DevOpsDays Riga 2018

Day one at DevOpsDays Riga

A report of Scandiweb’s adventure.

The Kubernetes workshop, attended by Ilja and me, handled by Antons Kranga and Viktors Oginskis, both from AgileStacks. The workshop had three lab works and gave a full journey within Kubernetes cluster usage and deployments. The initial bootstrap of the Cluster was done by the tools developed by the workshop hosts, So we also got a demo of this product. The main aim of this service is to provide Kubernetes clusters as we provide Magento solutions to the clients.

As for the workshop, guys were nervous at the start, and some things failed but those haven’t interrupted the main event. It was quite a good experience to see how the Kubernetes is built by others. Also, there was lots of people from “Windows” world who never touched Kubernetes.

We gathered multiple ideas on how to improve our own setup, but overall we are on right track in picked stack and supporting services.

One of the important things we have occasion to discuss was ingress — main controller, that distributes or “directs” your traffic to correct pod. Now we know more about Traefik and Nginx ingress and cases, than Traefik is beating Nginx because of its simplicity.

Another thing we find out — we can deploy Kubernetes directly, without relying on Kops that has sligh by noticeable delays in version upgrades.

Overall, it was a great feeling we are moving to the right direction without even being and “expert” or “certified”. At the same time — workshop and discussion are helpful right now to push our implementation to the very end — working Kubernetes cluster.

Sad but true, we found out Kubernetes adoption is on a very low level in Latvia — a lot of people had no experience with it. So we are at least a few steps ahead of the “average” company in Latvia!

Day two and three

The main event spanned across two days, had tons interesting topics, majority of them was a combination of technical solutions combined with the culture of the people using them. Some good practices was introduced, and in most of them the attitude and culture of the DevOps played a major role. Also there was talks about “soft” skills, how to avoid burnout, effective management solutions, be happy and being productive.

A short summary of some important, but hard to measure or automate topics!

What is a burnout?

That’s “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance” (David Ballard).

How to avoid it? Make friends! Do hobbies! Sleep well! And do not be shy to speak about it with your boss, your performance matters him as well! Good we have such option for a while in Scandiweb!

What is DevOps?

It is not “engineer”, there is no certification and there are no devops tools! It is YOU!

There are people, who are working hard to grow their competences in a T-way manner. Specialize on one or a few topics, go really deep, meanwhile, getting not so specified, but wide knowledge!

It is less effective and hard to support silos, which needs glue(beer) in order to communicate and decide who’s better and smarter and… there is so much time left to deliver. Meanwhile wide competences gives a possibility to initialize, influence and deliver way more faster!

DevOps Culture

The environment people can build skipping titles, bureaucracy and useless effort can be built on top of 3 principles: mentorship, coaching and love.

“Mentor is there to answer the questions…and connect someone with the tools they can use to improve.

A coach is there to allow someone to reflect on themselves…and to give them a space to think about problems/challenges of any category”.

“The mentor should make sure that the intern’s path to success is unblocked, while a coach should help carve the path with the intern.”

“Focus on the real problem, not the first problem”.

These three citates are giving clues on how to guide a person, a newcomer, who needs an adaptation within a company before he or she becomes a real star!

Oh… and love! Love is needed to avoid blaming, replacing it with the real problem solution, not the visible one!

Apart of “soft” or emotional speeches, there were technical questions and problems discussed, however, overall, I got feeling it was rather people or organization -centric event, rather than “let’s discover and holiwar on y (new) tools during 2 conference days!”

During the breaks had our own intense discussions how to improve our workflow, or use new tools.

Another interesting part was Ignite talk, 5 minutes to present a topic, some of them were humor. And most interesting was OpenSpaces, where people suggest topics for discussion, during this time you can roam between rooms, share your thoughts. Just a few basic rules are enough to enable people to discuss what’s important and interesting for YOU:

  • Whoever comes is the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it start is the right time
  • When it’s over, it’s over

Want to try? Stay tuned!

Day four

The Terraform workshop, attended by Krisjanis Veinbahs and me, handled by Anton Babenko. Before the workshop we had a talk about some templating issues in terraform, so the whole workshop was bit shifted to advanced topics. One of the most interesting parts was presentation of living project, totally in modules, and used in very lightweight way, call the module, add some variable you need, voila. Along with advanced structure the idea of CI was introduced, like Atlantis. Overall the workshop was pretty intense and had tons of information.

From this conference we gain not only knowledge by a large boost of inspiration and motivation. Our tools and solutions are in good shape to work with, but we can better.

Personal feelings

Apart of feeling your head is cracking into the pieces due to so huge amount of information, new connection, awesome people and important topics, I was leaving the event with a feeling of saying goodbye to a great community I become very comfy in these few days. Atmosphere of “sharing is caring” was so awesome! We even wrote a DevOpsDays Riga song together:

It was a perfect feeling to understand we are in the middle of very important processes lacking some more pieces to finish the puzzle. It was amazing to hear some ideas, that I personally heard from my boss — Scandiweb’s CEO. And these are not the ideas — it IS Scandiweb.

So great it came as a fresh breath, fresh ideas for the next steps and MOTIVATION to fight the fire, share, care and learn even more!

I wish next DevOpsDays are the same (no need to be better) next time and I will meet you there!

Curious to hear more? Get in touch with us at [email protected]!

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