Wrapping Up KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Amsterdam & Looking Ahead

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May 4, 2023

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Jared Watts

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Reading time: 6 min read


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Another KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is now in the books, and we’re still feeling the energy from the sights and sounds of Amsterdam and another successful cloud native conference. As the excitement starts to wind down, and we successfully found our way out of the labyrinthine halls of the RAI (has there ever been a more confusing KubeCon venue to navigate?), we wanted to take a minute to reflect on what we learned and experienced, especially compared to KubeCons of years past.

KubeCon Attendees ❤️ Crossplane

As the creators of the Crossplane project, we are always thrilled to see the enthusiasm and engagement from attendees at each KubeCon. There was never a dull moment in the Solutions Showcase, as traffic to the Upbound and Crossplane booths was always flowing. We continuously had people coming up to us and asking something similar to “I keep seeing and hearing Crossplane everywhere - please tell me more about it!”, which we can assure you we’ll never get tired of hearing. While this excitement is nothing new compared to previous KubeCons, we did notice there were more folks approaching us this year that were already well familiar with Crossplane’s vision. We’re confident some of the “what is this Crossplane I keep hearing about” folks from Detroit are now well into their adoption journey with Crossplane and have already become valued members of the community. If you’re still curious to learn what Crossplane does and why it’s valuable, we encourage you to check out this post we recently authored for the New Stack.

It’s so Good to Connect in Person

We presented more sessions and talks in Amsterdam than at any previous KubeCon. The most recent addition to our stable of sessions was the Crossplane Contribfest, where developers interested in becoming contributors gathered together for an interactive session with hands-on labs. By the end of the productive session, attendees had learned how to write, build, and test new code for Crossplane as well as write their own Composition Functions. We are looking forward to the developers that joined the Contribfest to continue participating as contributors to the project, and even becoming deeply involved to the point of joining the maintainer team as well! A great place to start getting more active in the project is our Crossplane Slack, as well as the code base and issue backlog in the Crossplane GitHub.

We also hosted a very successful Maintainer Track talk that had more than 1,000 registered attendees. These talks are always really interesting because they combine an introduction to the project along with a deep dive into some of its advanced concepts and architecture, so there’s something for all levels of experience with Crossplane. During this talk, we gave three separate live demos that covered the most exciting and highly demanded new features, and we hope attendees left the session inspired to accomplish new scenarios with their Crossplane powered platforms.

In addition to the ContribFest and Maintainer Track sessions, we also took advantage of all the opportunities to connect with the community in the CNCF Project Pavilion, with Upbound customers at our booth in the Solutions Showcase, and a select set of top contributors to the Crossplane project for a special appreciation dinner at Brouwerij Troost De Pijp. It was such a fantastic week connecting with old friends and building great new relationships!

Everyone was Wondering…

From the myriad of conversations during the week, we heard some common questions that folks were frequently asking. Let’s review these questions and dive into some answers here.

I’m already using Terraform, but Crossplane looks awesome! How can I start using it?

Lots of Crossplane adopters have (or have had) Terraform in their environment, and it’s totally reasonable to run both within your environment at the same time - it’s not an all or nothing proposition with Crossplane. There are a few strategies for adopting Crossplane in a phased approach over time that are worth reading more about in this resource for optimizing Terraform with Crossplane.

All the CRDs that Crossplane installs impact the performance of my cluster, what can I do?

This is priority number one in the Crossplane roadmap right now. Kubernetes was designed with some key scaling properties in mind, but unfortunately the number of CRDs was not one of them. We’re attacking this issue from two major fronts: We’ve already made a handful of fixes to upstream Kubernetes to start scaling the supported number of CRDs in general, and we are rapidly executing on a plan within Crossplane to install only the CRD groups that are important to you. These parallel efforts should greatly improve the control plane performance soon, so we appreciate all the feedback and patience while we thoughtfully roll these out.

What do I use to provision a cluster for Crossplane, is this a chicken and egg problem?

Crossplane has very few requirements to get up and running, so one simple approach here is to create a cheap and ephemeral bootstrapping cluster, for example kind, and leverage that to provision your long term Crossplane instance. Viktor Farcic did a great video on this that can be found on the Upbound YouTube channel. An even easier approach though would be to offload this problem entirely, including the full spectrum of operational burdens and concerns, to the experts at Upbound by taking advantage of our latest product, Upbound, which hosts managed control planes.

Looking Forward to Chicago

The cycle for the next KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Chicago is already ramping up, as the Call for Proposals is now officially open. It won’t be long before we’re all together again and we are definitely looking forward to it. What’s not to love about Chicago? With its characteristic deep-dish pizza, marvelous architecture, and hilarious comedy scene, we know it will be a fabulous week together. Just keep thinking warm thoughts for the week until then!

We will submit proposals for multiple talks about Crossplane and cloud native control plane concepts, so we hope to have many opportunities to connect with you all again at the booths and Crossplane sessions. We’re always eager to support the community in submitting ideas of their own, so feel free to share your ideas in the Crossplane Slack or reach out directly to Jared (@jbw976) for feedback on any proposals you are thinking about.  Finally, we have exciting ideas for how to continue evolving the next Contribfest and keep investing in our amazing Crossplane community, so get ready to write more code together!

What’s Next?

In the meantime, if you’re curious about Upbound and what we can offer, we invite you to try our latest product offering, Upbound, for free. Enable SRE teams with a more efficient workflow and the building blocks of platform engineering by setting up your first cloud platform powered by Upbound’s managed control planes. Sign up for your 30 day free trial here, and we’ll see you in Chicago!

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