DevOpsDays London 2018 Conference Report

DevOpsDays London 2018 took place on the 20th and 21st September at the QEII Centre in Westminster, bringing together DevOps professionals from across the globe to share their experiences of DevOps tools, technologies and cultures. Our very own Emma Button, COO of nubeGO, took to the main stage to share ideas for growing a culture of blameless failure in high-performing DevOps teams; keep reading to hear about Emma's top picks from the talks and discussions at DevOpsDays.


Emma Buton, nubeGO COO, speaking at DevOpsDays London

Around 400 people attended this year's DevOpsDays conference in London. With eight main-stage speakers, six "ignite" talks and a multitude of afternoon "open spaces" discussions, there was a rich and varied set of themes for every attendee to share and learn. I've tried to summarise my four favourite talks from the event:-


How to leverage AWS features to secure and centrally monitor your accounts by Kate Whalen

Kate's talk about using and building AWS security tools was a fabulous introduction to some of the security considerations when running in the Cloud, her talk was of particular interest to me because Security is one of the core areas of the nubeGO Cloud Framework Engagement. Kate walked us through some powerful use cases for AWS Trusted Advisor to help identify S3 bucket policies and Security Group permissions that need to be rectified. Kate went on to share the Security HQ tool (written using AWS CLI tools and making use of AWS Stacksets with CloudFormation) that they use at The Guardian to help consolidate security monitoring and tooling, surfacing a self-service dashboard for DevOps engineers to identify and fix their risks.


A network partition survival guide by Denise Yu

Denise blew me away with her sketch-note introduction to the complexities of distributed computing. Network partitioning challenges and the philosophical contemplations of CAP theorem seemed far less mind-blowing when communicated through the medium of cats. Denise helped explain the partitioning challenges of distributed approaches that include Redis, Kafka and RabbitMQ.


10 Practical Steps Towards Creating an Extraordinary Team by Markos Rendell

Mark's tips for growing high-performing teams resonate loudly with me and feed nicely into my own theme of growing blameless failure. Mark's quick 15 minute Ignite talk touched on psychological safety, creativity and FUN in DevOps teams.

Tickets and Silos Ruin Everything by Damon Edwards

Perhaps the closest topic to my heart in the whole DevOpsDays conference was from DevOps specialist, Damon Edwards, who talked about the challenges that large enterprises face with hand-offs, change management and governance. Ticketing tools and barriers between development and operations teams result in slower feedback loops and barriers to fast, effective deployments. Damon introduced some operating models that ease the burden and introduced us to the concept of Operations-as-a-service (OaaS).


Each afternoon, we took part in a series of "Open Spaces" talks in which everyone was invited to listen, contribute, share, question and contemplate key themes relevant to DevOps and Cloud Computing.

  • Waterfall to Agile: Sharing experiences about the key factors from agile transformations that have helped us and our teams to become cloud-ready by encouraging flow, feedback and experimentation.

  • Visualising Complex Distributed Systems: Ideas for visual representations of complex infrastructures and their failure modes so that new DevOps engineers can come up to speed quickly. We discussed the use of monitoring and metrics toolkits and effective graphing techniques.

  • Building Quality Assurance into your CI/CD pipeline: Sharing toolsets and approaches for how to increase automated test usage inside a continuous integration pipeline. This talk highlighted a lack of tooling and experience in IaaS testing of Terraform, Ansible and Puppet.

I'd like to thank the DevOpsDays London organisers for hosting an inclusive, thought-provoking conference with a delicate mix of tech and culture, and for offering me the opportunity to make my public-speaking debut.



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