I love companies that send their employees to conferences where they actually come back smarter and better connected. InVision is such a company and they sent me and my colleagues Kai and Thomas to Austin in Texas to the KubeCon/CloudNativeCon.
What can I say? It was an incredible conference. The last conference that left such an impression on me was the Velocity Conf 2015 in London. Being around some of the most skilled, kind and experienced persons in the field is quite a humbling experience.
It was also my first time being in the US. I liked that. Being able to pay everywhere without needing cash is amazing. The people are amazing. Everything is bigger. The cars, the streets, the buildings. Austin was also a nice city to be in.
If you ever visit Austin, checkout Korientie, a vegan-friendly Korean restaraunt. Breakfast is best served by Jo’s, a small chain with good coffee and vegan-friendly Tacos. If you’re vegan, don’t go into BBQ or Chicken houses.
Back to KubeCon, though. The keynotes were mostly about how Kubernetes is making infrastructure boring, which is a good thing, because it makes it easier get started. You no longer have to be afraid of using fancy rocket science ninja-tech where some APIs will no longer work as soon as you’ve setup a staging environment. It removes barriers of entry and makes for a more a stable environment to get your production loads running in containers.
Another important topic was community. Kubernetes has grown from a small project maintained by a few engineers from two companies and it shows. If I remember correctly, it was said that the first KubeCon had about 400 attendees and it has grown by a factor for 10: We were 4000 people in the Austin Convention Center. That’s quite a number. And still, I encountered no people with an attitude, no dudebros. Everyone I talked to seemed like a decent human being with an interest in more inclusion and more diversity.
Of course Kelsey Hightower was the always awesome keynote speaker, but Michelle Noorali deserves applause as well. She did an amazing job, talking about the state of the projects that are being developed under the umbrella of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and introducing the other keynote speakers.
Thanks to everyone involved in this awesome conference and also to InVision for sending me.
I’m sure everyone has their own list of tools and project they want to try out and get some familiarity with, but these are mine:
Istio is a service mesh that acts as a drop-in replacement of traditional Kubernetes services. Istio sits in between your microservices and brings features like mutual TLS authentication, request routing, load balancing rules and much more. It’ll definitely make your life easier.
Followed by Service Meshes, Tracing was another important and prevalent topic at KubeCon. Jaeger has been developed by Uber and it comes with a web interface that shows a graph of your app’s loadtime, separated into graphs per microservice that make it easy to spot connection issues by latency. If you’re using Go, Python, Java or NodeJS, you can use Jaeger today. Jaeger is one of many tracing tools to implement the OpenTracing standard.
Logs are important, so there’s an abundance of log collecting tools. fluent-bit is one of the newer ones by the creators of fluentd. It’s written entirely in C and heavily optimized towards being light on memory usage by several magnitudes.
Conduit is another service mesh with a focus on being light-weight and easy to use. It’s written in Rust by the makers of linkerd (which is another service mesh, in case you might think that there’s a pattern here.)
Notary is Docker’s implementation of TUF (The Update Framework. If you have ever curled a binary or shell script somewhere in your infrastructure and you’re worried about someone compromising it, Notary is a tool of interest for you. Docker uses it to ensure that even in case of a compromise of their image registry, the images won’t be easily tampered with. It’s also being used by Cloudflare and the Moby project’s LinuxKit.
While Docker containers are reasonably faster to startup than traditional virtual machines, there’s still lots of seconds to scrape from having a working container ready to serve your workloads. KataContainers is a project trying to solve this using lightweight virtual machines.
Amazon announced their own managed Kubernetes product during their annual reInvent event. At KubeCon they made sure to mention that all of their work on offering Kubernetes is upstream as to ensure that you don’t have to fear vendor lock-in by having to adapt to some proprietary or AWS-specific configuration of Kubernetes. Their networking plugin features AWS-native Elastic Networking Interfaces for container networking with full VPC-support. It’s also fully open source.
metaparticle was introduced by Kubernetes co-founder Brendan Burns. It is supposed to bring cloud native idioms to a programming language near you so that developers no longer have to write their own Dockerfiles or Kubernetes definitions. Check the project’s description for details on that.
SPIFFE Secure Production Identity Framework for Everyone is an open source standard bringing production-grade security enhancements to dynamic cloud-native production environments.
Heptio’s Ark is a utility making it easy to restore entire Kubernetes clusters, including your persistent volumes, even over multiple cloud providers. I’m sure this will make Desaster Recovery into child’s play for Kubernetes operators.
Of course I can only give you a short overview of the tools, frameworks and concepts presented and discussed at Kubecon. Here’s a list of all the other things I either just took note of or dug into a bit during a few idle minutes at the conference: