Chef at DevOpsDays Baltimore 2017

The Event

Columbus Center
UMBC Columbus Center

Baltimore held its inaugural DevOpsDays on March 7-8, 2017 at UMBC’s Columbus Center, the home of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The space was dynamic with open tiers for presentations and quiet corners for open spaces. Chef had a strong presence as a Platinum sponsor. Our VP of Community Development, Nathen Harvey, was one of the organizer’s advisors. He and Solutions Architect, Galen Emery, were invited to present.

Cultural Change

Nathen gave the opening keynote, “Building the Baltimore Devops Community”, presenting the origin of DevOpsDays, the principles of Devops, and how you can apply them inside your company and out into the local community.

Mike Bland talked about how those who cared, nurtured a culture of testing at Google. It was a broad approach that used some of the thinking behind Crossing the Chasm to address the concerns and appeal to the interests from early adopters (“Instigators”) to laggards (“Skeptics”).

Galen Emery spoke about living with the gap in air-gapped environments, dealing with the challenges you encounter when your servers don’t have access to the internet. Crucially, he pointed out that all servers, even those that are ostensibly online, shouldn’t rely on that fact for reliable operation.


Both days included an excellent selection of ignite talks. Alan Kraft from the United States Patent Office spoke about how to hack A3 Thinking from manufacturing—specific questions about how to improve productivity to be answered on a largish piece of A3 paper—into something that works better for the less mechanical discipline of software development.

Peter Burkholder convinced attendees to focus on being, or rather, finding where we are average so that it becomes clear to each individual where your growth potential is and who you can mentor to lift up.

Renee Lung shared how DevOps is like roller derby while Jason Yee made the case for the DevOps of coffee.

Open Spaces

The best part of any DevOpsDays event, in my opinion, are the open spaces. Attendees can propose any topic they wish to discuss. The topics are written on sticky notes and placed on the wall. Chaos ensues while a schedule is created, and people get together to talk about topics that interest them.

There were a wide range of topics being discussed at DevOpsDays Baltimore. Alan Kraft proposed a topic on A3 thinking to continue from his ignite talk earlier, and we all discussed how to plan projects using the A3 method. One group shared their experiences with terraform, while another discussed how to deal with monitoring their systems and writing post mortems.

Thanks to the organizers, sponsors and attendees of the first DevOpsDays Baltimore. It was a pleasure to attend and we look forward to joining you all again next year.

Join the Community

Robb Kidd

Robb Kidd is a software developer on Chef's Community Engineering Team and Journeyman Grocer on the Supermarket. Prior to joining Chef, Robb did software development and operations in the information security industry. He holds a degree in Religious Studies which adds an extra dimension to those “Why, God, WHY!?!” systems engineering moments. Robb lives in northern Virginia, but don't hold that against him.