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VMblog Expert Interview: FireHydrant Talks Service Catalogs, Reliability and Incident Management

interview-firehydrant-ross 

FireHydrant is the only comprehensive reliability platform that allows teams to achieve reliability at scale by creating speed and consistency across the entire incident response lifecycle.  Yesterday, FireHydrant announced the launch of Service Catalog to help you better manage, query, and learn about the services that exist on your platform. To learn more about the latest in reliability, incident management, and service catalogs, VMblog talked with Robert "Bobby" Ross, CEO of FireHydrant.

VMblog: To kick things off, can you start by telling us a little bit about FireHydrant and the product?

Bobby Ross:  FireHydrant is a reliability platform that was developed out of our frustration with existing legacy solutions. As developers, the founding team wanted to create something pragmatic, comprehensive, and solved actual problems that engineering teams deal with day in and day out.

With tech and software constantly evolving and becoming more complex, we saw the opportunity to build something that was made for developers by developers. The task to deliver reliable systems - at scale is incredibly difficult, and developers deserve better. Better tools that make sense for them and how they think and work. We started with incident management, and have built what we feel checks off our wishlist of what we wished we had when we were on call.

VMblog: What does reliability mean to FireHydrant, and how does FireHydrant do it differently?

Ross:  We're living in a world where customers are demanding more and more, so businesses, and especially their engineering teams, often struggle to keep up. One negative incident can really hurt a business, so what can they do to consistently deliver great customer experiences? Well, focus on reliability as a business metric for one. So we're building solutions to create a world where all software is reliable.

There's a lot we want to do, and incident management is where we felt we could make the most impact immediately. By giving developers the right tools to create consistent processes so they could focus on mitigating fires, we are saving a lot of time and ideally also alleviating stress.

If you're not familiar with incident management, it's the whole cycle of receiving an alert (for example, from your customers or from an automated system that pages the person on-call) to the point where you've called the fire department (and maybe you're part of the fire department) and they come to help mitigate the issue and resolve it - all the way to the incident retrospective. It's a pretty broad surface area in terms of timeline. FireHydrant takes care of alert handoff, automating your incident declaration and management process, to building your retrospective so that you can focus on what matters most: putting out the fire.

VMblog: What are some issues in reliability FireHydrant is used for and how do you solve those issues?

Ross:  Incidents are going to happen. Technology-first organizations are always going to need better ways to counter those incidents, so we are constantly looking for ways to make mitigating an incident more efficient. For example, during incident declaration, by using FireHydrant's Runbooks, or process automation solution, you can easily turn a tedious, repeatable process, into mere seconds. Let FireHydrant do the work.

Not only that, today's application architectures, like microservices, have made diagnosing production issues more complex. With changes being pushed to production all the time, finding the causes of an incident can be even more difficult. Many companies' tools, and processes come from a time when incidents were less complex, and aren't effective in a world with increasingly complex systems and incidents. We've made it easy to plug in your services so you can keep organized, quickly see what's going on, and identify the right service owners whenever you need.

VMblog: Congrats on announcing Service Catalog! Can you define it for VMblog readers?

Ross:  A service catalog is an organized space for organizations to store their services with detailed information. Some companies build their own service catalog internally as an almanac to monitor service changes over time. They help explain how a business tool or application may work as well as who is responsible for it.

VMblog: How do you see service catalogs as the foundation of reliability?

Ross:  ​​A service catalog can be a key differentiator in establishing better service reliability for maintaining and growing products. Principal functionalities like: who built this service, why it's important, and labeled metadata can decide the output of how to iterate upon a given service or how to respond to an incident the respective service is involved in. Mature service catalogs also enable process automation to ensure newly created services adhere to requirements set by the engineering organization.

VMblog: What's next for FireHydrant?

Ross:  We're continuing to build! We're always working to mature our incident management solution. It's been very cool to see how our customers are using FireHydrant, and we take the learnings and apply them to make the platform better than ever.

We're also doing a significant amount of hiring, and are really focused on bringing on more engineers, opening new offices when we can, and just continuing to see how we can help companies achieve more reliability.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention, if you're interested in seeing what we're all about, try out FireHydrant with our risk-free trial or watch our demo. We're really proud of our work and truly think developers deserve better tools that they like and will actually use to solve their problems.

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Published Thursday, October 07, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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