I'm back from ChefConf! What a truly amazing experience and many thanks to our good friends at Chef for having your favourite partner Vibrato at the conference! For those of you who don't know what ChefConf is all about... it's not about cooking (although I was asked by my AirBnB which spices I like to cook with) but rather it's all about whipping up The Awesome with everything that's new and powerful from Chef.
I had a real misconception of what kind of city Austin, Texas was until I got there. Austin is an amazing place, with vibrant music and night life and it made me feel right at home as soon as I arrived. ChefConf was run out of the JW Marriott Austin which was simply awesome. The setup in the hotel and conference areas made it feel like it was a Chef resort rather than a conference, and the staff and Chef volunteers who helped throughout the four-day long event were just lovely. You gotta get to Austin if you've never been!
The Culture and Community.
I think the key differentiator for Chef as an organisation and ChefConf in particular is that of a culture and energy which you just don't see at other conferences. Thanks to Nathen Harvey, now the Chief Awesome Officer at Chef, there were plenty of hugs, caring and love to go around. I've never been to a tech conference before where I either knew or got to know at least half of the attendees...and there were over 4000 people there!
I'm proud to be part of the Chef Community, both personally and through Vibrato. The depth of their commitment to open source and the overwhelming support they get from their international community continues to add amazing value to their products and services. In particular, they provide the Awesome Community Chef Awards for members of the community who have made significant contributions to enhancing Chef products and experience. This year's winner was Annie who assisted in producing the documentation and training around Chef Inspec (Compliance) which has truly become one of Chef's most powerful offerings. I personally used Annie's guide and was shocked to learn she's not a Chef employee. You're a good friend and have done the Chef community proud, Annie - congratulations!
I guess it wouldn't be a conference if they didn't announce all of the new things Chef is releasing to market...and there were some seriously cool offerings released. In no particular order, these are the highlights that I took from the conference:
Compliance for AWS
Yup, outside of the amazing strides that the Chef team has made in delivering automated compliance capability through their Chef Automate Platform, they've now released the capability to constantly track the compliance of the AWS environment which is being managed. In short, you can either establish your own controls or select pre-defined best practise controls built by the chef community that you can automatically audit your systems against. It's very powerful and serves to attract security teams to the Chef community. If you're interested in learning more, you can find information here. If you're interested in getting started with inspec-aws from an opensource perspective, you can visit this GitHub Project.
So this is where things got really interesting for me personally. Adam Jacob, founder of Chef, decided to just take a couple of years out and meditate on where the world of automation and application delivery is going. On his return, he found that it was all about the application and customer centric experience. Enter Habitat, part of the Chef Automate Platform, which gives you the ability to automate the build and delivery of your application dependencies in an continuous fashion. They've coined it "continuous automation" and it's quite cool. I was able to get a build of a simple NodeJS app up and going in about 20 minutes from start to finish and deployed to K8. I could explain it all, but Kelsey Hightower did a way better job of it here.
Note: How cool is Kelsey Hightower... builds a side car over night... legend.
Almost back to community, but first just a little more about the personal takeaways; I always end up meeting so many fantastic people at Chef events and ChefConf definitely came through again. I meet partners who are doing similar things to Vibrato in many geographical regions in the world. From training, to professional services and to product, the conversation never ran dry and I took a lot out of it to bring home and I'm hopeful that my input encouraged or assisted teams to do more in the community.
If you've not been before, get along to a ChefConf next year. Austin is beautiful, the people are welcoming, the community is inspiring and it truly is amazing to learn all things Chef whilst you're there. I don't have much more to say except a big thanks to Barry Crist, Adam Jacob, Nathen Harvey and all of the Chef Execs. You guys are doing an amazing job and I'll see you all again next year!
PS... <Michael Ducy, it was me who stole your drink at that last pub>
If you're all interested in learning more about the announcements from ChefConf, please come and join us for the Melbourne Chef Meetup in Melbourne.