Istanbul: The city where the East and the West meet

Istanbul is one of those crazy dynamic cities with friendly people, amazing history, great shopping and above all, a food heaven. Naturally, I was excited to be back for Java Day Istanbul conference.

I came a day early to meet with a partner and visit a customer. They had lots of questions on Kubernetes and hybrid-cloud. It was quite useful for me to hear about their challenges about moving to the cloud and propose some solutions.

The biggest benefit of conferences for me is meeting or reconnecting with people. This time, I got to meet my friends EdsonΒ and Rustam. We went to the famous steak house called NusretΒ where the owner is a social media sensation.

Java Day

Java Day is a community driven conference that happens all over Europe. I spoke in Java Day Istanbul for the first time last year about Kubernetes. This year, it was at a different venue and seemed a little bigger than last year with about 800 developers (my guess). I got to speak about Istio in the main room to a group of about 100 developers.

After my talk, I had to leave immediately to catch my flight, as I went to visit my parents for a long weekend.

Questions

The questions I received about Istio were mostly about the performance overhead of Envoy and also the production readiness of Istio. I’m sure I received some other questions that I cannot think of anymore but overall, no unique question stood out.

 

 

 

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Manchester after 20 years

After my time in Beijing, I flew back to the UK but instead of London, I went to Manchester for IPExpo conference. The first time I visited Manchester was 20 years ago. I was a 15 year old high school kid and I visited my great aunt and uncle one summer with my sister. I remember I had such a good time back then.

Unfortunately, I never had a chance to visit Manchester again and it was quite nostalgic for me to be back. I was hoping that I would remember Manchester a little bit but to my surprise, it was like a brand new city to me.

Apparently, Google has a small office in Manchester. I did a quick visit (my 36th Google office visit!) and after my talk, I got to visit Manchester United’s iconic stadium, Old Trafford. I was too late for a tour but it was still nice to see it from outside. I also had dinner with my great aunt and uncle again after 20 years πŸ™‚

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IPExpo

IPExpo is a 2 day conference that happens in locations like London, Manchester and Nordics. I spoke at IPExpo in London for the first time last year. It’s a conference that happens in a giant expo hall where they have a number of companies with their booths. The talks happens in the four corners of the expo hall.

IPExpo in London last year was a unique and challenging experience for me because I wasn’t used to speaking in a large open expo hall with a ton of background noise. This time, I was much more comfortable with the setup and enjoyed doing my talk.

I did my Intro to Kubernetes talk to about 100 people. After the talk, I got a number of basic Kubernetes questions, so it was an engaged audience but I don’t remember the questions anymore unfortunately.

First time in China

Visiting a new country is always extra special for me and a couple of weeks ago, I got to do just that and visited Beijing, China for the first time.

After TDC in Floripa, I flew to Beijing for QCon conference and for a Google Developer Group (GDG) meetup. It was the first time for me in China (my 48th country!) and first time speaking at QCon, so I was naturally excited. I didn’t know what to expect in Beijing but I was pleasantly surprised. Beijing is a modern city with good public transportation and interesting sites to visit. I got the feeling that it’s also very international with many expats, definitely more than I expected. I visited the iconic sites like Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China. I also visited Google’s Beijing office (my 35th Google office visit!)

QCon Beijing

QCon is a global conference that happens in multiple locations like New York, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Shanghai. QCon Beijing was a multi-day multi-track conference with more than 1000+ attendees on a diverse set of topics. I could only attend the last day of the conference on Sunday.

I did my Istio 101 talk to a full room of probably 200 people. I was surprised by the number of attendees and the level of questions I received after my talk. It seems like many people in Beijing are active users of the cloud related technologies like Kubernetes and they were very curious about Istio.

Questions

After my talk, I received the usual Istio questions such as:

  • When will Istio be production ready?
  • What’s Istio roadmap, what features are planned in the upcoming releases?
  • What’s the performance overhead of Envoy proxy?
  • What are the performance characteristics of Istio?

