Title: Senior Software Engineer
Location: Bangalore, India
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His
Award-winning Engineer Venkata explains the depth of challenges he faces every day and how he sees his work impacting local commerce.
What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?
I started on the CityDeal API team. Later on I became a lead where I was responsible for making three tier 1 services holiday ready for 2017. While there were multiple services transitioning to Bangalore at the time, I personally took care of custom field service, mail monger, and voucher smart search design all in one quarter. Now I lead the Image Services team.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
I have many! One that comes to mind was receiving the Q1 2017 Engineering Excellence Award in my first few months at Groupon. It was an interesting issue to look at firewall routing changes between multiple teams working together to make the system healthy. Identifying the root cause of and fixing problems are really exciting engineering challenges. Also, sharing this in a “Tech Talk on Engineering” with great people outside Groupon was a fantastic opportunity for myself.
Tell us about your job! What do you do exactly? What do you love about it?
As part of my work, I own the technical design enhancements in the CityDeal ecosystem. Apart from scale, finding and fixing the root cause of complex product issues make my work challenging and interesting. Also, as part of the Bangalore office, I am part of the Bangalore Engineering Excellence Program where we used to send engineering newsletters and participate in tech discussions. Recently, I also started taking care of ORR for all the production changes owned by the Bangalore Platform team. This is a great opportunity for me, because I get to interact with everyone and share and learn common pitfalls before taking a new enhancement/feature into production.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?
CityDeals API is one complex monolithic system which interacts with 30+ services and has had lot a of challenges starting from garbage collection issues, database and JMS interaction, bot attacks, and many more. Some of the challenges I have loved include:
1) CityDeals app servers used to run into a state where most of the JMS messages are processed but the ACK fails on the JMS broker. It is really like a disease spread in a cluster, where within a few minutes all the app servers get into this state. Finding the complex multi-threading issues hidden in the framework is challenging.
2) In the microservices world, every service assumes what they do is correct but the final result is something unexpected. Managing time zones is one such issue that’s hard to follow when time zones are handled by many services in their own way. Since the CityDeal EMEA platform takes care of 10+ countries, we had enough complexity in managing the timezone correctly. Fixing timezone issues without proper thought would result in a fix that solved for one country but failed for many others. Japan and a few more countries used to experience a situation where deals used to expire many hours before they were supposed to. Fixing these kind of issues in a complex micro service interaction is fun.
How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
I think local commerce is about great deals with 100% uptime and an easy checkout experience. Keeping the CityDeal EMEA platform stable with close to 100% uptime is important and exciting. Also, delivering billions of images with the right quality and speed plays a key role in improving the user experience and translating to purchases. I see tremendous opportunities and challenging work ahead.
What’s been surprising about working here?
My friends are surprised by the fact that the Bangalore office is running very crucial and large-scale services with very small sized teams doing incremental additions.
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
Thanks to an open and flat GEARS process, everyone is aware of the Groupon tech stack choices and direction.
Where were you before joining Groupon? What brought you here?
I was with Intuit for more than 6 years. I wanted to move into a fast growing startup so I joined Groupon.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
While I go crazy updating myself with the new innovations in software technology, I am also a nature lover.
Vim or emacs? Why?
Vim. Quick and easy.
Name your favorite programming language.
Tabs or spaces?