Retrospective thoughts on KubeCon Europe 2022

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I won’t lie. As I sat on the plane from Valencia, I confessed that I was surprised by the scale of this year’s European Kubecon. In my defense, I was not alone, the number of attendees that seemed to surprise conference organizers and exhibitors, illustrated by the lack of water, (I was told) t-shirts and (at various points) taxis.

Keynote is full, and there are genuine rumors from attendees who seem to be divided into two camps: the young and cool, and the more mature and modestly dressed.

My time at KubeCon Europe was mostly spent in one-on-one meetings, press conferences/analysis and walking in the stands, so I can’t comment on the technical sessions. Throughout, though, there’s a genuine Kubernetes feel now about the how, not the whether. For one reason or another, companies have decided that they want to benefit from building and deploying distributed container-based applications.

Surprisingly, this is not seen as a magic sword that can slay the dragons of the inheritance system and pave the way to digital transformation, kool-aid does not exist like water. Ultimately, the company has accepted that, from an architectural point of view and for applications in general, the Kubernetes model is as good as available today, as a non-proprietary and well-supported open standard they can get.

The virtualization based options and platform stack are too heavy; serverless architecture is more applicable to certain use cases. So if you want to build an app and you want it to be secure for the future, Kubernetes targets are the ones to go.

Whether to adopt Kubernetes may be a done deal, but how to adopt is certainly not. The challenge is not Kubernetes itself, but everything that needs to be done to make the resulting application enterprise-ready.

For example, they need to operate in a compliance environment; data needs to be managed, protected, and presented in an environment that doesn’t really care about circumstances; integration tools required with external and legacy systems; the development path must be present, strong and focused on values; IT operations require a clear view of what is going on while billing materials, and the health of individual groups; and disaster recovery is a must.

Kubernetes does this, opening the door to an ecosystem of solution vendors and (often supported by CNCF) open source projects. I could explore these areas Service Mesh, GitOps, orchestration, observability, and backups, but the broader point is that they all evolve and converge as needed. As they increase capabilities, barriers to adoption decrease and the number of potential use cases grows.

All of which put the industry at an interesting point. It’s not that the tool isn’t ready yet: the organization is already successfully deploying applications based on Kubernetes. However, in most cases, they do more work than they need, developers need insider knowledge of the target environment, interfaces need to be integrated instead of using third-party APIs, high-level management tools (such as AIOps) must be adapted. deployed rather than recognizing Kubernetes operating norms.

Solutions do exist, but they tend to come from relatively new vendors who are feature players rather than platforms, meaning that end-user organizations should choose their partners wisely, then build and maintain their own development and management platforms rather than using pre-integrated platforms. tools from a single vendor.

None of this is a problem, but it creates additional costs for adopters, even if they benefit from early adoption of the Kubernetes model. The value of the first mover advantage must be weighed against investing time and effort in the current state of the tool: as a travel company once told me, “we want to be the best travel site in the world, not the best platform engineer in the world. .”

So, Kubernetes may be unavoidable, but it will also become simpler, allowing organizations to apply architecture to a wider range of scenarios. For organizations that haven’t yet taken the step towards Kubernetes, now might still be a good time to run a proof of concept though in some cases, sips that have sailed might focus PoC on what it means for practice and work structure, rather than determining whether concepts work at all.

Meanwhile and perhaps most importantly, now is an excellent time for organizations to explore what Kubernetes scenarios work best “out of the box”, work with providers and review architectural patterns to deliver proven results against specific, high-value needs. by industry and domain (I could dig into this, but did I mention I’m sitting on a plane?).

Jon Collins from Kubecon 2022

Overview of KubeCon Europe – Kubernetes may be finished, but that doesn’t mean it has to be adopted wholesale before some peripheral details are finalized.

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