Water is a Driving Force of Innovation: Open Source in the Dutch Government!


Authors:   Onno Brouwer, Tomasz Klimek


Lessons learned from a DevOps transformation in managing a complex platform
  • Quick communication and feedback loop is important in coordinating work between teams
  • Having the right mindset involves gaining and sharing knowledge, and spreading the same approach across teams
  • Visibility through monitoring and alerting is vital for a good operation of platforms, but blind spots can still occur
  • Automation is key in managing a large number of applications and ensuring consistency and predictability
  • Smoke tests, a proactive monitoring of the platform, can spot issues before customers are affected
The speaker shared an anecdote about how they had agents monitoring all VMs except for one, which caused issues when they ran out of disk space. They learned the importance of monitoring blind spots.


Imagine applications dedicated to "Keeping a proper level of water in all Dutch waterways" or "Providing all cargo ships traveling throughout the country with a guaranteed travel slot." Now consider running and maintaining them 24x7 in ‘the cloud’ as a government agency. Failure is not an option. Sounds stressful, right? Running mission-critical systems, meeting all customer requirements, and providing a fully self-service experience is our goal. To do that, we are creating a multi-cloud, hybrid cloud-native application platform based on Open Source technologies, such as Kubernetes, Grafana, Prometheus, Harbor, Minio, or Shield. Providing such services as a government agency is demanding. Awareness of potential damage done by denial of services is also a strong motivating factor. This presentation will cover lessons learned & challenges that happened to our team while planning and building "One platform to run them all”.