Orchestration Platform for Apps at Viasat: Project VonBraun

I am a Software Engineering Intern working in Viasat’s Seattle office. My team’s internship project, VonBraun, is a next-generation orchestration platform for 12-factor apps at Viasat, to meet the need for a simple platform to run general-purpose (e.g. web) apps with little operational overload. It is basically a Heroku-style platform for internal use at Viasat. We aim to dramatically increase the speed at which certain kinds of apps can be developed and deployed, such as:

  • Web management dashboards for various systems
  • Databus loopbacks/aggregators
  • Web apps that fall into the 12-factor app idealism

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SEIP Bot – a Chatbot for Viasat Security Teams

This summer, I have been part of Viasat’s Security Engineering Intern Project (SEIP) team at the Austin, TX office. We have successfully developed a security pipeline for detecting vulnerabilities in code repositories and websites, and retrieving initial reconnaissance scans of targeted internal IP space. I worked on developing the front end of the web application, used offensive security tools to find open vulnerabilities, and also worked on a passion project – “Security Chatbot” to unleash the full potential of ChatOps using Amazon Web Services.

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CI/CD Pipeline for Maintaining a Stable and Customizable Kubernetes

I am an intern in the Global Infrastructure group in the Austin, TX office this summer. Our group is responsible for cloud and infrastructure engineering projects that allow Viasat’s development teams to move fast and deploy software efficiently. Containers and container technologies are largely responsible for that and they have exploded in popularity the last few years.

Containers are a form of packaging in which applications can be abstracted from the environment in which they run. But when you start to run a large number of containers in production you have to deal with the underlying complexity of having to maintain individual machines, deal with uptime, and move resources around. That is where Kubernetes comes in.
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Launching a Virtual Ground System Network – The Bridge to Being an Internet “Experience” Provider

Like most developers, we think what we are developing is the most important part of our system.  Our infrastructure service is the center of the universe; everything else revolves around it. Ok in reality, Viasat’s brand-new satellite broadband service is the main thing, the virtual network is built to support it. But the virtual network is very essential to the whole customer experience and a pathway for Viasat to create a planet-wide broadband network.


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Lift: A General Purpose Architecture for Scalable, Realtime Machine Learning

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed explosive growth in the role machine learning (ML) plays in technology. Making good predictions from data has always been important in our industry, but modern machine learning techniques allow us to be much more systematic. However, this wealth of new ML algorithms and services present new challenges for software developers.   (more)

Solid-State Power Amplifiers vs. Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers

Viasat is leading a new wave of communications satellite innovation. This is a by-product of our belief that there is always a better way and not being satisfied with the “state-of-the-art” industry capabilities. It demands we think differently as we develop next generation technologies to enable satellite systems that are demonstratively better than have been offered in the past. Our unique industry position allows us to optimize the entire system, from the ground network to space payloads to user equipment. For high-throughput satellite payloads like ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3, new technologies will need to be developed that get the industry beyond the status-quo and allow for orders of magnitude improvement in capacity and coverage area. We’ll discuss how new solid-state integrated circuit technologies are a tool that can be used to improve critical dimensions of performance for new satellite payloads.   (more)

Orchestration for a Virtual Network

Our next generation network is basically built with mostly virtual network functions. These are services that ViaSat has migrated from custom/purpose built hardware to a virtual platform. One key component for construction of virtual networks is orchestration. It ties the deployment of the virtual network functions with the rest of the network using the network controller service that I wrote about in my last blog.
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Using Artificial Neural Networks to Analyze Trends of a Global Aircraft Fleet

I’m an intern in the Commercial Mobility group at ViaSat.  Our group is responsible for all of the company’s commercial aviation clients, providing internet services to aircraft. While providing the world’s best in-flight internet service to airplanes traveling over 500 miles per hour 30,000 feet above the ground is no small feat, it is also a challenge to analyze and predict user demand of our network. There are typically several hundred planes connected to ViaSat’s network at any given time amounting to 15,000-40,000 flights a week depending on the season. With this much range and traffic, and flights leaving all times of day, all over the world, modeling anything about them becomes very difficult.

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