Google Early Days with John Looney

John Looney spent more than 10 years at Google. He started with infrastructure, and was part of the team that migrated Google File System to Colossus, the successor to GFS. Imagine migrating every piece of data on Google from one distributed file system to another.

In this episode, John sheds light on the engineering culture that has made Google so successful. He has very entertaining stories about clusterops and site-reliability engineering.

Google’s success in engineering is due to extremely high standards, and a culture of intellectual honesty. With the volume of data and throughput that Google responds to, 1-in-a-million events are likely to occur. There isn’t room for sloppy practices.

John now works at Intercom, where he is adjusting to the modern world of Google infrastructure for everyone. This conversation made me feel quite grateful to be an engineer in a time where everything is so much cheaper, so much easier, and so much more performant than it was in the days when Google first built everything from scratch.

I had a great time talking to John, and hope he comes back on the show again in the future because it felt like we were just scratching the surface of his experience.

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