Blog

Cloud Native Compute Foundation Conference

Universität Ulm

Introduction/Disclamer

This is a report and a personal experience while visiting the Cloud Native Compute Foundation Conference taking place from 28.03-30.03.2017 in Berlin.

What is cloud native

Cloud native applications are build for modern cloud infrastructures. They embrace continuous deployment of components are easy to scale. There is an increasingly huge ecosystem of tools, considering themselves as cloud native. The cloud native landscape [1] illustrates an incomplete overview of that ecosystem, build by the Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF)

One keynote made an interesting analogy [2]:

Broomhand crafted servers with lots of scripts operated by a wizard sysadmin
Vacuum Cleanersemi automated server management with configuration management tools like puppet or chef
Roombacloud native tools driven by the collaboration of developers and operator utilizing container infrastructure

The CNCF

The CNCF is a non-profit organisation cooperating with the Linux Foundation. They support their members in terms of marketing, infrastructure, documentation and more. They aim to provide a neutral home for crucial cloud native components. Current members of the CNCF are:

Kubernetes
an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications

Prometheus
metric aggregation and alterting solution

OpenTracing
request tracing across distributed applications

Fluentd
unified logging layer

Linkerd
transparent proxy with service discovery, routing and failure handling

gRPC
a remote procedure call framework

CoreDNS
service discovery and fully functional DNS server

containerd
industry standard container runtime

rkt
simple standard embracing container engine

The foundation is supported by many leading IT companies

The Conference

This conference - the Cloud Native Compute Foundation Conference - was co-located with the Kubecon. Since Kubernetes powers lots of cloud native applications, both conferences integrated very well.

Insights

Besides companies and organisations pushing their tools the user stories of cloud native adopting companies were the most interesting. Most of them argued that in order to keep up with speed to market they had to embrace certain DevOps strategies. The cloud native tools provide possible solutions to enable the shift to a DevOps culture.

The CNCF specifically gives companies a certain grade of confidence and trust, since the tools supported by them increase the chance for them being around for a while.

Of course adopting these new tools and strategies, they introduced a lot of technical and personal challenges like:

  • How to convice dev and ops?
  • How to deploy the infrastructure?
  • How to scale the infrastructure?
  • What to do with legacy software?
  • How to monitor?

They could not provide a generic solution besides: "Just try it in small steps and do not try to go 'full-stack' at once". There are a lot of challenges which are not solved yet and best practices are still to find.

Conclusion

The closing keynote summarized quite well, what most people would conclude after the 3 days.

Cloud native is still hard

The cloud native landscape is huge and constantly changing. The biggest challenge is to find a set of tools and a strategy that fits your use-case, but still enables you to adapt. One of the goals of the CNCF and Kubernetes is to make development and deployment of cloud native apps as clear as the development and deployment of a smartphone app.

Feel free to contact me, if you would like to discuss more details in that scope:

simon.volpert(at)uni-ulm.de

If you are looking for jobs at cloud native companies have a look at [3]

[1] Cloud Native Landscape
[2] broom, vent, roomba
[3] jobs