Cloud Engineering requires code

“Dave, I was talking to one of our portfolio CEOs and she has major concerns about her cloud engineering team.”

I looked up the company and looked at the skill set of their cloud/SRE team.

“Yeah, I would have major concerns as well, hardly any of them can code.”

Today, if a company has a cloud operations team that is not made up of coders, they are going to be a low performing team. The need to understand infrastructure and know how to code. Developers write code for business logic. Operations folks write code for infrastructure.

“SRE is what you get when you treat operations as if it’s a software problem.” - Google SRE

Terraform is great, but it’s not a programming language, yet. Ansible is interesting but when you want to do anything advanced, you need Python. When I was at Salesforce, we needed Ruby to extend Puppet.

Private Equity firms work with companies that have achieved product market fit. They want them to scale. If you have a product that needs to operate at scale, you need operations professionals who can get you there. Shell scripting is not sufficient.

    "Reservations": [
            "Instances": [
                "InstanceId": "i-1234567890abcdef0,
                "InstanceType": "t2.micro",
                "LaunchTime": "2018-05-10T08:05:20.000Z",
                "Monitoring": {
                    "State": "disabled"
                "Placement": {
                    "AvailabilityZone": "us-east-2a",
                    "GroupName": "",
                    "Tenancy": "default"
                "PrivateIpAddress": "",
                "State": {
                    "Code": 0,
                    "Name": "pending"


If I ask AWS to tell me all the hosts in a specific region, located in a specific availability zone, with a specific tag, I’m going to get a multilevel data structure. To parse it, I’m going to need to know how to code. Command line hacking is not enough. Every one of my SREs had to pass a coding test.

If you’re looking at a company, and want to know why they’re having so much trouble scaling, look in cloud engineering for the real programming languages. That’s where you’ll find the true high performers.