Driving DevOps Innovation

 Innovative TechTalks 2023 – The Bright Side of DevOps

How can you shed light on a subject that is important, yet sometimes overlooked? You create a conference around it.

This is what we did on Saturday, 17th of September – and the subject matter is DevOps.
For a long time, this topic was considered either something that comes with the job, something that is part of development, or part of team organization, like Agile or operations. It is, and it isn’t.

With all the rapid progress in this space, we realized teams have started doing DevOps organically, without being able to pinpoint the exact moment in time when they moved from manual to automatic deployments or when going to production day was no longer a week-long event.

So, with this in mind, we embarked on a journey: to discover new trends, network and open up the conversation, and bring DevOps into the spotlight.

Welcome to Innovative TechTalks 2022 – The bright side of DevOps

The day started early, and the room was abuzz – it was the first time in 3 years this event was finally going to be live, in person, and we could feel the excitement in the air. 5 speakers, 6 presentations – we’re ready for learning.

Since DevOps is such a wide topic, covering everything from procedures, team operations, platforms, systems, and more – we will break down our learning into 3 parts: the whatthe how, and the why. This may sound weird at first but bear with us.

The what – the tools and systems 

There are many platforms that you can use in DevOps, yet we will pinpoint the two presentations that focused on the benefits of two systems: Kubernetes and GitHub Actions.

First, Viktor Farcic kicked off the event with a session presenting some of the reasons behind why Kubernetes is the system for you – and many things that are sometimes ignored or overlooked when researching Kubernetes. From flexibility – to security and more, Viktor went step by step in an interactive session that took questions from the public with regards to this platform that many may use, but few understand. The session also covered ways in which one can expand Kubernetes with other systems and tools to fully take advantage of its power. 

Moving from the first presentation to our last presentation, held by our colleague Alexandra. Just like Viktor, Alexandra created a list of benefits and traits of GitHub Actions and the reasons why she believes this platform should be more appreciated and used by developers. From flexibility to the possibility of including Sonar checks or notifications for all your communication platforms, Alexandra ended her session with a fun comparison that dates back to the origins of Agile – the poka yoke, the possibility to include checks in your platform that would create a proofing against making mistakes.



The how – two sessions of live demo

No practice is no fun. This is why we had two live demo sessions, one before lunch, and one immediately after, that kept us on our toes and showed the audience a little snippet of what you can do with both Crossplane and Bicep.

Starting with Viktor, we enjoyed a live demo of building an Internal Development Platform, also touching upon tools like Backstage, Argo CD, Crossplane and more. In this fun session, Viktor again took questions from the active public, curious to learn more about the tools, and their applicability, while discussing scenarios developers find themselves in where this solution might be of effect.


After lunch, we enjoyed another live demo session, this time with Henry Been, who started from scratch and set up an architecture that is ready for deployment of application code. We touched upon syntax, manual deployment, and more advanced features like modules, loops and conditions. In this very fun and interactive session on Bicep, a powerful templating language, Henry answered questions from the attendees on the language’s capabilities, limits and possibilities. Plus, at the end of the session, one lucky attendee won a copy of Henry’s latest book: Azure Infrastructure as Code: With ARM Templates and Bicep.

 The why – breaking down DevOps 

While breaking down the learnings after the conference, two sessions covered the why, breaking down the procedures of DevOps. 

First, our colleague Cristian Mihaita took the Wikipedia description of DevOps and deconstructed it into the parts that make this subject. Whether is the sheer development, the organization, the deployment – and what defines a team to have become DevOps? All, or some? Cristian gave as an example his case, of moving from a team that did manual deployments to having automatic deployments, and who organizes work differently so that errors are less likely to happen.


We also enjoyed a very insightful session from Chris Behrens, who also touched on automatic deployments, removing the human error side, and inviting the technical attendees to learn more also about the requirements and how they should be written, all while using a brilliant and fun metaphor including a very well-known character from Office Space. Tom Smykowski might not have had the people skills and that got him fired, yet we learned a lot about the ins and outs of continuous delivery so that history would not repeat itself.

 Staying innovative

 We touched a bit upon why we chose the topic – to open up the conversation about DevOps, to learn together and to encourage all engineers to be curious and to ask questions about situations they were in that might need a new set of eyes. 

And this is the goal of our event – to unite a community of smart people that can, together, find solutions to problems and help each other with advice that can, in the long run, enable engineers in their quest of becoming better professionals.

On Saturday, we welcomed over 100 people to Hotel Unirea – we are truly grateful to every single person that joined us and supported our event and our initiative. We missed the great vibes and the wonderful conversations, so we are going to organize the 6th edition of Innovative TechTalks, in 2023.

Stay tuned for topics and details. Until then, stay innovative!

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