Container Camp LDN 2015

On Friday I made my way up to the Barbican Centre for this year’s edition of Container Camp London. After a slow start (no-one seemed to know that we were supposed to descend five floors to the cinema in the bowls of the building) things finally got under way. Here’s a quick summary of the day’s sessions:

  • Bryan Cantrill, CTO at Joyent kicked off the day with a animated romp through the history of containers ending with the view that containers deserve better than to be run in virtual machines and, perhaps not surprisingly, Joyent’s Triton project gives you the ability to turn the bare metal in your datacenter in to one large virtualized container host.
  • Next up (after another hiatus to sort out projector woes) was Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs. He talked about what you should be looking for in a private container service which again, not surprisingly, read much like a feature list for Rancher.
  • Lack of network connectivity was the next issue which saw Bryan Boreham from Weaveworks take to the stage. Byran gave a technical presentation describing why consensus (as used by Consul or etcd) may be overkill and why Weave uses conflict-free replicated data types (CRDT) for service discovery and IP address management.
  • Mandy Waite from Google gave an introduction to Kubernetes – nothing new there.
  • Stephane Graber, who is the project lead for LXD at Canonical, gave a nice demo of some of the capabilities of LXD. He stressed that LXD is aimed aimed at system (i.e. whole OS) containers rather than application containers, suggesting, for example, that you might run Kubernetes under LXD. He failed, however, to explain what features differentiated it in this respect.
  • There was selection of lightning talks over lunchtime, most of which now escape me. Ben Corrie from VMware spoke about Project Bonneville, demonstrating vSphere as a container host. Liz Rice would have demonstrated the real-time scaling of if she’d been able to connect to the screen.
  • After lunch, Arjan Schaaf from Luminis illustrated that, as always, you should performance test. In this case, to understand the inter-container networking characteristics of your IaaS and SDN.
  • Alissa Bonas from Redhat demonstrated the OpenShift/Kubernetes integration in ManageIQ that allows you to drill down from a container view of the world in to the underlying infrastructure (virtual or physical).
  • Miek Gieben spoke about the dynamic, container-based infrastructure that powers based on Core OS, fleet, etcd and DNS.
  • After yet another coffee break (queue trek back up five flights of stairs), Ben Hall gave an entertaining pitch on attempting to keep nefarious users at bay whilst giving them free reign over a Docker setup in his Scrapbook learning environment.
  • This was followed by Diogo Monica of Docker cover the Notary and the Trusted Update Framework as integrated with Docker 1.8. I was just glad that I had saved watching Docker Online Meetup #24 for the journey home as it was the same slidedeck.
  • Perhaps the most impressive session of the day was by Loris Degioanni, CEO at Sysdig. He started by talking about monitoring through tools such as Google’s cadvisor and Docker logs before giving a really powerful demonstration of the sort of information you could collate and navigate by inserting the sysdig kernel module on the Docker host.
  • Last up was Juan Batiz-Benet who, although his presentation was entitled ‘Containers at Hyperspeed’ was, I suspect, going a little too fast for most people to keep up! The net was though that we should all be using IPFS to shift images around so that deduplication doesn’t stop at container layers but goes down to the individual file level.

As you can probably tell from my comments, the conference could have been slicker but it was still well worth the trip up to London. I’d say I learnt less than last year but that’s more because my own level of understanding has moved on. I’d also suggest that this year there was more of a focus on ‘doing with Docker’ than simply on the technology itself which indicates an increase in the maturity of the ecosystem.

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