16 DevOps and sysadmin conferences worth your attention in 2019
Anyone responsible for keeping the lights on and blinking needs to keep up with the latest cloud and data center technologies. Whether you're in charge of architecture decisions or the nitty-gritty of deploying containers, one of the best ways to ensure you stay up to date is to attend a conference—and 2019 promises a feast of conferences for DevOps, system administrators, and site reliability engineers (SREs).
But how much feasting can you do? It’s likely you can wrestle a travel and training budget for only one or two events. Here are 16 events, ordered by date, that I think are worth your time, along with enough information to help you make the best choice for your needs.
In addition to the sheer number of related conferences, "DevOps" encompasses a wide range of topics. Plus, many conferences are focused on specific topics that are tied to a product or its vendor—if you use Kubernetes, you probably don’t need a lot of arm-twisting to attend KubeCon, for example.
Because DevOps practices are intertwined with so many technical issues, I tried not to list events that overlap with other specialties. For example, most of the dozens of conferences for cybersecurity professionals have tracks relevant to system administration; web developers care about operations, and their events at least touch on deployment. But because those conferences are collected in similar roundups (see the full list here), I don’t stress events like Interop or RSA. That still leaves quite a few conferences worldwide, from San Diego to São Paulo—enabling you to travel as little or as far as your budget and wanderlust dictate.
Save the date! Check out HPE Discover, Las Vegas.
Dates and locations: January 24-25, New York; February 7-8, Charlotte, North Carolina; February 21-22, Geneva; March 8, Los Angeles; March 29-30, Vancouver; April 9-10, Tokyo; April 10-11, São Paulo; April 23-24, Seattle; May 2-3, Austin, Texas; May 2-3, Des Moines, Iowa; May 9-10, Nashville; May 14-15, Zürich; May 14-15, Salt Lake City; May 17-18, Kiev, Ukraine; June 26-28, Amsterdam; August 6-7, Minneapolis; September 9, Cairo
Cost: Varies, but as one example, it was $60 for an event in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
DevOps Days is a worldwide series of two-day technical conferences. As the name suggests, these events cover topics related to software development, IT infrastructure operations, and the intersection between them. With so many events, one of them is likely to be local to you. That probably makes these conferences affordable (even if you have to pay your own way) and suggests that it’s an opportunity for the human side of networking.
Because each event is run by local volunteers, the presentations—a combination of curated talks and self-organized content—vary widely. They usually include matters related to automation, testing, security, and organizational culture. As an example, the November 2018 event in Chattanooga, Tennessee, had sessions like "Important Metrics for Measuring Code Health," "Lessons Learned in DevOps Leadership," and "DevOps ICU: Improving DevOps Results by (Correctly) Integrating UX."
O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference
Dates and locations: February 3-6, New York; June 10-13, San Jose, California; November 4-7, Berlin
O’Reilly has earned a lofty reputation across all areas of IT—at least one of the company’s conferences is listed in each of our roundups. The Software Architecture conferences promise “a wide-ranging look at trends and techniques of software development” for architects and developers who want to learn the latest trends in software.
What you get is a mix of high-level introductions and practical guidance. Among the sessions and tutorials featured at the three-day conference are “Continuous Delivery in an Ephemeral World,” “Moving to Microservices: Using Domain-Driven Design to Break Down the Monolith,” “Building for Gracious Failure,” and “Security Principles for the Working Architect.”
IBM Think 2019
Dates and location: February 12-15, San Francisco
IBM’s Think conference is back for 2019, bigger and better than last year. Well, definitely bigger. It overflows the Moscone Center and spills out into surrounding venues. With hundreds of speakers and an estimated 30,000 attendees, the conference offers sessions covering the latest advances in computing from an IBM perspective.
Although primarily aimed at the CIO level and above, Think includes lots of educational opportunities for sysadmins and DevOps, with tracks devoted to cloud, analytics, IT infrastructure, systems modernization, and open source. For example, among the 2019 sessions are “How Custom Metadata Simplifies Management of Massive Unstructured Data Repositories” and “Identify Anomalies from IT Operational Data to Maintain Optimal System Health.” In addition to presentations, it includes tutorials and proctored certification exams.
