Take Five With Tom Fenton

KubeCon + NativeCon Europe 2019 Wrap-Up

I was able to spend four days learning about the latest developments in Kubernetes (K8S) and cloud-native computing at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2019. The event was held in Barcelona at the Fira Gran Via Conference Centre May 20-23 and drew in more than 7,000 attendees. Although not as big as KubeCon America, which was held in Seattle last November, it did give me an opportunity to spend some time talking to attendees and vendors. Following are a few of the subjects and vendors that caught my eye at the event.

Cloud Native Storage Day. I arrived a day early to KubeCon so I could attend Cloud Native Storage Day (CNSD). At CNSD users, vendors and others discussed one of the more difficult aspects around K8S: using storage with containers. Much of the discussion centered around Container Storage Interface (CSI) for K8S, which became generally available six months ago. As with all things K8S, the development of CSI is proceeding at breakneck speed and new added features are planned that should make CSI enterprise-ready as it allows for storage plug-ins to be used with K8S.

Softiron. I'm starting to see Ceph-based storage appliances hit the market. Ceph is open source software that's used to create software-defined storage systems. Ceph supports object-, block- and file-based storage under a single, highly scalable, unified system. What makes Softiron interesting is that it modified Ceph software to extract more performance from it, designed a bespoken storage appliance to run it, rather than relying on an off-the-shelf server, and then built the the storage appliance in the company's California plant.

Canonical. I originally met with the folks at Canonical to discuss MicroK8S -- currently my favorite K8S learning and development platform -- and, yes, the company does have some interesting new developments in Microk8S. But what really caught my eye is how Canonical has doubled down on its K8S commitment by having K8S solutions that run on-premises and/or in public clouds. Furthermore, its licensing model and support contracts have been greatly simplified to make it easier to deploy and consume the company's products when using containers.

Dynatrace. When I went to the Dynatrace conference last year (read my article here) I was under the false assumption that it was an application and performance monitoring solution, but as I've studied it more and more I'm beginning to realize that it's morphing into one of the leaders in artificial intelligence (AI). This makes sense as combing through the vast amount of data that websites and applications produce is an ideal fit for AI. At KubeCon the folks at Dynatrace demonstrated how quickly its AI engine "Davis" was able to use AI to identify any abnormalities in applications and systems that are running on K8S.

Kasten. I met with Kasten to discuss K10, its backup, recovery, migration and copy management product for stateful K8S applications. Backing up K8S is one of the trickier things to accomplish and K10 allows you to back up K8S at scale in public, private or hybrid cloud environments. For those that want to try Kasten, the company does offer a free trial version that can be found here.

Rancher. Rancher has been doing interesting work around containers on the edge with its K3S project, which is a very small K8S deployment. Edge deployments of K3S have some interesting use cases such as at fast-food giant Chick-fil-A. At the conference Rancher also announced Rio: a MicroPaaS that can be installed on a standard Kubernetes cluster.

As a final note I've always enjoyed Barcelona and have found many interesting things to do in the city. However, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that Barcelona has restricted ride-sharing services (Uber, Lyft) to such an extent that they no longer service the city. After taking the Metro from the airport to the Metro stop nearest my hotel, then hiking through the rain for 10 minutes, I realized how much I depend on ride-sharing services. Yes, I could've taken a taxi, but trying to communicate where I want to go and then tracking the payment to them would be painful at best. Will Barcelona's ban on ride-sharing services encourage big conferences to choose other cities? I hope so.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 25 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 15 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware as a Senior Course Developer, Solutions Engineer, and in the Competitive Marketing group. 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 Twitter @vDoppler.