KubeCon / CloudNativeCon 2017 thoughts and observations

We just wrapped a busy week at KubeCon/CloudNativeCon in Austin, TX. Here are some takeaways from the conference:

  • How do we better service the Kubernetes application developer? Kelsey Hightower’s keynote showed the life of an application developer, while formal and informal conversations with various folks in the community highlighted the ongoing evolution of the application developer.
  • How do we build Kubernetes-native applications (and what exactly does Kubernetes-native mean)? Kubernetes is pushing forward with new abstractions such as CRDs. The community is still exploring the best ways to take advantage of these new abstractions (and conversely, how to improve the existing abstractions). With Ambassador, we decided not to use ingress (which might be deprecated in the future), while taking advantage of annotations.  Operators are another example.
  • Service mesh is hip. Everyone was talking about Istio. Half of the booths seemed to be running some sort of service mesh demo. I’m very curious to see if service meshes become de rigueur for all microservices architectures, or if they remain in the “I’ve got lots of microservices and need L7 resilience and observability” realm that they are in today.
  • Kubernetes is the de facto cloud operating system. With Amazon announcing EKS, you can now get managed Kubernetes from Google, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, among others. Enterprises, which traditionally are slowest at adopting new technology, were well-represented at the conference, and actively running Kubernetes in production.
  • Now that certified Kubernetes is here, companies that provide basic Kubernetes need a way to differentiate. I saw many companies in this space that were starting to offer supported application catalogs, extending their support from Kubernetes to crucial infrastructure software such as Vault and Prometheus.

Finally, a shout-out to the entire CNCF and LF organization for putting together an amazing event. We’re looking forward to 2018!