You are viewing content from a past/completed QCon - November 2020

Paving the Road to Production

What You'll Learn

1Hear about how Coinbase built deploy-piplines and “paved roads” as it scaled

2Learn about the importance of having a single paved road to production

"Paved roads" are the paths walked by developers to get their code into production. They are a contract that core teams (like infrastructure and security) have with developers about features and support they will receive if they tread a common path. The benefits of staying on a paved road for a developer is that they get a lot of functionality (like security, logging, metrics) out-of-the-box. For core teams, paved roads are a point of focus where even small improvements can have a big effect.

In this talk, I will share my experience of creating "paved roads" and deploy pipelines at Coinbase for the past 5 years. Describing how these roads look and have scaled as the company grew from 10 to 500 engineers. I will also talk about the advantages of having a paved road, how to build new paved roads, and how applications might be moved onto one. I am hoping that this talk will convince you to pave your own roads to production.

What is the work you're doing today?

Mostly at Coinbase, I am working on the Monorepo. We recently started a Monorepo at Coinbase to respond to a lot of challenges that our developers were having, like sharing components and deploying while scaling the organization.  We use a tool called Bazel that comes out of Google's Monorepo experience. I'm just helping to make it faster and make it easier to use, more intuitive for developers to migrate and build new projects.

What are your goals for your talk?

I want to encourage people to think of their deploy pipelines and their build and package stages as a single paved road to production, and that putting effort and making their process as smooth as possible pays off. Having many different projects all use the same standard is the easiest way for infrastructure teams to have a singular focus and provide lots of benefits and scale an organization. 

What do you want people to live the talk with?

I want them to go out and build their own paved roads. I want them to think about where they are or where their company is at, and how they can help define their paved roads to production. And hopefully just understand that it is a long process and no one is going to immediately come out with the best solution, and it is iterative and it's a long investment. No one comes out with the perfect deploy pipeline or the perfect way immediately. It takes a lot of time and investment to get there, and also user feedback and understanding exactly what your company's goals are. That's what I want them to leave with, the appreciation and some war stories about how to build a paved road.


Graham Jenson

Infrastructure Tech Lead @Coinbase
Graham Jenson is an infrastructure engineer at Coinbase helping developers securely and reliably deploy software. He has worked on making infrastructure-as-code collaborative, creating large scale cloud systems, and building out the Coinbase monorepo. His driving passion is removing hurdles... Read more

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