Kubecon North America 2023 event recap

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As autumn graced the vibrant city of Chicago, I had the distinct opportunity to immerse myself in the heart of innovation and camaraderie at the CNCF’s Kubecon North America conference. Over the span of four remarkable days, from Nov 6-9, I was fortunate enough to walk alongside the many enthusiasts, contributors and organizers of open source and cloud native communities. 

The essence of KubeCon lies in its unwavering focus on the community—on people like you and me, who find common ground under the vast umbrella of open source philosophy. Whether it was through a spontaneous discussion over coffee or the structured exchange of ideas in sessions, each moment was a thread in the larger tapestry of connection. Like many that attended the event, I revel in the energy that only such a gathering can generate. 

In this blog post we have a brief glimpse of a week teeming with the exchange of ideas, thoughts and newly obtained knowledge. From the absorbing sessions that held our attention, the cutting-edge innovations that drew us in, and the moments that will linger in our memories, all of which underscored KubeCon North America 2023 as a pivotal point for our community’s advancement and togetherness.

Keynotes, Sessions and Community 

The keynote sessions at KubeCon North America 2023 were not just presentations; they were inspiring narratives that painted a vivid picture of the cloud-native landscape present and future. Starting with Priyanka Sharma’s warm welcome and opening remarks, the tone was set for a series of engaging discussions. Sharma, as the Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, laid the groundwork for what would be an eventful week, filled with insights and forward-thinking perspectives.

Taylor Dolezal’s ‘Windy City Whirlwind’ session was a standout, offering a deep exploration of the evolving cloud-native ecosystem. His eloquent portrayal of the current state and potential trajectory of cloud-native technology captivated the audience. This was followed by the ‘Blueprint Banter’ session, a unique ‘fireside chat’ format where Dolezal, alongside Alolita Sharma from Apple, and other industry leaders like Mike Bowen from Blackrock and Cailyn Edwards from Shopify, delved into meaningful conversations about cloud-native technologies. This interactive session illuminated various aspects of the industry, from technical challenges to future opportunities.

One of the most impactful presentations was about environmental sustainability in the cloud. Led by Frederick Kautz from TestifySec and joined by Rimma Iontel from Red Hat, Tammy McClellan from Microsoft, and others, this session addressed the critical issue of sustainability in the tech industry. It debunked myths and showcased how cloud technology can be harnessed for environmental benefit. Also noteworthy were the CNCF Graduated Project Updates and the Kubernetes Project Updates, which always provides a great insight into the latest within the CNCF landscape.

Updates from the Observability Technical Advisory Group 

At the heart of the KubeCon North America 2023 conference, the Observability TAG session stood out as one of the hives of collaborative discussion focused on the observability of cloud-native ecosystems. This vibrant session was spearheaded by Matt Young from Apple’s Open Source Program Office, Alolita Sharma, the co-chair of CNCF Observability TAG, and Ken Finnigan, the OpenTelemetry Architect at Lumigo. 

The group provided updates on pivotal observability projects. The session examined the strides made by the observe-k8s workgroup, which is at the forefront of documenting observability best practices and tools for Kubernetes. Additionally, they also shed light on the query language standardization (QLS) workgroup’s diligent efforts to define a universal specification through widespread requirements gathering and use case analysis.

The convergence of observability practitioners, developers, and contributors turned the session into an engaging discussion, brimming with discussions about new features, potential scenarios, and the array of open-source solutions available to end-users. There was a palpable sense of eagerness as each speaker took the stage, inviting the audience to contemplate the future of observability and its implications for cloud-native technologies. The discussions were not just theoretical; they were anchored in real-world applications and the shared experiences of those who wrestle with these systems daily. This session was a beacon, illuminating the path for both seasoned veterans and newcomers in the field of observability.

As the session wrapped up, the call to action was clear: the CNCF Observability TAG group is an open community, continually seeking fresh perspectives and active involvement. Whether you’re someone with years of experience under your belt or you’re just starting out, there’s a place for you to contribute, learn, and grow. The TAG group is the perfect platform to voice your ideas, refine them through peer interaction, and witness them evolve into practices that shape the industry. If you’re looking to make an impact or to expand your understanding of cloud-native observability, I encourage you to reach out and become an active part of this thriving collective. The workgroups within the TAG are always on the lookout for passionate individuals eager to drive innovation in observability forward.

Most Memorable Moment 

For an emerging startup, it’s incredibly rewarding to witness someone acknowledge your creation. It’s that moment when an individual’s expression lights up in realizing that a complex deployment of OpenTelemetry to Kubernetes can be achieved through a single, straightforward command— your hard work condensed into a ‘one-click’ ease of deployment followed by enriched traces. It’s a moment where the simplicity of the command line unveils a realm of troubleshooting possibilities to the onlooker, all driven by your team’s labor and vision.

We ran through our demos many hundreds of times throughout the week at KubeCon, drawing crowds eager to see the Lumigo Kubernetes operator in action. There was a genuine buzz as attendees saw how the operator could auto-instrument code in an observed namespace. It was particularly fascinating for them to witness the operator’s ability to discern the appropriate code language—be it Python, Java, or Node/TypeScript—and apply the specific instrumentation on the fly. Each demonstration became an interactive session, sparking conversations about the potential such automation holds.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by our booth during Kubecon, you can read more about the operator via Artifact Hub. Alternatively if you want to dig deeper into its many nuances then the blog post The Magic Behind the Lumigo Kubernetes Operator is highly recommended. 

A Whirlwind Week of Learning 

The true essence of KubeCon, though, was its vibrant community spirit. Witnessing individuals from diverse backgrounds unite over a shared passion was truly inspiring. As this year’s event concludes, I encourage you to get involved. Whether it’s attending future events, contributing to documentation, or participating in code development, your involvement is invaluable. The collaborative energy at KubeCon shows that when we come together, the potential for innovation is limitless. Join us in this exciting journey and help shape the future of cloud-native technology. Your contribution to the many CNCF Open Source projects can make a significant difference in this constantly changing landscape.