Hashidays London 2017

Was an awesome tech event on every level.

Due to my family growing in size early in 2016, the last time I was attending any conference was in 2015 and it was O’Reilly Velocity in New York.
It was a disaster.

It’s highly probable that my perception of Hashidays is greatly influenced by my last experience, but I can’t do anything about that ;-)

Day started with delicious breakfast that wasn’t only pastries (impossibru!), but fruits, yoghurts and smoothies were also available. Besides tea and coffee there was also water available — may sound obvious, but I’ve witnessed big events where the only drinkable water was the one you had brought with you.

With full tummy I took a seat in the first row, and the talks started on schedule with Mitchell Hashimoto opening keynote. 
Announcement of split of core Terraform from Providers was the highlight, and great news for me and my team. Working with Terraform on Azure isn’t as easy as with AWS, and this move will potentially speed up rate at which new features are being supported. It’s almost like a circle of history, as I remember the times when Terraform was shipped as multiple binaries.

Expectations were set high for following speakers, unfortunately next talk wasn’t as good as it could potentially be. Presenter had a slide deck consisting of black text on white background and for the first part simply read what’s on them. Even though the topic was interesting, delivery made me lose attention for the best part. It’s surprising that things like this still happen.

After a slight dip interest went up again, with Paddy Foran doing live demo of Nomad working across GCE and AWS. 24 machines across 3 AZs across 2 cloud providers connected through VPN running Nomad server/clients built using Terraform in about 5 minutes from scratch. Impressive. Not the TF bit, but Nomad made a good impression, especially that I haven’t paid too much attention to it before. Pretty much half way the talk I was already thinking on how I am going to put it to use in my own lab to check out it’s features.
Live Demo Gods were gracious and it all went smooth (with a slight help from the audience looking out for typos), great job Paddy!

Key takeaway — You can be cloud agnostic with your IaaC today! Employ Nomad and forget about who runs your infrastructure.

James Phillips then came in on stage and although he was standing between us and lunch his talk was well paced and interesting so it fly by in no time. Consul is more than capable of running huge clusters (10k nodes) without a sweat. Besides describing how big cluster graciously handles failure of 1% failing nodes in less than few seconds, he did a brief introduction into Serf https://www.serf.io/. Worth checking out.

Lunch was delicious, good variety, everything was served in a neat cardboard boxes. If you’re organizing an event, ask those guys how to.

Although I could see a handful of women in the audience there was also a talk delivered by Nicki Watt. A story on Terraform evolution pretty much everyone went through (or are on their journey now). Wasn’t that much of interest to me, but overall I think it was good, and it’s nice to see that there’s at least a bit of diversity between the speakers. Good move Hashicorp.

Event was closed by two great “case studies”. First James Rasell & Iain Gray from Elsevier described how in the course of almost 2 years they’ve built a set of Terraform building blocks for their development team to use. They provided a module for everything. 15 people from core operations team were able to support 300 VPCs and tens of development teams. It would be great to have the same in place in my current workplace but at the same time I don’t think it’s possible to make such investment in a SI and not a product company. 97% of code was imported modules and only 3% was custom to each project, on average. Awesomesauce.

Finally guys from Monzo went on stage and described that they run bank on Kubernetes. Surprisingly that made me apply for account with them on the spot :-)

Overall the level of talks, and organisation was brilliant. Also it’s always nice to meet old friends at those events, and have an embarrassing after party photos which I can’t share with you.