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From the Conference Trail – Velocity and DevOps Days Silicon Valley

The ZeroTurnaround team, representing the offices in Boston, Prague, Tallinn and Tartu congregated in sunny Santa Clara, California to attend Velocity 2013 and DevOps Days Silicon Valley as event sponsors.

@ Velocity 2013

Hosted by O’Reilly Media at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Velocity is focused on web performance and operations, attracting tons of ops folk. The exhibition grounds were dominated by APM vendors flaunting dashboards of data from monitoring web and mobile apps.

ZeroTurnaround had its own spot on the floor featuring LiveRebel, its release automation tool, sprinkled with some JRebel demos for the Java developers out there tired of redeploying. Our solid Estonian engineers gave demos all day long, ninja style!


@ DevOps Days

Hosted at the same location right after Velocity, DevOps Days Silicon Valley was the fifth DevOps Days that ZT has attended as platinum sponsor. It was a far more intimate than Velocity, with a greater community orientation that attracted about 500 attendees passionate about DevOps. The two day conference featured multiple sessions, quality time with attendees and much camaraderie. As a strong supporter of the upcoming DevOps sea change, we had 1 min in the limelight, and gave an ignite talk featuring the DevOps and IT Ops Productivity Report.

What We Learned

Devs care about Ops too. Both Velocity and DevOps Days had a mixed crowd. This could mean that devs are showing keen interest in best practices and issues related to operations, and a sign that DevOps – one way or the other – is gaining traction.

Release processes pose a major challenge. Most people we spoke to had Continuous Integration tools in place, namely Jenkins, Bamboo and Team City. However, once the release was handed off to the operations team, the process broke down in a jumble of error-prone manual operations. Attendees seemed actively engaged in streamlining and automating release tasks.

Chef & Puppet are synchronous to automation. Most folk appeared to write scripts in Chef or Puppet to automate entire release processes. We talked to them about how Chef or Puppet were great for infrastructure configuration, and suggested that they try an app-aware release automation tool like LiveRebel to safely release applications and updates, and roll back everything if anything were to fail in production.

Releasing database changes is hard. This portion of rolling out application updates made IT Ops folk most anxious. LiveRebel’s ability to roll out DB changes that are reversible in case of failure caught their interest and curiosity.

To Conclude …

Having attended both a large IT Ops oriented conference and an intimate DevOps focused one, we saw that operations folk are actively engaged in automation. While these efforts precede any real DevOps collaboration within organizations, they leverage existing skills like scripting and in some cases, tools like LiveRebel for release automation. However, the DevOps movement, backed by a passionate following, certainly has everyone’s interest and will only be adopted more rapidly as it continues to show real business value.

  • Andres

    Nice article