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Episode 13

Can Kubernetes Help People Find Love?


Show Notes

More than ever, people are meeting their romantic partners through dating apps and websites. These apps have different features, and can vary in user experience. What technology can meet the unique demands of those looking for love across cultures, time zones, and even across oceans?

Our team goes on a date with Kubernetes to discover how container orchestration speaks to the needs of a constantly-growing user base. From thoughts on scalability, on through to testing and deployment, we hear from those who swipe right on Kubernetes.



00:02 - Kim Huang 

Brent, Angela, what do you think when you think of dating apps?

00:09 - Angela Andrews 

I don't know anything about dating apps. I've been married for a hundred years.

00:14 - Kim Huang 

I, myself, have never used an online dating app, but I understand it a little bit. I understand not being able to meet people through conventional means.

00:25 - Angela Andrews 

Especially during COVID. I mean-

00:28 - Kim Huang 

Oh, yeah.

00:29 - Brent Simoneaux 

My partner and I met on a dating app.

00:32 - Kim Huang 


00:32 - Angela Andrews 

Shut up. That's fantastic.

00:36 - Kim Huang 


00:36 - Angela Andrews 

So you can find love.

00:38 - Brent Simoneaux 

You can find love, yeah.

00:41 - Kim Huang 

What was your experience like, Brent? Can you talk more about it?

00:44 - Brent Simoneaux 

My experience with dating apps was very brief. I signed up for this dating app 10 years ago or so, and my now partner is the first person that I met and the only person that I went on a date with.

01:01 - Angela Andrews 


01:02 - Kim Huang 

Brent is a catch.

01:03 - Angela Andrews 

This is the most amazing dating app story ever. You were one and done?

01:08 - Brent Simoneaux 

One and done, in and out, on and off.

01:10 - Angela Andrews 

Whoa. All right. We got to give it up because this is by far the most amazing dating app story.

01:19 - Kim Huang 

That is definitely not the story for-

01:20 - Angela Andrews 

That is not the story.

01:21 - Kim Huang

... tons of other people. No.

01:24 - Angela Andrews 

You make it look so easy.

01:27 - Brent Simoneaux 

I don't know how it happened. It was... I don't know.

01:29 - Angela Andrews 

Oh, that's awesome.

01:32 - Kim Huang 

Online dating has fundamentally transformed how we meet people. I want to know how what people want in a dating app can help translate into the type of experience that technology can speak to. Specifically: containers and Kubernetes.

01:51 - Brent Simoneaux 

I have a feeling that you are using this as an excuse to talk about containers and Kubernetes.

01:59 - Kim Huang 

You got me.

02:00 - Angela Andrews 

Perfect segue. All right then, let's do it.

02:07 - Brent Simoneaux 

This is Compiler, an original podcast from Red Hat. I'm Brent Simoneaux.

02:12 - Angela Andrews 

And I'm Angela Andrews. We are here to break down questions from the tech industry; big, small, and sometimes strange.

02:21 - Brent Simoneaux 

In each episode, we talk to Red Hatters and people they're connected to.

02:26 - Angela Andrews 

Today's question: Can Kubernetes – yes, Kubernetes – help people find love? Let's check in with producer Kim Huang and find out.

02:44 - Kim Huang 

Brent, it sounds like you had a stellar experience with online dating, so I wanted to ask you this question.

02:51 - Brent Simoneaux 


02:52 - Kim Huang 

What are some things that you think people who use dating apps could benefit from? Some things that they need?

03:03 - Brent Simoneaux 

From my very brief and very limited experience 10 years ago, I think people who are looking to dating apps need two things. One, they need to be able to get a sense of people. This is sort of like your profiles. You need to know all these people are available. They're looking for love, just like you are. You need to be able to get the sense of who they are. The second thing that I think people need is some sort of way to talk to each other, some way to message. Once you decide that, "Hey, we like each other," or, "Hey, we're interested," or, "Hey, maybe this might work out," and we both agree on that, we would like to talk together. So, some sort of messaging function.

