My Experience at DockerCon

I’m the co-founder of a startup, Microscaling Systems, that is heavily involved in containers and Docker technology, so DockerCon is a really relevant event for us. That said, we’re still pre-seed funding, and we had decided it was beyond our budget, so I was absolutely delighted to be awarded a ticket through Women Who Code.

Docker make big announcements at DockerCon, and this was no exception. Docker now comes with built-in orchestration, with their Swarm product massively enhanced and integrated into the main Docker CLI. I could have learned that from home by watching the livestream — but by being at the event I was able to hear the reaction direct from other orchestration companies in the ecosystem, which led to some fascinating conversations.

This move with Swarm has the potential to democratize orchestration, making it easy to use from the command line, in much the same way that Docker have brought container technology into the limelight. (Did you know, Docker didn’t invent containers? What they did was make containers much easier to use, so all the benefits are readily available to any developer without needing an in-depth understanding of Linux internals.)

The atmosphere at the event was very friendly and fun. Attendees all had smart wristbands which we could bump to exchange contact details, and which at times went crazy with their flashing coloured lights. By ‘bumping up’ we scored points — they have successfully gamified networking, it seems — and I was a lot more excited than I should have been about ‘levelling up’ from my starting level of Narwhal to become an Orca.

You could also score bump-up points by rating or commenting on sessions, and participating in hands-on labs. At the labs area you were assigned VMs so that you could try out various features, and I took the opportunity to kick the tyres of the new Docker Swarm commands.

There were tons of opportunities to socialize and visit companies in the expo area. DockerCon seemed very relaxed and it was easy to approach folks and have a chat about what they’re doing. There was also an excellent party at Seattle’s Space Needle and the Experience Music Project, where I geeked out at the Star Trek exhibits, and got nostalgic about grunge at the Nirvana area.

I have been working with some folks from across the container ecosystem on a fledgling spec for standardizing container labels, and at the conference I met several more folks who are interested in the initiative. This is related to a new site we released called MicroBadger, which uses container labelling to generate badges that you can add to your GitHub and Docker Hub pages, to link your container images to the exact source code it was built from. Being at the conference was a nice opportunity to get people’s feedback on the idea in person.

Finally, I just had time before I had to leave for the airport to catch a presentation from Microsoft in which I was delighted to see them showing our Microscaling-in-a-box demo as an example of Azure engaging with innovation in the open source ecosystem. So exciting to leave the conference on a high note like that!

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