Thoughts on ChefConf

I just got back from attending a few back-to-back events.  One of which was ChefConf 2013. It was my first ChefConf and it was a really high energy event with a wide variety of speakers and attendees.  I chose to focus on the sessions covering culture, but there were many great sessions.

The first memorable session was “Scaling systems configuration at Facebook,” presented by Phil Dibowitz from Facebook.  A larger-than-life rock and roll guy if ever I saw one, Phil did an awesome session on why Chef was the appropriate tool for use at Facebook.  I think Phil probably made Chef support staff cringe when he discussed “tweaking” the Chef libraries to meet his needs, but he did add a disclaimer that tweaking probably shouldn’t be done.

Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester Research presented what I would call a “feel good” session which described how important the skills of everyone at ChefConf are as the industry moves forward.  Infrastructure as code is no longer a nice to have but a competitive advantage that we need to stay on top of.

Disney presented a highly polished, extremely interesting session on how Chef is used at Disney.  One session highlighted potential problems with enterprises using open source solutions.  A company had made several Chef Cookbooks and had not given any back to the community.  Comments voicing frustration quickly erupted on Twitter.

The stats on Chef community growth were truly impressive; it has more than doubled in the past 12 months.  You can read more about the momentum that Chef currently has on the Opscode Blog.

Finally, one thing was mentioned over and over and over again at most of the sessions I attended — The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim.  Characters Eric, Brent, and Bill were referenced as if they were personal acquaintances of everyone.  I suspect many people will also purchase and read The Goal, as it inspired Gene.  I know I will.

I can’t wait for the next ChefConf or Chef meet-up.  Hope to see you there!

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