Our Approach

From white-boarding cutting edge architectures to providing long-term support, we've developed the processes and implemented the advanced solutions that will solve your business needs. We call this SweetOps and it's a comprehensive plan for how we approach every engagement with our clients. It's a form of DevOps that enables companies to collaborate on infrastructure across corporate boundaries by using a shared library of Open Source infrastructure code developed and maintained by Cloud Posse. It's a framework for creating and building consistent platforms to be shared across a team environments. Everything we create is Open Source (APACHE2) and free to use—no strings attached.
 

Here’s a sneak peak at what that looks like.

 

We work closely with your CTO/VPE and engineering teams to architect solutions that will support your current needs and strategic initiatives. It’s our top priority to establish strong rapport with your team by earning their respect. We promote efficient collaboration with as little management overhead as possible because we understand developers (we are developers). Strong emphasis is placed from the very beginning on cross-training engineers to hone their operational competency, so that they have the necessary skills to triage critical problems, setup development sandboxes and even handle production environments.

Here’s how we go about it.

Small Teams

We believe that small cohesive teams stand the greatest chance of long-term success. This is because autonomous, self-organizing teams are able to avoid undue bureaucracy and micromanagement.


Direct Collaboration

No one understands your business better than you. Therefore we listen to your engineers and strive to understand your business requirements so that we can work together to solve your problems. Everyone on your team adds value to the project.

Flexible Process

Executing well is a skill. Working with good people and teams trumps any rigid process. The goal is always the same – to consistently deliver on time. One-size does not fit all, however, so we like to focus on what works for you. We support any flavor of “Agile” so long as it emphasizes simple functionality over rigorous documentation.


No Middlemen

We cut out the middlemen. By working with us, you always have a direct line of communication to any one on our team. There's no complicated management structure or process involved with getting in touch with us or the help you need.

Our Posse


Cloud Architect / Solutions Architect

Lead the overall technical vision and implementation of the cloud architecture. They have vast cross-domain expertise and are capable of bridging the gap between business and technology. They are responsible for overseeing the project until completion.

DevOps Engineer (1-2)

These Senior DevOps engineers have vast experience working with a wide array of cloud-native technologies and are responsible for hands-on implementation, deployment and orchestration/automation of the infrastructure. They'll pair heavily with your team to get them up to speed on the complete technology stack.

Release Engineer

They are responsible for designing the end to end CI/CD pipeline with Docker compositions for integration testing and continuous delivery pipelines for “Unlimited Staging Environments”, preproduction and production environments.

Our Process

Research & Discovery

  • 01

    Perform a comprehensive Technical Audit to inventory entire stack, covering all components and external systems or backing services.

  • 02

    Conduct thorough Stakeholder interviews to learn what has worked well in the past and uncover the current pain-points, because no one understands your business better than you.

  • 03

    Identify and codify all Technical & Business Requirements, including the financial motivations, departmental budgets as well as technical motivations for the project so that we can achieve success.

  • 04

    Review existing design documentation and code repositories. Identify what is re-usable and what will need to be tweaked in order to be compatible with an elastic cloud environment.

Game Plan

  • 01

    Work with you to fast track a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) that will demonstrate how the new system will work. Give developers/operations the chance to kick the tires to provide early feedback.

  • 02

    Prepare documentation of the cloud architecture, including technical diagrams of the various components, flow charts of network traffic, and other visual aides.

  • 03

    Establish timelines for when significant deliverables will be completed and what the acceptance criteria will be for those deliverables.

  • 04

    Provide transparency throughout the process. Generally 25% of our time will be spent producing documentation, evaluating technology or assisting in buying decisions.

Sprints

  • 01

    We use what ever flavor of “Agile” you like together with your existing project management system like Asana, Jira or Basecamp.

  • 02

    Every week knock off significant deliverables (aka “Small Wins”). Demonstrate continuous progress in the form of git checkins, status updates and documentation.

  • 03

    Hold regular weekly or bi-weekly calls to review all open stories and update the project's status so the organization can stay informed.

  • 04

    Unblock developers when new issues spring up. We see our role as enabling developers to do their jobs better, which is also why we place significant emphasis on automation so it’s never an afterthought.

Launch Preparations

  • 01

    QA & Testing, Business Continuity Planning, regular soft launches, and fire drills to keep everyone on their toes.

  • 02

    Roll out comprehensive Monitoring & Alerting for both internal and external systems. Define responsibilities for the On-Call Engineer (OCE) and setup PagerDuty rotations. Establish processes for communicating outages and conducting postmortems of outages.

  • 03

    Conduct a final security audit, involving among other things a full review of security groups, access controls, and key rotation.

  • 04

    Develop a comprehensive Go-live Plan. The checklist will address everything that needs to happen up to the point we flip the switch to make the system live. It will also include a rollback plan, because we can never be 100% certain.

Maintenance &
Support

  • 01

    We stay engaged as part of our continued investment in your company’s success. Rest assured there’s an expert ready to assist at an arms reach away.

  • 02

    Life-cycle management is inevitable with any large scale infrastructure. This includes assisting with upgrades and addressing/patching bugs as they come up or suggesting improvements to your workflows as new technologies come along.

  • 03

    Perform periodic audits or reviews to ensure everything is working right. Ensure the cloud spend fits the budget. Produce cloud spend forecasts and implement cost controls.

  • 04

    Hand-off documentation. We’ll use what ever system you prefer for documentation, whether it be GitHub+Markdown, Quip, Evernote, or something else.

Frequently Asked Questions


We confess, our approach may be not be right for everyone. For example, it's not a good fit for non-technical organizations. It's overkill for some companies with smaller engineering teams that don't need all the extensive role based access controls, audit and monitoring capabilties. Teams composed mostly of junior software engineers unfamiliar with the command line may be intimidated. Companies running simple monolithic architectures might evaluate other alternatives.

Our customers have a cloud spend usually starting at several thousand dollars per month, with the largest customers spending hundreds of thousands. Also, we do not provide support for classic configuration management (ala chef, puppet, cfengine, salt stack or ansible); if that's a hard requirement, we're not a good fit.

We endorse a 100% containerized approach, even for Infrastructure as Code. This enables us to achieve the greatest consistency and reuse of our CI/CD strategies.

Our typical clients are technology startups who have raised $10-100MM+ (Gladly.com, PeerStreet.com, Joany.com), run a dozen or more micro services and have at least one dedicated/FTE who is responsible for DevOps that works alongside us during the engagement and who is responsible for taking over the day to day responsibilities when we are done.

Typical engagements last for 2-3 months and include roughly eight sprints. Each sprint is 1-2 weeks in duration.
We offer project based bids composed of multiple sprints. We prefer a pay-per-sprint billing model which works similar to a retainer, only it's better. It's better because we agree ahead of time on the deliverables so it's easier to manage expectations across the company. Each sprint includes a fixed number of hours and is invoiced at a fixed cost agreed ahead of time by both parties. Excess hours are billed and invoiced separately, subject to the terms of the Master Services Agreement.
All services are rendered on a remote basis. From time to time, we can arrange onsite meetings and handoffs.
We work with companies anywhere in the world.

We've worked with companies in India, Argentina, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, etc. Our team is distributed across the US and Eastern Europe.

1. Send us an email at [email protected]
2. We'll arrange a scoping call to go over your exact challenges.
3. If we can help, we'll prepare a comprehensive Statement of Work (SOW) detailing the entire project
4. Once the Non-disclosure agreement (NDA), Master Services Agreement (MSA) and SOW are executed, we'll send an invoice for the first sprint.
5. Work will commence shortly thereafter.