Presentation: Kubernetes: Crossing the Chasm

Track: DevEx: The Next Evolution of DevOps

Location: Churchill, G flr.

Duration: 1:40pm - 2:30pm

Day of week: Monday

Level: Advanced

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What You’ll Learn

  1. Hear about various scenarios where adopting Kubernetes is not straightforward. 
  2. Learn how to overcome some of the challenges in adopting Kubernetes, what solutions and tools can be used.
  3. Listen about Cloud Native, what it is and when to use it.


Kubernetes is quickly becoming a commodity. Setting up a Highly Available cluster? Easy. Running large applications in a fault tolerant manner on top? No problem. As long as you fit the mould.
But what if your production environment is a closed internal network? Or it’s behind the Chinese firewall? What if you don’t host your own applications but instead deliver your software to clients? Can you still leverage Kubernetes in such cases? As adoption of Kubernetes continues to grow we see more use cases which do not fit the traditional model.
In this talk, I will share each of the above scenarios, the specific challenges we struggled with and, the solutions we ended up using. Finally, we’ll look at where Cloud Native technologies make sense and how far we can take them.


What's your main focus at Container Solutions?


The majority of the time it's with customers, which in itself can vary quite a bit in terms of day to day activity. We focus on cloud migration which is a pretty wide topic. It could mean an initial assessment: where the company is in terms of Cloud Native maturity and where they're trying to go, as well as recommendations of what tooling to use or how to organize teams. Then we move to actual implementation. We work clients to set up a cloud platform or orchestration tool like Kubernetes, create a build pipeline, and even splitting out monolith applications into microservices, and putting them in containers. It usually includes some training along the way as well. We do a bit of everything.


Your talk is about when things don't quite fit into the normal path for Kubernetes. What does that mean?


Initially, a lot of the companies who came and asked about moving to Kubernetes were part of this ideal adoption path. Small companies, with mostly stateless applications, possibly already containerized, in small services. It's pretty straightforward, take these pieces, put them in containers, throw them on Kubernetes, leverage some cloud services, ideally such as databases. This was the happy path for Kubernetes. In the past year we've noticed something else. At first I just thought it was a series of interesting projects which happened to have an extra challenge, something which didn't fit the norm. It tended to be more enterprise organizations where they had different requirements, maybe running on premise, or needing to split across multiple datacenters or regions. One interesting project in particular: It was a modern SaaS-based startup, but they needed to run most of their applications in China. There were all these challenges that can be solved, but it's not obvious and finding resources to do it can be difficult.

With this trend of new use cases for the technologies I thought it would be interesting to present the challenges which can be encountered, how to address them, and which tools can help in the process. Then also show a global trend of challenges that I think we're going to see.


What do you consider the level of this talk?


I think it's useful for attendees to have a basic idea of the technology. It doesn't have to be first-hand knowledge, but to be familiar with concepts such as containers and microservices. I won’t spend a lot of time explaining the details: ‘What is Kubernetes?’, ‘What is the architecture?’ etc. That being said, I try to avoid too much advanced knowledge. In talking about specific features and tools of Kubernetes I will explain as needed. The talk is for people with a technical focus, but it is not a requirement for previous experience with Kubernetes.


What do you want someone to walk away from the talk with?


There are two sides. One is the technical side, for each of the challenges that I'll cover, looking at specific solutions and tools that we used to solve them. I hope that those attending the talk can recognize one of these challenges for their own organization, and as a result gain some insight into how this can be solved. On the other side, I will talk about the trend of Kubernetes specifically (and Cloud Native in general) moving towards the mainstream enterprise community. I would like anyone who had previously thought that these technologies were only for the Googles and Netflixes of the world to leave this talk thinking about how their organization can actually start to take advantage of them.

Speaker: Ian Crosby

Software Engineer @ContainerSolutions

Ian Crosby is a long time software developer, enthusiast, and advocate. He cut his teeth developing military defence systems and has since aimed to use his powers for good. In his current role as Senior Engineer at Container Solutions in Amsterdam he helps organisations navigate the Cloud Native landscape of microservices, containers, and orchestration.

Find Ian Crosby at

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