I did a quite awhile ago that highlighted some of the cooler system admin and operations oriented conferences that I had on my radar at that time. Since then I have changed jobs and am now currently in a DevOps oriented position, so I’d like to revisit the subject and update that list to reflect some of the cool conferences that are in the DevOps space.
I’d like to start off by saying first that even if you can’t make it to the bigger conferences, local groups and meet ups are also an excellent way to get out and meet other professionals that do what you do. Local groups are also an excellent way to stay in the loop on what’s current and also learn about what others are doing. If you are interested in eventually becoming a presenter or speaker, local meet ups and groups can be a great way to get started. There are numerous opportunities and communities (especially in bigger cities), check here for information or to see if there is a DevOps meet up near you. If there is nothing near by, start one! If you can’t find any DevOps groups look for Linux groups or developer groups and network from there, DevOps is beginning to become popular in broader circles.
After you get your feet wet with meet ups, the next place to start looking is conferences that sound like they might be interesting to you. There are about a million different opportunities to choose from, from security conferences, developer conferences, server and network conferences, all the way down the line. I am sticking with strictly DevOps related conferences because that is currently what I am interested and know the best.
Feel free to comment if I miss any conferences that are DevOps related and you think should be added to the list.
DevOps Days (Multiple dates)
Perhaps the most DevOps centric of all the conference list. These conferences are a great way to meet with fellow DevOps professionals and network with them. The space and industry is changing constantly and being on top of all of the changes is crucial to being successful. Another nice thing about the DevOps days is that they are spread out around the country (and world) and spread out throughout the year so they are very accessible. WARNING: DevOps days are not tied to any one set of DevOps tools but rather the principles and techniques and how to apply them to different environments. If you are looking for super in depth technical talks, this one may not be for you.
The main Chef conference. There are large conferences for the main configuration management tools but I chose to highlight Chef because that’s what we use at my job. There are lots of good talks that have a Chef centered theme but also are great because the practices can be applied with other tools. For example, there are many DevOps themes at ChefConf including continuous integration and deployment topics, how to scale environments, tying different tools together and just general configuration management techniques. Highly recommend for Chef users, feel free to substitute the other big configuration management tool conferences here if Chef isn’t your cup of tea (Salt, Puppet, Ansible).
CoreOS Fest (May)
- 2015 videos haven’t been posted yet
Admittedly, this is a much smaller and niche conference but is still awesome. The conference is the first one put on by the folks at CoreOS and was designed to help the community keep up with what is going on in the CoreOS and container world. The venue is pretty small but the content at this years conference was very good. There were some epic announcements and talks at this years conference, including Tectonic announcements and Kubernetes deep dives, so if container technology is something you’re interested in then this conference would definitely be worth checking out.
- 2014 videos (2015 conference going on right now)
This one just popped up on my DevOps conference radar. I have been hearing good things about this conference for awhile now but have not had the opportunity to go to it. It always has interesting speakers and topics and a number of the DevOps thought leaders show up for this event. One cool thing about this conference is that there are a variety of different topics at any one time so it offers a nice, wide spectrum of information. For example, there are technical tracks covering different areas of DevOps.
Docker has been growing at a crazy pace so this seems like the big conference to go check out if you are in the container space. This conference is similar to CoreOS fest but focuses more heavily on topics of Docker (obviously). I haven’t had a chance to go to one of these yet but containers and Docker have so much momentum it is very difficult to avoid. As well, many people believe that container technologies are going to be the path to the future so it is a good idea to be as close to the action as you can.
This is one of the coolest conferences I think, but that is probably just because I am so obsessed with monitoring and metrics collection. Monitoring seems to be one of those topics that isn’t always fun to deal with or work around but talks and technologies at this conference actually make me excited about monitoring. To most, monitoring is a necessary evil and a lot of the content from this conference can help make your life easier and better in all aspects of monitoring, from new trends and tools to topics on how to correctly monitor and scale infrastructures. Talks can be technical but well worth it, if monitoring is something that interests you.
AWS Re:Invent (November)
This one is a monster. This is the big conference that AWS puts on every year to announce new products and technologies that they have been working on as well as provide some incredibly helpful technical talks. I believe this conference is one of the pricier and more exclusive conferences but offers a lot in the way of content and details. This conference offers some of the best, most technical topics of discussion that I have seen and has been invaluable as a learning resource. All of the videos from the conference are posted on YouTube so you can get access to this information for free. Obviously the content is related to AWS but I have found this to be a great way to learn.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to travel or get out to these conferences, nearly all of them post video from the event so you can watch it whenever you want to. This is an INCREDIBLE learning tool and resource that is FREE. The only downside to the videos is that you can’t ask any questions, but it is easy to find the presenters contact info if you are interested and feel like reaching out.
That being said, you tend to get a lot more out of attending the conference. The main benefit of going to conferences over watching the videos alone is that you get to meet and talk to others in the space and get a feel for what everybody else is doing as well as check out many cool tools that you might otherwise never hear about. At every conference I attend, I always learn about some new tech that others are using that I have never heard of that is incredibly useful and I always run in to interesting people that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet.
So definitely if you can, get out to these conferences, meet and talk to people, and get as much out of them as you can. If you can’t make it, check out the videos afterwards for some really great nuggets of information, they are a great way to keep your skills sharp and current.
If you have any more conferences to add to this list I would be happy to update it! I am always looking for new conferences and DevOps related events.