held during our biannual Engineering Kickoffs and have the additional advantage of having the engineering team co-located in the same office.
Our last hackathon was such a rousing success that we decided to try out our first distributed hackathon and additionally we went beyond just the engineering team and opened it up to the entire company. The event was held two weeks ago and featured a glorious 24 hours of hacking where people from around the company collaborated to build a huge variety of things ranging from internal tools to customer facing products.
Hackathons are a great way to get to know and work with folks you dont normally interact with and this one was no exception with several new employees and interns experiencing it for the first time. Being a distributed event meant that communication was an additional challenge as several of the teams were split across offices and even time zones. Slack was an extremely effective communication tool to keep in touch and setup great teamwork to solve any tricky problems that people ran into.
In fact two of the hacks ended up being improvements to how we use Slack internally. After a day of furious coding, the hackers put the finishing touches on their projects and presented them over Webex to both the participating hackers and judging panel comprising our CEO and other senior execs at the company.
The creativity on display was amazing and this is just a partial list of the hacks that were presented:
- Interactive company org charts using D3.js
- Microsecond accuracy monitoring of TCP/IP connection latency
- Automatically surfacing CVEs to the Delphix security team
- Auto hotlinking bug mentions in Slack to JIRA
- Automatically flagging failed tests with known bugs
- A mobile HTML GUI for Delphix
Our judges had some really tough decisions to make and in the end awarded the following prizes:
Best Internal Hack went to Aaron Garvey for the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures Monitor which streamlines the process for keeping up with newly public vulnerabilities in the software we use. A scheduled task periodically checks a feed of new vulnerabilities, searching them to determine if they reference products or libraries Delphix uses.
When a match is found, a notification describing the vulnerability appears in the slack channel, allowing people to further investigate the issue, and optionally create a bug in JIRA with a single click. Best Customer Facing Hack was awarded to Sebastien Roy, Brandon Baker and Peter Washington for their TCP Connection Latency tool which allows you to measure network latency between a Delphix engine and its target hosts with microsecond accuracy.
This allows us to quickly and easily diagnose any network issues that may be present. Rahul Nair, Venkat Krishnamani and Simon Persson won the Audience Choice Award for their Mobile GUI for Delphix. It is a mobile optimized GUI that allows customers to monitor their Delphix Engines and perform simple operations (snapshot, rollback, etc...) directly from their phones without requiring computer access. The intention is to allow Sysadmins and DBAs to do lightweight monitoring of the engines without requiring a computer.
All in all everyone had a great time and we have some fantastic new tools and features that were built in just 24 hours. Hackathons are a great tradition for the engineering team at Delphix and I expect that several of the hacks will impact both internal processes and our external product in the coming weeks.
It was a pleasure to open this hackathon up to the entire company and it led to some good collaboration across the company. People are already looking forward to our next hackathon and planning the new and amazing things that they will build.