HashiConf 2018 Keynote: The HashiCorp Learn Platform

Nov 14, 2018

HashiCorp introduces a new website for learning its products: HashiCorp Learn


  • Armon Dadgar

    Armon Dadgar

    Founder & Co-CTO, HashiCorp

» Transcript

Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us.

What I want to start by talking about today is this growing community. For many of you, if this is your first time coming to HashiConf, it might not be as impressive as it is for me looking out and seeing the growth here. The first HashiConf we ever held was about 4 years ago, right around this same time, in Portland.

At that time, we were thinking, “Could we even get maybe 150 people in a room to come and talk about the HashiCorp tools?” We were surprised then. We got a little bit more than 150. We got to about 300 or so. For us, we thought that was a massive event to be hosting.

Flash forward a year and we had our second-ever HashiConf, at that time in Napa. Got a little bit bigger, we went to 500 people. For those who were there last year, we held one in Austin at 800 people. Today, around us, we have 1,200 people.

It’s been definitely exciting for us, at least, and I know for many of the faces here. I’ve seen a few people that I’ve seen at all 4 of the HashiConfs. It’s exciting for us to see the growing community and all the new faces that are joining us.

As part of that, one of our goals has always been, “How do we make these events more inclusive?” How do we bring new faces, new people, new communities in to join us for these HashiCorp events? A program that we launched earlier this year at HashiDays Amsterdam was our diversity scholarship, looking at, “How do we find folks that are interested in learning, interested in sharing there points of views, but for whatever reasons haven’t traditionally been able to attend our events or other similar industry events?”

This is something we rolled out for Amsterdam, looking at how do we find folks and sponsor them to come and join us so that we can share new perspectives, new views. I’d encourage you, while you’re here at HashiConf, please use this as an opportunity to meet new friends, meet new people, share ideas, share your knowledge. For everything you know, there’s someone here that doesn’t, and vice versa.

When we talk about people joining us from all around the world, I think where you really get to see that growth of the community is when you look at the HashiCorp user groups. It’s kind of incredible. We started these maybe 2 years ago. Today, they’re now hosted in 38 countries, 74 cities, and over 15,000 members. It’s definitely fair for us to say that it is a truly global community that is joining us here today.

When we talk about what’s driving all of this, I think ultimately it comes down to adoption of the tools. That’s why we’re all here; we’re users of these tools or we’re here to learn about them and find out ways that they can help solve our problems. I think it’s an incredibly testament to the adoption of the underlying tools.

In the last, just 12 months, across the portfolio of tools, there have been 43,000 commits. I also fell out of my chair when I first saw this. Of those, I think 16,000 are to Terraform providers alone. Those 43,000 commits have been combined into a total of 80 releases across the different tool sets. These are bug fixes, these are security patches, these are new features. Collectively, these are what are driving the user adoption, as we’re solving new problems and making these tools easier to use and more mature.

Where I think you really start to see the growing adoption is when we talk about the download metrics. Last year we shared at this time that we’d done about 22 million downloads over the last 12 months from HashiConf. Now, if we look back over the last 12 months, that’s more than doubled to 45 million downloads across the tool set.

This is not a single tool that’s driving all of these downloads. This is combined. All of the tools are doing equal growth with each other. Consul is the largest install base; it has the largest downloads. Nomad is also the fastest growing. You’re seeing growth across the entire portfolio.

To make all of that possible, as you might imagine, these tools don’t maintain themselves. There’s been a growing employee base at HashiCorp to make all of this possible. Last year, we were about 130 people strong. Today, we’re about 320 people strong. Lot of new faces here. You’ll see them all wearing colored HashiCorp shirts with the logo. If you have specific questions about any of the products, any of the tools, features, things like that, please seek out the folks in the colored shirts. The colors match people’s product expertise as well.

What’s been making this possible, this growth for us over the last year, has been our growing set of customers. This is just some of the logos, some of the names of some of the people who are engaged with us commercially. I think the challenge for us over the last few years has been to figure out, “Is there a way that we can build a commercial model that allows us to continue to innovate on the open-source tools, build new features, drive innovation in that space, but still make sure that the company is, long term, sustainable?”

How do we find that balance of being a business that meets payroll but also continues to invest in open-source? We feel like over the last 12, 18 months, we’ve found that balance. We have folks that are engaging with us and working with us on a commercial basis, but we’re adding more to the open source than we’ve ever done before.

This is a wide range of folks. It’s everyone from financials, to high tech, to healthcare, to insurance, to media companies and much more. Today we feel very confident in the company health and are excited to be able to continue our mission.

Over the next 2 days, I encourage you to go to as many of the sessions as possible. These are just some of the folks and companies that are represented and will be speaking here. You’re going to hear from a whole broad range of folks. You’re going to talk to startups that are very cutting edge, showing us new use cases and new ways of using these tools, all the way up to the largest organizations that are trying to change the way thousands of applications are delivered across tens of thousands of machines.

I encourage you to go to as many of the sessions as you can. Also, use the hallway track as an opportunity to learn. There’s a lot of good stuff out there. Make sure you spend some time and learn from all these folks.

