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OPEN TALK: Groove with Ambiguity: The Robust, the Reliable, and the Resilient


Matt Davis
Blameless, Senior Infrastructure Engineer

Just as at home with analog synthesizer electronics as with Infrastructure as Code, I find joy in operating inherently chaotic complex systems. My expertise brings to bear a variegated background including data-center operations, storage hardware and distributed databases, IT security, site reliability, support services, observability systems, and techops leadership.

With degrees in music performance and composition, I have a passion for exploring the relationships between the artistic mind and operating distributed software architectures. This is reflected in my subjects for technology talks and musical output, both of which seek out diverse ways to introspect and learn from our adaptive universe.

My experiences have led me to talk about reliability and resilience at QCon, SRECon, Music City Tech, Disney JETA, RE:Deploy, and close to home at Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE).


The networked software systems we build are increasing in complexity every moment. From the abstractions of cloud hosting and inherited libraries to container scheduling and third-party vendors, the turtles go all the way around!

Today the most successful builders and operators are embracing complexity through CI/CD, Chaos Engineering, and innovation in Incident Response. They realize that the adaptive world around us is advancing at such a breakneck speed, it is leaving our capacity to understand it in the dust. That humans and technology must race a gauntlet of automation surprises and collaboration challenges as a team, learning and improving along the way.

This session showcases methods of deploying, running, and navigating complexity. It offers a practical view of how software systems can scale and remain robust to failure (like fallbacks or high-availability), achieve highly reliable socio-technical operations (via runbooks and game-days), and adapt to surprise through techniques of resilience engineering (graceful extensibility and building for adaptation).