Looking back at TechSummit Amsterdam 2016

20160602-155855-IMG_9652- Bibi VethLeaseweb’s annual Amsterdam TechSummit took place on June 2 at the Pakhuis de Zwijger, an old warehouse converted to a high-tech multimedia event center. The summit was sold out with over 315 attendees who came to hear a variety of presentations from professionals focusing on this year’s theme: Designing for Scalability.

Those who attended were a diverse assortment of software developers, operations engineers, and managers from companies both large and small. Many of the attendees were local but a good percentage of them had traveled from other countries including Germany, Spain, and even as far as Liberia. All of them were looking to learn about ways to help them grow not only from a technology perspective but how to scale up their engineering teams and how to anticipate and deal with the issues that result from that growth. The summit also provided a good opportunity to network with peers and learn about the challenges they face and what they’ve learned from past mistakes.

The TechSummit opened with a presentation from Leaseweb’s Head of Product Engineering, Joshua Hoffman, who gave a talk entitled the ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Web Scale’ which drew on his past experience with scaling and the lessons he learned. Many attendees found this talk useful because it provided them with good examples on how to recognize certain ways of approaching problems that can cause issues when growth is needed in the future.

Another presentation that proved to be a highlight for those in attendance was that given by Jorge Salamero Sanz of Server Density called War Games. Jorge talked about the human element of web scale and how properly training engineering teams to react in an efficient manner when outages happen can impact growth. Many who watched said they were looking forward to trying out his recommendations in their own workplaces. These included implementing a checklist for when things go wrong and having developers purposely break things in order to learn how to troubleshoot more efficiently and to be prepared for when people make mistakes.

Reliability was a topic covered by Adam Surák of Algolia who spoke about who is responsible for availability, the importance of monitoring with both internal and external tools to ensure everything is working as expected for both provider and customer, and being aware of dependencies out of your control such as power and network in a data center. He also emphasized the importance of spreading out resources and using multiple vendors in order to mitigate outside issues that can cause downtime.

Recent technologies that are helping companies to scale such as linux containers were discussed in talks by Terrence Ryan of Google and Aanand Prasad of Docker. Aanand spoke about using Docker tools to help engineers streamline their environments in order to narrow the gap between production and development. Terrence covered Kubernetes, a container management system that can help those who have made the switch to containers manage them easily and redundantly at large scale.

20160602-164004-_MG_0680- Bibi VethAttendees looking to find ways to keep their environments secure attended presentations by Daan Keuper of Pine Digital Security and Jessy Irwin of 1Password. Daan talked about how engineers can learn to think like hackers in order to anticipate and prevent breaches of their infrastructure and covered some of the different techniques hackers use to break in. Jessy spoke not only on general good security practices such as strong passwords and encryption but also a variety of tools developers can use to safely communicate and collaborate while writing software to prevent their code and data from being accessed by third parties.

Whether attending to learn about new tools and approaches to building and managing technology at scale, acquiring information on how to maintain a more secure environment, gathering ideas for future growth, or simply looking for confirmation that they are on the right path, Leaseweb’s TechSummit 2016 Amsterdam provided a venue for technology professionals to come together and share knowledge.

Want to watch any of the talks? Check them out on Youtube!

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