A Week after HashiConf EU 2019

A Week after HashiConf EU 2019

This was my second HashiConf. The first was last year’s San Francisco show, and this year I got to head to Amsterdam for the EU edition. I’ve never been to the Netherlands, so it was understandably exciting to wait for my cue to order my Uber to the airport on Monday, very early in the morning.

This year ECS Digital had a team of three and a stand in an area called The Hub. It’s here where we spent the majority of our time, talking to people about training in all things HashiCorp, technical challenges they’re facing, and also proudly advertising our beloved hands-on Meetup series, the DevOps Playground to the fellow Londoners who made the exhausting 40 minutes long flight to Amsterdam for the show. Thanks to everyone who came over and chatted with us.

When we got to the venue Tuesday morning, something became clear very quickly. The vibe was very different than what I remember from San Francisco last year. Not better or worse, just a different atmosphere. The bare-brick walls, the stage setup, the lighting, the background music (playlist for Spotify – thanks for sharing it HC). These things immediately gave me the impression that I’m going to have a wonderful time here. (Also super excited to hear that HashiConf 2020 will be taking place in the same venue, with hopefully the same music!)

Bit of breakfast, and a good cup of coffee (I mean two coffees), and it was time for the big bangs – the Opening Keynote.

Last year’s Big Bang at HashiConf EU was Consul Connect, then Vault 1.0 and Terraform 0.12 beta in San Francisco. So it was kinda predictable that we were going to have Consul at the centre of the opening keynote. And it was.

 

 

Armon Dadgar took to the stage first, followed by Mitchell Hashimoto – Co-Founders and Co-CTOs of HashiCorp. The new buzzword to come out of their opening keynote was “Mesh Gateways and Layer7 routing” capabilities. See a detailed blog post about it here.

Essentially, Consul (and Envoy working together) are the new {load balancer, edge reverse proxy, service mesh, api gateway, vpn}. This will undoubtably prove to be a very complex undertaking for Consul, and whilst I’m sure they will handle it just fine, I do have a slight concern that it will start to become too heavy. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen…namely because Consul is my favourite HashiCorp tool.

When Mitchell finished talking about Consul, the stage (and the whole auditorium) changed from magenta to green, and it was time for the updates on Nomad.

Although it was much shorter than the Consul update, the session covered a lot of new updates for the next version of Nomad, including: Network Namespaces and Native Consul Connect integration, which will be very useful for those deploying hybrid workloads onto Nomad. I personally also like the upcoming support for Host Volumes, which is a long-awaited feature. The community will be very happy once it’s out, for sure! Check out the announcement video here.

The Nomad update concluded the keynote for Day 1, and the program continued with other presentations, food and coffee breaks. Oh, god I must mention, the food was amazing. And there was a lot of it. And I mean, a lot. If you knew me personally, you’d know I don’t take these words lightly, but if we’re being honest, there was barely an hour or two each day when there was no food or snacks or ice cream immediately available to someone who desired it. Food and tech, what’s not to love!

 

 

Day 2 started with another keynote, this time presented by Paul Hinze on Terraform. Now I must admit that I’m still on required_version = "< 0.12", and for the first part of the presentation, it felt like this is somewhat of a trend amongst users. Knowing that many people are yet to upgrade, Paul reiterated the HCL 2.0 features and other v0.12 upgrades that were announced in the beta release in San Francisco last October and made generally available in May 2019. He also went on to announce that Terraform Cloud is now officially live, providing free remote state management for individuals and small teams. The big booms for Terraform Enterprise are VCS backed Policy Sets and First-class integration with ServiceNow. See the video on this link for the full update.

The last update was for Vault, and although it was in a smaller auditorium, the updates were not small at all. New auth methods, like Kerberos and Pivotal Cloud Foundry were announced, Built-In Highly Available storage and consensus system (which will be released later this year), Dynamic UI elements for better integration for custom plugins, a new Database plugin for Elasticsearch and so on. Please see Jeff’s video here.

Although it’s not always easy to schedule these trips to conferences between engagements, I definitely did not regret making the effort to do so. Great venue, beautiful city, good crowd, professional (but not white gloves) hospitality and of course, lots of inspiring content about my favourite tools in the DevOps toolchain.

Which, come to think of it, I could probably write an entirely separate post on…maybe I will.

*****

If you’re looking for an easy way to learn how to manage your Consul Cluster with Terraform, head this way

Daniel MeszarosA Week after HashiConf EU 2019
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New announcements from HashiConf 2018!

New announcements from HashiConf 2018!

We are writing from San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel where HashiCorp has just kicked off HashiConf 2018.

Since the company’s inception in 2012, it has seen huge growth and each of Hashicorp’s tools have become incredibly valuable to the industry. In particular, Terraform, Vault Consul and Nomad.