03:55 - Kim Huang 

Right. If I'm hearing correctly, you're saying that the most important things are for people to be able to identify themselves as a person who's looking for a connection, and to be in a pool of other people who are looking for the same, and for them to be able to connect in some way.

04:16 - Brent Simoneaux 

Yeah. And then I think all the other basic things that go along with apps, which is usability, and you don't want the thing crashing all the time, and all of that stuff because there's probably nothing more frustrating than looking for love and then your app crashes.

04:41 - Kim Huang 

I wanted to know how these habits and needs translate into the development cycle. To answer that question, I spoke with someone with extensive knowledge of application development.

04:54 - Nick Stielau 

Hey, my name is Nick Stielau. I work at Red Hat in OpenShift Engineering and manage teams across the world, building container platforms based on Kubernetes and other open source technologies.

05:07 - Kim Huang 

I asked him if Kubernetes could help people find love.

05:12 - Nick Stielau 

You know, I sure hope so. Kubernetes is about helping you automate a lot of things and make that more accessible. Originally, it kind of spun out of Google with the tagline that it was Google's infrastructure for everyone else. I was lucky enough to meet my now-wife of 10+ years in college, but I hope that everyone doesn't have to go to college and take on student debt just to meet somebody.

05:36 - Brent Simoneaux 

That's adorable.

05:37 - Kim Huang 

Yeah, he's a nice guy. Nick and I discussed the types of challenges and demands that guide the development cycle. When a company deploys something, there's always a fear of failure. Something goes wrong, the app does not go to market on time. But in the case of something like a dating app, there can also be a fear of success.

06:04 - Kim Huang 

Imagine a dating app launches a very successful marketing campaign. It goes viral and suddenly, there is a huge amount of new sign-ups, new people using the app. If a team isn't prepared for that level of success, that many new users all at once, the results can be challenging.

06:27 - Nick Stielau 

On the day you should be patting yourself on the back, you're doing everything you can to keep the servers online. So I think the trick is: you don't want to pull in all those infrastructure concerns early in the application development process, but you have to think about them a little bit. I think that's where Kubernetes comes in and containerization. They can be part of a technology strategy that enables your team to focus on its core competencies and differentiators while knowing that out of the box and along the software development life cycle, you're better set up to handle those scale events if and when they happen.

07:05 - Brent Simoneaux 

That's really interesting because I think I've always thought of popularity as being a success in a lot of ways. And it is, but I'm now understanding that that also causes a lot of work.

07:21 - Angela Andrews 

Yeah, it does. That fear of success, the line that he said… you have to make sure that the infrastructure that's running your application can handle that success. The ability to scale your application during these really high peaks is really important because you go up, you're successful, you're popular, and everyone's signing up. If you don't have the ability to scale, people are going to talk. You're not going to be able to get all of the sign-ups, in this instance, that you'd like. The fear of success is real.

07:56 - Brent Simoneaux 

Is potential success something that people plan for in advance? I guess, I think, hypothetical success? Is that something that people plan for?

08:09 - Kim Huang 

I hope you're not planning for your app to be dead on arrival. I hope not.

08:15 - Brent Simoneaux 

Well, I'm not talking dead on arrival. I'm talking about a big spike in users signing up.

08:21 - Kim Huang 


08:21 - Brent Simoneaux 

Like, unexpectedly. You're planning for that-

08:26 - Angela Andrews 

You're planning for something. You're planning for some level of interaction with your application. That's the target that you're trying to hit. But there are times when you can't imagine how popular your application's going to get, so the infrastructure that your application is running on may not have taken that into consideration. You consider the best-case scenario, but sometimes the success of your application can well surpass that. So how do you deal? You have to have the infrastructure that can scale.

09:03 - Kim Huang 

Scalability is just one part of it. We also want to talk about availability, making sure that the app is available when users want to use the app. That's kind of important. When are people looking for love? Are they looking during work hours? Are they looking after work? Are they looking in the morning? Are they looking on their commute? It's important not just to know how an app is being used, but also when people are using it because understanding those peaks and valleys – like you were talking about, Angela – is really key to an application's success and management.

