The Linux Foundation’s KubeCon and CloudNativeCon conference is happening this week, drawing thousands of “adopters and technologists” to Seattle from Tuesday to Friday.

The foundation runs several events around the world every year – one in Europe, Asia and America. The events, as their names suggest, are there to promote and explore all things cloud, and more importantly, Kubernetes-related.

With three conferences worldwide, the events are a fairly big deal for those in the industry and represent the ever-growing dominance and importance of technologies like Kubernetes.

Unlike some other, more business-oriented conferences, they are also quite techy affairs, usually focused quite heavily on the granular, specific products that help facilitate technologies that are often in and of themselves facilitators.

This year, for instance, The Register notes that there are products like Banzai Cloud, which helps to automate some Kubernetes processes like configuration, logging, monitoring, and security; Twistlock, which adds security virtualisation for Kubernetes; and Kublr, an enterprise Kubernetes management platform.

That’s just a select few from The Register’s roundup – in itself a small slice of the Kubernetes cake. We’ve written before here about the huge industry in business to business technology – with traditionally consumer-focused organisations like Microsoft pivoting towards a focus on more business-oriented products.

Kubernetes history

Kubernetes fits broadly into that trend. Kubernetes’ website says that the technology is “an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery.”

It was developed at Google, where the company contributed “a decade and a half of experience that Google has with running production workloads at scale”. At Google it was codenamed Project Seven, a reference to Star Trek character Seven of Nine.

Under the Kubernetes name, the technology was open-sourced in 2014, and in 2015 Google partnered with the existing Linux Foundation to create the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which now looks after Kubernetes full-time.

As well as saying what it is, the Kubernetes website also says what it is not. “Kubernetes is not a traditional, all-inclusive PaaS system. Since Kubernetes operates at the container level rather than at the hardware level, it provides some generally applicable features common to PaaS offerings, such as deployment, scaling, load balancing, logging, and monitoring.

“However, Kubernetes is not monolithic, and these default solutions are optional and pluggable. Kubernetes provides the building blocks for building developer platforms, but preserves user choice and flexibility where it is important.”

The work of work

What the above quote tells us is that it has a very, very clear idea of what it is and is not – and that the people behind the technology have the confidence to say it.

Things have not been entirely plain sailing recently for Kubernetes – a recent security flaw allowed hackers to “steal sensitive data or inject malicious code” and required urgent patches.

That security flaw was found by a member of the open-source community, which is perhaps a word that more than any other, defines Kubernetes. We’ve seen recently that the open-source community is tight-knit and passionate – just looking at the recent furore over Linus Torvalds proves that.

And it’s interesting to see how that community has gone from a relatively niche specialist area to big business – you only need to look at the rockstar crowds at KubeCon to see that.


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