Devops Days Austin 2014 - My Recap

This blog is one of a series of blogs on the challenges of learning Chef, ops, and the technical world of IT all in one motion. Jeff Carapetyan is an Ops consultant concentrating on basic Chef work, and is sometimes available for contracts in the Austin area.

That was a whirlwind of a couple of days for me. I am really glad that everything went well and smoothly in DevOps Days Austin. There seems to be a good base for future expansion and growth. Thanks to all the volunteer organizers that made it an enjoyable experience!

In regards to takeaways there are probably more than fit into one blog post. For easy reading, I will divide it into categories of what I learned from talks, and what I learned overall. 

What I learned from specific talks

  •  AWS is the player: Most of the talks that involved a cloud service provider mentioned working with AWS, not even Rackspace, our own local hero. There is nothing wrong with the other cloud providers, but it seems that by default everybody is using AWS. 
  • Accents are badass: Listened to the guys at Sumologic. Not only did they have a good presentation, the foreign accents really topped it off.
  • Matt Ray knows his stuff: Not only is he very adept at business acumen and selling the product, he is very in depth from a technical standpoint. He is a good resource. 
  • When I grow up, I want to be Alex Corley: Watching his presentation, it was clear how much he knew and how badass he was. there is a lot of knowledge to be mined from that.
  • More lightning talks: the lightning talks were a very good format. It was quick, and kept up with my attention span. More conferences should have a lightning talk session.

What I learned Overall

  • There are a lot of people interested in DevOps: When you take up an entire theater with people standing in the back, it is obvious that there is an interest in the technology community to make DevOps a happening thing.
  • There are clearly some success cases: I was happy to hear about the usual suspects in Netflix, facebook, etsy, and other big companies that are pushing some Pheonix Project concepts along. 
  • The small success stories are missing: In an open talk discussion on the first day, a group of 20 guys talked for a good while on how they think DevOps should be approached for organizations. Then, all of a sudden one person just asks the simple question, "Does anybody have a success story here where they took a DevOps initiative and had a measurable success for their company?". Immediately the group of 20+ people went silent. To me, this is frightening. Either we are not being successful, or not doing a good enough job of observing our success stories.
  • Nobody knows how to make this a Dev thing too: Almost every person that was at DevOps days thought about this from an operations perspective. While there are many developers interested in the DevOps movement, It would seem that almost none of them came to the event. We need to make sure that this is an all-inclusive thing (security guys too, maybe?). 

If anybody had any other thoughts or wanted to discuss this, then feel free to contact me.