KubeCon Europe 2024 in Paris was the biggest event of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to date. With over 12,000 participants, it was a monumental event, setting the stage for the latest trends and developments in cloud-native computing. 

As your loyal CNCF Ambassador, I’m here to share some of the important updates you don’t want to miss. I also invited fellow CNCF Ambassador Thomas Schuetz to join me with his own insights. 

Thomas is a Principal Cloud Architect at Kapsch. He also teaches at the Austrian University of Applied Sciences, focusing on cloud-native technologies, and serves as a Keptn GC Member and K8sGPT Maintainer, alongside his role as Co-Chair of the CNCF TAG App Delivery. So you’re sure to get very relevant information.

Cloud-Native Artificial Intelligence Takes Center Stage

One of the standout moments at KubeCon was the publishing of the Cloud Native Artificial Intelligence whitepaper by the AI Working Group (WG). This comprehensive document delves into the evolving landscape of cloud-native artificial intelligence, exploring opportunities and components that shape this dynamic ecosystem. This is a great achievement to the AI WG, as well as to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Runtime, which initiated the new WG. Here is where you can find the new whitepaper

On the episode I also delved into K8sGPT, a new entrant to the CNCF’s sandbox that uses generative AI to give Kubernetes superpowers to everyone. Stay tuned for the follow up blog post, or check out the full episode.

Cloud-Native Application Delivery: TAG App Delivery Updates

The CNCF’s Application Delivery Technical Advisory Group, commonly known as TAG App Delivery, is concerned with delivering applications to cloud native systems. This relates to CNCF open source projects from the continuous delivery front such as Flux and ArgoCD, as well as projects from the build front such as Helm and Buildpacks. 

Thomas, who serves as co-chair of TAG App Delivery, shed light on the burgeoning initiatives aimed at enhancing application development in the cloud-native realm. He shared the creation of a new Application Development Working Group. A core objective of this group, according to its charter, is to identify and promote existing tools, standards, and practices within the CNCF ecosystem. 

By showcasing how these elements work together, the group aims to map how existing tools and standards can enhance and complement practices and tools that are already familiar to developers and architects.

Thomas also shared an exploration of the TAG, in collaboration with Atlantis and OpenTofu open source projects in the Infrastructure-as-Code space, to establish a dedicated infrastructure provisioning working group. Seeing the growing interest in OpenTofu since its foundation as a fork of Terraform last year, it definitely looks like this working group would be in demand.

Istio Ambient Mode and Fluent Bit’s Milestone Release

Amidst the flurry of updates, Fluent Bit unveiled its v3.0.0 major release, packed with features tailored to meet the evolving needs of developers. From new filters for Windows and Mac OS metrics, to new SQL-based parser for searching and transforming logs, and support for HTTP/2, the new Fluent Bit release is worth a check. Here’s the release announcement.

Another important update was the beta release of Istio’s ambient mode, as part of Istio v1.22 service mesh project. In a previous post I discussed ambient mode and the hot debate in the service mesh realm of sidecar versus sidecar-less architecture, where ambient mode spearheads the sidecar-less approach. 

Now, with the beta release, it indicates Istio’s ambient mode features and stability are ready for production workloads with appropriate cautions. The release contains other notable items such as the Service Mesh support for the Gateway API now officially marked as “Stable” (we discussed Gateway API support as well on the previous episode), Istio APIs promoted to v1, and more. You can read more about the release here.

Updates on Keptn and Perses

As a member of the governing committee (GC) of the Keptn project, Thomas provided insights into the latest developments shaping this CNCF incubating project. He shared that Keptn is now able to do promotion tasks after an application deployment has been finished. He also highlighted efforts to build application awareness into Kubernetes: 

“When we are talking about Kubernetes, we know about deployments, state projects and so on, we know about pods, but we don’t know about the big whole thing.” 

Using Kubernetes recommended labels, Keptn is able to detect applications, dependencies and so on. This opens up new expressive power, such as doing a promotion after a whole application is deployed.

In an effort to make deployment with Argo and GitOps easier, Keptn also invests in tighter integrations into the Argo tool stack, including Argo Rollouts and Argo Workflows. You can see more on Argo support on this Keptn github issue.

We also got updates from the young and promising observability visualization tool Perses, which released its v0.44.0. The new release includes Dashboard-As-Code SDKs for Cue & Go programming languages, authentication support for OAuth2 and OIDC, ephemeral dashboards and more, which you can find here in the release notes. To learn more about Perses, see my blog post, based on my fireside chat with the project creator.

Environmental Sustainability: OpenCost Introduces Carbon Costs

Another interesting update came from the OpenCost project, which increases its scope into environmental sustainability. This is the result of a collaboration with thoughtworks, on this joint work to bring open source carbon emissions footprint monitoring across Kubernetes and cloud. I hope this drives DevOps teams to expand their ost monitoring also into carbon costs, for the sake of our planet’s future. Read more on this feature here.

To hear more on these and other KubeCon Europe updates, as well as a special zoom in on the K8sGPT Generative AI project for Kubernetes, check out the OpenObservability Talks episode: KubeCon Paris Highlights and AI Spotlight on K8sgpt.

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