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It’s Containers All the Way Down: DockerCon 2021

Docker Containers

As a developer at Creed, I have the opportunity to regularly attend conferences and learn more about different technologies that have piqued my interest. One such recent technology is containerization driven by Docker containers, so DockerCon 2021 seemed like a perfect choice for me. But wait a second, I’ve only really done a few projects with Docker and none of them really got further than instructing a container to output “Hello World.” Would I really get anything out of a conference without knowing the technology better?

I didn’t come up with an answer to that question before Thursday, May 27 rolled around so I ended up courageously attending the conference anyway. Upon reflection, it was a silly question to ask because conferences like this tend to be built to amass the widest range of appropriate audience, but perhaps there’s something else to consider here? I kept thinking about my position on a sort of continuum of interest and passion towards a particular technology and did what any sane computer scientist would do and built a visualization of it. I call it the Docker Enthusiasm Scale:

The Docker Enthusiasm Scale

Here’s how I used this scale to categorize each talk and presentation I attended at DockerCon 2021: Because I think of myself as squarely in Level 2 on this scale, I used the delta between that and my perception of the level of the content being presented. So if I’m attending a talk that is very beginner-oriented, I would consider that at a lower level than me so I expect to understand a good amount of the content, which means I’m leaning in and applying active listening to the content. Level 4 or 5 talks? Well, in that case I’m leaning back and paying more attention to summaries and big picture details, possibly getting distracted by shiny concepts because I know that a decent amount of the content will be over my head. 

Now if you’re thinking that this scale is too subjective or too Docker-specific to be of any real use, then I would agree with you and compliment you on your insight. Nevertheless, I will use this scale to frame the presentations I attended at DockerCon 2021 to demonstrate that this convention has something for everyone regardless of their comfort or familiarity with the technology. This is particularly worth pointing out because all the content from DockerCon 2021 is available to watch on demand on their website: 

Level 1 – Getting started…

The Docker and Container Ecosystem 101 – Melissa McKay

· Basics and terminology
· Helpful perspective on how Docker was built and why certain choices were made
· A great place to start!

A Pragmatic Tour of Docker File Systems – Jacob Howard

· Rapid-fire high quality content
· Can get very detailed while staying brief
· “The guiding principle is to have the computer do less”

Level 2 – Words from Our Sponsor

What’s New in Docker Desktop? – Dieu Cao

· New feature highlight reel
· Includes a short demo
· Comparatively brief video

Beyond the UI: Hands-on Coding With Docker’s New HTTP APIs – Mark Higson

· Introduction to an upcoming new feature for paid users of Docker services

Level 3 – Let’s try to Contain Ourselves

Optimizing Docker Builds: Successes, Failures, and Instrumented Observability – Nicole Rifkin

· A riveting saga of optimizing a Dockerfile
· Helpful insight into build optimization in general

Docs as Code – Usha Mandya

· How the Docker team builds and runs documentation as code within containers
· A fascinating look into a team’s unique process
· Includes a demo

Level 4 – Wait, it’s All Containers?

The Last Mile of Local Containerization – Peter Valdez

· Discussions on containerizing the entire workflow
· And I do mean the entire workflow
· Great example of going absolutely ham on containerization and the benefits it can bring

Top Dockerfile Security Best Practices – Alvaro Iradier Muro

· Very detailed but somewhat academic
· Best practices and pitfalls to avoid
· Top notch content for the topic at hand

Level 5 – Always has Been

Container-Based Development with VsCode – Brigit Murtaugh

· Using a containerized approach to development environments
· Very exciting concept that is described well and then shown in action
· Includes a demo

Building a DDoS Testbed with Docker – Banjo Obayomi

· Using containers to simulate web-traffic for developing DDoS mitigation measures
· A great example of the near-limitless potential for utilizing containerization
· Includes a demo

Saving the Best for Last

The Fallacy of Move Fast and Break Things – Dawn Parzych

· What building or participating in a high-performing team looks like at the ground level
· Not restricted to containerization technology
· Philosophical and strategic considerations
· In no uncertain terms, the best talk I attended during this conference!

Until next time, may you supplant doubt with enthusiasm and keep imposter syndrome at bay!