Companies such as LinkedIn contributing to open source may not come as a surprise today. Most of the big web companies built their infrastructure using open source so when a code developed in-house is released there is nothing unusual about it. Much of the code developed by Facebook is open sourced and this also drove the Open Compute Project to open data center designs. Several products of Yahoo including Hadoop have been open sourced while Google has its own contributions to open source projects.
Companies that are not much famous for open sources happen to be the biggest contributors. The DevOps platform of Walmart has been open sourced Electrode which is React based application which runs the e-commerce site of Walmart. Microsoft which happened to be against the open sources is now releasing new open source code regularly. Microsoft is also the largest contributor to Linux.
Microsoft took over LinkedIn December, 2016 and since then has been contributing to open source. Oncall which is a calendar tool to schedule and manage on-call shifts and Iris which is an automated incident paging system are the two newest offerings of LinkedIn which seem to have quite a potential and are likely to become the pillars of IT department. On June 29, Iris and Oncall were publicized as open source and have been crafted to work together like a single application.
Site Reliability Engineer at LinkedIn, Daniel Wang explained about Oncall and Iris. He explained that Oncall has a built-in support for Follow-the-Sun (FTS) schedule and offer a clean User Interface to swap, edit and delete events. There are many event types that it supports and also has shortcuts to override a shift in case a switch is required. It has been designed to make management of on-call schedules clean, fast and easy.
People may be wondering if the main job of Oncall is to work with Iris why has it been designed to work as a different application.
Wang says that Oncall as a distinct service offers teams with an on-calling scheduling tool without to tying in escalation compulsorily.
For instance, there are many IT teams in LinkedIn who don’t own important applications but use Oncall as first point of contact for their team. They can simply use Oncall as dedicated calendar instead of Iris using escalation plan definitions.
Explaining about Iris, Wang said it dealt with incident escalation automatically. Iris will make a call if something goes wrong in a system which the people should be aware of. It can be easily configured through a User Interface and has been tested by Linked for two years under heavy load and is completely set for production.
Wang reveals about an amazing feature of Iris. He says that there are no distinct modes of contact which have been detailed as an alternative the priorities have been outlined from ‘low to urgent’ and lets the users map contact modes according to the priorities. This way the users have the option to define on how they should be contacted. While one person may like to be messaged the other would prefer to be sent emails and Iris gives this opportunity of preferences to its users.
Even though Iris can be said to be a backend application, Oncall is seen as a backend to Iris. For this is the way through which Iris understands who is on-call for a team and has to be contacted when an incident arises.
Oncall and Iris have been released under GPL compatible Simplified BSD License (2-clause) license.