Velocity NY Preview: Evan Gilman of PagerDuty

Imagine a world with no perimeter firewalls (Photo Courtesy of

— This is Part 5 of Load Impact’s Velocity NY Preview Series. Load Impact is chatting with some of the cutting-edge developers and executives who will be speaking at Velocity NY Oct. 12-14.

O’Reilly Media prides itself on organizing conferences that feature interesting speakers with a wide range of expertise and the ability to look beyond the status quo.

Evan Gilman, an operations engineer at PagerDuty, the downtime-fighting operations performance software, is redefining the norm when it comes to network architecture in his Velocity NY session, Perimeter-less networks: The Death of the LAN.

“I’ve found that people hold on to private address space and centralized security management quite strongly — almost with a death grip,” Gilman said. “My goal is to show attendees that it’s OK to let go of your private address space.”

For years, there was a sense of security behind private networks, VPN tunnels and perimeter firewalls, but Gilman says those days are long gone now that the best and brightest companies are operating in the cloud.

So, Gilman urges companies to tear down the firewalls and private networks, and as the title of his talk suggests, he thinks companies should be employing a “perimeter-less” approach.

What Inspired This Idea?

In Gilman’s previous work as a network engineer, he gained a lot of experience working with working with large, publicly addressable networks. He formed “kind of a distaste” for private networks in that time, and that’s when he started to expand on his ideas for how any business could operate on a public network.

When Gilman got to PagerDuty, he had the freedom to explore his ideas and execute his plan to completion. He described it as “a breath of fresh air.”

“I have the opportunity to remove private address space,” Gilman said. “And I also have the opportunity to take that one step further and get rid of perimeter firewalls and the things that typically become choke points or single points of failure inside of a network infrastructure.”

Gilman said one of the many things he’s enjoyed about working at PagerDuty has been the freedom to tackle this project.

“We can take this publicly addressable network and make it even better,” Gilman said. “We can remove all the topology. We can do point-to-point everywhere. So, the needs of the PagerDuty infrastructure were the impetus for our [network] design and the talk, as well.”

The Session

Gilman said the talk is going to give some real insight into how he and PagerDuty have taken on this architecture pivot, and he’s ready to be met with some hesitance.

“I tell people what we’re doing with our current architecture, and they’re usually very surprised,” Gilman said. “Well, we’ve found a lot of success with this, and we think there is a lot less complexity in this model than the other models that people are kind of married to.”

Gilman’s session is on the final day of Velocity, and he’s hoping to inspire a few people before they head back home from the conference.

“Hopefully I can drum up some excitement about this,” Gilman said. “I think it’s the future, and it makes a lot more sense than what most companies are doing now.”

— Attend this session and many more at Velocity NY. Use this coupon code — RAGNAR20 — for 20 percent off your pass. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

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