devopsdays Hamburg 2010

Monday, 18. 10. 2010  –  Category: conference

Recently back from devopsdays in Hamburg. Here’s a quick braindump whilst it’s all still fresh.


I went with a bunch of colleagues from the BBC, hooked up with some people I’d not seen for ages, unexpectedly met in real life people I’d worked with online previously and met a whole load of talented and interested engineers.


The conference was split between set talks and open space sessions. The talk I got the most out of was Stephen Nelson Smith‘s talk on his experience bringing devops-shaped thinking to a large government site refresh. His thoughts about what worked and what didn’t were interesting and well made.

John Willis gave an excellent presentation on Chef. I’ve monkeyed a bit with Chef but am only using Puppet in real world situations so far. John’s a powerful evangelist and definitely got me enthused about Chef. I deliberately didn’t ask about Chef’s lack of dry-run mode since I’ve banged on about it on the chef-users list twice now1, and because I wanted to see if anyone else flagged it as a concern – they did. All that aside, I am certainly going to get it up in a lab soon.

Link dump

  • Marionette Collective (mcollective) – message bus framework for mass host control. I’m really interested by this. Seems similar to Engine Yard‘s Vertebrae thing, but perhaps more immediately useable for me.
  • Fabric – a more traditional (ie: centralised) mass control mechanism. We’ve all rolled our own variant of this at some point, right?
  • Zookeeper – mentioned in passing, need to check this out.
  • cucumber-puppet – not currently doing anything like this, probably should!
  • Circonus – flagged in passing, monitoring.
  • Web Operations – seems to be a good compliment to Release It!, will grab and read.


The conference laid on a boat trip around Hamburg’s canals and harbour on the Friday night with beer and soup. Brilliant! Afterwards we maxed out the lounge area of the Chilli Club. After sufficient beers and cocktails we headed off to the Bunker club for an epic all nighter2. Clearly we didn’t know about the school gym dress theme but hey that didn’t matter. The utterly bizarre story that unfolded on stage throughout the night was hilarious. House of Pain MCd by a large sweaty man in a baby costume? Oh yes! (more outrageous moments omitted…)

Saturday night included more Brownian motion around the Reeperbahn, plus Mike and I hanging out in a bar 0wned by St Pauli supporters. I don’t know much about football but these guys are clearly very dedicated to their cause! Edgy. More drinks into the dawn, then tactical sleep before flying home.


I was consistently amazed how friendly everyone is. Wandering around Hamburg you could strike up conversation with pretty much anyone and find something of interest to jib about. At several points strangers would change the course of their evening just to steer our slightly cat-herdesque group of geeks towards fun.


Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this an excellent weekend, especially Marcel and Patrick.

  1. and, for the record, I understand why such a mode would be imperfect and not aligned with Chef’s overall philosophy []
  2. but no, I didn’t quite last the whole night! []

4 Responses to “devopsdays Hamburg 2010”

  1. flurd Says:

    Epic weekend!

  2. Tony Says:


  3. ActionJack Says:

    Crazy nights!

  4. Steve Schofield Says:

    Nice. I hope you were sporting a pair of Hamburger funker trousers for your night on the tiles. Had a look at some of those links, way over my head but interesting stuff nonetheless…