KubeCon EU 2024: Crossplane Highlights and Key Technical Takeaways

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March 28, 2024

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Piotr Zaniewski

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This year’s KubeCon Europe, held in the vibrant city of Paris, was an amazing event with topics showcasing the future trajectory of Kubernetes and cloud-native technologies.

We were excited to connect with the community at the Crossplane project and Upbound booths. Seeing all the interest and questions and the increasing adoption of Crossplane was an amazing experience.

My highlight of the event was meeting the long-term contributors and newcomers to the project at the Crossplane booth and having great conversations. More about it later in the recap.

Let’s dive into the key takeaways, spotlight technologies, and memorable moments from KubeCon 2024.

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Technologies and Trends

AI: The New Frontier in the Kubernetes Ecosystem

AI is becoming increasingly important in the cloud-native ecosystem. Almost all the keynotes referenced artificial intelligence and machine learning in some way. The intersection of AI and Kubernetes is a hot topic, with sessions exploring new ways of provisioning resources and increasing automation and productivity through AI-driven insights.

As AI enhances the efficiency and speed of software development within CNCF projects, these projects also aim to support and improve AI and Machine Learning (AI/ML) processes. This cycle creates a healthy ecosystem and thus standardization of AI tooling and platforms.

Crossplane for example helps provision the cloud infrastructure needed for AI/ML workloads. Read more about it in this blog or watch a webinar.

The interesting part about the AI focus was the increased emphasis on foundational technologies such as Kubernetes and how they are evolving to support AI workloads and infrastructure. After all, AI is just another workload that needs to be provisioned and managed.

A few interesting AI related talks:

Observability: Maturing and Expanding

Observability projects such as OpenTelemetry, Prometheus, Jaeger and more show strong signs of maturity and adoption. The community is converging on common standards for metrics, tracing and logging.

Crossplane kicked off an initiative to add higher-level metrics.

I enjoyed the workshop about setting up OpenTelemetry tracking and observing the metrics and traces with Jaeger. If you are interested in the workshop, you can find the repository here.

Crossplane makes it easy to deploy an observability stack on Kubernetes using a dedicated configuration.

Platform Engineering: Stealing the Spotlight

Platform engineering generated a lot of buzz at KubeCon 2024. In the opening Keynote of Platform Engineering Day, our CEO Bassam Tabbara revealed the best-kept secret in the platform engineering space.

An interesting panel discussion between Platform Engineering practitioners showed how the infrastructure provisioning space has been affected by recent events and has evolved over the years. The panelists shared their experiences and hopes for the future of the industry. One key takeaway was that, as the space is still growing and standards are still being defined, there is an increasing need for interloper ability between tools and platforms.

Crossplane was front and center in the platform engineering discussions. Here are a few highlights:

viktor book signing for blog

Personal Highlights and Reflections

KubeCon 2024 was a whirlwind of learning, networking, and inspiration. My highlight was connecting with the community and learning about their experiences, challenges, and successes with Crossplane. One very interesting conversation stood out to me, where a user shared how they are concerned with testing their infrastructure provisioning code. We discussed various testing strategies and how to improve the testing story for their specific use case.

What was amazing about this interaction was the level of care that went into the testing strategy and how they are looking to improve it. Treating infrastructure no different than the application code with increasing test coverage and quality.

Another very popular question was how to migrate from Terraform to Crossplane. We have some great resources that could help you with that here, particularly this one-page overview explaining how to optimize Terraform with Crossplane.

I visited the Dagger booth and had a great conversation with the maintainers, including a demo of how to use Dagger to assemble a complex application. This is something I will be playing with soon.

It was a pleasure to see projects such as Flux, Backstage, and many more with a strong presence at KubeCon. Discussing the future of the projects and how they are evolving was a great experience.

Finally, visiting the Tailscale booth and learning about their new features reminded me how easy it is to use their product to ssh into my Mac from my Linux box and run more demanding workloads on it.

Upbound co-hosted an Open Source Soiree Party with our friends from Nirmata and Akuity. The party was a great success, with many people attending, and the clear highlight was the Crossplane-themed macarons.

crossplane macarons

Upbound also co-hosted a Cloud-Native Cocktails event with CAST AI and Port. The event was catered to all things cloud native and over one hundred people attended. It was also a success, filled with great networking and conversations!

Community and Collaboration: The Heart of KubeCon

One of KubeCon’s most enduring qualities is its community spirit. This year, we saw an increased emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and mentorship. Sessions such as Open Space Session: Creating a More Accessible Cloud Native Community Together: A Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Perspective highlight the community’s commitment to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone in the cloud-native ecosystem. I felt proud to be part of this community and see our progress in this area.

Final Thoughts

KubeCon 2024 has been an insightful journey through the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the cloud-native world. As we look ahead, it’s clear that the community’s spirit of innovation and collaboration will continue to drive the evolution of cloud-native technologies, making them more accessible, reliable, and powerful.

See you at the next KubeCon! If you have any questions or want to chat about Crossplane, here are a few ways to reach out:

If you want to see how you can scale Crossplane with Upbound, try it for free here!

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