DevOps Days Birmingham 2022 Recap

Last week Mondoo sponsored our very first European event: DevOpsDays Birmingham! It was also the first DevOpsDays ever held in Birmingham. As a global core member of DevOpsDays and head of Community for Mondoo in Europe, I was delighted to get together once again with DevOps practitioners and thought leaders.

Mondoo stand at DevOpsDays Birmingham UK

Birmingham welcomed us with its lively pubs and friendly locals. It’s not a well known fact, but Birmingham is the UK's second largest city, not Manchester! They have a thriving art scene and beautiful architecture spanning centuries.

DevOpsDays format

For those that have never been to DevOpsDays, the format (at least for first year events like Birmingham) is:

  • Keynote
  • 3-4 talks in the morning (single track)
  • Lunch
  • Open Spaces

We typically repeat this the second day, often ending with a closing circle on the second day. Most cities, and Birmingham was no different, host an evening event on day 1 where people can eat and socialize.

The single track of talks forces presentations to be more general rather than focused on a specific technology. These talks inspire topics for the Open Spaces that take place in the afternoon.

Community insights

Chris Hartmann (Mondoo co-founder and CTO) and I participated in the Open Spaces in the afternoon. We posted two topics:

  • How has "shifting left" in security impacted you?
  • What are you doing to keep production secure?

The first topic brought in a sizable audience. I asked the 25 to 30 people gathered there, “Who’s doing some form of security testing in your build pipeline?” and more than 70% of the room raised their hands. However, no one was completely satisfied with that security step, with one person going as far to say that "It's just a bunch of noise and none of it’s really relevant to my deploy job." That was validating information for Chris and me, because Mondoo eliminates noise and provides actionable steps to fix issues.

Yvo van Doorn leading an Open Space discussion on shift-left at DevOpsDays Birmingham

The talks at DevOpsDays Birmingham strongly focused on solving a problem or presenting an alternative approach to easing pain points. One talk from Noaa Barki (titled "A smart person learns from their own mistakes, but a truly wise person learns from the mistakes of others") discussed enforcing policy in the pipeline in order to protect your Kubernetes environment from outages. This is a perfect use case to solve with Mondoo, which can scan all of your Kubernetes manifests locally as you code and in your CI/CD pipeline.

DevOps in 2022

One thing is clear to me: DevOpsDays has evolved away from “configuration management” best practices and CI/CD methodology to discussing best practices around Kubernetes, Terraform, and cutting cloud (AWS) costs. One attendee observed that, because of the global pandemic, it felt as if we all pressed “a giant pause button” on innovation in February 2020; everyone doubled down on the tech choices they made then and started iterating on those choices. Any up-and-coming tech that didn’t have a strong user base before everything turned remote-only had a hard time finding a community.

Final thoughts 

Chris Hartmann with DevOpsDays organizer Alistair Hey

The organizers at Birmingham did a fantastic job hosting one of the first in-person European DevOpsDays after the last two years of pandemic. The venue allowed for great open spaces, had a wonderful main hall, and did a superb job hosting the sponsors. It’s exciting to see Mondoo invest in a community, and in a conference where that community discusses its ideas and problems. I look forward to Mondoo continuing to sponsor other European DevOpsDays events. You can find us at DevOpsDays Amsterdam at the end of June.

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