I also received a couple unique questions such as:

  • How do you talk from Istio to an external database?
  • What’s the state of CloudFoundry with Istio?
  • How to upgrade Istio? What’s the recommended procedure?

GDG Beijing

A couple of days after QCon Beijing, I did the same Istio talk at Google Developer Group in Beijing. It was at a co-working space and organizers did a great job in putting the event together with banners, videos before the event and a great Q&A session after my talk.

Questions

After the talk, we had an extensive Q&A session. There were the usual Istio questions on roadmap, production readiness and envoy overhead. More interesting questions I remember were:

  • How long lived connections are handled in Istio?
  • How to delete route rules without yaml?
  • How does Istio see user agent headers when encrypted?
  • Will Istio replace or integrate with Spring Cloud?
  • How is Istio different from Rancher?

Overall, I was very happy to get the chance to visit this great city and country and hope to come again in the near future.

Little Mermaid and the Balkans

I don’t get to visit this many new places in this short amount of time usually but last week I got to visit 4 cities in 4 countries. The amazing thing was that I had never been to any of these cities or countries before!

My journey started in Copenhagen, Denmark on Monday. I had been in all countries around Denmark but not in Denmark itself, so I was happy to finally add Denmark to the list of visited countries. I had to work on Monday, so I paid a visit the Google office in Copenhagen. This was my the 27th Google office I ever visited πŸ™‚

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Monday evening, we organised a meetup with the Google Developer Group (GDG) in the Google. I talked about .NET apps on Gooogle Cloud to a group of about 30 people. It was nice to connect with GDG members in Copenhagen. I even met someone who lived in northern Cyprus, my home country, before.

The main reason to be in Copenhagen was for DockerCon Europe conference. DockerCon is one of the largest tech conferences I’ve been this year with focus on Docker and Containers. DockerCon US happened earlier in the year in Austin, Texas and this was the second edition of the conference in Europe. Google Cloud was a sponsor, so we had a booth and I got to hang out with other Googlers from New York, San Francisco and Seattle offices. I also delivered a talk on Google Cloud and Containers to a full room of about 200 people probably. Overall, it was a nice event with lots of sessions. The highlight for me was when Docker announced Kubernetes support in the keynote on the first day. This was big news and a lot of people asked me about it at our booth after the announcement.

I only had Tuesday evening after the conference to see Copenhagen. I walked around the city a little bit and visited the Little Mermaid statue in the northern part of the town. Copenhagen is a nice little city but I didn’t find anything remarkable about it. I probably need to spend more time next time.

 

Wednesday evening, I flew to Belgrade, Serbia. This was the first time I ever visited a Balkan country. I grew up watching the breakup of Yugoslavia and the wars around them on TV when I was a boy in 1990s. It was nice to see that things are back to normal in that part of the world now.

I was there for Voxxed Days Belgrade on Thursday. Voxxed Days is another series of conferences that happen all around Europe. I spoke at Voxxed Days in Vienna and Luxembourg earlier this year, so this was my third Voxxed Days event. We had strong Google presence at the conference with 5 speakers. I got to meet my co-worker, Casey West, for the first time at the conference πŸ™‚

Overall, I really enjoyed the conference. There were more than 500/600 people and my session on Kubernetes was well attended by probably around 200 or so people. After my talk, I answered questions for half an hour or more which is always nice. I also liked the artwork and slogans at the conference. Here’s an example.

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We received the same slogan as a t-shirt and a bag. We even received a rose liquor, a local beer and a Street Art in Belgrade book as gifts. Organisers went above and beyond to make sure people received good gifts.

On Friday, I had half a day in Belgrade, so I did what I always do in a new city: walk around. I went to the Belgrade Fortress, visited a couple of churches, tried some local cuisine and of course took some pictures. I was lucky that it was a gorgeous sunny and warm day.

