All About Puppet Camps with Grace Stillar
March 2, 2016 | DevOps | joanna mastrocola
Here at Conjur, we are big fans of Puppet. Together, Puppet and Conjur help organizations automate and go fast while staying in control with a clear audit trail.
Our love of Puppet explains why we are super excited to attend Puppet Camps Dallas on March 22. Puppet Camps are one-day events during which you can watch presentations delivered by prominent members of the community as well as connect with other users in the area.
Wanting to get a better understanding of all that Puppet Camps has to offer, I recently sat down with Grace Stillar, Events Marketing Coordinator at Puppet Labs, to ask her some questions about the community events.
Q: What makes Puppet Camps standout?
A: What stands out about Puppet Camps is that they focus on local users teaching other users how they’ve been integrating Puppet and what works versus what doesn’t. We do around 30 Puppet Camps a year around the world, and for every event the talks are different and based upon that region’s needs. It’s not just pulling one or two folks up on stage, but it’s five or six different talks from users, combined with supporting presentations from Puppet employees. The purpose of Camps is for Puppet to build a space where local users, Open Source and Enterprise alike, can learn from one another.
Q: What can attendees expect to take away from Puppet Camps?
A: Camps are a really good opportunity for folks who are getting started with Puppet to see the variety of ways in which Puppet can be used, and head back to work with a better understanding of what they’re capable of implementing into their infrastructure. Very frequently, attendees mention that they learn about people in their region who are using Puppet and are able to build local relationships with them. Aside from the learning aspect of Camps, one thing we frequently hear from attendees is that they hear a lot from who else in their region is using Puppet and be able to build local relationships that last outside of the event itself. There’s a Puppet User Group (PUG) in most major cities, and a lot of those conversations continue throughout the year.
Q: I’m a beginner with Puppet, am I too inexperienced to attend Puppet Camps? What is the average experience level of attendees?
A: Not at all! Puppet Camps are deliberately designed towards adhering to the beginner user. So many folks are adopting Puppet right now, and it’s important that there’s a place for beginners to strengthen their understanding of what they’re capable of doing with Puppet. All the talks at Puppet Camps are technical talks geared towards the practitioner or IT Manager, so even when more intermediate level content comes up, beginners are seeing actual examples of what is possible to do with Puppet.
Q: What is your favorite part of the Puppet Camp community?
A: The connections that are made at Puppet Camps are always delightfully surprising in that we’ll see folks who worked together in the past meeting again and finding out they have a middle ground with both using Puppet, folks who work at the same company in different divisions and weren’t aware of one another’s existence, and new connections between folks who are solving similar problems with their infrastructures. These small connections in the context of a larger event are some of the most beneficial in the long term.
Q: If an organization wants to speak at Puppet Camp what is your advice in terms of the content they present?
A: Puppet Camps are a great opportunity to share what you’ve learned about Puppet with others, or show the interesting ways you’re using it. Puppet Camp talks are technical, practitioner-focused, and at least 50% about Puppet. We do our best to avoid marketing pitches, while aiming to book talks that are valuable for someone that is looking to use Puppet or is using today.
Q: What is the funniest/craziest thing that has ever happened at Puppet Camps?
A: We strive to hold Camps in interesting and unique locations, such as museums, theaters, art galleries, co-working spaces, and more. This helps keeps things fresh and interesting for us and for attendees. In one instance, we were in a museum theater where we had to work around an archaic AV system by having our Demo presenters type on their laptops from the theater soundbooth at the back of the audience. This meant some of the sessions appeared to have no one actually delivering the presentations, but featured a booming voice accompanying the scrolling Puppet code. In another instance we were holding a camp in an art gallery and in order to set up a camera to record the talks, we had to climb a ladder to an internal treehouse! All to say, we like to be kept on our toes, and we always make Camps memorable experiences for the employees and attendees alike.