QCon Adventure: Containers Ahoy

- By David Grimes on July 06, 2015


Shippable had a booth at the QCon conference in New York this year where I had the opportunity to reach out to people about our containerization process and DevOps philosophy. The East Coast megalopolis is an impressive display of human engineering. I've been there before but mostly only visited rural historic sites. This time I was in the busy downtown tech scene  ... and having a few adventures along the way. 

Day 1: I arrive at the airport at 2AM in Seattle and eventually make it to New York around 2PM, although our TV becomes MIA at airport, (not) a surprise! After a busy day and setting up our booth we head back to our AirBnB apartment to relax. As I was preparing for slumber, I try to get back into my room, but it was mysteriously locked (both avenues into it)! There goes my computer, backpack, wallet, and phone. We ring up our hosts, but there are no keys to unlock these doors. Instead, we had a team of guys undo the hinges on two of the doors. Two hours later, we finally breached the room. Sleep at last!

We saw a lot of interest in Docker and containers, what they are, and where they are going in the future. What are containers? I liked to explain it like mini-virtual machines, but you don't need to emulate a whole system. They are designed to be portable and fast with low overhead. It allows servers to quickly start up containers it needs to do a process and have a multitude of different containers running at the same time. This allows for higher density of server usage and faster execution through use of the host kernel instead of a full virtualized emulated system.

Day 2: We finish our booth preparations in the morning, like awkwardly fitting a rectangular tablecloth over 2 circular tables. I used our handy field notebooks to build a throne to stand our raffle prize- a wireless Beats headphone, and some towers. We're finally reunited with our TV only to find out it was really a coffin. We turned in on to find a blank white screen with rainbows of death surrounding a gash in the bottom left corner, likely assassinated en-route. The rest of the day we met dozens of people, chatting about containerized continuous integration and formation environments and that all the cool people use Shippable. At the end of the day, all my business cards had been hijacked and only a few notebooks remained after the looting.

We were excited to talk about our improved UI, which launched on June 16th to improve our speed and usability. Our UI uses Angular to offer users a fast, responsive, and flexible experience. Our goal in this new layout was to move towards a unified theme and strip out parts we no longer needed. This allowed us to achieve a significant boost in service speed and gave users more accurate information with an easy to use interface. If you use our site, we'd love to hear what you think could improve it.

Day 3: People asked a lot about containers. I ate a bowl of pasta for dinner.  It rained a little. Also nothing interesting happened.

In addition to the new UI, we added a new product called Formations. This allows users to deploy their fully tested containers into multi-container environments. It expands the CI process to the deployment phase, but can be used separately if needed. This means that users can go from just merging theIr code, through continuous integration, to automatically deploying it into a full topology on successful builds. You can sign up for a Free 60 day trial of Formations.


Shippable Qcon Booth

- David


Topics: containers, events and conferences