09:39 - Nick Stielau 

You know, now the way we consume products and technology is so driven by what we see come across on our mobile phones or what our friend's doing and we see in their feed. I think that generates more dynamic and less predictable engagement models. That creates different challenges for businesses, especially that are playing right in those emerging consumer experiences. And so I think there needs to be some different technology to support those businesses.

10:09 - Kim Huang 

Okay. We've got our successful app. It's seen a lot of adoption, which is good. What's next? Nick says rolling out new features, updates, and getting them to market is vital, but what's even more important is getting them to market on time. After all, a person looking for love doesn't have time to wait.

10:35 - Nick Stielau 

We kind of talked about some of the use cases, the fear-of-success use cases where maybe you've already built the application and you get that viral moment where people are coming to your platform, logging in, trying to use it, and you want it to scale and stay up. Another big part of the story, though, is about supporting innovation and time to market. A lot of that relies on that same level of standardization and dynacism with your infrastructure.

11:03 - Nick Stielau 

In this case, if you have a lot of different ideas, especially in these emerging user experiences, people are trying different ways to connect with customers and users, trying different features, experimenting, it's important to have a platform, an infrastructure platform, that can support that experimentation and that innovation. And with a proper approach, you can really accelerate both your time to market and the ability to experiment with these different features and user experiences.

11:36 - Angela Andrews 

What I'm hearing is it's not just about the ability to scale and have high availability, but to be able to have a place where people can test out these new features safely. You don't want to bring things to market before they're ready, so you need a platform that allows for that level of usage, for that level of consumption, right? You need to make space for people to test and to innovate as well as push into production.

12:08 - Brent Simoneaux 

It supports both user experience and developer experience.

12:12 - Angela Andrews 

What you just said! Exactly.

12:17 - Kim Huang 

I feel like all of these different elements that we're introducing are all coming together. It's like you have your mystery date and they're behind a curtain. And we're listing out all the different aspects about their personality, and we want to pull the curtain back to reveal who it is. That's what I feel like right now.

12:39 - Brent Simoneaux 

Who is it, Kim?

12:40 - Kim Huang 

Well, let's summarize.

12:43 - Brent Simoneaux 


12:43 - Kim Huang 

Development teams need standardization. They need a place to test their new ideas and new features for the application. They need the ability to scale really quickly, and they need to make sure that their app can get to the people that it needs to get to. All of these things considered, I think a good match for a dating app, I want to know if Kubernetes can be that mystery date.

13:09 - Brent Simoneaux 

Are we going to swipe right on Kubernetes?

13:14 - Angela Andrews 

I am swiping right now.

13:16 - Kim Huang 

I don't know. I mean, I want to find out.

13:20 - Angela Andrews 

Let's find out.

13:23 - Kim Huang 

I spoke with Clayton Coleman, distinguished engineer at Red Hat. He knows Kubernetes.

13:29 - Clayton Coleman 

I am a software engineer and architect and general explorer of new and exciting ideas at Red Hat. I have worked on Kubernetes for a very long time through the open source community and my contributions there as well as through Red Hat's product OpenShift, which is built around Kubernetes and is also an open source project.

13:51 - Kim Huang 

He gave me a brief primer on Kubernetes and how it works.

13:55 - Clayton Coleman 

Kubernetes is a system for... is a piece of software that runs other software across lots of machines. Any website that's big enough needs to run a whole bunch of software and a whole bunch of different types of software. There's all these services and tools out there that make running big software, big websites, possible. Kubernetes is one of those pieces and it kind of handles the, "How do you roll out versions of that software? How do you scale it up and down?" That's really where it's gotten its name is it helps big companies and big websites and big organizations run lots of software and run it all together efficiently.

14:40 - Brent Simoneaux 

I am still having trouble tracking a little bit. He describes it as a piece of software that runs other software across lots of machines. And I'm still... Someone help me out.

14:54 - Kim Huang 

Could we say it a little more plainly? Sure.

14:57 - Clayton Coleman 

If you've got a hundred thousand friends and you could write each individual letter by hand, but it'd be much more efficient to write the letter packet and then have somebody be like, "Well, here's my list of friends. Can you go make sure that this same letter makes it to all my friends?" And that's what Kubernetes does.

