EBU DevCon 2013

This first EBU Developer Conference provided an opportunity to learn about best practices in software engineering and get hands-on with development and deployment tools such as Puppet. This reflects the growing role that software plays in many parts of the broadcast chain.

Participants could pick up new ideas to run software-driven broadcast infrastructure and improve their engineering workflows. The event focused on three key themes: development, deployment and data. Across two days a mix of case studies, use cases, technology updates, lightning talks and workshops provided lots of opportunities for networking and exchange!

Puppet is one of the leading tools to automate infrastructure in the cloud. Garrett Honeycutt, who was previously an engineer with Puppet Labs and currently works on the technology with Ericsson, made an introduction of this Open Source tool at DevCon. An introductory presentation on day one was followed by a beginner's guide in a hands-on workshop on the second day. It was a practical opportunity to learn about Puppet from a leading expert, to apply best practises and implement common design patterns.

In the current difficult economic climate, the technical resources of many EBU Members are stretched to the limit. At the Libre Software Meeting in Brussels earlier this year, RTP's Pedro Landeiro pointed out that "Members' engineering teams are often small and manage R&D, Operations and Support at the same time". At the EBU's DevCon 2013 event in Geneva was organized so the attendees could discuss how smart deployment of software can help to address these challenges.

The secret, says Garreth Honeycutt of GH Solutions, lies in "doing more, with a small team and the right tools, with automation". However, there's more to this "automate everything" approach than having the right tools. Laura Thomson of Mozilla Firefox, has emphasised that having the right DevOps culture is crucial. "DevOps is a natural starting point to making your production systems highly available and resilient."

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