How Traveloka Uses AWS to Maintain Visibility Into its Systems
Felix Perdana, Software Engineering Manager at Traveloka, talks about working for a “unicorn” startup based out of Indonesia, how engineers are different from programmers, and key technical lessons he has learned. He also shares how the company uses AWS to maintain visibility into (and behind) its systems.
What is Traveloka?
Traveloka is currently a unicorn in Indonesia, and we are the number one topic site for the travel industry; for flight and hotels, we are definitely already number one. And we are currently expanding to seven countries. We are operating in Indonesia and we have two offices here in Jakarta and Bali, and then we are also operating in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and also in India.
What do you do as a software engineering manager?
We like to call ourselves engineers. We are not programmers. So as an engineer, we design things, we solve things, we implement things, we maintain things, and we ensure that things are working as what we would expect. So that’s what our engineers are doing. So we’re just not doing, but we are also designing.
What are your busiest times?
The busiest times are for us [vary] from country to country. And since our biggest customer is Indonesia, our peak season is mostly at the end of year or during the Ramadan season. The peak period actually lasts for one to two weeks, but recently, we’ve started preparing for it a month before. First of all, we always prioritize monitoring and logging, so we always monitor and log every possible spot that we can notice and then we analyze the bottle necks and then we also ask the marketing team about the predicted size that will come to our site. Then we scale our system [and] our servers according to the predictions that marketing team gives to us.
What is a key technical lesson that you have learned?
The first thing that come to mind is visibility. You really need to know what things are going on behind your system. That is from the visibility itself, then we can analyze a lot of things and then the preparation is easy because AWS really helps us a lot with a lot of their services and they have their technical experts to help us with implementation. But for the details, we as the product owner, are the ones who really know how the situation goes. So visibility, this is number one, monitoring log in.
What’s your advice for when things go wrong?
The first thing is that you have to be calm and know the situation and then make sure to inform your stakeholders about the situation… There is always something that we can do better. First of all, I would start with post mortem. It’s a no-blame post mortem so everybody will feel secure [talking about their mistakes]. We all share the same responsibility and we always have something to learn. There’s always a new challenge and that’s why I’m still here at Traveloka, after six years.