KubeCon Seattle 2018: Post-Game Recap

How aggressively are enterprises leveraging cloud-native technologies to fundamentally transform their businesses? Look no further than the sold-out crowd of 8,000 KubeCon attendees from around the world who descended upon Seattle last week. They gathered to get a first-hand look at the latest tools and tech, and to share new ideas and best practices across the expanding Kubernetes ecosystem.

Now that we’ve had a minute to catch our breath (and put away our raincoats), we’d like to share some of our insights from the show:

Kubernetes is boring — except to users trying to build Kubernetes infrastructure

A top soundbyte from KubeCon was that Kubernetes has become “boring,” in the sense that it is now widely adopted, stable, and just plain works for millions of Kubernetes users and developers.

However, we hear a dramatically different story from IT operations folks trying to stand up Kubernetes infrastructure. Even seasoned IT pros say container networking and storage are the two areas that are the most complex to configure properly since they weren’t initially designed with Kubernetes in mind. Furthermore, there is still a significant ongoing effort to enhance the interfaces (CSI and CNI) and tooling in these key areas, which are obviously far more complicated compared to the basic declarative resource model that applies to CPU and memory.

When we demo’d Diamanti’s turnkey container stack to one attendee, he said that in undertaking the painstaking process of building a container stack for his organization, he had to resolve 12 major networking bugs, three encryption bugs, and said he found it nearly impossible to find the right storage set. He remarked, “my colleague is going to cry when I show him your datasheet.”

KVM is a viable option for “non-containerizable” legacy applications

Other attendees revealed they were struggling to bring their older, homegrown applications into their Kubernetes environments. These applications were developed on versions of RHEL too ancient to run inside a container, leaving them no other immediate modernization options — except for KVM! Having recently built support for KVM to run on the Diamanti bare-metal container platform, we enable VMs to run alongside containers within the same Kubernetes cluster.

It’s no longer just about one type of cloud

Despite the dominance of Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure (who tout expansive sets of container cloud services) almost all users seem to have cloud-native use cases that extend beyond what the public cloud can deliver. This is usually the case when it comes to high-performance workloads or stringent regulatory compliance. Users are running Kubernetes on public cloud infrastructure, on premises, and across different clusters.

Which option is best? “Look critically at each use case,” says Diamanti Chief Architect Chakri Nelluri. “It ultimately will come down to the services needed by each application.” That said, there are important differences between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments to consider — namely the fact that multi-cloud environments involve more than one control plane, which can add complexity. Learn more in our new white paper, “Hack the Stack: Learn What It Takes to Build Enterprise-Grade Kubernetes infrastructure.”

Essential data center requirements apply to Kubernetes

As Kubernetes evolves, there is increased focus on establishing the same features that have always been critical for enterprise data centers: reliability, availability, observability, and security. Without these features, Kubernetes in the enterprise is a non-starter.

The Knative project gains steam

Knative was widely discussed at KubeCon. Originally launched by IBM and Google in July 2018, Knative offers serverless workload functionality on premises, and it is also poised to deliver the next wave of infrastructure management by enabling event-driven automation for common infrastructure management tasks.

The bottom line

The consensus at Kubecon was that 2019 will be an even bigger year for Kubernetes in the enterprise than 2018. The benefits of Kubernetes are undeniable and the demand from enterprises is only getting stronger. If the ecosystem can deliver the necessary features, performance, and stability, Kubernetes adoption will likely eclipse virtualization. Are you ready to ride the wave?