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Daniel “Spoons” Spoonhower

Co-founder, Chief Architect @ Lightstep


Daniel “Spoons” Spoonhower is a co-founder and Chief Architect at Lightstep, where he’s building performance management tools for deep software systems. He is an author of Distributed Tracing in Practice (O’Reilly Media, 2020). Previously, Spoons spent almost six years at Google where he worked as part of Google’s infrastructure and Cloud Platform teams. He has published papers on the performance of parallel programs, garbage collection, and real-time programming. He has a PhD in programming languages from Carnegie Mellon University but still hasn’t found one he loves.

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Using Observability to Set Good SLOs

While setting SLOs for externally visible services can be relatively straightforward, doing so for *internal* services can be more challenging. Teams can use current performance metrics to take a first stab at what internal services SLOs should be. While this lets them set realistic targets, it often means that they set objectives that are too high. In contrast, using distributed traces to understand how requests – and SLOs – flow through through the application can help set SLOs that are looser (but not too loose). And not only does it help teams set better SLOs, it also helps them better understand which other SLOs their services depend on (and which depend on them). In this talk, I'll walk through a couple of examples to show how.

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