15:15 - Kim Huang 

Now we know a bit about how Kubernetes works. Brent, does that make more sense?

15:21 - Brent Simoneaux 

I think I'm starting to track a bit more, yeah.

15:27 - Angela Andrews 

Wait. Just remember, Kubernetes is not just for big organizations and big applications. Kubernetes is also for smaller orgs, smaller apps, like infrastructure apps. Don't forget that.

15:39 - Kim Huang 

Absolutely. So then how would it affect the performance of a dating app? Clayton gives us a detailed explanation using traffic as a specific example.

15:50 - Clayton Coleman 

If you need 10 instances of your software in Europe to handle the demand of a 9:00 PM on a Friday where everybody's looking for love, and then come 4:00, 5:00 AM, you're moving westwards. You're now dealing with New York. And so thinking about this as you don't need as much of that capacity there. You need to make sure that New York's fine. You can always run lots of stuff all over the world, but the bigger you get, and dating websites are some of the biggest websites there are, that costs you money. And so if you're trying to be successful in love as a business, you definitely need to think about the bottom line.

16:31 - Clayton Coleman 

So it helps to be able to say, well, I need 10 here now. And in a couple of hours, maybe I only need five or three or two. And then in New York or in the West Coast or in Hawaii (if you're lucky enough) or Japan, you can kind of follow the sun. Kubernetes basically makes it as simple as possible to say, "Well, I need five of these. Well, I need one of these."

16:53 - Angela Andrews 

What a great analogy. Looking for love, or as Eddie Murphy would say it, "Wookin pa nub." It was just like, as soon as he said it, I was like, "Oh my God. I can't unhear that."

17:06 - Brent Simoneaux 

Everyone's looking for love at 9:00 PM on a Friday in your local time zone.

17:10 - Kim Huang 

That's right. I mean, you have to, but if you're building an app, don't you have to think about those things?

17:14 - Nick Stielau 

You do, you do.

17:15 - Brent Simoneaux 

Oh, yeah. But that's the whole thing. This is also a cost to the business as well, right? If you're not using your resources efficiently, that costs money.

17:25 - Kim Huang 

Oh yeah.

17:26 - Angela Andrews 

And Kubernetes eases that cost burden because you only use what you need where and when you need it.

17:33 - Kim Huang 

That's right. I wanted to bring in security into this.

17:39 - Angela Andrews 

Please do.

17:40 - Kim Huang 

Security is such an important aspect of what users want in a dating app. Clayton explains a little bit of that.

17:47 - Clayton Coleman 

You're always making changes to help users, but you're also going and saying, "Oh, there's a bug in this software," or, "There was a bug that could be a security issue in this software. I need to roll it out." Containerization and standardizing how you roll out this software is a great thing for that because if you're really good at rolling out software, it's no big deal to update the dependency, run it through your automated test system, and roll it out to production in a safe and reliable manner because you're doing that five, 10, a hundred times a day. That kind of repetition, that's one way that containers help security.

18:21 - Kim Huang 

We discussed new features and how important it is for them to deploy quickly. Clayton says Kubernetes can help coordinate things like bug fixes and feature rollouts.

18:32 - Clayton Coleman 

Usually, when you've got a big new feature, and there's different types. You got a little bug fix on a single page of the website, and then you've got, I'm adding video chat. That's a big feature. You might need 10 or 15 people working on it. That's a new service and it might be loosely integrated. One of the things about Kubernetes that makes it really powerful is yeah, Kubernetes is helping you roll out bug fixes to your existing stuff, but if you've got a completely new type of function, like a web, a video chat, and that's a new team and a new service, that team can onboard and they can be testing video chat before everybody sees it. So, Kubernetes lets you get the environment set up and you can go be testing it for a limited set of users, like your beta users or your internal users.

19:19 - Kim Huang 

I think we hit all the points. We hit scalability and how Kubernetes helps-

19:24 - Angela Andrews 


19:25 - Kim Huang 

... applications scale. We got that. We got availability.

