Velocity 2011: The Workshops

Peco and I split up to cover more ground.  I went to four workshops and here’s the details… Peco will have to chime in on his.

First, Adrian Cockroft, Director of Cloud Architecture for Netflix, spoke on Netflix in the Cloud. This session was excellent.  He talked about the importance of model driven architecture, a runtime registry, how too many of the monitoring etc. tools don’t do cloud worth a damn…  All great stuff.  Included a love letter to AppDynamics, a cool cloud-friendly app instrumentation tool similar to our beloved Opnet Panorama.

Next, I saw John Rauser of Amazon talk about Just Enough Statistics To Be Dangerous. He talked about basic probability stats and how to use them.  Pretty good, though could have used more “and here’s how this applies to WebOps” examples instead of “how many quarters are in this jar” examples. I missed a bit of this because I ran out to go to the head and Patrick Debois grabbed me to talk to a guy from Dell about DevOps, which was loads of fun!  I missed the part on Bayesian stats though, I’ll have to watch the session video once it’s available.

Over lunch we met up with all the other guys here from NI, and my college friend Jon Whitney! Woot!  Rice University in the house!

After lunch, it was John Allspaw talking about reliability engineering and Postmortems and Human Error. Root cause is a myth!  So is human error!  Mindbending stuff. You should read the “How Complex Systems Fail” chapter in the Web Ops book to lube you up first, then watch the video for this session. Very relevant to all ops folks. We were a little split, though, on how a militant no-blame philosophy jives with places that aren’t hiring the absolute cream of the crop – if you don’t work at Etsy or similar 3l33t place, you do have some folks that are… a disproportionate source of errors.

My last workshop was a little disappointing – Automating Web Performance Testing by 5 PM, by the Neustar crew. There was some good info in there – Selenium, proxies, HAR format – but delivery was weak.  Sample code though, you can download some Python and Java automation examples. But “I can’t read text that small” combined with bad presentation technique (asking 5 times for “raise your hand if you don’t know X,” for example) made it a bit of a chore. Ah well.

Now it’s time for dinner and then the evening Ignite! sessions!

1 Comment

Filed under Conferences, DevOps

One response to “Velocity 2011: The Workshops

  1. Nice post which Included a love letter to AppDynamics, a cool cloud-friendly app instrumentation tool similar to our beloved Opnet Panorama.There was some good info in there Selenium, proxies, HAR format but delivery was weak. Thanks a lot for posting.

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