Rootconf 2016

Rootconf is India's principal conference where systems and operations engineers share real world knowledge about building resilient and scalable systems.

Abhishek Tiwari


On when we opened RESTful APIs to houses OR stories around devOps on the tiniest of scale

Submitted Feb 6, 2016

While developing systems, we make assumptions about the environment that the system would run in. These are stories about how the real world broke our assumptions, the road(s) to debugging and how my server side devOps experience fit right into fixing low power wireless IPv6 mesh networks so that we could eventually-

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{"payload":"1", "speed": 60}'

And we did! This is basically about what devOps feels like in really constrained low power networks with nodes having 24MHz of compute and 32KB of memory right into the real world. A bit about the $ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLES on the side, how they break code, trade-offs and system design.


Stories around how my experience as a devOps engineer came into rescue when as an IoT startup, we tried to make all the appliances of the house accessible and controllable via APIs.

We connected all appliances to relays/actuators, wrote firmware that interfaced them with tiny event driven linux-like OSes running on small ARM based SOCs. We then hooked the whole thing up with an IPv6 stack and exposed it over 2.4 GHz radios running 6lowpan. The mesh topology allowed the packets to hop through each other into a gateway and then our cloud. All this put a house on the command line– all ready to be programmed and played around with. Cron, anyone?

  1. How we arrived at more robust, failsafe system design by testing our assumptions in the real world.
  2. How devOps culture came into rescue in debugging and understanding some very unforseen and unimagined problems.
  3. Finally, how the 15 months at this broke my assumptions about devOps being applicable to just massive 20K node clusters across 6 datacenters. How i realized that it is rather a way of thinking and how better devOps can create a very important feedback loop for approaching system design.

Speaker bio

Stint at CloudMagic as one of the youngest members in their devOps team. Moved on to this early stage stealth startup called Thinqbot where we were trying to open APIs to houses using IoT.

As eventually the VP for Software Engg, I got the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented folks at the hardware, firmware, middleware and the cloud teams. We designed some interesting systems and debugged even more interesting problems that they threw right back at us.

I am right now an Associate Product Manager with Reverie where we are trying to bring language democracy to the Internet via our Language as a Service platform. 300M Internet users in India, <90M speak english.


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