Five things the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 run-up reveals about Kubernetes and Cloud Native

(Image credit: Image Credit: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock)

The growth of container application packaging and delivery technology has exploded. In a survey conducted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, 73 per cent of respondents are currently using containers in production today, with the remaining 27 per cent plan to use them in the future. And, as the use of containers has grown, so, too--not surprisingly--has the use of an orchestration platform to manage it all: Kubernetes.

“Much of the industry momentum for container management has consolidated around Kubernetes” notes Tony Iams, Gartner research vice president, in a blog post. In fact, CNCF’s research has found that Kubernetes—which helps users build, scale and manage modern applications and their dynamic life cycles—is used by 58 per cent of respondents in production, while 42 per cent are evaluating it for future use. In comparison, 40 per cent of enterprise companies (5,000-plus) are running Kubernetes in production.

First developed at Google, open sourced and contributed to the CNCF, Kubernetes now boasts thousands of contributors and a user list that reads like a who’s who of the business world. These organisations and others are leveraging Kubernetes for its ability to effectively manage application development and infrastructure management on-premises or in the cloud, without the risk of vendor or cloud-provider lock-in.

As companies look to begin or expand their use of Kubernetes, it’s natural to wonder: “How can I do it best?” and “What’s next?”

The KubeCon conference has become a keystone event for technical and, increasingly, business professionals who want to increase their Kubernetes and cloud-native savvy by collaborating with peers and industry thought leaders. In the run-up to the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 conference, scheduled to take place in Barcelona May 20-23, here are five things that help put Kubernetes and cloud-native present and future in context.

1.            Discussion of Kubernetes has moved into the C-suite.

You know a technology is entering the mainstream (and, when it comes to Kubernetes, that happened in a relatively short time) when business executives start asking whether the company is using it. (And, if not, why not?) In a Google Cloud Blog, Justyna Bak, Global Client Engagement Advisor at Google, notes that it has been common for CEOs and other executives to ask for briefings on topics like practical applications of machine learning or how to draw insights from big data, but until recently it was uncommon for them to ask specifically about Kubernetes. That’s changed, said Bak in the blog: “Today, … many executives have taken note of [Kubernetes’] potential to transform the way enterprises build and run applications; it’s no surprise to read that 54 per cent of Fortune 100 companies are using Kubernetes in some form.”

2. Kubernetes (and cloud native) skills are in high demand.

According to the Dice.com report “The Top Tech Skills of 2018: Kotlin & Kubernetes Made Their Mark” skills in high demand last year were focused on containerisation of apps and services, as well as the cloud. “Over the first three quarters [of 2018], Kubernetes and Terraform [a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently] ruled the tech skills landscape. The popularity of these two skills suggests that companies are continuing to invest in designing their own scalable stacks that use cloud services such as AWS or Azure for storage and compute.” Indeed.com also reports that job seekers searched for Kubernetes in job listings 173 per cent more often from August through October 2018 than they did during the same period the year before, and that from September 2017 through September 2018 job postings containing the term "Kubernetes" increased by 230 per cent.

3. Two of the biggest tech-focused acquisitions in 2018 centred on Kubernetes.

Last year saw the acquisition of two companies that themselves have made huge investments in the future of Kubernetes. VMware acquired Heptio, a Seattle startup co-founded by two of the three people who created Kubernetes at Google in 2014, and IBM acquired a company that needs no introduction: Red Hat.

Red Hat’s OpenShift platform standardised on Kubernetes in 2014, a move that “changed the game for OpenShift and for Red Hat as a whole,” according to Joe Fernandes, Red Hat vice president of products, Cloud Platforms Business Unit. Now, IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat “changes everything about the cloud market,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM senior vice president for hybrid cloud, as well as the director of IBM Research, during a press conference. 451 Research the Red Hat acquisition “marks the beginning of the new age of open source - one populated by established giants and newer open source endeavours such as the dozens of projects that surround and support Kubernetes.”

VMware’s acquisition of Heptio was all about Kubernetes. In a blog post, Paul Fazzone, VMware senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Native Apps Business Unit, stated that VMware and Heptio would work together to “expand contributions to harden and extend upstream Kubernetes as well as advance cloud native technologies alongside the community.”

4. Demand for Kubernetes and cloud native thought leadership is high:

There were 1,535 session proposals submitted for the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 conference. A program committee of 110 experts evaluated the submissions to develop a content slate that reflects what can be accomplished with Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies and what to expect moving forward. While many of the sessions are down in the technology weeds, it’s telling that a significant number are focused on the ways in which Kubernetes can directly affect the business. Examples include Building Cloud Native GDPR Friendly Systems for Data Collection and Leveraging Cloud Native Technology to Transform Your Enterprise.

5. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon by the numbers.

Sometimes, the numbers speak for themselves. From its humble beginnings “way” back in 2015, when attendees numbered in the hundreds, the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 conference is expected to attract 10,000 technologists from open source communities across the world. That’s up from the 8,000 that attended the (then-) largest-ever KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Seattle in December 2018. That alone speaks volumes about the promise and potential of Kubernetes.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that cloud native is the way of the future, with platforms like Kubernetes supporting organisations’ transformation to a model in which applications are deployed as microservices on an open source software stack. Kubernetes is both supporting and driving this transformation, but changes are also coming at a fast and furious pace. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon’s growth reflects the opportunities and challenges facing technology and business leaders who know how critical it is not just to keep up, but to get one step ahead of the technology--and the competition.

Chris Aniszczyk, Chief Technology Officer / Chief Operating Officer, Cloud Native Computing Foundation
Image Credit: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock