ChefConf 2012 - San Francisco

This week Opscode hosted its inaugural user conference here in San Francisco, and it was an awesome event enjoyed by all chef fans. Even if this was the first one (they are already planing for the future ones), this was by no means a small event, with more than 400 people attending and the workshops that ran on Tuesday sold out.

Even if I have not attended any workshop (they had 2 flavors, one targeted towards a sysadmin workflow and one for developers) the general feeling from people I talked with and attended them was that it was a very good experience, with a lot of hands-on practical examples. Tuesday afternoon, myself I attended the “ChefConf Pre-event Hackday: TEST ALL THE THINGS!!!” organized by Bryan Berry and it was great, and showed how many people are interested in testing their infrastructure as code; it was focused on cookbook testing (unit testing and integration testing), continuous integration with jenkins, and other things like that ;)

The first full day of ChefConf was Wednesday. The conference was structured with main presentations during the mornings and breakout sessions in the afternoon (with 2 main tracks and also a vendor one). From the beginning you could tell that this will be a very well run conference, and even if this was the first one, people like Jesse Robbins have a lot of experience running such events. Not surprisingly ChefConf kicked off with Adam Jacob’s “State of the Union Part 1: Chef, Past and Present” (video) ; Jesse Robbins talked about the community around chef and how this is a key part of Opscode strategy and their efforts to take this to the next level. He showed this very nice visualization of the commits to the chef github repo.

There were many interesting talks during the day, and they recorded most of them and hopefully will make them available online soon so you can see them if you didn’t had the chance to be here (or you want to review them again). I particularly enjoyed:

In the evening we had a great Ignite event ran by Andrew Shafer in his unconfundable way. We had 10 ignite speakers and in the middle there was a fun karaoke ignite that had 10 volunteers rambled on some slides they never sow before. If they recorded this, and will show it online look up the ones by Stephen Nelson-Smith and John Vincent as they were very entertaining.

The second day of the conference started with Christopher Brown’s “State of the Union Part 2: Chef, the Future” where he outlined some of the future features and main focuses of Opscode for Chef: becoming easier to install and use (omnibus installer), enterprise ready, focus on Windows and also a lot of focus on quality. Opscode is working on a project called kitchen chef that will allow to test the functionality of cookbooks on various environments and platforms, and quickly ensure the quality of the cookbook is maintained during various iterations. Also a lot of work has been put into reporting and handlers. The server side also has been completely rewritten in erlang and sql (from ruby and couchdb) and we should see this soon in the open-source and the private chef server. From the work done you can easily tell that a lot of work has been done on private chef and this is quickly becoming an important asset for Opscode going forward.

There were many great talks during the day from speakers like Artur Bergman, Ben Rockwood, Jason Stowe, John Esser, Rob Hirschfeld, Theo Schlossnagle, etc. I finished my day just like I started Tuesday with another event focused on testing: “Test Driven Development Roundtable”, ran by Stephen Nelson-Smith on a panel with Seth Chisamore, Jim Hopp and my friend Rob Berger. They went over the tools people are using these days and what are the things that are still missing and need to be worked on regarding testing.

Overall, I think this was an awesome event and I hope to be able to attend the next one also (hopefully at the same place). My impression is that Opscode is ready to move forward and make the next step and grow the community even bigger: “The revolution will not be televised - it will be coded with chef”.

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