Crafting the Digital Frontier: Oskar Levin's Role as Auki Labs Head of Infrastructure
Embark on a journey through the digital landscapes crafted by Oskar Levin, the technological maestro at the helm of Auki Labs' infrastructure.
With a storied history of scaling the heights of IT infrastructure for giants like Lalamove and Tantan, Oskar has been the pivotal force ensuring these digital ecosystems thrive uninterrupted.
His current mission at Auki Labs? To revolutionize build engineering and site reliability, elevating developer efficiency and fortifying the bedrock of platform stability.
But Oskar's expertise isn't confined to the mechanics of IT systems. He's also a community pioneer, having spearheaded a thriving eSports community for over ten years, proving his mettle not just in infrastructure but in community building and engagement as well.
Can you describe your trajectory in tech infrastructure that led you to Auki Labs and what personal achievements you're most proud of?
I was looking for new opportunities just when Nils and Ted contacted me. They told me about the patent-pending technology they had been working on, namely instant calibration and later indoor navigation that could potentially replace the GPS, which honestly seemed like a combination of cyberpunk, sci-fi, and magical technology that could really help society.
Inventing new technology together with smart people in an early-stage startup company was something I had been longing for, so when Nils, the good speaker and presenter he is, asked for my help, I couldn’t resist the temptation of helping out in setting up the infrastructure. It also fits well with my philosophy to try not to reinvent the wheel.
I started building automation for the compilation and shipping of our Unity-based SDK, ConjureKit. Ted and I quickly realized that this had not been done before, and Unity build automation could be a startup in itself because the existing solutions out there only built apps instead of Unity packages. This was both an invention and an achievement as it improved the developer efficiency and standardized testing and packaging of the SDK. After wrapping up this frontend/SDK-related work, I worked more with the posemesh backend/infrastructure.
As Head of Posemesh Infrastructure, what is your overarching strategy for ensuring that Auki Labs' infrastructure is scalable and secure?
The Internet is a complicated but resilient system that we are relying on for both the Posemesh Networking Service (Hagall) and the Posemesh Domain Service.
For Hagall, we are challenged to deliver the shortest latency between users and servers for the best experiences. This means digging deep into the protocols of the Internet and making millisecond-level decisions about where connections should be made.
We regularly check in with the servers to verify their availability, authenticity, and that they really serve the traffic they claim they do. For this, we use different cryptographic challenges and signatures.
What lessons from past experiences with companies like Lalamove and Tantan are you applying at Auki Labs?
- Not re-inventing the wheel by spending time building customized versions of existing technology that others have already built and are maintaining.
- Setting up a fully functional monitoring and alerting system early on so you do not get caught in bed if something crashes in the middle of the night.
- Building infrastructure-as-code (IaC) to declaratively set up all environments to ensure consistency and save time when setting up future environments.
What innovative approaches are you implementing in build engineering and site reliability at Auki Labs in relation to the posemesh?
As described above, I even built automation for what seemed hard to automatize.
Generally speaking, my team and I always work hard to tackle the challenges that come up when building the posemesh. We always try to find future-proof solutions that play well with distributed systems.
How do you balance the need for rapid development with maintaining a stable and secure platform?
For every new feature, bug fix, or code refactor, at least one other team member reviews the changed code by going through a checklist.
- The changes need to be covered by unit tests/integration tests.
- The code does what it should without security issues or performance problems.
- QA team needs to perform a full test before releases.
We also practice GitOps to deploy applications to our testing environments automatically to save time and ensure the code is tested well before being promoted to staging and production environments - although this approach may occasionally reveal minor bugs for other developers who can then blow the whistle.
How are you preparing the Auki Labs infrastructure to handle anticipated growth, especially as the adoption of the posemesh scales up?
We have set up nightly performance tests like digital gym sessions, ensuring our infrastructure muscles are always flexed and ready for the heavy lifting as the posemesh user base skyrockets. This also ensures that the code consistently performs as expected despite ongoing changes during feature development and bug fixes.
We are also monitoring the systems carefully to detect changes in traffic so we can make adjustments if needed. Our databases are managed and server-less, which means they will scale themselves automatically as traffic increases and decreases. We also use Kubernetes with ArgoCD to simplify resource configuration, scaling, orchestration deployments, and rollbacks.
In light of various high-profile breaches in tech, how are you working to build and maintain trust in the platform's stability and security?
We always enable encryption with automatic key rotation where we can. Passwords are hashed, and we enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA).
How does the infrastructure at Auki Labs support developer efficiency, and what tools or practices do you advocate for to achieve this?
To name a few tools we use internally to increase efficiency:
- GitHub Copilot
Recently, Nils has advocated for us to hire only people who have tried AI tools like ChatGPT. I think it will be essential in this Web3 generation, and since most of the industry also describes spatial computing as Web3 technology, I think he has a fair point.
As Tracy also described in another article, we have been experimenting extensively with chatbots that can help developers get started with ConjureKit. Since Hagall, the posemesh networking service, is a very flexible real-time hyper-local message broker, I think it will help developer efficiency and give users a much better experience.
How do you stay ahead of the curve in technology infrastructure trends to benefit Auki Labs and the posemesh?
“Staying ahead of infrastructure trends is like being a surfer riding the waves of innovation – you need to know when to ride, when to dodge, and when to enjoy the ride, all while avoiding wiping out.”
We all understand that not all technology trends are beneficial for all projects, so as we learn about new trends, we need to be critical but, at the same time, dare to try things on a small scale.
What is the role of infrastructure in supporting the overall ecosystem of Auki Labs and the broader community involvement?
We always communicate closely with the community on Discord to help with adoption and gather feedback.
The infrastructure team develops both Hagall, the real-time networking engine, and Domain Server, the persistent domain storage server for the posemesh. Both are critical for building a decentralized ecosystem.
About Auki Labs
Auki Labs is at the forefront of spatial computing, pioneering the convergence of the digital and physical to give people and their devices a shared understanding of space for seamless collaboration.
With a focus on user-centric design and privacy, Auki Labs empowers industries and individuals to embrace the transformative potential of spatial computing, enhancing productivity, engagement, and human connection.
Auki Labs is building the posemesh, a decentralized spatial computing protocol for AR, the metaverse, and smart cities.
About The Posemesh Foundation
The posemesh is an open-source protocol that powers a decentralized, blockchain-based spatial computing network.
The posemesh is designed for a future where spatial computing is both collaborative and privacy-preserving. It limits the surveillance capabilities of any organization and encourages sovereign ownership of private space maps.
The decentralization also offers a competitive advantage, especially in shared AR sessions where low latency is crucial. The posemesh is the next step in the decentralization movement, responding to the growing power of big tech.
The Posemesh Foundation has tasked Auki Labs with developing the software infrastructure of the posemesh.