Terraform is currently used in most Fortune 500 companies. It also serves an incredible number of small and medium-size companies and plays an important part of the individual developer toolkit, thanks to growth in the adoption of the Cloud. Vault, Consul, Nomad are also being heavily utilised by the industry.

We’ve just kicked things off and HashiConf 2018 has a packed agenda of exciting talks, which is leading to some tough choices on our part!

Ready? Set. Go!

At ECS Digital, we’ve been working with the entire suite of products that HashiCorp has created.

Meet Michel Lebeau, DevOps and Continuous Delivery Consultant at ECSD. Michel has been heavily involved in projects that involve Hashicorp tools and runs Hashicorp Training courses. Here’s what he has to say about the product announcements at HashiConf 2018:

“I’m personally very excited about the free remote state feature that Terraform Enterprise is going to offer to everyone. This will allow teams to work together and manage the same resources much easier. This is a feature that Enterprise customers have enjoyed for a while now, and I’m extremely pleased to see that the general public will be able to benefit from it too.”

Nice one HashiCorp! See here for more details

“I’m also looking forward to Terraform 0.12, as I’m sure many others are, with the new for loop, conditional expressions, dynamic blocks, etc. However I am not looking forward to the breaking changes!

Vault 1.0 is of course another big one, it’s an awesome security tool that is being adopted by more companies by the day, and seeing HashiCorp give it its 1.0 seal of approval is very exciting. Auto Unseal for the open source community will help smaller companies sort out their unseal keys headache, which is a welcome addition.

Consul Connect and first-class support for Kubernetes are other announcements that have me unreasonably joyful for a Tuesday morning!”

Now meet Daniel Meszaros, also a DevOps and Continuous Delivery Consultant at ECS Digital. Daniel’s been working with open-source versions of the HashiStack for about 2 years. Here’s his take on the announcements at HashiConf 2018:

“There are a lot of exciting announcements happening this morning at HashiConf and let me tell you what my favourites are:

Terraform: HashiCorp is starting a new service to enable every terraform user to collaborate better. Remote state-file storage, with no limits on users or workspaces. Data is encrypted with Vault. This service also offers shared module registry, and centralised plans and applies. The brand new version of HCL is also something, a lot of people are waiting for, and it’s finally here. They’ve made the language more flexible, and introduced features (like loops, and dynamic blocks) that will make writing .tf files better.

Vault: 1.0 Preview Release. The entire community is waiting for the 1.0 for a long time. Vault is and has been a very mature product for years now, but the company didn’t want to release the first major version until they were sure, everything was just right, stable enough and supportable. New features include auto-unseal in open source versions, working with all the major public cloud providers: AWS, GCP, Azure and Alibaba Cloud.

Consul: Preview Release of v1.4. Connect is now Generally Available. Native integration with Envoy, the most commonly used service-mesh proxy. With the Kubernetes integration, announced earlier this year, Consul is now capable of discovering and securing and connecting services inside and outside a Kubernetes cluster.

Nomad: 0.9. I love the idea of Nomad. I love that HashiCorp is not trying to make yet another container-only platform, that focuses on the benefits of using container images, but besides being a container scheduler, is also trying to provide help to companies with legacy applications to start segregating and automating the deployments of their softwares in their current form. What shows that their effort is worth it, are the raw stats. Nomad is currently the fastest growing Hashicorp product in terms of downloads. In the new version coming in November, we’ll have new, improved UI and lot’s of new features, like utilising Nvidia GPU, Affinity type constraints, and a new type of scheduling, Spreading.

Learn: Hashicorp announced a new learning platform that helps everyone getting started with their products. Starting with Vault, but Consul and Nomad coming later this year.”

The official announcement by Armon Dadgar, co-founder of HashiCorp, can be found here.

Watch this space and follow us on Twitter for follow up blog posts and other specific announcements from Michel and Daniel at the conference!

Quick shameless plug: We offer Official HashiCorp Training in London and Singapore, get in touch if that’s something that your company is looking for.

Daniel MeszarosNew announcements from HashiConf 2018!
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DevOps Playground #18 – All Hands on Prometheus

Earlier this year we had our 18th DevOps Playground focusing on the very powerful monitoring tool – Prometheus, that has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years.

At the event, we first looked at a brief history of Prometheus, then our participants learned how to setup and start a Prometheus server, configure targets and basic alerts. We’ve also looked at PromQL, the powerful query language, and learned the most basic functions, and expressions we can use to get started on using Prometheus.

Following this video you should be able to run through this introduction to Prometheus from the comfort of your home!

For the next playground we will be focusing on managing micro-services on Kubernetes using Istio.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Interested in attending one of our DevOps Playground events? Follow up on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event – Join us!

Daniel MeszarosDevOps Playground #18 – All Hands on Prometheus
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