AnsibleFest 2016 Review and Ansible Roles for Fun and Profit video online!

It's been a few weeks since AnsibleFest San Francisco, and Ansible just posted the video recordings of all the sessions from AnsibleFest SF 2016! I was honored to be able to speak about Ansible Roles at this year's west coast AnsibleFest, and I also arrived a little early so I could participate in the Ansible Contributor Conference on July 27.

Ansible Roles - Jeff Geerling presenting at AnsibleFest SF 2016
Picture from my session courtesy of The Appnel Group.

I participated in the AnsibleFest London Contributor Conference earlier this year, but only for a short time. I made it to half the day's meetings this time around, and got to hear and talk about the future of Ansible modules (where they live, how they're maintained), Ansible Galaxy (the code that runs it will be open sourced so the community can help improve it!), and more. It was great to finally put a face to so many names—people I've only really met through Twitter, GitHub, or IRC.

I talked to Sam Doran, who, like me, enjoys working on house projects and purchasing power tools for said projects, Greg DeKoenigsberg, who was instrumental in getting me to SF, Robyn Bergeron, who was also instrumental in getting me to SF, and a ton of other Ansible folks, Red Hat folks, and speakers and attendees from all walks of the world of automation! I'm terrible with names, but I remember meeting people from all around the U.S. and the world, automating servers and workstations running Linux, Mac, Windows, and even network routers and switches!

There were two main highlights at AnsibleFest for me—my session, Ansible Roles for Fun and Profit!, and standing around my Ansible for DevOps table in the exhibitor's hall. And maybe also the cookies served in the afternoon!

Ansible Roles presentation

Ansible just posted a video with audio and the slides from my presentation, Ansible Roles for Fun and Profit!:

The session was very well attended, and it was great to see so many people interested in learning more about one of what I consider to be Ansible's top three features. Watch the presentation above to learn more about how to create a role, role architecture best practices, and how to maintain and test Ansible roles. And if you need some inspiration, check out one of my many open source roles on Ansible Galaxy — then consider contributing your own!

Here's a shot of the audience from The Appnel Group:

Ansible Roles talk audience at AnsibleFest SF 2016

Ansible for DevOps sponsor table

Ansible for DevOps booth at AnsibleFest SF 2016

Ansible for DevOps has had a great year since it's official first edition publication last year, and I've already published about 10 updates since then. Self-publishing allows me to keep the entire book up to date, and I'm happy to be able to provide all the book's readers with the latest edition that works with the current Ansible release in perpetuity—or at least as long as I'm able to maintain the book.

I couldn't imagine publishing the book any other way, because it allows me to get timely updates to my readers as I'm able, and keep the book's contents relevant throughout the evolution of Ansible and other infrastructure tools. Readers seem to agree, as I sold out of all the copies of both the first and second print editions that I brought to the booth!

San Francisco

San Fransisco steep roads with undergarments

This trip also marked the first time I'd ever visited San Francisco, though I barely had time to explore the city outside of walking to and from the venue. The picture above sums up my brief experience: the slope of most of the streets around Union Square was unreal—you'd basically be walking up 20-40° inclines with no stairs, there were cars everywhere, and you would smell garbage, then urine, then garbage, on alternating blocks (this is represented by the undergarment that was ceremoniously dumped in the middle of the street in the picture).

Nutella Crepe from Honey Honey Cafe and Creperie in San Fransisco, CA

It also seemed that there was a good variety of dining options, though I only had time to explore one place outside of AnsibleFest-related dining options, and it was pretty good! Pictured above was a Nutella-Banana-Strawberry crepe from Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery, and I'd give it a solid 7/10.


At the end of AnsibleFest, the next AnsibleFest location and date were announced: AnsibleFest Brooklyn 2016 on October 11, 2016. Since my wife and I are expecting our third baby in early October, there's no way I can make it to that 'Fest, but I hope to make it again soon!

It was a great experience meeting all the kind people in the Ansible community I've only been able to meet online, and just like with DrupalCon and other Drupal meatspace events, it helps to kindle a flame for improving the world of automation (both with Ansible and in general!). I'm excited to see where things move now that container-based infrastructure is becoming more mainstream, and also seeing more stories of how companies are using Ansible and a more 'DevOpsy' approach to automating old error-prone processes out of existence (as an example from SF, check out Capital One's presentation!).

Ansible 2.2 is just around the corner, and with it, I'm also working on further updates to Ansible for DevOps. I'm also seriously considering a new book project to take on Ansible and Containers, exploring ansible-container, Kubernetes, Docker, etc.