Should you attend KubeCon?

Should you attend KubeCon?

A recap of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2023 from the perspective of a fledgling k8s developer.

Running from April 19th to April 21st, 2023, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2023 was held in the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam as well as having sessions available virtually.

I was able to attend KubeCon as my first in-person tech conference in 4 years and as a relative newcomer to Kubernetes (k8s), I was amazed to see the k8s community coming together, sharing experiences and ideas as well as a thriving landscape of tools and business that help manage your k8s ecosystem.

The event was spread over three full days with an additional 'day zero' of sponsored events and running across the enormous RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam in multiple halls offering any level of k8s developer the ability to learn, educate and collaborate with the roughly 10.000 attendees across the event.

Simply put, if you are heavily interested in k8s or interact with k8s environments every week, KubeCon is the right event for you to attend. The organization was great, with the halls well structured to facilitate tons of sessions and booths as well as provided catering so as not to worry about breakfast, lunch and dinner while trying to navigate through dozens of sessions to choose from and activities to go through.

The cost for attending the event in person was on the higher side ($500 for the full event) and that is getting you in the door, not to Amsterdam or staying at one of many hotels there are available of course. But it does provide an excellent learning experience and the ability to interact with the ever-growing community of k8s developers.

I did enjoy the ability to (re)watch any of the sessions virtually live or on-demand after the event as there were simply a lot of sessions to choose from, whether it was the daily 90-minute to 2-hour keynotes in the morning on each day or continuous sessions available throughout the event.

If you are truly there to learn, the virtual tickets were also much more affordable and allow you to enjoy the event from the comfort of your home minus the in-person interaction.

Speaking of in-person interaction, the sponsor showcase hall was filled with tons of booths from tech vendors offering k8s solutions in all sorts of areas - k8s platforms, observability tools, security, storage options - if you need a specific solution, someone there would have it for you and of course more than happy to showcase what and how the solution can help you!

As a Developer Advocate working at Akamai, Akamai was also exhibiting at the event showcasing the Linode Kubernetes Engine which allows you to easily run your k8s workloads on the Akamai Connected Cloud.

Many of the developers who showed up at both were surprised to see Akamai exhibiting at a k8s-focused event as Akamai is known in the industry as a content delivery and/or application security company but through the acquisition of Linode in 2022, Akamai now offers full cloud computing capabilities including the ability to deploy and run k8s workloads through the Linode Kubernetes Engine.

This led to great interactions with developers realizing they have alternative and affordable options available to them through Akamai and the ability to benefit from the entire Akamai Connected Cloud (cloud computing, content delivery and application security through one platform).

It was great to interact with developers directly again at booths at tech conferences and help answer all sorts of different questions that get thrown at you throughout the day. Seeing both new and old Akamai colleagues in person was also great!

All in all, I would say that this event was a great experience that I would highly recommend to anyone working with k8s, from any level of experience. The ability to attend virtually I hope will also be available as it is a more affordable option.

KubeCon is running their North American event in Chicago, November 6 to 9 and KubeCon EU will return in 2024, March 19 to 22 but this time in Paris instead of Amsterdam. For more information, you can find this on the KubeCon website.

Several of the standout sessions for me were definitely in the security area. Sessions regarding 'secrets management', 'Zero Trust architecture', and 'mitigating security risks' were great to see. I hope that the CNCF who runs the event will make these sessions available for free on their YouTube channel.

On a side note, I was surprised to see at least 4 vendors offering swag such as t-shirts or pluche mascots through crane games and many vendors raffling off huge LEGO sets. I wonder who had the fortune or misfortune of having to check the huge Lego Star Wars AT-AT set into their flight.

Thanks to CNCF for hosting a fantastic event!