Virtual KubeCon 2020: Top 5 Takeaways

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KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Europe 2020

This year has been determined to challenge and redefine the open-source and conferencing atmospheres. As expected, this was no exception for KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Europe, which was rescheduled for August 2020 as the 1st virtual KubeCon, 5 months later the initially planned date. Despite the circumstances, the community joined forces to provide a suite of exceptional talks, celebrating the new achievements in the open-source ecosystem.

This blog post aims to outline the principal takeaway from the 1st virtual KubeCon and CloudNativeCon, including the top community and technology insights.

1. End-user driven open-source!

The Day 1 keynotes had a powerful message: “Don’t be a passive consumer!”, encouraging the community to take an active role. A misconception about open-source is that all the personas involved should fluent in at least one programming language, and that contribution equals code.

This is certainly not the case!

“Contribution” should be a concept in constant metamorphosis, identifying and valuing an individual’s skills, while applying them efficiently to the current ecosystem. Roles such as documentation writers and groomers, open governance operators, D&I advocates, architects, project managers, active practitioners are the nucleus of building and maintaining a healthy open-source community. It is paramount to encourage participation and create a feedback loop that will fuel the engine for cloud-native applications.

Watch Day1 keynotes here: https://sched.co/ZfAj, https://sched.co/aiAH

2. A safe environment harbours growth

One of the most influential community talks was given by Kris Nova, magnificently summarising why it is a must to talk about our identities and create a nutritious working environment. The underlying thread outlines how a company culture shapes and defines the project delivery, and that toxicity spreads quickly at an overwhelmingly damaging rate.

A community or a company that harbours growth should actively promote a safe working environment. In these circumstances, engineers with their distinct identities are encouraged to participate and influence their surrounding ecosystem. Luckily, the open-source community has this attribute ingrained from early stages and it is in continuous expansion.

Watch Kris Nova’s talk here: https://sched.co/Zen9

3. DevSecOps at the forefront of cloud-native initiatives

With the maturity of cloud-native software, more complex and layered architectures are constructed with Kubernetes as a center-piece. However, a mature ecosystem implies that security is tightly intertwined in the development cycle. A shift of security to the left includes shared ownership across teams and defines the DevSecOps principles. This enables specialists to focus on vulnerabilities in well-known components, creating fast and effective feedback loops.

A suite of excellent talks in the Security+Identity+Policy space was presented at the first virtual KubeCon, highlighting encryption and OPA strategies, as well as a collection of novelty attacks on Kubernetes clusters.

Watch Security+Identity+Policy talks such as: https://sched.co/Zepc, https://sched.co/ZesN, https://sched.co/ZetL

4. GitOps — a grounded deployment mechanism

In the last years, GitOps has shaped its status as an established deployment mechanism, switching the focus from pipeline configuration to immediate feature shipping. The selection of talks that included the GitOps paradigm, emphasized multi-tenancy deployments, visualization techniques, secret management, and many more.

Additionally, it is worth to mention that ArgoCD, an incubating CNCF project, has announced a collaboration with RedHad and Intuit to further the adoption of GitOps-first strategies in an enterprise setup. Read more about this community milestone here.

Another exciting usage of GitOps can be outlined in the freshly announced ACK (AWS Controllers for Kubernetes). This project unlocks the declarative specification of AWS resources linked to an application workload, closing the gap between K8s clusters and external public cloud services.

Watch GitOps related talks here: https://sched.co/ZerJ, https://sched.co/ZeiP, https://sched.co/Zes5

5. Demystifying technical decision making within CNCF

The CNCF mission is to make the cloud-native technology ubiquitous. This mission is shaped and supported by the governing board (GB), technical oversight committee (TOC), and the end-user community. As well, to evaluate the project qualification within the CNCF, the cloud-native definition was contoured, highlighting the necessity for scalability, automation, observability, resilience, open governance, and interoperability within a tool.

During the Day1 keynotes, Liz Rice gave an overview of the CNCF mission and introduced the raison d’être for the TOC, and its leading role in the technical assessment of the proposed OSS. As well, the simplified sandbox proposal was announced, lowering the entry bar for experimental projects within the ecosystem.

Watch Day1 keynotes here: https://sched.co/ZfCr

Conclusion

KubeCon and CloudNativeCon are highly regarded for the ability to gather industry experts and enable them to enrich the existing ecosystem through valuable knowledge sharing sessions and networking. With a transition to a virtual event, the absence of face-to-face encounters was certainly detected. However, the strong community bonds revealed that no matter the circumstances, technology is a true enabler for connection across continents and time zones.

Written by

Sailing open-source tooling and supporting the community as a Cloud Platform Engineer @AmexUK and TOC @CloudNativeFdn aka CNCF

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