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December 1, 2022

What to Expect at DevOps Enterprise Summit Virtual – US 2022

By Gene Kim

I loved the DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas conference!

Holy cow.

We held our first live DevOps Enterprise Summit in three years in Las Vegas this October and, without a doubt, it was the best conference we had ever put together. I thought the talks were absolutely fantastic and, more importantly, seeing all the interactions within the community was even better.

I was especially delighted about how we could bring in some of the best parts of the virtual conferences into the physical format—Slack interactions front-and-center on the plenary stage, and a higher volume of shorter talks.

You would think that coming off of such an amazing event, putting together a virtual conference (which happens next week!) would be a downer, but quite the opposite!

In this post, I’ll describe the big hopes and plans we have for virtual conferences going forward, and why I’m so excited about the virtual conference happening next week.

What virtual conferences are great at and how we can best use them

During the pandemic, we used virtual conferences as a substitute for physical conferences. As I described in my previous posts, I’ve learned what makes great conferences, and how we can make physical conferences better by applying what we’ve learned through virtual conferences.

Now that we have in-person events again, how can we best use virtual conferences to advance the goals of the DevOps Enterprise community?

I propose that there are at least three benefits that they could enable.

Higher frequency

Anyone who has run a physical conference knows that it is an absolutely enormous undertaking. They are hugely expensive, and require a huge team to plan and run.

We can do virtual conferences with a fraction of the cost and effort, which means we can do them more frequently.

One of the things the community has been asking for since at least 2015 is, “how can we better enable community interactions between the conferences”.

We’ve never come up with a great answer, despite many attempts. (Kudos to Jim Moverly and Nick Eggleston who have helped so much explore this—I’ve learned a ton through these experiments.)

I can easily imagine a scenario where we may start doing quarterly one-day events.

More learning

Imagine a quarterly event where we feature a “learning and community day”, with a combination of lectures, experience reports, “birds of feather” sessions, and extended Q&A sessions.

More great talks

It has been great to watch so many of the Vegas 2022 breakout sessions (which you’ll soon be able to watch soon, too—see the DevOps Enterprise Summit Slack for the explanation).

There are so many great talks where I had questions for the speaker—and when I learned the answer, I wished they could present again with the additional context and learning.

Well, now we can!

In the past, we’ve experimented with “watch parties” where we watched talks again.

Appreciating a new medium

Watching some of the talks we’ve recorded for next week, it’s so clear that pre-recorded virtual talks are a very different medium than live talks.

In the past, I’ve cited Chris Capossela (CVP, Microsoft) when he said “live events are theatrical , while virtual events are cinematic.”  I think that just scratches the surface — there are things you can do in a cinematic format that you simply can’t do live.

(There’s a reason that The Avengers is a great high-budget movie, but likely wouldn’t make a great high school play.)

In the virtual conference next week, we’ll be experimenting with many of these ideas!

What I’m excited about next week

As I’m writing this, we’re almost done recording all of the plenary speaker sessions, and holy cow, they are absolutely amazing. Here are some of my favorite talks that you’ll see next week:

Amy Willard, Group Engineering Manager, IT Strategy & Transformation, John Deere
Matt Ring, Sr. Product & Engineering Coach, John Deere

They have such a fabulous experience report of how they elevated the ways of working across an engineering organization that has over 4,000 technologists—they undertook an organizational change management approach that is very different from ones we typically see within this community.

They do such a fantastic job in describing their thought process and methods, as well as what the resulting outcomes were. And watching their presentation again, I was so riveted by their use of language and how they model leadership in their organization.

Dr. Arun Chawla, Chief, Engineering & Implementation, National Weather Service, NOAA

Dr. Arun Chawla is spearheading a new way of working for scientists and engineers at the Environmental Modeling Center, which is part of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he serves as Chief of Engineering and Implementation.

I admit that I’m at a loss to properly describe the amazing work their group does, because it impacts our daily lives in so many ways.

You’ve benefited from their work if you’ve ever gotten an inclement weather warning, such as a tornado or flood. Or if you’ve ever seen or read a news story about the predicted path of a hurricane.  Or if you’ve ever been on a boat or plane, or ever gotten a package that’s been shipped by one, because those vessels receive real time data from this agency to enable them to avoid dangerous weather.

He will describe how a compelling event that happened ten years ago set the stage for a demand for a better, newer way of working, and what Dr. Chawla and a group of like-minded thinkers did about it.

Robert Wood, Chief Information Security Officer & Director of the Information Security & Privacy Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides health coverage to more than 100 million people in the US, which includes some of the most vulnerable—children, the elderly, and people who can’t afford their own healthcare.

Robert describes the amazing story of what his group is doing to liberate over the 6,000 developers that support CMS from the onerous work of ensuring the security and compliance of their work in a highly regulated environment.

To me, what makes this work so admirable is that this effort to elevate developer and ops productivity is driven by the security group—which is the opposite of most of our experiences with security. 

I am just so blown away by the vision and aspirations of the work being done by Robert and team. In an ideal world, every engineering organization would have an effort like this to integrate information security objectives into their daily work.

Rosalind Radcliffe, IBM Fellow, CIO DevSecOps CTO, IBM

I first met our next speaker, Rosalind Radcliffe, in 2014. But it was later in 2015 when I, like almost everyone in this community, was blown away when she presented on how modern technical practices could be done on the z/OS mainframe platform.

And one of my favorite presentations ever was in 2016, she co-presented with Rich Jackson, then a principal software engineer at Walmart. It was the amazing story of how the mainframe team saved the day, when they were able to build a caching service that could operate at Walmart scale—something the entire company had been struggling with for years.

Her evangelism and technical innovation led to her elevation from a Distinguished Engineer to a Technical Fellow, the highest rank of individual contributors at IBM, of which there are only 84 active right now.

