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