Contain Yourself! in London

I've just come back from my first Container.Camp and I loved it. I got to speak, listen, learn and meet some of the smartest people in tech. Container.Camp London started on Thursday night in Shoreditch and then the main event was on Friday - with both days being packed.

I wanted to say a big thank you to the organisers and sponsors - it was a top couple of days and had a relaxed atmosphere. It must have been days and weeks in the planning but it looked almost seamless.

I covered the events with live Tweeting so that you can get a flavour of the event.

Day Zero

Conferences, camps and field-days are quite new for me but I liked the idea of a day zero and it worked really well to stir up the appetite and expectation. Docker London helped organise the huge meet-up in an old Victorian Boys' school in the middle of Shoreditch - it was a cool venue with plenty of food, beer and heritage ( think Harry Potter! )

Most of the talks were around Orchestration, home-brewed DevOps solutions and then Ben Hall finished with a talk on the top 5 exploits for Docker Containers. He has an excellent offering in Katacode, which lets you learn Docker through a webpage. If you're just starting out then I'd highly recommend it.

Day One - containyourself

The WiFi password was containyourself so this was clearly a conference for geeks by the geeks. I eventually found my way to Piccadilly Circus and registered for my conference badge. There was a chilled area for the speakers with coffee and thinking space - very nice touch. I met Dustin Kirkland from Canonical and gave him a few laptop stickers. Liz Rice had an interesting live coding GoLang talk which she had borrowed from an IBM employee. The code invoked Linux syscalls to show how chroot etc works to produce a modified process that we would call "a container".

The talk that resounded the most with me was from Docker's Engineer Nishant. Docker Swarm Mode feels refreshingly simple when compared to some of the other offerings - just enough terminology to get the points across without needing a dictionary of technical jargon.

Solomon Hykes announced at Dockercon that making the complex simple is hard, and it takes great engineers.

Some of the talks were very slick and well rehearsed. One of those was from Chris Van Tuin, RedHat. While there was a focus on Kubernetes he did make some excellent points around security and silos within organisations.

I am a real proponent for developers doing their own testing before passing work onto test engineers. The book Clean Coder suggests that test engineers should only really have to accept stories and not carry out reams and reams of manual testing. Gone are the days where code is checked-in and thrown over the wall. Let's break those silos.

Continuous learning

I learned so much and have a long list of tools to try and terms to look up. I'm definitely going to be writing some C code and hacking on Linux sys calls - it gave me a whole new perspective on what a container is.

i.e. a forked process with some syscalls applied. Calls for namespaces give separation and calls around control groups impose resource limitations.

But Docker is way more than a bunch of carefully-curated syscalls. This industry wouldn't be the same without its leadership and achievements.

I got started hacking with chroot, check it out here:

My talk

Keep checking back for the video recording of my whole talk. I suspect it will take a couple of weeks to materialise and if you can't wait you can see me in Cambridge and Peterborough.

For the deck head over to SlideShare:

For all the details about the talk and the source-code on Github check my DockerCon 16 Speaker notes.

You may have heard me mention Pimoroni and the work they did to help build the hack in my talk. These are the parts (in addition to the Pi Zero I used in the build):

Salut Captain Nicolas! You have a great eye for a photo.

Watch this video snippet of the live demo from @feelobot.

No time for technical rehearsal!

If you want to know more, please follow along on Twitter @alexellisuk. The community has done lots of work to get Docker and Swarm Mode working really well on the Pi.

See also:

Alex Ellis

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