Date and location: March 14, DeFabrique, Utrecht, Netherlands
Cost: €225 (US$256.75) until January 17
Located just down the street from a chocolate factory, the Devon Summit is focused on the latest developments in the world of DevOps from a European perspective. Among the expected presentations are “Managing Regulatory Compliance in a DevOps World,” “Get Up to Speed with DevOps Using Modern Development Practices,” and “Modern Skills for the DevOps Professional.”
Dates and location: March 11-13, Bochum, Germany
Cost: €499 (US$560) for all three days
The tech-centric presentations at this nonprofit conference in western Germany promise to address the hottest topics in cloud-native development. It’s an opportunity for hands-on workshop training, such as “Container Troubleshooting with Sysdig,” as well as presentations on a range of subjects, including “Containers for (Model) Railways,” “Traefik as an Ingress Controller for Kubernetes,” and “What the Heck Is Software Craftsmanship?”
Dates and location: March 19-20, Melbourne, Australia
Price: $399 (US$240)
The DevOps Talks conference brings together DevOps leaders, engineers, and architects—oh, wait, they all say that. Perhaps more to the point, one attendee appreciated the event because “it’s been fun to have conversations [about] the mix between automation and culture.”
Among past sessions: “How to Adapt the SDLC for DevSecOps,” “Back from the Future: Learnings from Three Years of Serverless,” “The Road to Kubernetes: The ANZ DevOps Journey,” and “Living in a World Where DevOps and NoOps Intersect: How to Use Both for Massive-Scale Data and Analytics on GCP.” If you want to get a taste of the event, some of the 2018 presentations, such as “Do Change with Communities of Practice,” are posted online.
Dates and location: April 30 – May 2, San Francisco
Cost: TBD; fall 2018 in Barcelona was €955 (US$1,088)
If you use Docker in your IT shop—and there’s a good chance you do—it behooves you to stay up to speed with what the company is doing and learn the product roadmap. As you would expect, the conference covers the entire Docker ecosystem, with everything from basic tutorials to sessions on the latest advances in the world of containers, tuned for beginners through advanced users.
For example, the fall event in Barcelona included “Tips and Tricks for Optimizing your Docker Container for Size and Security,” “Building Secure Delivery Pipelines with Docker, Google, and Trend Micro,” and “Machine Learning to Derive Deeper Intelligence for the Modern App Stack and Container Deployments.”
Dates and location: May 20-23, Las Vegas
Cost: Starts at $1,699, with summits and workshops at additional charge
Interop is the grizzled old veteran of IT conferences dealing with connectivity, from networking infrastructure to security to IT strategy. It’s big, it’s loud, and it's useful (if you’re also shopping for hardware and software), and it has a huge exhibition area.
These days, the agenda tracks include DevOps topics—because if the system doesn’t stay up, it’s not exactly workable. Among the early sessions announced are “DevOps Meets Docs: Documentation as Code,” “SRE and DevOps Need Agile ITSM,” and “Training for Risk to Reap the Reward: Engaging Tech Teams in Software Delivery.”
Red Hat Summit 2019
Dates and location: May 7-9, Boston
If you rely on any of Red Hat’s products or the open source tools it sponsors, this conference may be a no-brainer. As a little added push, it features training for many certifications, including implementing microservices in the Red Hat environment.
Some of the sessions may not be specific to DevOps (such as those discussing Linux development), but DevOps will find plenty of interest, such as “Moving Development from Waterfall to DevOps” and “Integrating Security, Architecture, and/or Design into an Agile and DevOps Workflow.” Last year’s conference presentations included “Secure Modern Software Delivery for Government;” “Blockchain: How to Identify Good Use Cases,” and “5 Minutes to Enterprise Node.js on Red Hat OpenShift with Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes.”
Continuous Lifecycle London
Dates and location: May 14-16, London
Cost: £600 (US$766)
Most DevOps events emphasize the technologies IT staff use, such as containers or tools to measure performance metrics. Continuous Lifecycle London adds to the suite of containerization and continuous delivery discussions by also devoting attention to human processes such as agile methodologies. For example, last year’s keynote was Linda Rising, whose work on patterns in software, architecture, and organizational change laid the foundations of the scrum and agile approaches.