» Cloud-driven

When we talk about what’s driving HashiCorp, what we tie ourselves to and how we see the company’s inception map, too, it’s cloud computing. It’s inseparable—the rise of our tools and HashiCorp’s mission itself—with the adoption of cloud. In our view, there’s this large re-platforming taking place. As an industry, we’re moving away from purely private data center to some mix of private data centers plus public clouds. Or, if we’re a little bit newer school and we have the luxury of not having legacy, we might be born in the public cloud.

There’s this first-platform transition that’s taking place. At the same time, there’s this process shift, where a lot of organizations are saying, “How do I go faster? How do I deliver in a more agile way?” With this is a shift away from the more manual ITIL file a ticket and wait, to more self-service, automation, DevOps type mentality of how we deliver.

In our view, this combination of both the re-platforming that’s taking place to public cloud plus the entire process shift toward a more agile self-service model affects all 4 layers of the infrastructure. It’s not a minor tweak that we can just do by changing one tool or one process. It touches the whole thing. That’s our focus as a company.

When we talk about each of the layers, the first one for us is thinking about, “How do our operators provision infrastructure now?” We want to have infrastructure across many different providers, some of which are infrastructure as a service, some of which are platform as a service, some of which are software as a service. We want to do this in an infrastructure-as-code way. We want to get away from manually pointing and clicking, or filing a ticket. We want to be able to define what the infrastructure looks like at every layer, and then automate it across a diverse set of platforms. Our big focus, here, is Terraform with that automation.

The next big focus for us is, “How do we secure all of this?” Historically, what we depended on was we wrapped our data center in the 4 walls. We brought everything over the drawbridge, and it was a castle-and-moat approach to security. As long as the castle wall was tall enough and our drawbridge secure enough, the inside was safe. I think we’re seeing a shift away from that. We’re starting to acknowledge that threats can get inside. There are software bugs. Maybe there are malicious insiders. How do think about securing the inside of our castle as well?

Here our big focus is Vault. How do we think about a first-class approach to secrets management, centralizing and governing access to secrets? How do we protect sensitive data? How do we then do this in a way that we’re not assuming trust of the underlying network?

The next problem we look at is, “How do we deploy all these applications?” We’re going to have some set of containerized app, some set of legacy/mixed workload applications. We want to be able to run these things across many different environments. Here the focus is Nomad.

How do we provide a self-service experience, both for developers who want to deploy and manage apps, but also for our operators who are managing the infrastructure? We want to do this across a diverse range of workloads: containerized, non-containerized, Windows, Linux, the whole gamut. How do we do this in a way that’s high-performance, so that we can scale from a cluster of a few nodes and a few applications to clusters of tens of thousands of nodes and thousands of applications?

The final challenge is, “How do we wire this all together?” We have our whole mix of infrastructure. How does it all discover and talk to one another? Here our focus is Consul as a service mesh. What we want to be able to do is enable all these generations of technology to discover one another, route to one another, encrypt traffic between services, and segment who’s allowed to talk to who.

Together, these form the HashiCorp suite. That’s how we think about it. It’s a suite of different tools. It’s not meant to be a single, monolithic platform. Each of these tools has a very specific problem focus, whether it’s provisioning, whether it’s security. The goal is to make it easy to adopt and pick off one problem at a time.

When we talk about the tools, it’s a big focus on accessibility. Part of that is having a scope that’s clean and well-defined. Part of that is making the tools easy to use. Part of that is making it easy to learn. That’s a whole gamut from beginner introductions, documentation, guides, webinars, training sessions. There’s a whole set of investments we make in accessibility of the tooling themself.

» HashiCorp Learn

We’re super excited today to share the next step of that, which is a new learning platform we’ve been working on. We just launched this. This is what we’re calling HashiCorp Learn. It’s looking at, “How do we provide content that’s tailored to practitioners to help educate about these tools?”

When we talk about the Learn platform, it’s very much practitioner-focused. It’s meant to be self-guided, go at your own pace. You can come in at any time, work around your own schedule, and work through an iterative set of courses that range from beginner—“I don’t know what Vault is”—through intermediate, all the way to advanced use cases.

The goal of this is that it’s just free, it’s open source. You can come in and learn it. Our goal is to make the tools as accessible as possible.

When we talk about what the focus of the platform is over time, today it’s just looking at, “What’s the core product, the main use cases? How do we educate you on getting from 0 to 60, getting some value out of tooling like Vault?” Over time, we want to add additional use cases, additional specific features, sidetracks. All of our tools, we like to describe them as sort of like Microsoft Excel. Yes, you could use it to make a recipe. You can make a to-do list. You could also do your financial planning for a Fortune 500. It’s that whole gamut. Where do you start? The way you teach someone to make a to-do list is little different than you do for a recipe.

Over time, the goal is, “How do we add these different kinds of use cases into this as different sets of modules, so you can come in and learn the depth of the tools, but also the full breadth of them, as well?”

Today, you can go visit the platform. Vault is available and has a rich set of getting-started content, as well as some of these additional sidetracks. Terraform, Consul, and Nomad will all be available as well, by the time we get to the end of the year. To check this out, just go to It’s free. You don’t need to sign in. You can just get started right away and dive into learning more about Vault.

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