The Top 13 Sessions From 2018 Ops and Dev Conferences

 ● 18th Dec 2018

8 min read

It’s our favorite tradition of the season; Sit back, grab some popcorn and catch up on the top talks you might have missed, or want to watch again.

December is almost over, and it’s that time of the year when we look back at all the great things that happened. It’s not just a time to reminisce, it’s also a time to squeeze in some more learning before we start the new year.

One of the best ways for us (and you!) to learn more, is by watching videos of the top talks and sessions from the last few months. But why should we have all the fun? In the following post, we went through this year conferences, chose the sessions that piqued our interest and put them all in this one, excellent, post. Enjoy!

Improving Reliability w/ Error Budgets & SRE

Everyone is talking about reliability, but how many of us prioritize and work to maintain it? Liz Fong-Jones, Staff Developer Advocate at Google, explains how error budgets and Site Reliability Engineering practices can improve the reliability, maintainability, and feature velocity of products.

This talk is an introduction to the basics of bringing SRE practices into your organization. As our recent survey shows, only 17% of organizations have fully adopted DevOps practices. If you’re part of that statistic, this talk will help you understand how to do it, and do it right.

Agile in 2018

Agile has become mainstream, but sometimes what we consider “agile” might not be as agile as we think. Instead, it might be disregarding the very values and principles of true agile development.
In his talk, Martin Fowler reflects on Agile’s journey to become a mainstream methodology, along with some of the successes and failures encountered along the way.

How Netflix Thinks of DevOps

Netflix puts a big emphasis on DevOps environment and practices, but it doesn’t often talk about how it’s done within the company. One might ask – if it’s so important, why not spread the best practices and conclusions so that everyone could learn?

Dave Hahn, Senior SRE Core Team at Netflix, gives us a tour of DevOps practices at Netflix, where culture is key, chaos is your friend, and trust is an absolute requirement.

Observability and Responsibility for Serverless

Some might think that when you go serverless, it means that there’s no need to think about operating or debugging your systems. If you ask Charity Majors, Ops Engineer and CEO at, that’s a huge misconception.

At Serverless Computing London keynote, Charity explained what we mean when we say observability, what it means to have an observable system, how it connects to old methods of monitoring or debugging, and why the modern serverless software engineer should give a flying crap.

The Z Garbage Collector

Java 11 introduced the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC), a new JDK garbage collector designed for low latency and high scalability. On the technical side, it achieves throughput over 36% higher than the existing JDK collectors, while never exceeding a maximum pause time of two milliseconds.
Erik Österlund of the HotSpot Garbage Collection team at Oracle, is a contributor to the ZGC project. In his talk, he introduces the practical side, by explaining how ZGC achieves this performance and showing how you can start using it with your own code.

Containers in Production

Docker containers have been on the rise, and it’s no wonder. They offer a reproducible and isolated environment for your code to run in, which is great, but what happens when you want to run that code in production?
Katie Bell, a Lead Engineer at Campaign Monitor, gave a talk at YOW! Perth 2018 and showed the audience how to launch a containerized service, and how to pick the right tool and environment for your production settings.

A Brief, Opinionated History of the API

APIs are one of the most popular ways in which tools or companies can integrate with another. They’ve has been around for 65 years, but do we know where they came from? Or even, what APIs are?
Joshua Bloch, author of Effective Java, Lead Design of Java Collection API & Carnegie Mellon Professor, set out to explore the history of APIs. In his talk, he covers what he learned, as well as talks about the current legal status of APIs, and what it means to us as software professionals.

Continuous Delivery with Jenkins: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It’s not just a good name for a talk, it’s also an important topic. One of the more known tools in the CI/CD environment is Jenkins, and while it seems that everyone is using it, is there a right or wrong way to work with it? The short answer is yes.
In his talk, Tommy Tynjä, a Senior Software Engineer and Continuous Delivery Consultant at Diabol, shares the pros and cons of different approaches in Jenkins, their competitors, why it’s better than others, and where it can improve.

Cloud Native is About Culture, Not Containers

Sometimes it seems that getting into the cloud will help the company, product, users, and pretty much everything to be better. But what happens after the structure and workflows have changed, and we need to manage risks, as well as the relationships between teams?
Holly Cummins, Worldwide Development Leader in IBM’s Cloud Garage, shares the methodology that can help turn things around – from the ideal team size, the ideal microservice size, what skills a team needs, the role of architects, how to know if something is ready to ship, and identifying whose fault everything really is.

Functional Programming with Effects

The lean model of functional programming seems to abandon real-world concerns such as partiality, exceptions, logging, mutable state, etc. Rob Norris, a programmer at Gemini Observatory, has been programming for over 35 years and he believes that Functional Programming is what helped improve the quality and maintainability of his code.
In his talk, he goes over Functional Programming from the first principles and demonstrates how we recover the expressiveness of imperative programming, without sacrificing the benefits of equational reasoning, via effects.

The Data Behind DevOps: Becoming a High Performer

DevOps has been on the rise, helping teams perform better than before. But how can you take lower-performing teams and help them make the switch and become high performers?
Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Co-founder, CEO and Chief Scientist at DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), shares insights into the key leadership, technical, architectural, and product capabilities that drive these outcomes, and how it can help us improve our own teams.

Anatomy of a Crime: Secure DevOps or Darknet Early Breach Detection

Darknet has a lot of faults. In it you can find almost any type of criminals and crime, from intellectual property theft, to narcotics, and unfortunately, more. What role does the darknet play in data breaches? What can operations and infrastructure developers consider when building their systems to help prevent breaches?
Dr. Sarah Lewis Cortes, Sr M&A Security Program Manager at Salesforce, shares how darknet affected her own company, and explains what are the risks, the breaches and the actions that should be considered for operations and infrastructure developers when building systems.

Can a DevOps Culture Help Avoid Burnout?

While some teams, companies and employees might think that burnout is inevitable, Ken Mugrage, Technology Evangelist at ThoughtWorks, believes there are ways in which we can avoid it altogether.
In his talk, Ken covers some of the well accepted causes of burnout, and demonstrate how a culture of shared ownership and responsibility will help avoid many of them. Fun fact: Ken believes that some of the things we think might solve this issue, such as encouraging learning and promoting members from the team, actually make it worse.

Bonus Talk: Java Jedi Powers – How to Accelerate Delivery of Reliable Software

Automated workflows are the gold standard for delivering top quality products in an agile environment, but with constant change, comes constant risk. New code is deployed at faster rates, but Continuous Delivery often also means having to deal with continuous errors. Enter Observability, a measure of how well the internal states of a system can be inferred from its external outputs. It’s the ability to know how applications operate in production.
In this talk, Eric Mizell, VP Solution Engineering at OverOps, introduces the concept of Observability in Java applications and how to incorporate it into your system. Metrics, logging, monitoring, and reliability. It’s not just about monitoring your system, it’s about understanding it as a whole.

Henn is a marketing manager at OverOps covering topics related to Java, Scala and everything in between. She is a lover of gadgets, apps, technology and tea.

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