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stackconf 2024 | Highlights from Day 2

von | Jun 19, 2024 | stackconf

Yesterday’s evening event was full of great food, drinks, and conversation. I have to admit the gambling had no appeal to me, but many seemed to enjoy it as most socializing happened around the roulette table. Of course, the attendees could not play for real money, but the one who won the most chips will get handed over a big Lego kit today as a prize. So while most were gambling, smaller groups found them to talk. I had a great conversation with Sebastian from our Marketing team who attended his first NETWAYS conference, actually his first tech conference, and he seemed to really enjoy it.

 

The Morning

Openssf Security LogoToday we started directly with the talks and the first one I attended was “How to hack and defend (your) open source” by Roman Zhukov. He illustrated by numbers from surveys and science articles how important Open Source is for our industry, but also how vulnerable it is. A nice compact lecture he pointed to is Endorlabs’ Top 10 Risks for Open Source, but he included much more. So if the topic is also of interest for you make sure to grab his slides, bring some time (and perhaps coffee) with you and follow all the links included. To defend against his first recommendation was OpenSSF Scorecard. But he recommended also other important best practices and tools which should help to verify if a project follows a secure development lifecycle.

Second talk for today was one I was very interested, so an additional detailed blogpost in the future is planned. “Confidential Containers – Sensitive Data and Privacy in Cloud Native Environments” by Magnus Kulke was another one about security, and I am very happy about increased awareness and coverage of this topic. He nicely and slowly introduced the topic to the audience to get everyone engaged. Then he focused on the key concepts, trust, integrity and remote attestation, and the implications of those on a cloud environment and confidential computing. After he showed this on the example of virtual machines, he covered why this is not so easily ported over to containers. But he also showed the initial ideas how the CoCo project wants to solve this as cloud native is an interesting platform for this.
Unfortunately because of technical difficulties he could not do the demo. But he made the best out of it and talked us through what would be shown and the takeaways.

Next Daniel Hiller told us “Squash the Flakes! – How to Minimize the Impact of Flaky Tests”. He nicely introduced the topic and the importance to the audience which was not completely aware of it. Flakes are failing tests in your CI/CD pipeline which are mostly false positives slowing down development, waste resources and have other negative impacts you are trying to solve with CI/CD initially. Lost trust into testing is also a serious issue. For minimizing the negative impacts, he recommended taking out the flaky test as early as possible in quarantine, but only as long as possible for fixing the test. But there were also some tool recommendations with ci-health, ci-search and testgrid, and others. The talk concluded with a nice summary, the main sources of falkiness Daniel experienced, and the key takeaways from it and future plans based on it.

“The challenges of Platform teams” by Marco Pierobon was the last one before lunch. First challenge to tackle is DevEX (Developer Experience) which includes not only the simplicity to use but also lack of feedback. Second one is Business because they do lack insights, face missing trust and assumptions. Third is Technology and fourth the Platform teams who need to handle a rapidly changing landscape which can lack maturity and has the risk of vendor lock-ins. For all of those, he tried to provide tips and tricks to overcome them. For example establishing a developer portal empowering them do what they need themself and allows for easily and continuous feedback. A roadmap can improve business experience and align expectations. Evaluation of techniques and product lifecycle management can help tackle technological challenges. And vendor agnostics technologies provide vendor lock-in. Investing in the right tools and technologies and cultivating relationships will help the platform teams. From this he had gone further into details which was a nice deep dive.

 

The Ignites

After grabbing some food, ok some may say to much food, attendees were back for the ignites. But before they started the winner of the evening event gambling was announced and the Lego DeLorean was handed over.

“Distributed Tracing using OpenTelemetry and Jaeger” by AJ Jester was the opening one. The ignite showed a comprehensive introduction on how to implement traces using OpenTelemetry and then how to use Jaeger for analyses.

Second one was “Swiss knife for Go debugging with VSCode” by Ivan Pesenti. From debugging in general over the Go debugger, Delve to the detailed integration in VSCode in 5 minutes! Well done, Ivan, well done!

Roman Zhukov with “Security of Open-Source AI: is there any difference?” finished the ignites. He gave a good sneak peek into the topic, but I think the topic would be worth to be covered in a full talk.

 

The Afternoon

“Orchestrating Resilient Data: Harnessing the Strength of Kubernetes with Operators” by Gregor Bauer opened the sessions of the afternoon. After a short introducing to Kubernetes and the challenges databases facing in this world designed to be stateless, he started, to dive deep into the extensions allowing databases to run nicely on the platform.
As example he of course used the NoSQL database Couchbase as he is working for it. But it was interesting to hear where we all use tools which utilize the database like he showed all the customers he came in touch while travelling for stackconf. Couchbase was designed to be could native and from all the details and the demo shown it seems to do a good job.

To stick with the topic databases I stayed in the room for “From a database in container to DBaaS on Kubernetes” by Peter Zaitsev. He tackled the same topic differently as he showed why Docker is not a good solution for databases and Kubernetes is not for stateful workflows. But also when taking a different way the goal and the solution were the same. In his case, Helm charts for the day 1 operations and Operators for the day 2 tasks in general. And for example those provided by Percona for MySQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
He also criticized the current state at which major cloud providers, database vendors and multi databases provide proprietary solutions but Open Source ones are missing. And license changes which made the situation worse! Or the “Hotel California” Compatibility, a term he used as persiflage for the Open Source Compatibility promised by many which allow migrating from Open Source to their solution, but hard to check out. That Percona’s vision is to change this, is good to hear.

stackconf concluded for me with Philip Miglinci and “Rethinking Package Management in Kubernetes with Helm and Glasskube”. He introduced the topic of Package Management shortly before showing the different solutions and their advantages and disadvantages. With Glasskube he wants to solve the disadvantages of other solutions.
With his demo, he bravely trusted the Wi-Fi and showed from a freshly started Minikube over bootstraping Glasskube to installing some packages in a graphical way and via CLI. What we have seen looks very promising, so I recommend having a look into it even if it still in Beta.

 

Save Travels

So thank you to all the speakers and sponsors, our Event team, but also all attendees who made the conference a huge success. Save travels to all of them and see you on the next conference again. For all the other readers I hope you enjoyed my conference coverage, and perhaps I sparked interest to join also a conference in the future. I am very happy that conferences are establishing themselves again after pandemic.

 

Dirk Götz
Dirk Götz
Principal Consultant

Dirk ist Red Hat Spezialist und arbeitet bei NETWAYS im Bereich Consulting für Icinga, Puppet, Ansible, Foreman und andere Systems-Management-Lösungen. Früher war er bei einem Träger der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung als Senior Administrator beschäftigt und auch für die Ausbildung der Azubis verantwortlich wie nun bei NETWAYS.

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