Culture / Networking

The New Stack Context: Stress, Resilience and the Network Effects of COVID-19

17 Apr 2020 6:00pm, by

Welcome to The New Stack Context, a podcast where we discuss the latest news and perspectives in the world of cloud native computing. For this week’s episode, we spoke with The New Stack correspondent Jennifer Riggins about all of the reporting she and others on the TNS team have been doing recently on the effects that the COVID-19 global pandemic is having on the tech industry.

TNS editorial and marketing director Libby Clark hosted this episode, alongside founder and TNS publisher Alex Williams and TNS managing editor Joab Jackson.

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For this episode, we wanted to look at and not only discuss the changing patterns in network traffic that the global COVID-19 pandemic has wrought, due to factors such as people staying at home and working from home, and the sudden acceleration of e-learning. As Riggins writes in a recent post:

For a lot of tech and infrastructure teams, they not only are going through the stress of the collective trauma we’re sharing in, but they are struggling to keep up with ever-scaling, extreme strains on their systems. Simply put, no one could have predicted this uptick.

One big theme that kept popping up was “resiliency,” not only from an individual psychological perspective, as well from organizational and systems views as well.

Here are some of the other posts we discussed:

  • The Network Impact of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic: How has the worldwide pandemic stressed our networks? In multiple ways, according to this report from our London correspondent Mary Branscombe. Internet traffic is generally 25% to 30% higher than usual. You can also see the change in where people are connecting from; usage is up in residential areas but visibly down in downtown San Francisco, downtown San Jose and especially the Cupertino and Mountain View neighborhoods where Apple and Google have their campuses.
  • U.S. Unemployment Surge Highlights Dire Need for COBOL SkillsOne of the surprise stories coming from the global pandemic has been the dire need for COBOL developers. Who would have seen that one coming? New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is now asking for volunteers with COBOL skills. New Jersey’s 40-year-old mainframe benefits system was besieged by a 1,600% increase in usage, as over 371,000 people have filed claims in the past month.
  • Keep Your Endpoints Secure During the COVID-19 Pandemic: We are also seeing more reports of security breaches indirectly due to the spreading virus. In this contributed post from CalSoft’s Sagar Nangare, he notes that people are scared and hungry for more information around events like COVID-19. In panic mode, they surf the internet, visit fake pages, and fall prey to phishing scams. Also, endpoints for remote access have increased due to remote working, increasing surface areas for cybercriminals to target.
  • How Kubernetes Prepared 8×8 for a 50x Spike in Videoconferencing Usage: The New Stack spoke to 8×8, a cloud communications and video collaboration provider to learn how the company phased in remote-by-default, and how it is creating systems and team resiliency during a 50-fold increase in traffic over less than a month. One answer? Kubernetes.
  • Chaos, Hugs and Interruptions: Dev Folks Work from Home with Kids: Working at home is nothing new to the cloud native computing community, which has always been about distributing workloads. But adding children, who all of sudden were home full time as well when the schools closed, adds another stress to already frazzled IT pros. Here are some tips on getting by.
  • SaltStack’s CTO on Pandemics, the End of Empires and Software’s Future: Here’s an interview with Thomas S. Hatch, founder and Chief Technology Officer of SaltStack where he discusses how software engineers’ lives have changed (or not), the folly of forcing workers to come to the office when they really do not need to and his observations of network infrastructure saturation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SalStack is a sponsor of The New Stack.

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