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4 cloud-native trends to watch at Kubecon + CloudNativeCon Europe

Cheryl Hung Vice President of Ecosystem, Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Cloud-native computing hit an impressive milestone in 2020, with record adoption of containers and accelerated overall growth in tools and technologies. Container adoption rose by 300%, resulting in almost total ubiquity in production environments; containers are now used by 92% of respondents, according to the most recent annual Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) community survey.

Kubernetes wasn't far behind, with 83% of respondents using the technology. Deployments got bigger and the pace of delivery faster, with around one-third of respondents now releasing software on a daily basis.

All of this created a need to master the development and delivery process. Indeed, this became a pressing issue. According to the CNCF survey, complexity joined cultural changes with the development team as the top two challenges associated with using and deploying containers.

To help resolve issues such as these, it's historically been the doers and builders—organizations and individuals—who have helped drive the ecosystem forward by sharing their innovation, knowledge, and experience about technology and processes.

That trend continues at this year's KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2021 – Virtual, where those responsible for end-user-driven open source address the growing complexity for cloud-native in at least four hot areas: IoT and edge computing, AI, GitOps, and system resilience.

Here are the key areas to watch for at the show.

IoT and edge computing

Billions of devices are expected to flood the global smart-home market during the next few years, including smart meters, assistants, and appliances used for a range of purposes, such as monitoring, security and convenience. IoT and edge come with considerable challenges of availability, management, provisioning, and security for developers and operations—and this is where the K3 lightweight Kubernetes distribution comes in.

Even if you're not keen to automate your home on top of Kubernetes, a talk on the topic by Jeff Bellimek of Home Depot and Eddie Zaneski from AWS will leave you with a better understanding of the benefits of home automation and how to obtain them using K3.

Bellimek and Zaneski will share their firsthand experiences deploying the open-source automation system Home Assistant on top of K3 in their session. They'll talk about the construction of plugins and features to help discovery, and tackle how to tie the lifecycle management of things on your K3 edge into your CI/CD pipeline using Helm and Flux.

AI and machine learning

AI and machine learning (ML) are being applied in different forms to a range of business challenges ranging from complex financial services to chatbots. But AI and ML are challenging to design, build, and implement successfully at scale in production settings. Indeed, many projects that worked in pilot fail or are too complex, according to analysts.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is home to some of the world's largest and most data-intensive physics experiments, and its engineers have been applying ML to help improve their understanding of the universe.

Computing engineer Ricardo Rocha says CERN created a new centralized ML service by using Kubeflow. It's been designed for maximum utility and is suitable for a number of different uses. It also can tackle data preparation and model training, two of the toughest parts to get right in ML. He'll explain why in this session.


GitOps is a method for implementing continuous deployment of cloud-native applications. It allows IT to cut through the complexity of mixed teams involved in lifecycle management. By putting the emphasis on changes inside version control using a declarative model, GitOps saves teams from having to switch tools.

That sounds great, but how can you achieve consistent processes while still maintaining regulatory compliance in the enterprise—a complex technology and process environment—using siloed infrastructure and procedures?

The US Department of Defense recently moved to Helm and Flux for GitOps to streamline development and operations while still satisfying governance requirements. At the conference, Michael Medellin, director of engineering at Kessel Run, who helped create a global application platform for developers in the US Air Force, will explain how they achieved that. He'll discuss the challenges of moving from manual to automated operations, and how to overcome them, to help you safely make the move in your organization.

System resilience and chaos engineering

Years back, Netflix set developers' pulses racing by introducing Chaos Monkey in its production systems. This tool randomly terminated instances to test the resilience of its engineers' work.

Netflix is famed, too, for its embrace of DevOps. So how is it possible that chaos theory engineering techniques could create a system whose hallmarks are consistency and reliability? In their session titled "Putting Chaos into Continuous Delivery to Increase Application Resiliency," MayaData's Karthik Satchitanand and Dynatrace's Juergen Etzlstorfer share their thoughts on how to build DevOps pipelines, covering chaos experimentation and real-world load simulation.

They'll demonstrate how to include chaos in your existing pipelines without going through the arduous task of rewriting them. You'll come away from this session more ready to exploit the combination of GitOps and chaos engineering for a new approach to continuous development.

Get ready for cloud-native ubiquity

Cloud-native is becoming ubiquitous. It's going into more new areas, too, such as the four I've outlined here.

As cloud-native moves deeper into such complex production systems, the challenge of building, deploying, and managing them will inevitably increase. Fortunately, we have a community of project creators, maintainers, and contributors to help resolve major problems and ensure success.

You can learn more about the conference by checking out the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2021 Virtual website for information about sessions and speakers. The event runs May 4-7, 2021.

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