Notes from the Summit: Day 3 Summary

This is the third and final installment of my daily notes from the 2016 Powershell and DevOps Global Summit. Day 1 wrap-up is here, and Day 2 is here.


9 AM (Don Jones): What DevOps Really Looks Like

Don Jones is an effortlessly entertaining speaker who’s not afraid to eviscerate ideas he finds stupid, sort of like (and I mean this in the best possible way) the Donald Trump of Windows IT. He is also a man who thinks clearly about DevOps, a subject usually buried in fuzziness and hype. (I highly recommend his short e-book on DevOps from an ops perspective.)  In this session, he gave a typically animated fireside chat about what a DevOps culture really is: an embrace of the idea – foreign to many ITIL shops – that failure is inevitable and change is good. (He brought down the house with a line about ITIL being IT governance borrowed from the DMV.)

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Notes from the Summit: Day 3 Summary

Notes from the Summit: Day 2 Summary

Being the second installment of my daily notes from the 2016 Global Powershell and DevOps Summit. Day 1 wrap-up is here.


Morning Sessions

9 AM (Neema Saeedi, Windows Server & Services Program Manager): Nano Server and Remote Management

Nano Server is coming, ready or not. And it looks like Microsoft’s new skinny server option is a lot readier than it was at last year’s Powershell Summit in Charlotte. Last year’s big reveal was the fact that Microsoft would offer a web-based remote management console for Nano, including familiar tools like Registry Editor and Task Manager that won’t be available on the headless server itself, as well as a Powershell prompt right in the browser.  That management console is now in preview, and Neema Saeedi from the Nano team spent some time today demonstrating the interface as well as providing updated stats about Nano’s current size and deployment time.

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Notes from the Summit: Day 2 Summary

Notes from the Summit: Day 1 Summary


The Event

The Global Powershell and DevOps Summit strikes you as the sort of conference run by people who have spent a fair share of their professional lives attending terribly-organized technical conferences and swearing to themselves that one day, ONE day they would create an event that lived up to their own expectations. They have certainly exceeded mine. As Don Jones said at one point, 90% of this success comes from choosing the right venue. The Meydenbauer Center is centrally located to Bellevue’s hotels and food, the staff is highly organized, and the catered food is extraordinary. The fact that the event is relatively small, not a 20,000-person cattle call, also really helps, as does the fact that there are no third-party vendors trying to sell you stuff. I would recommend this event to anyone who thinks that technical conferences have to be thinly-disguised, poorly-executed sales pitches. It’s just a good experience.

Continue reading “Notes from the Summit: Day 1 Summary”

Notes from the Summit: Day 1 Summary

Notes From the Summit: OMS

BELLEVUE, Wa – Ed “The Scripting Guy” Wilson and Joe Levy from Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite (OMS) team presented the current state of their product today as part of the 2016 Global Powershell and DevOps Summit. I was not familiar with OMS before today, but the use case it’s trying to fill is a huge pain point in cloud ops: how do you sanely do configuration management across multiple system types, in multiple locations?

From what I understand, OMS is basically a giant job scheduler in the cloud. You install their agent on your servers (doesn’t matter where the servers are – Azure, AWS, on premise, whatever -as long as your networking rules are sufficiently permissive) and set up configuration scripts to run at scheduled times on different categories of systems. This being the new Microsoft and all, the target machines can be Linux as well as Windows. The OMS service has some nice notification capabilities (it will send you an email if it enforces a configuration change on a server) and also integrates with Powershell’s Desired State Configuration (DSC). (Yep – it’s Powershell as a Service. What a world we live in.)

I liked most of what I saw, though I did have a couple concerns. Microsoft may heart Linux now, but Powershell/Powershell Workflows are still the only runbook types allowed on OMS, so if you really want to manage Linux servers this way, you’re going to be using some clunky third-party SSH workarounds. I asked if support for other scripting languages like Bash or Python would be added soon, but there are apparently no plans for this. The source control integration for the scheduling scripts also seems a little weak; it’s apparently Github-only right now, but I would want to play with this before making a judgment one way or the other.

In short, I think OMS already seems like an awesome configuration management choice for people managing big Windows ecosystems, but the product still has a little way to go before people in hybrid or Linux-only environments are likely to get on board.

Notes From the Summit: OMS

Powershell Summit 2016

WashingtonI’m taking in a lot on my first trip to Seattle. Like the fact that the Washington state highway insignia does not show an outline of the state, but George Washington’s head in silhouette. This makes me wish that the old-time surveyors had actually laid out Washington State in the shape of George Washington. Come to think of it, we should redo all the states in designer shapes. I’m thinking a giant peach for Georgia, and for Texas maybe an AK-47. Michigan could still be a mitten, though. That’s weather-appropriate.

Another cool thing I’m experiencing in Seattle is the 2016 Powershell and DevOps Global Summit. I went to this event last year when they had it in Charlotte and it quite literally changed the way I think about my career: as a virtuous feedback loop, where your success is measured in part by how you share your work and engage with others in the technical community.

Here are some other cool things about the Powershell Summit:

  1. It’s small – like, two hundred attendees small – and the quality of the attendees is generally quite high: you can learn something from talking to just about anybody.
  2. There are no third-party vendors trying to sell you stuff, just presenters who care incredibly much about the Windows ecosystem.
  3. The sessions are lousy with Microsoft engineers, including quite a few members of the Powershell product group. If you’re really lucky, you might find yourself sharing an elevator with Jeffrey Snover himself. This is the time to ask your best, most complicated Powershell question.

If you want straight talk about the state of the art in Windows system automation, this event is the place to be. This year I’m hoping to live-tweet and/or blog as many of the sessions as possible. I also hope to have some other cool stuff coming out of this week that I’ll share more about if everything works out. In the meantime, please check back throughout the week for updates!

Day 1 Summary

Day 2 Summary

Day 3 Summary


Powershell Summit 2016