DevOps Conferences 2016

We attended two DevOps conferences in September: Software Circus in Amsterdam and Container Camp in London. They provided a good opportunity to check-in on the latest trends and gossip in the containers and cloud computing world.


Software Circus opening

Kubernetes or Mesos?

The main sponsors of Software Circus this year were the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Cisco. So there was a lot of discussion about container networking, security and of course about Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos. “Kubernetes or Mesos who will survive?” was the question asked in the corridors… at least everyone agreed that Docker Swarm wouldn’t be the one.

Docker tough love

There was also some discussion about libnetwork and the Container Network Interface (CNI): libnetwork being criticised for its restrictions while CNI was praised.

We couldn’t avoid the controversial question: “Should Docker be forked?”. No one really wants to but it has recently been accused of instability and perhaps a long-term support release is needed.

Our tools are crap…

Serverless was mentioned in many talks as people are wondering if we should actually use it.  By “it” we are referring to AWS Lambda. It’s definitely not the solution to all our problems but if you have a stateless function with an input-output, it’s a solution to consider.

Unikernel is another example of an alternative to Docker containers. If you need better performance, it is for you, but otherwise maybe not…

Rkt (pronounced “rock-it”) also appeared as an alternative that focuses mainly on security.

At Container Camp UK, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, presented Snap which has been designed for IoT. Snaps are similar to containers since they can run anywhere thanks to their base filesystem that they carry with them. On the other hand they are not as elastic as Docker containers: you can’t have identical Snaps running on the same host. They look like a nice alternative to APT in order to install packages.


Snap: application containers

We were given plenty of tools to try out: Chaos Monkey, Pumba, Mizaru, Blockade, DRAX to crash our containers under control circumstances, Openscap to scan them, Traefik for load balancing…

There are always more tools to solve our problems but none that will solve them all. As Ben Firshman, Docker product manager, said in the Software Circus closing keynote: “Our tools are crap but we use them anyway because they are so compelling”.


Ben Firshman was also talking at Container Camp UK

… they are so compelling

Ben was mentioning CGI which was not the best but everyone used it because of all the new possibilities it could offer. In his talk, he made us dream of a serverless-inspired world where we could spin up containers only when we need them. A container would start another container if it needs it service. This way we could save all the memory reserved by containers waiting to be called… I’m up for that new tool!

Soft Circus

Far from being a circus, the Software Circus conference was really well organised. The venue was great, the food delicious and we could even build our own spaceships:





On the other hand, the organisation of Container Camp was very disappointing, but they were saved by the quality of their speakers.
Thanks to all the sponsors!

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