DevOpsDays Raleigh 2017 Attracts Top Talent

The second annual DevOpsDays Raleigh has some top talent on tap for its sophomore venture. The Triangle’s version of the worldwide conferences melds the best aspects of development and operations together and is returning to Raleigh’s McKimmon Center September 7-8.

The first ever DevOpsDays was held in Ghent, Belgium, in 2009. Since then, the events have spread across the globe attracting folks on the DevOps frontline including developers, operations and individuals involved with emerging technology from Amsterdam to Zurich.

Some of DevOps’ elite will journey to Raleigh to share their wisdom and experiences from the trenches. Here are some highlights of the DevOpsDays Raleigh schedule:

Ashley McNamara

The event kicks off with a morning keynote from developer advocate extraordinaire Ashley McNamara with a session entitled “Lessons I’ve Learned as a Go Developer.” Currently in a role as developer advocate at Microsoft, she has also led developer advocacy efforts at Pivotal and Rackspace in addition to being an accomplished photographer and community manager. You can follow her on Twitter at @ashleymcnamara.

Ken Mugrage

A technology evangelist at ThoughtWorks and organizer of DevOpsDays Seattle, Ken Mugrage has made it his personal and professional mission to provide education on DevOps and continuous delivery to groups across the globe. In the early 1990s, Mugrage began his IT career as a system administrator for Seattle’s first Internet service provider. Later, he formed his own web development company in 1994 and created some of the first data-driven websites in existence. From developer to director of a global engineering team, Mugrage has held almost every position in a software development organization over the years.

His session during DevOpsDays Raleigh is entitled “It’s Not Continuous Delivery if You Can’t Deploy Right Now.” Ken will discuss the impact on organizations of not being able to deploy at-will and why practices like trunk-based development are actually key to “proper” continuous integration (CI). He will also talk about deployment strategies that can help manage risk as well as give the ability to understand the business impact of your changes. You can follow him on Twitter at @kmugrage.

Chris Collins

At Duke University’s Office of Information Technology, Collins is Senior Automation Engineer and the web architecture lead. A container and automation evangelist, he leads the adoption of containers within the university and loves to talk about them with anyone who will listen. He is also a strong proponent of collaboration and community.

During DevOpsDays Raleigh, Collins will speak on “Embracing New Technology: How to Damage Trust, Increase Stress, and Create Worry.” He will discuss DevOps gone wrong, a retrospective look at a poorly managed project and how development and adoptions were damaged by mistakes made not in technical implementation but instead in managing cultural changes and interpersonal relationships with customers, peers, and management. It’s an uncomfortable story to admit, let alone present to a crowd, but he shares in the hopes that others will heed his warning and learn from his organization’s missteps. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisInDurham.

Chris Short

Chris Short has worked in the Information Technology field since 1995 and is currently DevOps Manager for He was formerly a senior IT analyst at the Duke University School of Medicine and Global DevOps Engineer at SolarWinds MSP. From his high school days as webmaster at, a dial-up Internet Service Provider based in Hickory, NC, he embraced Linux as a platform in the predominantly Windows-oriented world of the late 90s. He holds CompTIA’s Network+ certification and is a Red Hat Certified System Administrator.

He kicks off the second day of DevOpsDays Raleigh with a session he calls “The Dark Side of DevOps,” in which he will discuss the two patterns associated with a Jedi-type maturation process of DevOps. So if you’re a Star Wars fan and DevOps enthusiast, you don’t want to miss Short’s journey into the cave on Dagobah to learn more about DevOps’ Dark Side. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisShort.

Logan Daigle

At Charlotte, NC-based VersionOne, Logan Daigle wears a lot of hats including DevOps Strategist, Agile Engineering Coach, and Certified ScrumMaster. He wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s been involved with implementing DevOps solutions for the military, government, healthcare, retail and finance industries since 2011. As a DevOps evangelist, he wants to bring the benefits of DevOps to the masses.

In his DevOpsDay Raleigh session entitled “Measuring DevOps – Making it Part of Your Enterprise Telemetry,” Daigle will discuss how DevOps is bringing about unprecedented changes in the way that organizations solve problems and shatter silos. He will also discuss how DevOps empowers employees to automate expensive processes and leverage the power of cross-functional teams to the benefit of development and operations cultures. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheDevOpsGuru.

Nirmal Mehta

As Chief Technologist in the Strategic Innovations Group at Booz Allen Hamilton, Nirmal Mehta specializes in research, implementation and integration of emerging technologies to the firm’s federal government client base. He leads Booz Allen Hamilton’s efforts in containerization and distributed application architectures, and serves as a thought leader for DevOps practices.

By far, his session title (“I’ve Got 99 Problems but Tech Ain’t One”) is my favorite and will focus on how to use behavioral economics and other processes to assist in getting IT organizations to adopt DevOps practices. Technology is easy, but people are hard. He will discuss how we can use game theory to encourage empathy in an organization. Be prepared to learn how to better address the people and IT cultural needs as organizations transform. ‏You can follow him on Twitter at @normalfaults.

Peter Varhol

Internationally-known technical evangelist and technology marketer Peter Varhol has written hundreds of articles and spoken at a number of industry conferences and various webcasts. With advanced degrees in computer science, applied mathematics, and experimental psychology, he has done both research and hands-on practice in machine learning, programming languages, neural networks, and simulation and modeling. A former technology journalist, software developer and tester, software product manager, research scientist, and university professor, he has taught hundreds of students in computer science, mathematics, and advanced business topics including decision analysis, operations management, data structures, system simulation and modeling, and operating systems design and implementation.

His session, entitled “Using Machine Learning to Optimize DevOps Practices,” explores the new and fascinating opportunities machine learning will bring to technology and organizations looking to adopt them. He will discuss how machine learning systems is one of the central tenets around big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and decision-making surrounding a wide variety of industries, from self-driving cars to ecommerce engines. You can follow him on Twitter at @pvarhol.

Baron Schwartz

CEO and founder of VividCortex, a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) database monitoring product, Baron is also the author of several open source software publications as well as “High Performance MySQL.” His DevOpsDays Raleigh session is entitled “What Should I Instrument, and How Should I Do It?” You can follow him on Twitter at @xaprb.

Register to attend DevOpsDays Raleigh by visiting their website. Whether or not you are attending, you can follow DevOpsDays Raleigh updates by following the hashtag #DevOpsDaysRDU and I will be live tweeting during the sessions from @GKforDevelopers and @GKJohnMarkIvey.

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