After three years, the time had come: Checkmk Conference #8 could finally take place again on site in Munich – and it was overwhelming: More than 300 international participants came together for the big get-together of the Checkmk Community at the Paulaner am Nockherberg from May 3 to 5, 2022.
After two virtual conferences in the previous years, the anticipation and enthusiasm among the participants was immediately apparent at the Paulaner am Nockherberg. The second after the first guests arrived, the first groups quickly formed in the beer garden enjoying the sunny May weather and lively interaction among each other. For many, it was the first meeting again since the last on-site conference in 2019. The special conference spirit was thus immediately noticeable for everyone, even after two virtual conferences in 2020 and 2021.
Outlook onto Checkmk 2.1
At the Checkmk Conference #8, the focus was not only on the human interaction, but also on the exchange about the technical innovations that will come with Checkmk 2.1. After the warm welcome by tribe29 founder Mathias Kettner, tribe29 CEO Jan Justus gave an outlook on the contents and presentations of the upcoming conference days in his keynote ‘The state of Checkmk’.
An important part of the new product release – which will be released in the next four weeks and is currently testable as a beta – will be the completely revised monitoring of Kubernetes environments. While Kubernetes monitoring has been part of Checkmk for three years, it has been significantly optimized for the release, as Jan Justus explained. For this purpose, tribe29, with a dedicated team and ten members from the Checkmk Community, have fundamentally revised the Kubernetes monitoring of Checkmk in recent months.
The challenge was to identify what data is important for daily work across the different Kubernetes variants and cloud platforms - and where this data is located and can be accessed. The next step was to structure this data for the respective use cases and requirements so that it supports Kubernetes users in their day-to-day work. This was implemented by tribe29 primarily through new dashboards in Checkmk, which now provide valuable insights into Kubernetes clusters and nodes, Jan Justus reported.
Other fundamental things that improved with Checkmk 2.1 include performance in the user interface and configuration interface, which especially noticeably speeds up the activation of changes in large environments with thousands or tens of thousands of hosts. In addition to the previously mentioned dashboards for Kubernetes monitoring, version 2.1 also brings out of the box dashboards for Linux and Windows servers, as well as new elements for data visualization, such as for inventory data.
With SAML for single sign-on and 2FA for login, tribe29 has integrated two of the most requested security features by the community at the last conference into the new version. But these will not be the only security features for a secure operation of Checkmk, as Jan Justus further explained. In addition to other features for improved login security and an expanded password store, the agents for Linux and Windows will use TLS encryption out of the box in the future.
The release also includes further integrations to other monitoring tools: For example, the newly built connector makes it easier to transfer and configure data to Grafana. In addition, Checkmk 2.1 is able to transfer data enriched with additional information from Checkmk to the InfluxDB time series database, including labels and more. The new integration to Datadog, on the other hand, enables the import of data: thus, not only Datadog monitors can be transferred as services to Checkmk, but also alarms can be sent natively to the Event Console.
Community at heart
However, Checkmk would be nothing without its great community. This was not only noticeable among the participants during the entire conference, but also in numerous other activities throughout the year, as Jan Justus emphasized during his keynote. Thanks to the support of the community, Checkmk is not only available in seven languages, but there are also over 500 plug-ins developed by the community in the Exchange. And in the Checkmk forum, the nucleus of our community, the cooperation of the forum members has also borne fruit. Jan Justus highlighted not only the quick help among each other with the log4j exploit, but also the extensive testing of SAML authentication, which was already included in Checkmk 2.0 and contributed significantly to the final documentation.
With RobotMK, there is even a project by Simon Meggle from the community that will be integrated into Checkmk. In this way, synthetic monitoring will be possible with Checkmk in the future. According to Jan Justus, these are all strong signs that the Checkmk Community is continuing to develop.
The participants' happiness of being among people again was clearly visibleat the evening event on the first day of the conference. Immediately after the end of the official program at the Paulaner am Nockherberg, the participants headed straight to the venue for the evening event. After the first rush was over, everyone exchanged impressions of the first conference day in a cozy atmosphere, with live music and a flying buffet. Another highlight was the tapping of the wooden barrel by Mathias Kettner, who successfully announced 'O'zapft is' after three blows. The conference participants celebrated exuberantly into the night.
In the morning of the second day of the conference, it was no surprise to see tired faces. However, this did not lower the mood so that the second day of Checkmk Conference #8 was a great success, too. Traditionally, tribe29 closes with an outlook on the Checkmk roadmap – and of course, this year was no exception. After all, it is also an outstanding attribute of Checkmk that the community can influence its further development.
The optional third conference day was reserved for 9 workshops. In highly productive sessions, the participants took the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of various topics, such as programming their own check plugins, end-to-end monitoring with RobotMK, security best practices, or network analysis with ntop. The third and last day of the Checkmk Conference #8 thus ended very productively and in an excellent mood.
tribe29 would like to thank all participants for making this year's conference a great event. We are already looking forward to the next gathering.