DevOpsDays Wellington 2016

Posted by Martin Nakshbandi on 25 October 2016

This year’s conference was held in Wellington on the 29th and 30th September. It was hosted by BNZ at their Harbour Quay headquarters which provided the conference delegates with a relaxed atmosphere.

The event attracted both local and global speakers representing Puppet, Spotify, Octopus and Xero. As a sponsor, OSS was present both by attendance and with our display stand which gave us an opportunity to engage directly as a service provider with the delegates.

Typically when you're attending a conference, you'd anticipate huge conference rooms, strictly scheduled sessions and separate spaces for sponsors and talks. However, DevOpsDays are different than this. It is a community driven event, organized by a dedicated team who manages the event alongside their normal day jobs. They fashioned a rough structure with a dynamic environment that complemented the diversity of mostly technical attendees, and it worked perfectly!

There were morning sessions through to lunch and three more OpenSpaces sessions through to the close of day. In preparation for OpenSpaces sessions, delegates were invited to suggest topics they would either like to discuss or facilitate a discussion on, the audience then voted on which was most relevant to their interest - for those familiar with the concept, this is much like the unconference approach to these sort of events. This way people were encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences.

The OpenSpace discussions that attracted most votes were “MicroServices and Security”, “Automation of Legacy Software”, “Infrastructure Automation” and “How to keep up with emerging technologies”.

I participated in one of the discussions talking about our experience at OSS using Puppet to perform a full infrastructure automation deploying spiderweb systems. I explained how we were able to use available tools on hand to automate one of the most complex IBM product stacks which included DB2, Websphere, BPM, standard Linux services, and how we orchestrated the environment builds.

For me one of the best outcomes in attending the conference was not only the discussions about tools and techniques used to speed-up automation, testing and deployment, but also the emphasis on the culture an organisation needs while it journeys through the on-boarding of DevOps. One of the most overlooked advantages of adopting a DevOps culture is the potential to reduce stress. This could be due to sharing the load across the whole team, the feeling of joint ownership when solving a business problem or because people regardless of title or background work together to imagine, develop, deploy and operate a system.

Overall, DevOpsDays NZ provided a good, fairly open platform for discussion and networking. There was a lot to share and a lot to learn.

Martin Nakshbandi is a technical consultant at OSS who specialises in configuration management and application orchestration.