The conference promises real-world experts who share their practical experiences. As a sample, last year’s presentations included “Start Your Engines: White Box Monitoring for Your Load Tests,” “Infrastructure as Code as Collaboration: How Ansible and Jenkins Can Keep Projects in Step Across Time Zones,” and “Practical, Team-Focused Operability Techniques for Distributed Systems.”
Gartner Application Architecture Development and Integration Summit
Dates and location: May 20-21, London; November 27-29, Las Vegas
Cost: €2,775 for London (US$3,100); TBD for Las Vegas
Most of the conferences here are meant for the hands-on developer or operations professional. As you may expect from a Gartner conference, this one is aimed at CIOs and higher. Its DevOps track promises to help IT executives propose product vision and roadmaps, allocate staff, and deliver features and update plans quarterly. With a strategic rather than tactical focus, it may help businesses in transformation that struggle with cultural change and agile practices. In all likelihood that means more PowerPoint presentations and fewer live software demonstrations.
Dates and locations: June 18-20, Las Vegas; November, Madrid
Cost: Las Vegas pre-event (April 13–June 14) $1,895, on-site (June 15-20) $2,095; Madrid pricing TBA—2018 event was €1,795.00 (US$2,084)
Discounts: Public sector
HPE Discover, held twice a year—once in Las Vegas in June and once in Europe in the fall—offers a look at what Hewlett Packard Enterprise and its partners are building. Expect to hear from HPE subject-matter experts and customer panelists who discuss product directions in detail. Some of these are DevOps related, such as “How to Prevent Your DevOps Initiatives from Stalling,” while others are overarching IT deep thoughts, such as “Driving Memory-Driven Computing from Research to Reality.”
Agile + DevOps West
Dates and location: June 2-7, Las Vegas
Cost: Starting at $1,945 for the conference; additional cost for workshops
TechWell runs several conferences for developers. This one combines agile and DevOps with the premise that development and operations success is built on cross-functional teams that together work to deliver secure, quality software. Sessions from last year included “Five Core Values to Focus Your Regression Testing Efforts,” “Building the Perfect Product Backlog,” and “A Case Study in Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement.”
KubeCon and CloudNativeCon
Dates and locations: June 24-26, Shanghai; November 18-21, San Diego
KubeCon began by serving Kubernetes users but has expanded to “all things cloud native.” So even if you aren’t looking for Kubernetes tips (though most DevOps are), you may be interested in sessions like “How to Build Deep Learning Inference Through Knative Serverless Framework” or “Running Serverless HPC Workloads on Top of Kubernetes and Jupyter Notebooks.” It stays pretty technical, so if discussions of “what should go into a container build manifest” make your eyes glaze over, you may want to look elsewhere.
DevOps Enterprise Summit
Dates and location: June 25-27, London; October 28-30, Las Vegas
Cost: Early registration $1,400; other pricing options TBA
If you manage DevOps projects, the DevOps Enterprise Summit is worth checking out. Now in its sixth year in the United States and fourth year in Europe, the three-day conference and exhibit hall aim to help accelerate DevOps adoption and increase the likelihood of those initiatives succeeding.
Rather than focusing on nuts-and-bolts how-to sessions, the conference is geared to technology and business leaders who manage software projects. Keynotes, breakout sessions, and collaborative workshops address the evolving technical and architectural practices and how to implement them. The conference’s stated goal is “to give leaders the tools and practices they need to develop and deploy software faster and to win in the marketplace.” As a result, there are several case studies, like last year’s “Scaling Continuous Delivery to Walmart,” and strategic overviews, such as “The Future of DevOps for the Enterprise Trends and Insights.”
Microsoft Ignite 2019
Dates and location: November 4-8, Orlando, Florida
Yet another event for businesses that are committed to a vendor’s products, Microsoft Ignite may not be “about” DevOps, but the company’s involvement with cloud technologies, big data, and business intelligence makes it worth consideration, particularly if your job extends beyond DevOps. With more than 700 presentations, it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself with the latest tools and hear the ideas directly from the experts. (And to walk a long way between meeting rooms. Wear comfortable shoes.)
There are plenty more DevOps events, as befits such a growing, active field. If there’s a “How could you leave out…!” conference we should add, let us know at @enterprisenxt.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.