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9 Top DevOps Conferences — A Developer's Picks

With the DevOps movement only continuing to grow, plenty of conferences have sprung up around the topic. These are a great way to get acquainted with the DevOps methodology and the capabilities it can bring to your organization.

Conferences also let you do the following:

  1. Ramp up your knowledge on DevOps technologies, whether you're new to the concept or have plenty of experience.
  2. Network with other like-minded people.
  3. Take a trip somewhere fun. (though, this isn’t always needed to accomplish the first two)

So, DevOps conferences are great. But which one(s) should you attend? A person only has so much free time, and money.

In this post, I want to share a developer's perspective on what I think are the best DevOps conferences currently offered. I'll let you know why I think they're worth attending, and I'll cover the target audience, upcoming dates, and costs. Hopefully, this will help you choose the conference that will benefit you the most.

AllDayDevOps

First off, we have AllDayDevOps; a DevOps conference with over 30,000 participants that houses over 120+ sessions spread out between five tracks, and 24 hours, including:

  • CI/CD
  • Cloud-native infrastructure
  • DevSecOps
  • Cultural transformations
  • Site reliability engineering

AllDayDevOps is unique from the other conferences on this list in that it has a interactive Q&A on Slack, streams live on their private YouTube channel, and it's free!

You read this correctly—you'll be getting around the same session count as other large conferences on this list (if not more), with the convenience of not needing to travel and not needing any expenses. You still have a great opportunity to network with the more than 30,000 attendees on Slack - and can connect with the speakers directly. If you're curious as to why AllDayDevOps works this way, take a look at the FAQ provided.

AllDayDevOps takes place October 17, 2018. Every session is recorded live (veteran tip: you can rewind a session on their YouTube channel if you arrive late).  After the conference, all session recording links will be sent to registered attendees—another big advantage of a fully remote conference.  

Some companies have registered more than 400 of their own employees, making a virtual training day of the whole conference.  Others have set up satellite viewing parties -- with over 100 listed in the site. 

DevOpsDays

Next up, there's DevOpsDays, one of my favorites on this list. It's a series of worldwide conferences run by local organizers. It's similar to WordCamp for WordPress, which is a collection of conferences organized by local meetup folks interested in the technology.

DevOpsDays focuses on general DevOps topics and includes curated talks. It also features a unique spin on the concept of open space, with discussions on software development and IT infrastructure.

DevOpsDays tends to draw smaller crowds than some of the bigger conferences. That means networking can be easier for people intimidated by large crowds.

Many, many DevOpsDays conferences take place each year. As of today, there are over 24 left in 2018 - and 14 already scheduled for 2019!. This means you'll likely find one you can attend. Here are some of the upcoming locations:

  • Oslo, Norway
  • Phoenix, AZ, US
  • Kansas City, MO , US
  • Paris, France
  • Chattanooga, TN, US
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • And many others!

These events tend to cost less than other, more mainstream conferences. That's because of their local nature. For example, I'm based in Detroit. So I could attend DevOpsDays there for only about $150. That would get me a two-day, single-track conference pass to around 10 curated talks and five open-space sessions.

DockerCon

DockerCon is an American and European conference focused on the Docker technology. It's a very good DevOps conference to attend, as Docker is considered the most popular container technology available. The event is suitable for many types of professionals, including software developers and IT staff members. Even non-technical folks such as business analysts and executives would enjoy it.

As DockerCon is a large-scale conference for a major technology, you can expect the following:

  • 6,000+ attendees
  • 5+ tracks and 100 sessions
  • Insight into the latest happenings with the Docker technology, much like you'd get from Microsoft's Build or Apple's WWDC
  • The Docker Hallway Track, a system to help find others, network, and communicate in a one-on-one fashion
  • Opportunity to become a Docker Certified Associate with an on-venue test

You can attend DockerCon at these upcoming dates and locations:

  • Barcelona, Spain: December 3–5, 2018
  • San Francisco, CA: April 29–May 2, 2019

Pricing for DockerCon runs from around $990 for early-bird reservations to $1,395 for standard tickets. Lodging ranges from about $290–$360 a night.

ChefConf

Chef is a software company that provides multiple DevOps products and solutions to help businesses improve their software delivery processes. ChefConf, as its name suggests, is a conference run by Chef. It provides hands-on workshops. There are also sessions explaining the Chef software itself and how it works in real-world scenarios.

For companies already using Chef products for software delivery solutions, this conference can help them understand the software's capabilities. For a company not using Chef, this conference offers a demonstration of the technology's real-life capabilities and what it can do for an organization. In addition, ChefConf offers a chance to network with 1,500 attendees.

The next conference is scheduled for May 20–24, 2019, in Seattle, WA. With early-bird pricing, it generally costs less than $1,000.