19:28 - Angela Andrews 


19:28 - Kim Huang 

We got security, even.

19:31 - Angela Andrews 


19:32 - Kim Huang 

And we got bug fixes, maintenance, and new features, rolling those things out. Rolling out updates.

19:39 - Angela Andrews 


19:40 - Brent Simoneaux

Check and check.

19:41 - Kim Huang 

Yeah, check, check, check. We got all of those things that we can pull the curtain up and see who our, who our sweetie is behind the curtain, and it looks like it could be Kubernetes. I'm really happy.

19:57 - Angela Andrews 

(Singing) Who else knows that song?

19:59 - Kim Huang 

Is it The Dating Game?

20:00 - Angela Andrews 

Oh my God, yes. Okay, thank you.

20:02 - Brent Simoneaux 

Good work, good work. All right, Kim, we've been talking about dating apps, but I think if I remember correctly, what got you interested in this is really how user needs affect the choices of how we develop apps and products. How are you thinking about that now?

20:29 - Kim Huang 

Well, I feel that dating apps have a lot of different functional requirements and a lot of different unique challenges. You have people who are looking for prospective partners at all hours of the day in different time zones, looking for different types of people in different geographic areas. There's so much that goes into availability, scalability. Basically, being able to turn features on and off and test them very quickly and efficiently. Those types of things are what developers need to think about when they're trying to evaluate which types of technology would be most beneficial to them and their teams.

21:15 - Brent Simoneaux 

Yeah. And those needs that you just mentioned and that we've been talking about this whole time, those aren't necessarily unique to dating apps. Right, Angela?

21:24 - Angela Andrews 

Yeah, not at all. These things hit across any type of application running anywhere, to be honest.

21:32 - Brent Simoneaux 


21:35 - Kim Huang 

I feel like this is how the fancy chocolates are made. There are all types of different, unique business challenges that companies both big and small have that Kubernetes can speak to or other open source technologies can speak to. It's all a matter of just evaluating needs, evaluating where your users are and what they want, and then responding to that with the proper technology or platform.

22:01 - Angela Andrews 

That is so true.

22:02 - Brent Simoneaux 

Yeah. It's not enough for something to be the newest or hottest technology. It's really, you have to make choices based on something other than that.

22:14 - Kim Huang 

That's right.

22:16 - Angela Andrews 

Kubernetes is one of those things that if it doesn't make sense, if there's no context for you to understand it, it's this word, it's this buzzword. It's just out there in the ether. But this conversation really brings it down to what folks can relate to.

22:34 - Brent Simoneaux 

Yeah, I mean, I bet there are so many different types of applications that could benefit from Kubernetes.

22:43 - Angela Andrews 

I agree. So, let's hear from our listeners. Tell us what comes to mind by hitting us up on Twitter @redhat using the #compilerpodcast or on Instagram @redhat. Let us know what other apps are out there that could benefit from it. We'd love to hear it.

23:05 - Angela Andrews 

And that does it for this episode of Compiler.

23:08 - Brent Simoneaux 

Today's episode was produced by Kim Huang and Caroline Creaghead. Victoria Lawton may not be able to help us find love, but she certainly helps us find our way.

23:20 - Angela Andrews 

Yes, indeed. Our audio engineer is Elisabeth Hart. Special thanks to Shawn Cole. Our theme song was composed by Mary Ancheta.

23:30 - Brent Simoneaux 

Big, big thank you to our guests, Nick Stielau and Clayton Coleman, for sharing their time with us.

23:37 - Angela Andrews 

Our audio team includes Leigh Day, Laura Barnes, Claire Allison, Nick Burns, Aaron Williamson, Karen King, Boo Boo Howse, Rachel Ertel, Mike Compton, Ocean Matthews, and Laura Walters.

23:52 - Brent Simoneaux 

If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a review. Or talk to us on the socials using the hashtag #CompilerPodcast.

24:03 - Angela Andrews 

Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next time.

24:06 - Brent Simoneaux 

All right. Goodbye.



Featured guests

Nick Stielau

Clayton Coleman

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