Why is it that at every conference I always seem to be rushing around in the morning trying to get to the keynote sessions in time. No matter how early I wake, I always seem to run out of time. Today was the first main day of sessions and I was determined to grab a bite to eat before heading to the keynote, so I headed across to the sponsor hall and grabbed my required bacon supplement for the day and managed to have a very interesting chat with a Docker insider (who is apparently contributing to the keynote the next day – I’ll insert name if that is correct). We discussed the future of containers in a potentially Serverless world and it was really interesting (and reassuring) to note that Docker has their eyes and ears firmly planted in all the right places (can’t say any more right now!).
I managed to get to the keynote just a few minutes late, and the central message was to push the awesomeness that is Docker Enterprise Edition. There were some great demos on show and also some great (but quite clearly staged) banter between the speakers, but unlike most conferences, they were fun and engaging talks. Probably the biggest announcement of the day came when the co-founder of Docker and CTO (Solomon Hykes) wowed the audience with the news that Kubernetes will be treated as a first-class citizen and that it will be baked into the product alongside Swarm, so that choosing one orchestrator over another did not compromise many of the great features present in both. This is clearly great news for Kube fans (and very welcome news at that), but I do also wonder how this will affect other orchestration platforms? I couldn’t quite make out whether other platforms will be closely integrated in the future as well. If I had to guess I would say yes.
I started the day off by going to a Docker “beginner” session called “Learning Docker from Square One” delivered by Chloe Condon. I was in two minds whether an intro session was a good idea for me, but I decided that starting from the beginning wasn’t a bad idea to refresh core concepts. I enjoyed her delivery of the session and general materials and explanations although it was perhaps a little more basic than I probably needed and if I was brutally honest I think too much time was spent on the opening analogies between containers and images -which I mostly didn’t think worked very well. She did, however, use one that I have in the past – that of development code ( or more specifically: Object Orientation concepts) using classes (as the image) and instances (as the container). Anyhow, those minor nit-picking aside, she delivered a good session and I think her “dad jokes” as she put it, generally had people laughing through the session.
It was now time for lunch and quite a large break, so I decided to grab an (ultimately) rushed bite to eat (since sadly my table mates were about as exciting as a cold bath in December) and then had a great time visiting and talking to sponsors. This is not something I generally do at big SQL Server conferences and mostly find vendors a complete waste of my time (or is that me or theirs – who knows?), but for whatever reason, I really enjoyed talking to them and was particularly interested in persisted storage solutions for containers. I have got a few more to visit tomorrow if possible!
Next up, I decided to keep to my Microsoft roots and check out “Navigating the Docker Toolset in Visual Studio and Azure” delivered by Microsoft’s Shayne Boyer. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t familiar with Shayne, and I always feel sorry for Microsoft speakers at non-Microsoft conferences (and user groups) since I generally get the feeling of a lack of engagement from the audiences (partially due to the historical leanings and historical open-source community failings of the company). That said, times are changing, Microsoft is embracing and integrating (and contributing) and the future is bright. Shayne did a good job convincing me to crack open Visual Studio 2017 and create and deploy some Azure containers, making it all seem incredibly easy – so when I get the time, this is exactly what I will do.
I now decided to attend “Creating Effective Docker Images” by Abby Fuller since this topic was a no-brainer for me, and it also appeared to be the view held by everyone else at Dockercon. Her session room was absolutely packed and had no standing room available, having (at a guess) 500+ people in it. Her delivery of the material was pretty faultless and given her age (to an old git like me) I watched in admiration of this talent. I learned some really useful things in the session but was left *just* wanting a bit more… Perhaps this is Abby’s intention and perhaps the reason she gets packed rooms?!
Next up was a fairly meaty break (approximately 45 minutes) so I gathered my things and decided to start having a play with the conference workshops. I only managed to get through 30 minutes of the lab (before having to rush back to sessions) but I am going to do my best to try and do them all.
My next session stood out like a sore thumb and was right up my street. I watched “The Truth Behind Serverless” by Erica Windisch. I really enjoyed this session and Erica is quite clearly very passionate about the topic and also very knowledgeable. I would perhaps have like I few more real-world demos, but I left happy and enjoyed listening to yet another unique personality in the world of microservices. I look forward to watching other content by Erica in the near future.
My final session was a real toss up between “My journey to Go” (my #1 choice) by Ashley McNamara (although I later realised I have already watched this at Gophercon) and “Modernizing .NET Apps” with Elton Stoneman (w|t) and Iris Classon (w|t). The latter actually won through in the end for two reasons. The first being that Elton “encouraged” me to come to his session on Twitter which I thought was amusing and the second was because of Iris Classon. I don’t think Dockercon attendees realised (given that there was space available in the room), but Iris is a HUGE name in the world of .NET and has been for a very long time, but she is also an amazing person -as those who have followed her for a very long time will testify. This was actually my first ever time I’ve attended one of her sessions live (oh the shame), but I really enjoyed the experience. Both Iris and Elton worked really well as a partnership and despite one of their demos crashing and burning (which they both turned into a funny ending), it was very nicely delivered. As an aside, I think Iris must hold the Dockercon world record for saying “sh*t” in a presentation :). I definitely couldn’t get away with this, but there is something very endearing the way she does and I think her humor is very Monty Python -very much up my street!
At the end of the sessions, I had to do a rain check on the Dockercon party due to the small fact that I have a ton of stuff to do for Microsoft from the confines of my hotel room, so their gain was my loss. No matter, I had a brilliant day today and look forward to what tomorrow brings.