Devopsdays 2011 - Mountain View

Just like last year, after Velocity, I attended DevOpsDays in Mountain View, now at its second edition. Many people that were in town for Velocity spent at least one extra day for DevOpsDays, but also many people from the area that for some reason could not attend Velocity came to LinkedIn HQ for this event; about 200-250 people I would say. Even if the same type of people were at both events (awesome dev/ops), because of the completely different way they are organized they didn’t overlap at all. As you will see bellow in my impressions DevOpsDays wins largely in most of the areas:

  • first of all it is a free event (compared with a regular O’Reilly conference where prices usually start at $1k).

  • it is much more interactive: while Velocity is a classic conference where you normally have a presenter showing off something (hopefully not selling or hiring), and maybe some questions at the end, DevOpsDays is more like an open discussion, with people either on a panel or open spaces.

  • the food was way better at DevOpsDays, no question about it. And the ice cream on Saturday added an extra special touch ;).

The first day, Friday, started with the “Devops State of the Union” by John Willis. This was a very good introduction on what DevOps means and a look back on what happened during the past couple of years, especially considering the fact that many people where there for the first time. For example I met someone from Microsoft that was sent here to find out “what is this devops thing” and how they can use it, and this just shows what a huge progress the devops movement has made in such a short amount of time, and how many people are now interested in the movement. (in this particular case I’m not sure he returned at Microsoft with something useful, but just the fact that they are interested in this demonstrates my point).

Next, we had some very interesting panels (4-5 people in general) like: “To Package or not to Package”, “Orchestration at Scale”, “DevOps Metrics and Measurement”, “DevOps..Where’s the QA?” and finally “Escaping the DevOps Echo Chamber”. Even though I believe some moderators could have done a better job (not leaving for 10-15mins people standing/waiting to ask a question) I believe this is a great format, very informal and interactive promoting an open discussion and people sharing their experiences. We had also some great ignite presentations and by far the most interesting and unexpected one was David Lutz with his DevOps song.

The second day was in the format of an unconference, with several open spaces and some short presentations around lunch time. Many people left as they probably wanted to spend the weekend home with their families, but many stayed for Saturday also (about half). From the sessions I attended, I really enjoyed a lot the one about Kanban; very useful to see how others used it in operations teams and what problems they had implementing it. I enjoyed also Patrick’s presentation about vagrant (I’m playing already with veewee). Also was very proud of Nate and Rich releasing their product Reactor8 with this occasion.

Overall I think this was an awesome event. Very much improved compared with last year: two days compared with only one, and I liked a lot the format (day 1 panels & day 2 open spaces). Personally I will probably skip Velocity next year (unless I have a talk accepted) and stick only with DevOpsDays. If you are in the area there is no reason to miss DevOpsDays and I would highly recommend it, or any of the other DevOpsDays events close to your area.

ps: They recorded all the event (very professional, with multiple angles, etc.) and the content will probably come up online very soon, and once that happens I will link it here also.

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