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The Performance Tour Season 2023 Episode 02 was released on March 15, 2023. If you have not seen it yet, you can check it out here:

Snowed Out In Flagstaff

As much as that sounds like a new country song, it’s exactly what happened. My travel plans to attend the Dynatrace Perform 2023 conference were ruined when an unexpected snow storm his the region south of Vegas preventing me from getting there. Many asked me, “Why didn’t you just fly?”, and that is a great question. It’s not that simple. The Performance Tour is a ROAD trip. I have other people that travel with me, equipment and materials to lug around, and in general I would not be able to get the “on the road” footage required to make the show shuffling around in airplanes.

We had been following the weather forecast, and were trying to get to Vegas early, but there was a major crash on I-40 between Amarillo, TX and Albuquerque, NM so we had to wait until the Interstate cleared. By the time we got to Albuquerque, the weather conditions had deteriorated and what had been 1 to 3 inches of snow turned into 13 inches and blizzard conditions. We had to turn around. Our next major stop was Nashville, so we just decided to get there early and do more interviews and skit videos. It all worked out, but I did miss several interviews with the fine folks at Dynatrace. I hope to make these up over the next few months. Many of these will have to be virtual, unless someone wants to send me to Europe.

Many thanks to my friend Henrik Rexed, who got me some great B-Roll footage of the main floor, including the Tricentis booth.

Building Strong DevOps Teams

This year, I wanted to make sure I followed through on my promise to expand the scope of what we’re talking about on the show. Not every show has to be specifically about performance testing and engineering. I’ve been approached by several people who are moving from being a performance engineer to being a site reliability engineer and they are pushing towards a full DevOps culture. Many are experiencing what I call “DevOps Dysfunction”. It’s DevOps in name only, with someone in leadership who doesn’t understand it trying to retrofit old ways of doing things into a shiny new name. I wanted to find out how to build out a strong technical organization around DevOps. It you are going to do it, then do it right. This is why I wanted to talk to Brian Dougherty about it. He has led several teams over the years and has actually won awards for his leadership in this area. I first met him back in 2016 when I worked a consulting engagement load testing a rather difficult application. It had non-standard protocols, custom date formats, and lots of curve balls. None of this was Brian’s fault – it was inherited. However, I noticed the way he made lemonade from lemons and had a strong team to back him up, and that is why they made it a success. 

Another story related to Brian was that he introduced me to a very sharp developer who helped me in the creation of a prototype of an application I had wanted to build for years. This developer built something I could use in just a few weeks. Later on, that same developer got me out of a major jam finishing off a complex project abandoned by a lead developer, helping us complete it on time. Great team leaders can introduce you to great team members too!

I Wanna Run Containers

If you have not seen the parody video for “I wanna run containers”, you can watch it here:

This is a take on “I wanna be sedated” by the Ramones. This was one of the hardest videos done to date – mainly because we needed so many additional people to make it happen. I had to recruit, ask, bribe, and beg to get the number of people I needed to show up. Many people are generally camera shy, much more so when you ask them to run around and act crazy in some kind of costume for 3 minutes at a time.

J.R. McNeeley had already done a great version of the song (yes, that is me singing – he does magic like that). We had it generated at 50% of the speed. When the camera rolled, the band in the front of the video moves at 50% speed with the song. Everyone else in the background moves at regular speed. Then we speed the film back up to 100% and it looks like the band is “sedated” but everyone else is running around twice as fast. Some special “aging” effects on the film and the lamp graphic were inserted later.

For this video we filmed at the Saltworks Security building in Murfreesboro, TN and many of the people in the background are Saltworks employees. One of the band members at the front table is Dennis Hurst, the Founder and CEO. You’ll see him in a future episode of the show. There are many interesting people in the video. The security guard is Brian Copeland, the Chief Solutions Architect at TekSystems Global Services. The T-Rex is Jaime Martinez, one of the lead performance engineers at HCA. Santa Claus is Tom Gregory – the drummer for the band Lost Circus in Nashville – also the drummer in the parody video we made last year ‘Two Minutes To Load Test” – the Iron Maiden tribute. 

I’m really pleased how it came out and I hope you enjoy the tune!

What’s Next?

If you want a clue as to what the next parody/skit video will be, you’ll have to watch the episode all the way through to the end, past the credits. There is usually an “easter egg” there. 

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