Edinburgh DevOps Days 2018

The 2018 iteration of the Edinburgh DevOps days was held Nov 1 and 2
at Dynamic Earth, which has wonderful views of Arthur’s Seat and the
Scottish Parliament. I had the pleasure of representing NCR Edinburgh, who was a sponsor of the event. Additionally, we had a couple of colleagues from our NCR Dublin office in and it was great to catch up with people I usually only see on video conference calls. Moreover, I was able to catch up with many friends from the development scene in Edinburgh.

The general shape of the day was talks in the morning followed by unconference in the afternoon. Two talks really stood out to me. First was “Making Disaster Routine”. This covers the idea from commercial airlines of making check-lists for various scenarios and practicing them. Often, we create disaster recovery or disaster planning but we never practice these. To make disaster routine and increase the likelihood of a successful disaster recovery event, practicing these is of critical importance. If we do not practice our plans, people will be more prone to panic and this will cause events that could have been contained to become ever growing disasters. Second was “Test Automation and Beyond” which covered a wide range of testing and continuous testing in organisations.

The unconference in the afternoon was generally good. My only concern here is that one of the great things about the unconference format is something called the “hallway track”. The “hallway track” is where you end up having impromptu conversations in the hallway with other participants. Dynamic Earth’s conference space was split into two halves. One on the West side of the building and the other on the East side of the building. The conference rooms were split between them so if you were in the East side of the building and wanted to see something in the West side, you had to walk all the way across the building. A suggestion for next year, if it is held at Dynamic Earth again, is to contain all the unconference to one side of the building. This way the “hallway track” could be done slightly better.

Otherwise, the list of topics were as wide and varied as the people who attended. The two sessions that I particularly liked were the “Interviewing for DevOps” and the “DevOps in highly constrained environments”. In the “DevOps in highly constrained environments” we discussed various PCI-DSS compliance issues and how to work with compliance officers to maintain their perspective while attempting to release software faster. In the “Interviewing for DevOps”, we discussed some of the questions that we were using with people and the problems of interviewing with biases.

Additionally, I had lots of fun talking to the Google Cloud team who were there to talk about their cloud offerings. I was able to snag the last hat that they had and they were giving away books and cloud credit. Chef was there and there were a few other local software houses.

It was a great conference and it was great to see everyone again. I would like to thank Kevin Cross and his team who pulled off a great conference. I am looking forward to next year!