DevOps Days Buffalo 2021

Buffalo, NY October 13, 2021, October 14, 2021
Tags: Devops, Ops, Secops, Developer, Opensource

CFP closed at  August 01, 2021 09:30 UTC

DevOpsDays is a series of independently-organized events that aims to spread awareness and share ideas within the DevOps realm around the globe.

DevOpsDays Buffalo, or DODBUF, is a 200-250 attendee, non-profit, community-driven event that aims to assemble local tech practitioners in order to bring the global DevOpsDays mission to this city. This conference will gather the highest quality professionals in the Buffalo tech community and around the world to discuss topics and exchange ideas regarding software development and IT operations (and everything in between).

CFP Description

Who We Are

DevOps Days Buffalo is back for our third year! In year one we were in a beautiful castle, and then in the pandemic we shifted to online to still be able to bring speakers and participants together despite all odds, and now for year three we are…

… planning a (hybrid) conference at a drive-in! This will allow us to maintain 1 ) our coolness factor but also 2 ) to accommodate various distancing needs.

If you’re interested in taking part in this awesome, local DevOps Days and exchange ideas as well as, perhaps and we’re really hoping, in-person contact then please read on for how you can submit to speak and take part!

Who You Are

Someone who has industry relevant domain knowledge they’d like to share. That sentence might feel vague, but that is intentionally so: you could know about Kubernetes (many do), or Lisp (fewer do), or a different topic that is still in the broader space of development, IT, operations, security, and so on.

What We’re Looking For (Speakers)

Types of Talks

DevOps Days Buffalo is a single track conference. We’re interested in talks with two different formats:

  • 30 min talks, including one keynote per day.
  • 5 min lightning talks
    • We will not be enforcing the 20 sec, auto advance, ignite format
    • We will cut you off after 5 min precisely
    • Note that slide transitions add time to the presentation

The conference itself will be virtual for the first part of the day, and then both streaming and at the drive-in for the second part of the day, for both days. What this means for you as a speaker is that we do need all talks pre-recorded so we can stream and also so we can project on the drive-in screen. That said, for the in person component, if the guidelines in October permit, we will be doing networking and people will be able to mingle. So even though we’ll need you to pre-record, we still want you to attend the event if you can and feel comfortable doing so!

The Mother Sauces of IT

We’re looking for the story tellers. If you have written your first line of code, survived your first or hundredth on-call, integrated a service, had to hire or be hired, then that can include you! We are interested in a wide variety of topics relevant to the core job functions within IT as an industry. As a result, there are a few broad categories that we’re interested in. We’ve included some ideas for each, but please don’t take these as the only topic titles that we’re interested in! If you think your topic is a good fit even if it’s not directly listed, please submit - we’d love to take a look!

Functioning in the IT Industry

These are the talks that are related to the human element of our jobs. Some examples include:

  • Ethics - e.g. designing ethical software, ethics in data science, understanding the implications of what we build, etc.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - e.g. how to reduce bias, how to increase anti-racism in tech, job titles, etc.
  • Technical management - e.g. managing up, inter-team communication, self empowerment and/or getting support, etc.
  • Challenges of regulated industry - e.g. how regulation and/or legal requirements impact technical decisions

The IT Topics Themselves

For lack of a better way to phrase it, this is the “technical” part of the job. The skills that are needed for code, architecture, everything related, and so forth. Some examples include:

  • Horror Stories - e.g. ever been on-call and are allowed to talk about it? Near misses or good saves?
  • Security - this is too broad a topic for examples, but as a goal what we’d like to have is at least a couple of talks that introduce what InfoSec engineers wished their non-InfoSec counterparts knew to work with them better.
  • Continuous integration and continuous delivery
  • Containerization
  • Issues related to large scale, Big Data (and other Big ${N}).
  • Cost optimization of cloud
  • Incident management
  • Automation
  • Monitoring, alerting, and observability
  • Systems reliability, redundancy, failover, backup & recovery, data loss, etc.
  • Microservices
  • Storage, caching, best ways to optimize
  • Infrastructure as code

Basically: the only thing we’re not looking for is vendor pitches. So please: no vendor pitches.

The Broader World of Technical

To help introduce some other cool things into the talk track, we’re also looking for a small number of talks that are technical, but in the non-IT sense. Some ideas that are not prescriptive but to get you thinking along the correct lines:

  • Know how to build a mechanical clock?
  • Studied law?
  • … or history?
  • Ever built a house, or your own kitchen, bathroom, etc.?
  • Worked on a farm?
  • … or a hospital?
  • … or a bank?

These are just to get started but we hope you get the idea. There are lots of very technical jobs the world over, and we’d love to have a few of their (your!) stories at our conference.

Behind The Scenes on Talk Selection

Sometimes you have an idea that you’re really excited about, but aren’t sure how to put it to words so you can get everyone else as excited as you are. That’s ok! Happens to us all, no matter how many presentations we’ve given. That doesn’t mean the ideas aren’t awesome, or that you’re not a great presenter or an effective communicator! It’s just part of the human experience. To help, we want to share a bit about how we’re reviewing the talks, so that you know what we’re looking for and what we consider beyond just “a talk about ${technology or tool}”.

First, let’s start with how we do our selection process. We do two passes, the first pass is the abstract and title only and then the second pass includes speaker names and details. In our first pass we’re mainly looking at the talks themselves and what’s being included in each talk, and then in the second pass we’re starting to try to figure out which talks go well with each other, who has good storytelling, as well as to select for a diverse speaker group.

When we’re looking at the content in the first pass, we also need to understand a bit about who the intended audience is for the talk and what their takeaways should be. To help us, please make sure to include:

  • A clear indication of level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or all audiences)
  • What you want people to take away from your talk
  • If your talk is about solving a problem that is for a specific scale (startup, enterprise, somewhere in between) or for a specific industry (regulated in general, finance, health, aviation, etc.) please make sure to call that out too!
  • It also helps if your talk is about an uncommon use case or tech stack. For example, we might need to choose between several kubernetes talks, but there are fewer talks about Perl or ham radio.

Beyond the content itself, we also are trying to gauge the presentation - that means storytelling! We want talks that spark deeper thought and hopefully constructive conversations in Open Spaces and after the conference. Your storytelling ability is something you can highlight while you’re writing your short description and abstract - just be careful not to get so caught up in the story that you lose clarity so we can still tell the what, who, etc. To help, here are a couple of blog posts that speakers at technical conferences have written about what they’ve found successful, and unsuccessful, in their talk submissions and day-of presentations:

For speaker backgrounds, we also try to have a balance between speakers that are local and remote/visiting, new and established, as well as speakers who are in groups that are underrepresented in technology. If you feel comfortable disclosing, please let us know if any of these apply to you in the Additional Information sections of your submission. Please do not include any identifying information in the Notes section, as that will show with the title and abstract when we do with our first pass.

Just to say it loud and clear: we’re really excited for your talk! We are looking forward to showing and bringing a lot of expertise to the Buffalo DevOps community and want as many people to be a part of it that can! Bring us your thoughts, stories, code, and your whole self!

Attendees (1)