Helm with Michelle Noorali

Back in 2014, platform-as-a-service was becoming an increasingly popular idea. The idea of PaaS was to sit on top of infrastructure-as-a-service providers like Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud, and simplify some of the complexity of these infrastructure providers. Heroku had built a successful businesses from the idea of platform-as-a-service, and there was a widely held desire in the developer community to have an “open source Heroku.”

One project that was working towards the idea of an open source platform-as-a-service was Deis. Deis made it easier for people to deploy and manage their applications, and it simplified some of the hard parts of container management. When Kubernetes came out, Deis got refactored to use Kubernetes under the hood for container orchestration. Deis was one of the first projects to use Kubernetes as a tool to build a platform-as-a-service, and the team that was working on Deis got very early exposure to the process of building a platform on top of Kubernetes.

Michelle Noorali was one of the engineers on the Deis team. When Deis got acquired by Microsoft, Michelle was working on Helm, a package manager for distributed systems. Helm allows developers to deploy distributed applications on top of Kubernetes more easily. A few examples of distributed applications that can be deployed using Helm are Kafka, Prometheus, and IPFS. One reason Helm is so useful is that distributed systems are notoriously hard to configure and run.

Since joining Microsoft, Michelle has continued to work on Helm. She is also a member of the Kubernetes Steering Committee and the board of the CNCF. Michelle joins the show to talk about her early experiences building PaaS and her perspective on the Kubernetes ecosystem. Full disclosure: Microsoft is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily.


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