A Look Back at DevOpsDays Austin 2016

Last week I had the pleasure of attending DevOpsDays Austin with my team from Threat Stack Cloud Security, one of the event’s sponsors. DevOpsDays has been growing at an incredible rate, and this year’s event was moved to a larger venue, the Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium. Once again, the organizers prepared a top tier event, showcasing DevOps, Security, Culture, and even a dedicated Containers track.

The conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Ernest Mueller, who gave us insights into the State of DevOps along with lots of interesting history about DevOpsDays Austin, which is now in its 5th year. As has become traditional at the beginning of each DevOpsDays, Ernest asked who was attending for the first time. More than half the crowd indicated that they were first timers, showing that awareness of DevOps is growing each year but is still far from reaching mainstream, as more and more people are still learning about it.

Connecting DevOps and Security

Working for a security company, I’m continually impressed as more and more people make the connections between DevOps and Security. Ernest emphasized this connection as a major theme of the conference when he stated: “Security problems are system problems.” The idea that security, visibility, and detection need to take precedence over prevention was reinforced on Day 2 when Dan Glass, CISO of American Airlines, gave a hilarious keynote full of great content about how processes, architectures, technologies, and tools all need to be thought of through a security lens.

This message clearly resonated with the crowd, and many attendees I spoke with were pretty excited to learn how we use Threat Stack to protect our own organizations against threats, security risk, and data loss. Also, considering the ops focus of the event, there was a lot of interest in how Threat Stack can easily integrate with some of our other much-loved tools, including Slack and PagerDuty.

What We Can Learn From History

Three years ago, I was invited to give a DevOpsDays Austin talk about How to Retain Your Hardest to Hire Positions. This is now one of the five most-viewed presentations on the DevOpsDays Vimeo page. So I was delighted when the organizers invited me to speak again this year. My presentation, 17th Century Shipbuilding and Your Failed Software Project, was a 5-minute Ignite talk (where the slides auto advance!), about the relationship between the failure of a 17th Century Swedish ship called the Vasa and the way projects often fail in today’s technology world. In case you missed it, you can check it out here.


In addition to the amazing job of the DevOpsDays Austin organizers, a few other things stood out for me. Judging by the number of first-time attendees, many people are still just starting to learn about DevOps. And, many of the talks focused on how critical it is to bring security and DevOps together — EARLY — to greatly improve your ability to be nimble and adapt to an ever-changing security landscape as your organization grows.Threat_Stack_Tshirt.png

A Security-first DevOps culture helps to ensure that your organization can scale and grow their technical operations and development processes as well as their security and operational processes. 

And, finally, if you didn’t make it to DevOpsDays Austin but would like a free Threat Stack T-shirt, sign up for a Threat Stack demo, and we’ll ship one out to you right away.