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A Conference To Discuss Developer-Driven Infrastructure

11 Jun 2015 3:50pm, by

Adrian Cockcroft is a technology fellow at Battery Ventures, well known for leading the development of the Netflix streaming architecture. We don’t normally write about upcoming conferences. But with Adrian and others of note helping lead the show, the GOTO conference looks like one of those rare gems, and worth a post on The New Stack.

Competitive pressures have pushed speed of development to be one of the highest priorities for business today. Improved tools and techniques have moved the state of the art in agile development from monolithic updates every few weeks, to continuous delivery of microservices several times a day. The move to “run what you wrote” and developer-driven infrastructure means that developers are not only delivering products faster, but are also responsible for the efficiency and safety of those products in production. Lean development techniques that take waste out of the process are augmented by cloud-native applications that autoscale capacity on a just-in-time basis. The security blanket approach of wrapping a firewall around an insecure monolithic product has been replaced by penetration testing of every microservice, sophisticated use of identity and access management mechanisms, encryption as the default and fine-grain security key management.

These three core areas form a story arc through GOTO London: Agile, Lean and Rugged. In each of them we will discuss the state of the art and emerging directions that will set you up with a broad view of these key concerns for developers in 2016.

This is the first ever GOTO London conference. The core story is being structured as a single track. Many conferences have an initial keynote session for everyone, followed by a wide selection of talks running at the same time. This forces you to decide what to miss and move from room to room. It also means that an individual track has trouble building and maintaining context, and encourages repetitive, self-contained presentations. The approach is great for variety, but can be frustrating.

For GOTO London, we will start the week with two optional training days on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 14-15, then kick off the event with two full days of single-track talks Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 16 -17. On Friday, Sept. 18, the conference is organized as multiple tracks, combining end-user experiences, presentations about open source tools and talks about the latest hot products.

For the single-track days, everyone will be in the same room, building up a shared context as the curated story arc unfolds. You won’t miss anything, you won’t waste time moving from room to room. You will get to know each other and the speakers much better. The talks will be a bit shorter, more focused, and will build on each other, reducing repetition and elementary introductions.

There is a repeated pattern for the single-track days. In each half day, there will be four half-hour talks, followed by a half-hour panel session with all four speakers discussing each other’s talks with each other and the audience.

  • After leading a workshop on microservices, I will also introduce the conference as a whole on Wednesday morning.
  • Introducing Agile, Dan North will focus on the impact of new ideas and tooling supporting faster development.
  • Nicole Forsgren, Ph.D., will introduce Lean, showing how DevOps culture and practices reduce waste and improve outcomes.
  • Introducing Rugged, Joshua Corman will discuss how developers can build the core concepts of security into their applications to protect information from attack. These four speakers will end the morning with the first panel session.

The afternoon continues with four speakers digging deeper into the relatively unfamiliar territory of Rugged systems.

  • What kind of attacks are we seeing? What tools are available for developers to automate security testing?
  • How can we manipulate keys, identity and access, safely and easily?
  • The afternoon ends with Joshua Corman joining the four speakers for a panel discussion.

The first evening is the conference party, with an entertaining and informative keynote presentation by Ines Sombra and Adrian Colyer. Ines runs the San Francisco Papers-We-Love meetup, and Adrian publishes a daily blog post called The Morning Paper. Over the last year, there has been a rush of interest in academic research papers resulting in Papers-We-Love meetups all over the world. People are finding hidden gems, radical ideas, or fundamental turning points in computer science, and having fun presenting their own interpretations. We hope you will be inspired to attend your local meetup, read The Morning Paper and share your own ideas.

The second day starts with four presentations on Lean. The Lean Enterprise book has become required reading as these ideas spread into the mainstream. Value chain mapping provides the tools for making better decisions about which parts of your architecture need to focus on being faster, cheaper or safer as their top priority. We will also look at developer-oriented techniques for measurement, analysis and optimization. Nicole will return to lead the panel session.

Digging into Agile, we will take a close look at the Docker ecosystem with Alexis Richardson of Weave, and see what it takes for a startup to “catch and surf the wave” when a product goes viral and everyone else dives in. At the other extreme, we will examine the latest ideas to speed up development at a financial institution and for embedded hardware, and finish with Rachel Davies on Extreme Programming in the 21st Century. Dan North then leads the closing panel.

We wrap up the second day with a keynote by Rod Johnson on the world of Silicon Valley startups.

The final day of the conference puts the concepts into practice, with deep dives into open source tools and the latest products. The multi-track talks are longer, with more time between them to switch rooms and for hallway conversations.

We expect that GOTO London attendees will have an enjoyable and memorable experience learning the concepts and tools needed to be agile, lean and rugged for 2016 and beyond.

Weaveworks is a sponsor of The New Stack.

Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons.


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