Meet James Matsumura, software engineer at Casechek, a startup company automating the implant supply chain. James is a typical startup engineer who does the heavy lifting in building the service. I caught up with James at the recent AWS Summit.
Sherry: Tell us what you do at Casechek?
James: I’m a back end software engineer, but my work moves to full stack for some projects. We are a growing company and our roles are flexible. No one is pigeon holed into one specific role and we all cover multiple domains.
Sherry: What’s your challenge then?
James: We tried to build VPN tunnels to our partners with our own open source tools. Both the tunnel configurations and ongoing monitoring were manual, which made it difficult to troubleshoot. When it didn’t work, we spent way too much time trying to figure out which parameter to toggle. It just burnt too much dev time.
Sherry: Why do you need to build VPN? Why not web services?
James: While doctors login with browser or mobile app, data of inventory information needs to be sent to us. Some of our partners are more comfortable with VPN, they have a lot of infrastructure invested for VPN monitoring, etc. Sometimes our partners have older systems that don’t have the HTTPS interface, the data may not run on 443.
Also there are a lot of practices built into VPN with high switching cost. For example, they have already done the audit and security through the system, switching off to a new method requires going through the process again.
Sherry: What kind of data flows through the VPN tunnel?
James: Right now the data is strictly outbound from our business partners and the medical vendors. The data is continuous small chunks, mostly time stamps, etc.
Sherry: It’s more efficient to move these type of data over VPN vs. short sessions of HTTPS. How did you find Aviatrix?
James: Through AWS partner page. You guys are one of the two network competency partners.
Sherry: What was your initial impression of the product?
James: The biggest thing that stands out is auto discovery and auto completion of fields that make things easy and helps to avoid typos and mistakes.
Sherry: What feedback do you have for the product?
James: The documentation is pretty good. But since I don’t know a lot of this stuff, I still have to investigate myself. A more guided troubleshooting will be very helpful. Also some baseline knowledge online would be good.
Sherry: Good idea, we’ll make improvements on them. Thank you for your time.
As it turns out, VPN is more complex in some scenarios. If you are interested in further learning, read this real world use case and how it can be resolved.