As I mentioned in Las Vegas in October, I have grown to love the talks we’ve started to feature from people who I admire on career advice. I asked Rosalind to share her journey, on what advice she would give to someone who wants to advance on the IC ladder, and why orgs even have an IC ladder in the first place.

Shannon Lietz, VP of Security, Adobe

I’ve been an admirer of the work of Shannon Lietz for nearly a decade, because she helped pioneer and codify so much of the work that’s become known as DevSecOps.

What I’ve loved about her work is that it’s always been grounded in the need for pragmatic grounding in risk and concrete practices, and how she describes what the ideal interactions are between business, development, QA, operations and information security should be.

And one of the evidences of this was that she won the Scott Cook Innovation Award in 2014 for the work that she did building a cloud security program at Intuit—which was one of the many amazing and pioneering things she did there.

I was so delighted when I learned that she became the VP of Security at Adobe, which is the 5th largest software company by market capitalization. 

She’s always been at the forefront of the information security profession, and I was so happy that she was willing to share the exciting work that she’s doing now—it reframes information security in a startling way, but one that I know will resonate with this community.

What is really exciting is that it could get other security leaders in your organizations excited and thinking in a new way, too.

Dr. Thomas Wuerthinger, Vice President of Software Development, Oracle

As many of you may know, learning the Clojure programming language in 2016 reintroduced the joy of coding back into my life. It’s a functional programming language that pioneered using immutable data structures, and it either runs on the JVM or gets transpiled into JavaScript.

Before learning Clojure, I hadn’t spent much time using Java or the JVM—like maybe tens of hours, and that was in the early 2000s, nearly twenty years ago. I didn’t have much appreciation for it at the time, and mostly associated it with Ops people complaining about “out of memory errors”, usually happening in the middle of the night.

But after learning Clojure, I gained so much appreciation for the JVM — it’s one of the most battle-tested and performant runtimes, having benefited from billions of dollars of R&D invested over the last 30 years, running on over tens of billions of instances worldwide, and runs some of the most compute and data intensive business processes on the planet.

But believe it or not, it’s become one of the most vibrant and innovative VM runtime ecosystems around.

And much of that I credit to the work of Dr. Thomas Wuerthinger, who created the GraalVM project when he joined Oracle Labs 12 years ago, after having spent time working on the famous V8 JavaScript JIT compiler that runs inside the Chrome browser.

I’ve been so blown away by his work over the years—among other things, his team created a runtime that runs not just Java, but also Python, Ruby, R, and Smalltalk (and often faster than ever), but also a faster JIT compiler that’s written in Java (as opposed to C++), and they can now create native JVM executable binaries that have startup times and memory usages that are typically associated with Go and C++. 

It was such an honor to learn more about the incredible journey that he and his team have been on. It’s an amazing story of not just technical innovation, but doing so in a giant, 30-year- old ecosystem with giant commitments and constraints and succeeding despite of it all (or maybe because of it).

His mission is to make programmers more productive, and programs run faster!

George Kraniotis, Director of Software Engineering, Discover Financial Services

This was one of my favorite talks from DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas.

I loved it because it was so startling, and yet is something that I suspect EVERYONE shifting from decades of using annual project funding models to product oriented value streams will face.

The problem he describes is the puzzle one faces with all the applications and services that don’t neatly fit into a product or business value stream—what exactly do you do with all these services?  

They’re mission critical, because when you attempt to turn one off, scores of services would stop working. But who should run them, what should be their long-term strategy, and who should manage them?

He describes such a pragmatic way of thinking about how to tackle it, and the problems that still remain.

Jonathan Joo, Senior Software Engineer, Google

Jonathan is part of the Java platform team at Google, which supports the thousands of Google developers who rely the JVM to develop and run some of Google’s largest and most critical services.

His team is responsible for many things, including creating and maintaining the custom tools that Google has built over the decades, and liberating developers from having to know about all of the sometimes arcane aspects of running the JVM in production.

But something surprising happened as they started migrating Google services from Java 8 to Java 11—workloads started blowing up in production. To massively oversimplify, they discovered that bad things can happen if developers are allowed to use as much memory as they think they need.

This talk is so startling for so many reasons, including a radically different philosophy on memory garbage collection than I’ve ever heard, but one that I think you’ll agree is nearly impossible to argue against because of the money it can save.

I am so excited that Jonathan is willing to share his story with this community, because it shows the incredible value that platform expertise creates.

Nathen Harvey, Developer Advocate, Google
Amanda Lewis, Developer Advocate, Google

Log4J as a tale of two cities—utterly freaking brilliant story of how two different archetypal applications run by two different archetypal groups lead to massively different outcomes, with a very surprising conclusion.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry!

Paul Gaffney, Forrest Brazeal, American Airlines, and Dr. Andre Martin

These were some of my favorite plenary talks at DevOps Enterprise Summit—for those of you who missed, or saw it and want to watch it with your colleagues, here’s your chance. We’ll be re-airing these amazing talks, and the fantastic speakers will be on Slack to answer your questions, too!

Doug Murphy, IT Manager, Daimler Truck North America
Raquel Kusters, Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence Product Manager, Daimler Truck North America

See all the amazing talks

Take a look at the entire list of technology leaders that will be presenting at DevOps Enterprise Summit Virtual – US 2022 next week by viewing the agenda.

Come enjoy the show

We are so excited to welcome back some of our favorite speakers, as well as new experience reports from an array of industries featuring exciting new topic areas.

If I could wave a magic wand, you would all register today using my special code, US22MAGICWAND, and join us for DevOps Enterprise Summit Virtual – US, December 6-8, 2022. The agenda is live here.

I can’t wait to see you there!

- About The Authors
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Gene Kim

Award winning CTO, researcher, and author.

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