I had a wonderful opportunity to present a keynote at this past week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2021 in Los Angeles. I used that time to discuss some of the challenges new Cloud Native users face and what we, as Kasten by Veeam, are doing to help.
The Cloud Native community continues to grow. This may not be a surprise to many readers. One way to measure this growth is to track KubeCon attendance. Honestly, the growth has been amazing. What’s often missed when looking at the number of attendees every year is that a majority of attendees are new to Cloud Native. That growth points to some challenges.
Top 3 Cloud Native Challenges
We’ve learned, through many conversations within and outside of Kasten by Veeam, that there are several challenges. The first one is sheer complexity.
There’s quite a bit of choice in the cloud native ecosystem: things like Kubernetes distributions, storage systems, and cloud providers. Teams even have to choose from among different tools to manage their systems.
Another challenge: While we are adopting new technologies, we are simultaneously undergoing a cultural change, and that is moving from traditional IT to DevOps. You’ve heard the term “infrastructure as code,” and that, too, can be challenging. This points to a lack of training. How are we to navigate these new technologies?
Getting together with other technology providers at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon helps us recognize this challenge and it also underscores that we are all in this together. In other words, we are all here to help.
There are a number of ways to get involved. There are SIGs (Special Interest Groups), opportunities to contribute to open source projects, and forums where you can share your expertise with newer users. Kasten has undertaken two initiatives to help the community move forward.
Our first initiative is Learning.kasten.io, which offers free Kubernetes training available to anyone.
Learning.kasten.io is a learning website with hands-on labs created for the community BY the community.
Subject matter experts — not just Kasten employees — have created hands-on labs environments that are completely free. We’ve tried to make the process of learning fun and interesting. As users progress through the modules they earn badges that also track their progress. Badges can be shared on social media. The initiative appears to be taking off, too. In the short time since we’ve launched the learning site, we’ve seen 4000 people take labs.
Some of that engagement is inspiring users to become more involved. Some folks who take the labs or check out the content decide that they, in turn, want to give back. We’ve envisioned the site as a platform that allows users (learners) to also be creators. They can design a lab or a module and be instructors themselves. We invite anyone interested in Kubernetes to check it out.
Take Advantage of Kubestr
The second initiative we have undertaken is an open source project called Kubestr. We’ve been working on it for the last few months, and we’ve already issued a few releases. Kubestr helps address the complexity of choice challenge.
As we worked with customers, helping them navigate the ecosystem, we noticed that they were asking for help with things like what storage system they should use or how they could test that system. We decided to leverage some of our expertise and codify it into Kubestr.
Kubestr is a collection of tools that allows users to discover, validate, and evaluate their storage in Kubernetes.
Kubestr tools identify all of the available storage and storage classes that a user has available within their Kubernetes environment. It validates that the storage options are configured correctly, especially around data management tasks, such as snapshot and restore. It also allows users to do performance benchmarking in the way of evaluating that storage. We recently added debugging capabilities that can be done within an application.
We invite you to check out Kubestr, especially if you're working with Kubernetes storage or trying to navigate the ecosystem. Try it out, and consider contributing to the project.
The KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2021 conference sessions and keynotes are available on-demand to full pass registrants in the event platform until November 23. They will also be available publicly on the CNCF YouTube channel by Friday, October 29.
Vaibhav Kamra is CTO at Kasten by Veeam. Previously, Vaibhav has worked at Dell EMC, Maginatics and Microsoft, where his focus has been on storage, filesystems and databases. He is also one of the contributors to Kanister — an open source framework for application-level data management on Kubernetes and the Data Protection Working Group in Kubernetes.
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