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3 Things I Learned At KubeCon North America

Josh Hendrick | Senior Solutions Engineer

4 minutes

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We recently got back from an amazing KubeCon in San Diego, where attendance has skyrocketed to over 12,000 people. The impressive number of attendees is yet another sign of the extremely fast pace at which Cloud Native Computing and the surrounding tech space is growing. Organizations like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) have been gaining steam in growing the community of both enterprise and open-source software. Developers were out in force looking at the latest technologies available to improve their development workflows, exploring the best solutions for building modern, scalable applications. Here are my three main takeaways from this year’s KubeCon.

The cloud goes hybrid

Organizations are becoming more cognizant of vendor lock-in and are always on the lookout for solutions that allow them to easily move across environments. JFrog’s new Container Registry is one of the exciting technologies aimed at solving this problem. Essentially, it’s a collection of repositories for storing your built images in a centralized place for maximum manageability and control over the software release and delivery process. If you’ve developed containerized applications with the major cloud providers, you’ve likely used services such as AWS ECR, Azure ACR, or GCP GCR. JFrog’s solution brings the ability to be multi or hybrid cloud, allowing you to install it on-prem or in the cloud, wherever your application development work takes place. 

One of its nicer features is the fact it is not only a Docker Registry but a Helm Registry as well, creating a single place for Kubernetes developers to store their assets. With the announced release of Helm 3 at KubeCon this year, JFrog is banking on more and more organizations adopting Helm and needing a centralized solution to manage their assets. The solution also has some very useful caching capabilities which dramatically improve build times for applications. It allows for the configuration of remote repositories that can sit close to the environments where devs need to access images. And the best part, their cloud container registry is currently free to try out with up to 2GB of storage for 12 months.

Dev productivity tools are in the spotlight

There seemed to be an increased focus on developer productivity tools across the conference. From CI/CD to Service Meshes to Kubernetes add-ons that make cloud-native development easier and more simplified. One category that really stood out was the concept of Observability Pipelines. While the concept itself pre-dates this year’s Kubecon (here’s a great overview presentation from earlier this year), it is certainly gaining momentum out there. 

I really enjoyed this post, which defines Observability Pipelines as being “an event-driven workflow for filtering and routing operational data”. This includes things like multi-cloud monitoring solutions, routing and pipelining log data, as well as improved visualization of what’s happening within your application in real-time. The focus on Observability Pipelines also fits well with Rookout’s message: improving the ability to observe what’s happening within your apps at the code level, on-demand wherever your apps are running. It’s very exciting to see that bringing devs better tools and workflows with improved visibility into their apps is becoming more center stage.

Kubernetes: always moving forward

Another topic that was very apparent during this year’s KubeCon, was the continued evolution of Kubernetes platforms and services aimed at improving the ease of use and adoption of K8s by dev teams. Following their big announcement of acquiring Docker Enterprise, Mirantis was showcasing their Kubernetes-as-a-Service platform which again aims at being multi-cloud and touts eliminating vendor lock-in by being a pure Kubernetes offering. Rancher released its K3s offering, a lightweight Kubernetes solution for IoT or Edge computing. 

We’re even seeing enterprise-grade message queue brokers like KubeMQ being built to run cloud-natively bringing pub-sub style messaging directly within Kubernetes. They’re promising to make it faster and more secure for an organization looking to do as much work as possible within the clusters where their applications are running. As the rise of microservices continues, and so does the adoption of containerized technologies, this is a space that will proceed to grow exponentially over the coming years.

It’s not a race if we’re all on the same team

This year’s KubeCon proved once again that the industry focus on developers and making dev workflows simplified and more efficient is a major priority for most organizations. Other areas like multi/hybrid-cloud and moving away from vendor lock-in also tend to dominate marketing messages, and for good reason. 

On a different note, it was great to talk about the future of technology – and more so about the people behind it. In a truly inspiring keynote (watch it here, it is definitely worth your time) Kelsey Hightower reminded us all of the importance of a supportive and inclusive culture, and what a crucial role it plays in keeping technology moving forward. In his own words “It’s not a race if we’re all on the same team.”

Until KubeCon NA 2020 — Boston here we come!! 😉

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