Trip to DockerCon - San Francisco

| Kushal Gautam

From June 11-15, we (me and Timo) attended DockerCon representing Romeis Information Engineering. The flight duration from Frankfurt to San Francisco was about 11 hours, and the timezone shift was almost inverted. But, the trip to DockerCon and the beautiful city of San Francisco made these hurdles worthwhile.


The excitement of attending DockerCon was as equal as visiting the fabulous San Francisco city. Beautiful landscapes and mesmerizing architectures could easily lure anyone in this beautiful city.

This was my first time attending DockerCon. Thus, I have no idea about such events in the past. This edition of DockerCon comprised of multiple parallel sessions. The organizers had provided a way to pre-register either through the web application or mobile app, and unfortunately, some of the good sessions were quickly filled out. By the time we San Francisco and tried to register for the interesting sessions, a majority of them were already booked, and we were pretty much left stranded after the keynote session.

Day I

Our trip started from Frankfurt International Airport on 11th June, 2018 at around 10 in the morning. It was an 11 hours long direct flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco. Because of almost 9 hours of time zone shift, we landed in San Francisco around past noon. Our hotel was in the city center, so was the DockerCon venue. We checked-in to the hotel, freshened up, and headed towards Moscone West Convention Center, where DockerCon was being hosted.

Unlike our expectations, the first day was rather disappointing. Personally, we felt the absence of proper management. Although the schedules showed that the event would start from 11th June, the participants were left stranded without any food, accompanied by poor WiFi. Thus, after staying there for an hour or two, we headed out to the city. We were hungry, and tired as well. But we took a walk from the hotel to the bay area. The bay area is beautiful and vibrant, full of events. I did not have any idea about the piers in the bay area. Most interesting of all these piers was Pier 39, which we were fortunate enough to visit on the last day of DockerCon (Friday). After some food, we went back to the hotel, sat in the bar for a while and headed back to our rooms, not to mention, jet lag was kicking in.

Day II

Adequate sleep but timezone issues were prevalent. But we woke up on time to be there for the Keynote session. The kind of docker that we observed at DockerCon was a bit different from what we had known and learnt, and had been using in our work. A major focus was on Kubernetes and Enterprise solutions. Unfortunately, due to the booked-out sessions, and a poor network connection, we were left stranded. But we were not alone. We could see plenty of disappointed faces. Then, we sneaked out to the beautiful San Francisco city. This time, we walked through The Presidio Park, with a view of Alcatraz Island. About an hour long walk through the woods took us to The Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge itself, and its surrounding was spectacular. From there, we took a bus, got down to a point and hiked through the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Tight on schedule, and we were getting hungry as well. We went to a restaurant, had the food, and with a bit of mishap of the bus route and bus stop, we again came back to DockerCon for the Welcome Event. The welcome event was short and time-bound. There were few stalls showcasing their products directly or indirectly related to docker. But, this session particularly interested participants in food.

Day III

June 13, 2018 was the third day of DockerCon SF. Unlike past two days, this day was eventful. The day started with a general session, and was packed with other smaller sessions. Ranging from docker internals to usage of docker to increase productivity. This day felt very productive and fruitful. A number of technical sessions that we could apply in our day-to-day work made it more interesting. But again, due to the overlapped and overbooked sessions, we had to miss out some interesting sessions. Later that day we came to know that some of the popular sessions would be repeated on the first half of the last day of the conference.

Post eventful day was an awesome DockerCon party. The party was hosted at Pier 3 in the bay area in two docked cruise boats. A combo of cool breeze accompanied by joyful people, variety of foods, live music at the rooftop was a real treat. Gradually when darkness grew, the spectacular view of the San Francisco skylines and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge became more prominent. The ambience was great, but it did not last long, and the organizers started calling it a night at around 10:30 PM. The shuttle service from the organizers dropped us to the Moscone West Center, which was very near from our hotel. Thus, we called it a night too.

Day IV

Day IV was eventful as well. Plenty of pre-booked sessions, an early keynote session, and the closing session as well. I liked the keynote session, particularly the talk of the guest speaker Robert Tercek. The presentation was powerful and energetic. Similar to the previous day, we were completely occupied on this day as well. Last quarter of the day was slotted for the closing session where there were several speakers presenting some cool hacks with Docker and Kubernetes. This session was interesting to watch as we could witness how industry could use Docker in their production or how Google Cloud supported machine learning enhancements or how hybrid infrastructure gateways could be used with Docker and Kubernetes.

The day was wrapped up with a great deal of learnings. Although we could not attend all the sessions, DockerCon 2018 was worthy. After the conference, we went to a few bars (as bar hopping in SF was highly recommended). Later, we called it a night.

Day V

Day V was at DockerCon was less crowded as it was targeted only for selected repeated sessions. We tried to make most out of these repeated sessions. These sessions lasted until half day, probably until around noon. And that was a wrap-up of DockerCon and we were free for rest of the day.

Thanks to an early wrap-up of DockerCon on the last day, we visited Pier 39 or Fisherman’s Wharf after that. We started our walk through the China Town of San Francisco. That was really big China Town market. Through Lombard Street, we climbed uphill and intersected the track of the infamous cable car of San Francisco. From there on, we went downhill on the direction of surprisingly vibrant and beautiful Pier 39 or Fisherman’s Wharf. This location stood different from the inner San Francisco city. It was eventful and full of visitors. The salsa that we had in a restaurant reminded me so much of my home-made tomato-coriander-chilly chutney. We watched some magic shows, played some arcade games.

Summary

Trip to DockerCon was a wonderful and memorable one. A bit of mis-management, I would say on the first day made the situation chaotic. Overall, the conference good. But I found that the conference was more focused on the enterprise solutions. Less focus was given on the developer community. Many solutions presented there were out of our reach as we were a medium-sized organization.

For reference, https://dockercon2018.hubs.vidyard.com/ is the link where Docker has hosted the videos of DockerCon SF 2018.