Hit the Ground Running in NYC at CloudExpo

Jason Hand - June 18, 2014

With only four full days of employment under my belt, I suddenly found myself boarding a plane headed for the Big Apple to prove to my new team, myself, and more importantly, the DevOps community that I knew what I was talking about when it comes to the VictorOps service.

No big deal.

I’d been to New York only one other time, as a day trip many years ago with my parents, so I was excited to get back to the city and absorb more of what it has to offer. While my previous roles as Director of I.T., followed by Operations, and then Support, have provided plenty of opportunity for travel, I never found my way back to this part of the country. I’m excited for the new role and wealth of possibilities to be explored everywhere New Tech (and DevOps) has an engaged and hungry community.


The CloudExpo Conference at the Javits center was the main event, which included a DevOps track, specifically focused on the growing trend of blending our “let’s break & build shit” _Developers with the _“don’t screw up my system” Operations Team. Finding a common ground for both areas within Agile Software Development is where most of the conversations eventually end up and most certainly where I steered my engagement with a variety of specialists over the course of the week.

Balancing your time at these types of events is always a challenge when you are not only a sponsor with a booth but also a “student” of the movement and topic. Most of my time was spent talking shop and understanding the challenges of each new face that came up to our booth asking  “How exactly do you make being on-call suck less?” - a direct result of good branding and the slogan printed in bold behind me.

While I was very happy to chat about DevOps, on-call management, high availability, and the specifics of how VictorOps is addressing these challenges, my mind was drawn to the speakers and topics being discussed and questioned behind closed doors hundreds of feet from my 10’ x 10’ carpeted square.

Eventually, I made it to a couple of speaking tracks leading up to our CEO’s (Todd Vernon) talk on Continuous Support. Of the handful of presentations I was able to attend, Todd’s had, by far, the highest number of engaged audience members asking question after question about on-call management and how VictorOps is addressing the task of getting the right team members alerted and engaged efficiently. “Engaged” was the key point. It’s easy enough to find a variety of services and methods to alert people to a problem, but how are you helping them resolve that problem? Those conversations are where the “aha” moments were generated and as a result, led to natural explanations on how VictorOps is doing just that.


As the conference began to wind down I kept returning to the same question internally - “Where are the innovators in this space?” I can’t say I found a lot at CloudExpo, unfortunately, but I did get a chance to meet some forward-thinkers from the team at DataDog, who are currently working on an integration with VictorOps. Still, I was hard-pressed to find many influencers during my trip that were willing or able to talk about the real problems folks in the DevOps world are dealing with. There were plenty of industry leaders and forward thinkers in the cloud space but I felt as though the DevOps world was underrepresented at this specific event.

Regardless, with O’Reilly Velocity and DevOpsDays Silicon Valley just around the corner, I’m excited to see what the left coast will bring to represent in this space. I have a feeling it will be less “suits” and more “geeks”.

Bring on the geeks - we have a world to change.