Take Five With Tom Fenton

5 Most Eye-Catching Technologies at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018

With a sold-out crowd, this year's event did not disappoint.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018, held in Seattle at the Washington Convention Center Dec. 10 -13, was sold out with more than 8,000 Kubernetes customers and partners in attendance, an incredible 83 percetn increase from last year's KubeCon in Austin, Texas. The convention has even become so popular that there were 2,000 people on the waiting list—more people than attended KubeCon total last time it was in Seattle in 2016. This increase in numbers is significant, especially considering the fact that most technical conferences have seen a slight downturn in attendance recently. This shows the incredible interest in Kubernetes (k8), cloud-native computing, and their development and operational tools. Following are the technologies and subjects that caught my eye at KubeCon this year.

Container Technology from Interesting Smaller Companies.The KubeCon show floor hosted 187 different vendors, including many established companies, such as VMware, IBM, Oracle and Google. However, the companies that I found most interesting and spent the most time with (that I'm certainly going to keep my eye on in the future) were the smaller ones that were doing exciting work around container technology. To name a few:

  • Kata Containers: Lightweight virtual machines that act, feel, perform and can be managed like containers.
  • LINBIT SDS: High-performance block storage for containers, developed by LINBIT, the storage experts behind Distributed Replicated Block Device (DRBD).
  • Mayadata: A company with a container-attached storage offering that looks quite interesting.
  • NeuVector: A layer 7 container firewall that's headed and backed by some heavy hitters in the industry.
  • LogDNA: A cloud-based SaaS log repository and analysis tool.
  • Firecracker: An open source project hypervisor developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that's geared toward serverless workloads, which has been optimized to run only on modern hardware.

Canonical's Kubernetes-Related Announcements.Just one week before KubeCon 2018, Canonical showed its commitment to Kubernetes with a number of Kubernetes-related announcements, the most exciting of which was MicroK8s, a single snap package that installs on dozens of different flavors of Linux. With its small disk and memory footprint, MicroK8s should allow an easy path to get started with Kubernetes. Furthermore, Canonical is now offering commercial support for Kubernetes clusters deployed with kubeadm, and to support those who do not run x86 servers, they now support Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes (CDK) on processors and servers based on 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture.

Computer Reference Architecture.Both Dell EMC and Supermicro announced their partnership with Canonical to bring forth a validated container orchestration solution through a reference architecture framework based on Canonical server software. This should help with the implementation of Kubernetes technologies into production.

Diamanti's Vision and Growth. I had a chance to speak with Diamanti a couple years ago, and I was impressed with its vision: to provide a bare-metal container platform, purpose-built for microservices and cloud-native environments, and optimized for Kubernetes. Diamanti was started by some heavy hitters from VMware and Cisco and is funded by Goldman Sachs and other well-known VCs. It's pretty solid on Kubernetes and is a major contributor to the storage and networking primitives that have been accepted into Kubernetes. The company is seeing its vision being adopted within the industry, and announced that it had a 10x revenue growth from last year.

Twistlock's Microencapsulation Security Technology. Twistlock is another interesting company that I got acquainted with and was impressed by a couple years ago, and I was excited to see this year that it has been hard at work at improving its product. Twistlock secures containers by microencapsulation; that is, each container is monitored and has a set of rules that, if violated, will put it in quarantine and notify you of the infraction.

Attending KubeCon is like drinking from a firehose -- it will take me few weeks to digest the information that I took in at the conference. If you missed this KubeCon, registration will open soon for KubeCon events in 2019, including Barcelona May 20-23, Shanghai June 24-26, and San Diego Nov. 18-21.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 30 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 20 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware in Staff and Senior level positions. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on X @vDoppler.


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