Docker's #BerlinSummit

Between the 6th and 9th of October Docker held its Distributed Systems Summit in central Berlin at the Kosmos club. Docker Captains, engineering staff and hackers gathered for two days of talks, deep dives and break-out sessions.

It was a great chance to get together and hang out with the Docker team and Captains from all other the world. Some of us had met each other before and others were meeting for the first time.

The Captains started early with a kind of meta-workshop from Jérôme Petazzoni. He ran through his content pausing for feedback and wanted us to get to the point where we could deliver it out in the community - at meetup groups, conferences and the like.

We had a great Q&A session with Solomon Hykes and it's no surprise that a question came up three times about what we should call the old and new Swarm products. Solomon then got hands-on with drawing diagrams and explaining his vision for the future of Docker. It was awesome to get this kind of interaction with a CTO.

Deep dives

There were talks on hot topics old and new - all around distributed systems such as InfraKit, unikernels/MirageOS, SwarmKit and advanced container monitoring with Prometheus.

I wasn't part of the community when the unikernels team was acquired by Docker Inc. so it was great chance to meet the team and to hear about what they were building. I even got to learn some of the basics of OCaml from Thomas Leonard. He also taught me some much needed vim hacks.

This is my first attempt at a loop:

  2 let rec print_loop ~start ~stop =
  3     Printf.printf "x=%d\n" start;
  4     if start < stop then print_loop ~start:(start+1) ~stop:stop
  6 let () =
  7     print_loop ~start:0 ~stop:50

InfraKit was one of the newest topics with the repository being open-sourced by Solomon during the LinuxCon keynote earlier in the week.

InfraKit is part of Docker's necessary plumbing to give the same experience of Docker on Mac/Windows/Amazon AWS and Azure. It can also be used separately to define a declarative architecture.

For more - head over to the InfraKit repo or see Gareth Rushmore's Hello World blog post here.

Julius Volz the co-founder of Prometheus gave a deep dive on monitoring and metrics. It was good to hear about his thought process RE: push vs. pull and the reasons for choosing PromQL over SQL for querying. There was a real collaborative spirit and on the second day we all broke out into various groups by interest and hacked together with one or two demos culminating at the end.


At the close of the event Solomon came onto the stage for Q&A but very few questions were asked. After all we had just spent two days listening to technical talks, picking brains and hacking.

Personally I really enjoyed the event and heard nothing but positive feedback from the other attendees - so a huge thanks to the Docker team and to everyone who made it a success.

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Alex Ellis

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