 

Friday afternoon, I flew to Zagreb, Croatia with Edson Yanaga from RedHat for ChangeCon. This was a small but nicely organised event. Edson did the opening keynote and then I had my talk on Kubernetes again. It was unique that the conference happened at a local chocolate factory called Kras. Speakers also received a lot of chocolate as gifts, I probably have enough chocolate to last me for a year now πŸ™‚

 

After Zagreb, I decided to take a day off on Monday and see the neighboring country, Slovenia. I took the bus from Zagreb to the capital of Slovenia: Ljubljana. It’s one of the nicest cities I’ve been with a nice fortress, cute old town. I only had a day there, so I just walked around the city, visited the main touristy areas and tried some local food.

 

As I head to the airport, I was quite happy about my little marathon of 4 cities in 4 countries.

Ada Lovelace Day in London, Unter den Linden in Berlin and DevFest in beautiful Lviv

October 10 was Ada Lovelace Day, a special day to celebrate women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Unfortunately, there are not enough women in software engineering and technology in general. Programs like Women Techmakers do a good job to encourage more women participation in technology with meetups, conferences and hackathons. One of those conferences, Tech(k)now Day, happened in London on Ada Lovelace Day and I was happy that Google Cloud was a sponsor. We had a booth and I was there with other Googlers answering questions. I also gave a talk on Containers and Kubernetes to a small group of 30+ people.

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After my talk, I had to rush to another conference, JAX London. It had been a while since I gave 2 talks in 1 day but at least, it was on the same topic. JAX is mainly a Java conference in a few different cities in Germany and London. I spoke at JAX conference in Mainz, Germany before. Like in Mainz, the event in London was well organised and my session was full with 100+ people, some standing (sorry!).

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Wednesday was travel day for Codemotion Berlin conference. I have been to Berlin before once about 5 years ago and I remember really liking it. It’s a nice city with a good vibe, good beer and lots of places to see. The tech scene in Berlin is pretty good as well. I’ve been to Germany a number of times since then but never to Berlin, so I was excited to visit again. After I finished some work at the hotel, I walked around the city a little bit. Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag Building and the Tiergarten were all near, so I didn’t waste the chance to take some pictures. Google also has an office in Berlin, I stopped by quickly to get lunch. This was my 26th Google office that I visited in my travels πŸ™‚

Codemotion is a generalist IT/Tech conference that happens in multiple cities throughout Europe. I spoke at their events in Milan, Tel Aviv and Amsterdam before, so Berlin was the fourth Codemotion that I had the chance to speak. I again talked about containers and Kubernetes to a small group of about 40 people.

After my 24 hours in Berlin, it was time to fly to beautiful Lviv in western Ukraine to speak at DevFest Ukraine. DevFests are community organised conferences organised by Google Developer Groups (GDGs). They usually happen from September until December and some of them are like big meetups of 100 people and some of them are quite big, more than 1000 people.

I visited Lviv for the first time last year in September. At that time, I hadn’t heard anything about Lviv and I had never been to Ukraine before. I also did not know what DevFests were, so I had zero expectations. As they say, when you have zero expectations, you always get nice surprises and that’s exactly what happened with Lviv last year. I had a really good time there. The city was beautiful, I met a lot of good people that I kept in touch throughout the year and the DevFest Ukraine was one of the best and fun conferences that I attended last year.

As you can imagine, I was looking forward to visiting Lviv again and of course, DevFest Ukraine did not disappoint. This year it was more than 1000 people at the conference. There were a lot of great speakers from different companies. I did a talk on Apache Beam and Dataflow, got to meet a number of friends again, visited my favorite places in Lviv, took lots of pictures and drank quite a bit of cherry liquor at the speaker’s dinner evening after the conference πŸ˜‰

It was also a little bit sad. Organisers announced that 2018 will be the last year the current committee will organise a DevFest. These people put a lot of time and effort into organising DevFest Ukraine in the last 5 years and I guess they want to take a break. While I understand it, it is still quite sad that such an amazing community event will come to an end in 2018.

This was one of those weeks that I wished did not end but as they say, all good things come to an end.