Auckland 2017 in review

by Mrinal Mukherjee - 15 October, 2017

Auckland 2017 in Review

The conference

The DevOpsDays conference was held in Auckland on the 3rd and 4th October 2017. This was the third DevOpsDays conference in New Zealand after the first one in Auckland (2013) and the second in Wellington last year.

The venue was the beautiful and spacious Ellerslie Event Centre in Auckland. Around 230 DevOps enthusiasts attended the conference - coming from a wide spectrum of backgrounds viz. product, banking, consulting and govt. sectors both in New Zealand and abroad.

The videos and slides from the conference will be made available on the conference web page

There were some great speakers and a lot of knowledgeable and passionate folks who shared a common interest - to share, learn and contribute to the DevOps community.


The conference was sponsored by -

Venue Sponsor - BNZ

Evening Event Sponsor- SECTION6

Gold Sponsors- - Assurity Consulting, Pivotal, SECTION6, Redhat, OSS, BNZ, ALC,

Silver Sponsors- - K2, Xero, Solnet, Thoughtworks, Flux, Chef, Stuff

Bronze Sponsors- - Datacom, ICAgile, Microsoft

The sponsor tables saw a buzz of activity with the sponsors engaging with the attendees and sharing experiences. Some of the sponsors had attractive offers, discounts deals and swag items which were lapped away by the audience!

The speakers

This conference had a broad range of speakers coming in from various backgrounds. The speakers and topics were selected after a rigorous CFP process and only 9 out of the 61 proposals were selected. The topics were -

Speaker - Anthony Rees Topic - DevSecOps Delight with Compliance as a Code Summary - This talk discussed real-world examples of how to translate security and compliance requirements into software and make them a proactive part of the software-delivery process.

Speaker - John Bowker Topic - Immutable SQL Server Clusters Summary - Often databases get forgotten about when it comes to automation and the app servers have all the fun but databases don’t always need to be pets. This talk went over the steps taken to enable this automation and the lessons learnt while doing it during a pressure filled migration.

Speaker - Anthony Angell Topic - Using Bots to Scale Incident Management @ Xero Summary - How Xero has moved from manual incidents and no postmortems to a fully fledged incident management framework driven by bots to scale.

Speaker - Lindsay Holmwood Topic - Mirror, mirror, on the wall: testing Conway’s Law in open source communities Summary - This talk provided a brief history of Conway’s Law in management literature and academia, how Conway’s Law applies differently to the open source community and your workplace and how to apply the evidence to help grow and sustain the community in a fast evolving ecosystem.

Speaker - Michael Coté Topic - Not actually a DevOps Talk Summary - Most people putting DevOps in place have only the foggiest notion of what it is beyond a “better mouse trap, and something about culture”. This talk used failures and successes from DevOps-practicing organizations to give advice from the real world on doing the DevOps real-good like.

Speaker - Sajeewa Dayaratne Topic - DevOps in an Embedded World Summary - When it comes to DevOps most material including tools and technologies are generally more geared towards web and mobile. However the benefits of DevOps apply equally in the embedded space. This talk focused on the story of the journey towards DevOps in the consumer electronics space.

Speaker - Marcus Bristol Topic - Moving fast without crashing Summary - This talk explained how Pushpay deploys to Production up to a dozen times a day. How could they do that consistently, and how they can maintain a high quality codebase with minimal technical debt. The talk also discussed the cultural elements that enabled this.

Speaker - Alison Polton-Simon Topic - Metrics That Matter Summary - Measuring performance is powerful. The right metrics motivate and guide progress; improper ones incentivize teams to optimize for bad behavior or game the system. The talk outlined four key metrics for understanding and improving Continuous Delivery processes, sharing successes and cautionary tales.

Speaker - Sanjeev Sharma Topic - When DevOps met SRE: From Apollo 13 to Google SRE Summary - This talk discussed the thought process around SREs and how it relates to the world of DevOps. Sanjeev also gave away a few copies of his new book to some lucky attendees!

Open Spaces

Open Spaces, though a relatively new concept in NZ - ended up being one of the most popular events at the conference. There were 42 topics in 6 time-slots booked over 7 break-out areas. These topics were suggested by the attendees who voted them, then worked with each other to arrange them in time-slots and rooms. These open spaces provided a fantastic opportunity to discuss common problems and hear how others are attempting to solve them. Moreover, it definitely helps to have your thinking validated by others!

Topics ranged from technical ones (Kafka operations, Openshift, Analytics etc.) to cultural (addressing burnout, imposter syndrome etc) and conceptual (how DevOps works with Agile)

Evening Event

The evening event was just amazing! It provided a wonderful opportunity for attendees to socialize and it was great to see the sponsors, speakers and attendees fraternizing over a beer around the pool table. The excellent food and ambiance provided at the venue were an added bonus.

The Job Board

A job board was put up and the attendees and sponsors were encouraged to use it to advertise open positions. As one would observe - the job board just ran out of space!

Swag items and takeaways

Whats a conference without swag items? This conference had quite a few items which attendees could take back home. These items ranged from tshirts, stationery, bags, laptop stickers, webcam-covers, umbrellas, books and even a drone - which went to a lucky winner! Swag items were provided by the conference organisers as well as the sponsors.

Special thanks to ITRevolution for the books they gave away at the conference!

The organising team

Lead by our charismatic leader - Reuben, the conference organisers teamed in from Wellington and Auckland. The green T-shirts with a the retro IPV4 printed on them made the organisers stand out! The team worked over the last few months to organise the conference venue, sponsor engagements, budgets, ticketing, conference-day activities and procuring swag-items.

What next?

Learning from this year’s turnout and audience engagement, we are looking forward to organise the conference next year. Where will it be? When will it be? How would it look like? Stay tuned!!



Twitter: @devopsdaysnz