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Session Name: Historical Context: From Makefiles to Infrastructure as Code

We rely on context a lot as engineers, passing state around so one function knows what the last did, and how it was impacted by the one before that, and on and on. Without passing around context, a lot of things would be much more difficult to build, or at least much more wordy. People need context too. Sure, we’re smarter than a function that only knows how to do one thing, and we can figure it out eventually, but it’s easier to learn a new tool or concept if someone hands it to us. This is especially true as the DevOps and cloud native technologies grow further into the mainstream. Abstractions are great, but they can create a hostile learning environment for anyone touching these tools for the first time, new and experienced engineers alike. You need to understand the technical hurdles and pain points that led to doing things the way we do now. In this talk, I’ll give you the historical context of infrastructure as code – what that means, the technical and social changes that led to every leap from Makefiles to Terraform, and why it's crucial today.

Speaker Bio:

Kat is a Lead Developer Advocate at Dell focused on the growth and nurturing of open source through authentic contribution. In particular, her specialties are approachable 101-level content and deep dives on the history of technology, with a focus on DevOps and cloud native. She has served on the Kubernetes release team since v1.22. When she’s not at a conference, she spends her time playing video games, watching horror movies, or reading science fiction, but her current hyperfixation is film photography. She lives in Scotland with her cat, Espresso, who is the real brains behind the operation and actually ghostwriting all of her tweets.