To get a feel for what it would be like to attend, you can watch footage from past conferences right on the ChefConf website.

KubeCon/CloudNativeCon

KubeCon (and CloudNativeCon) is a Linux Foundation event focused on the Kubernetes technology. Kubernetes is currently the leading container orchestration system used in conjunction with Docker. Therefore, this conference is appropriate for those working with Kubernetes, as well as application developers, IT professionals, and anyone else interested in learning about Cloud Native.

Similar to DockerCon, KubeCon provides a method for gaining credentials in the Kubernetes technology space. The conference serves as a venue for attending the Kubernetes Fundamentals course. You can also earn the Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification.

KubeCon will take place in Seattle from December 10–13, 2018. Prices vary, depending on the type of ticket:

  • Corporate (your company pays for your attendance): $1,100–$1,200
  • Individual (you pay for yourself): $550–$650
  • Academic (you're a student currently enrolled in college): $150

This conference is a decent deal if you're paying out of pocket, especially you're a student.

A quick note: KubeCon has an interesting registration process. If you want to attend as an individual (at your own expense), you can email the event organizers with the intent to register in that category. You'll receive a registration code, which will let you purchase a ticket for the conference.

PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit

The PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit is a DevOps conference focused on the Windows tool PowerShell and how to integrate it with the DevOps methodology. PowerShell is a popular tool in the automation world. So, attending this conference makes sense if your organization uses PowerShell in its DevOps solutions.

Unlike other conferences described in this post, this event provides an OnRamp track. OnRamp coaches entry-level IT professionals to understand DevOps and PowerShell. But the track accepts only 40 attendees, based on applications completed during registration. So this summit might be one of the only selective DevOps conferences around.

The PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit conference usually takes place in Bellevue, WA, and costs $1,650 per person. Check out the brochure for the 2019 event for more information.

DevOps World | Jenkins World

DevOps World | Jenkins World is a Jenkins-supported DevOps conference. Predictably, it focuses on the automation software Jenkins and its capabilities for IT teams. This conference welcomes about 2,500 attendees, making it the largest Jenkins-focused DevOps conference around. In addition, it provides 100+ sessions for attendees to enjoy. If your team uses Jenkins in your software delivery pipeline, this conference is a must. While the US event just took place two weeks ago, you can still attend its counterpart in Nice, France from October 22-25, 2018 (schedule).

Prices range from $499 for early-bird tickets purchased four months in advance, up to $1,199 for the standard rate. So it's a good move to register early.

Potential attendees should also check out this post, which provides more information and a discount code for 30 percent off.

DevOps Enterprise Summit

DevOps Enterprise Summit (or DOES) is a 3-day DevOps conference with a focus in working in the enterprise area. Whereas most of the conferences above have a mix of high-level concepts, this conference consists of speakers with real-world experience working in enterprise environments.

In terms of locations, the European DOES (in London) has already passed - but you can still attend the US DOES in Las Vegas on October 22-24, 2018. Tickets run around $1,975 for a full-price ticket.

In past years, tickets have sold out of the conference, so if this conference sounds interesting, you may want to act quick!

CodeMash

Although not directly a DevOps-focused conference, CodeMash is a two-day event (or four-day, if you attend workshop sessions). It focuses on multiple facets of technology. This includes software development, DevOps, technical leadership, and much more. The event takes place at the beginning of each year in Sandusky, OH, at the Kalahari Resort.

CodeMash offers a great ROI for individuals who want to learn all things related to DevOps and to choose from a variety of other types of workshops and sessions. In addition, CodeMash is perfect for travelers attending DevOps conferences with their family, as there are specific events for children called KidzMash.

The next CodeMash will take place from January 8–11, 2019. The first two days include workshop sessions, also called pre-compiler sessions. The next two days are the main conference and involve plenty of curated talks.

In terms of cost, tickets go as follows:

  • two-day conference (all talks): $350
  • four-day conference (pre-compiler sessions and all talks): $650

CodeMash also provides a deeply discounted rate for lodging at the Kalahari. That's another reason this event is a great choice for those traveling with family. In addition, kids can play in the water park and enjoy other activities at the venue.

For more information, take a look at last year's schedule and sessions or watch recorded sessions from the CodeMash YouTube channel.

Get Your DevOps Conference On

These conferences all have one thing in common - they are pertinent to current DevOps practices today, providing value for all levels of DevOps practitioners, both complete beginners and veterans.  Hopefully, this list helps you better decide which DevOps conferences are right for you to attend - wherever your experience level is.

What’s your experience with the DevOps conferences above? Have something to say on one of them? Did I miss an important conference? Let me know in the comments!

About Dave Farinelli

Dave Farinelli is a senior software engineer with over eight years of experience. His specialty is in providing enterprise-level solutions for healthcare and insurance clients. Dave holds a B.S. in computer engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.

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