DevOps Days Toronto – Day Two

Bob Summerwill, Asim Shahjahan and Randall Roberts were the TDS attendees for day 2 of the DevOps Days Toronto conference.

Introduction …

The first speaker of the day was Kirstin Hunter (@synedra) from Akamai – “Using Continuous Integration to Test your Platform”, talking about automation in Jenkins, and specifically about how she used Jenkins to automate non-Java projects.


Brian Nuszkowski (@nuszkowski) – “Handling The Rush”, was an excellent talk through of his experience on really understanding your environment and system, and how to make REAL testing of that environment an ongoing part of your process, not just something you do an hour before and say “We’re DONE!”

The DevOps Metrics Panel featured Gil Rice (New Relic), Dave Josephson (@davejosephsen) and Boris Livshutz (@livshitz98), with Dave Cliffe (@cliffehangers) moderating.

James S Martin (@grepless) from Ansible gave a great Ignite talk titled “Pitfalls of Automation”. Here are some choice quotes from it:

“Embrace your inner 2-year old. Ask people in your organization, in your dev team, why do we deploy this way? Ask your ops team why are we using these tools? Why are we doing things this way? Until they hate you. And you’re going to figure out what you need to automate and what you need to fix.”

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it” – Upton Sinclair.

“You need to separate your company’s unique needs from their shitty practices. Don’t spend time automating shitty practices. Fix them before you automate them.”

Fawzy Manaa (@FawzyManaa) – “Keep DevOps Hip” also had some good quotes:

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain

“It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.” – Wise Man

Jason Hand (@jasonhand) from VictorOps ( gave a talk about “ChatOps”, which was good background after the Open Spaces session the day before. Jason has written a book which is available for free download from his website, in addition to in physical form. It is called ChatOps for Dummies.

“Placing tools directly in the middle of the conversation” – Jesse Newland, Github, 2012

Paul Osman (@paulosman) from PagerDuty ( gave another Ignite talk titled “HTTP on ACID”, which referenced the following interesting article from ArsTechnica – The discovery of Apache ZooKeeper’s poison packet. How PagerDuty found four different bugs”.

In one of the sponsor presentations, the following gem of an introduction was given – “My name is Paul. I am from Microsoft, makers of fan favorites such as Blue Screen of Death, Vista, FrontPage and Clippy.”

The last of the Ignite talks was from Phil Corliss (@pcorliss) from Braintree with “Building Systems Focused on Developer Happiness”.

“Maybe you just forgot a WHERE clause on a delete statement in SQL. I’m not saying I’ve ever done that in a production system live, but you know … it happens.”

“Engineering in a big organization is hard. It’s even harder when you need to change things. It’s even harder when you need to force that change through”.

“If you can’t reach feature parity then you can’t replace something”.

“I can’t stand gatekeepers. You don’t want to be a gatekeeper. Being a gatekeeper means that you are actively prevent people from doing their job. As a gatekeeper your sole purpose is to push frustration onto somebody else.”

“It’s scary at first. People need to get their work done. You need to keep things up. Put in intelligent limitations and education. Do you really want to do this? Put double-dares everywhere. There is always an audit trail.”

Then he demoed web wrapping for command-lines.

In the afternoon, I attended the “Distributed Teams” session in the first round. There were lots of good discussion points there, with the crux of it boiling down to the fact that to support remote workers, the practices of the on-site location need to change, so that information and communication doesn’t get lost between the cracks. Communication needs to be done digitally, even between peers on-site, so that it is visible to everyone. Good videoconferencing, rather than phone calls, is essentially. Finding ways to work on things asynchronously to take advantage of the timezone differences is a potential win for remote working. The main advantage for employers is the worldwide pool of talent which is available outside of their local market. Having quarterly (or whatever cadence) physical-space meetings of all of your employees was highlighted as something which was hugely beneficial. Awareness of cultural differences.


In the second session I attended “Database as a service”, which I didn’t personally find particularly useful. And then I had to run!

So best wishes, everyone. I had a blast. Thanks for sharing!


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