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KubeCon Los Angeles 2021 Wrapup

After a week in sunny Southern California, KubeCon North America 2021 is a wrap in Los Angeles. For many of us, KubeCon was the first in-person event we have attended since the start of the pandemic. Though this year, KubeCon is a hybrid event even if you missed the in-person talks, you can still catch the virtual talks online. Compared to KubeCons of years gone by, the event has been scaled back slightly to respect social distancing and slowly easing folks back into in-person conferences. 

Mulling over the sessions, a few trends can be seen. The Kubernetes Ecosystem is surely maturing as leveraging Kubernetes is not on the bleeding edge for many organizations today. In its 7th year of existence, Kubernetes and the surrounding ecosystems have time to have the maturity not only in the platform but also on the workloads that are placed. 

A Maturing and Expanding Space

Depending on your organization, Kubernetes can be seen as the bleeding edge. Though seven years into the project being out in the wild, a lot of collective learnings have been shared and iterated on. Placing a workload on Kubernetes today, you are not the first person on the moon; though if you are the first person in your organization to do so, might still have that feeling. 

In years gone by where there were paradigm shifts such as the introduction of the package manager Helm in the initial KubeCon. At the ending bell of KubeCon, the CNCF Landscape had 1630 Cards. Compared to 2019 where this was around 1300 and 2020 around 1500 cards, the number of new entrants is slowing down. 

Raking over the sessions at KubeCon North America 2021, we can start to see some trends. Where there is a new or increasing number of talks can be a telltale sign of where the market is headed and for decreasing number of talks is an indication of maturity in the technology.  Interestingly the talks that are increasing in nature are also signs of ecosystem maturity with lots of non-functional requirements such as security coming to the forefront.

Security, Everyone’s Concern

The number of security talks was 14 separate talks over multiple days. This is a sharp increase of the years gone by. The talks were evenly split between locking down Kubernetes infrastructure itself and also the contents of the workloads being placed on Kubernetes. Kubernetes can be seen as a common attack vector; as more adoption occurs the double edge sword of the widening vector also occurs. Several talks focused on also with containerization, what you are placing inside your application can be an issue. The Software-bill-of-Material or SBOM requirements/movement was well represented at KubeCon this year. 

Even with major reveals with OPA and Spiffe (and its subproject Spire) over the last two years, the number of talks with the technologies mentioned was more goal agnostic e.g security-focused vs introducing the projects. Another blossoming area at KubeCon was getting your ideas into production, GitOps. 

The Explosion of GitOps  

Secondly, behind security, there were 11 separate talks that had mention of GitOps. With projects such as Flux and Argo coming into popularity, getting your workloads onto Kubernetes has been a focus over the past year. As the ecosystem becomes more mature, the ability to get your workloads onto Kubernetes also matures and the barriers of entry should be reduced along with new engineering paradigms. With the rise of GitOps based talks, shows that a lot of investment is being made in engineering efficiency.  

Helping GitOps take off is the rise of more codification around infrastructure. With core infrastructure pillars such as networking and storage headed towards declarative infrastructure, GitOps benefits from those advancements as well. 

Without Networking and Storage, is Your App an App at All?

Service Mesh focused and storage focused talks had 7 and 6 talks respectively. To live, your application typically needs storage, compute, and networking to run or at a minimum be deployed. The lines between the speed of deploying application infrastructure e.g a new Kubernetes Pod and creating infrastructure e.g storage and networking are shrinking. 

Advancements in Service Mesh and Container Storage continue to help drive some of the harder items to automate and create declaratively allowing for innovation to carry across the delivery pipeline. Though the old computer science adage that complexity never goes away is true and at Shipa, we are trying to solve that complexity to reduce friction for all developers. 

Shipa at KubeCon

KubeCon NA 2021 represented Shipa’s very first in-person event as a company. Several folks from Shipa attended the conference sharping up their Cloud Native skills and also was able to represent Shipa at the booth. Shipa is at the forefront of developer experience and the crossroads of GitOps. A common knock on Kubernetes is that Kubernetes can be overly complex because of the common substitution of opinion inside of the platform and the relative speed the ecosystem moves. Shipa’s goal is to remove friction from engineers as they transverse their Kubernetes journey. 

Shipa KubeCon 2021 Ravi Lachhman
Shipa Team and Booth

Core to removing friction is Shipa’s Application-as-Code concept. Great conversations were had all during KubeCon helping educate around engineering efficiency and developer experience with Application-as-Code [AaC].

Shipa – Your Partner in Cloud Native – Onwards to Detroit

At Shipa we are really excited for what the next year will hold in store. KubeCon NA 2022 is set to be in Detroit in late October. We are honored to have those excellent conversations with everyone who stopped by at KubeCon 2021 in person and at the virtual booth. As paradigms continue to evolve in the Cloud Native ecosystem such as the blossoming adoption of GitOp methodologies, Shipa is there to partner with you. As we continue to build capabilities into our open source project Ketch and the Shipa Platform, feel free to take us for a spin