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KubeCon 2021 recap: A new K8s certification, Cilium joins the CNCF

Nigel Poulton
Nigel Poulton

What’s going on with Kubernetes this Month? In this post, I’ll shine the spotlight on the recent KubeCon 2021 event, plus I’ll be sharing with you my top 3 K8s picks and announcements from the past month.

Want to know more? Let’s dive in!


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Highlights from KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2021

For this month’s deep dive section, we’ll be focussing on KubeCon 2021 North America as an event. But also looking at a couple of the big announcements.

KubeCon was back as an in-person/online hybrid event

First up, it was, I almost want to say a relief, to see KubeCon back as an in-person event. Or at least a hybrid event with a mix of people actually attending in person, as well as attending virtually. The numbers I’ve seen suggest around 3,000 attended in-person with a further 20,000 via the internet.

Those attending in person said that it felt like the good old days. Booths were back and busy, and there were parties and quality sessions. But most importantly, people felt safe and are starting to believe that large in-person events can be done safely.

There were plenty of pieces of news and announcements at Kubecon, but here are a few of the highlights: Cilium joining the CNCF grabbed my attention, as did the new entry-level Kubernetes certification.

Cilium joins the CNCF

On the Cilium front, the technology itself is basically advanced networking, with top-rated observability and security in a single project. It’s based on eBPF, and I think I’m right in saying Envoy integration — which will bring kernel-based service mesh capabilities — is on the roadmap. So, the tech elements are epic.

But I reckon it might already be the most popular CNI plugin in the entire ecosystem. I mean, it’s used for the GKE data plane and EKS Anywhere. And that’s without mentioning the independent projects that leverage it.

Now that it’s part of the CNCF, and of course, it’s currently in the incubating phase, but even so, it’s only going to drive further adoption and further maturity of the project. So, there’s an eBPF revolution going on, and Cilium is bringing it to Kubernetes in style. Basically, if you’re looking to do serious networking with Kubernetes. Cilium is looking like a rock-solid choice.

New entry-level Kubernetes certification

Switching tac to the new Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate certification . . .

I know a bunch of you love a good certification. If you’re wondering which Kubernetes certification path you should take, there’s a new cert in the mix. The new Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) exam is a multiple-choice exam testing entry-level knowledge and skills. It’s currently in beta, but it might be generally available by the end of the year.

If you’re interested, and you should be, it tests fundamental concepts and skills, such as Kubernetes architecture, deploying apps with kubectl, and some wider things from the ecosystem. Like maybe some basic GitOps and service mesh concepts.

Next up, time for my top three other news items from the month.

1. Anthos for VMs being released into preview

Number 1 in my picks from last month is Google’s announcement of Anthos for VMs being released into preview. Anthos is Google’s universal control plane, of sorts. Those are my words, but it basically manages Kubernetes wherever you have it.

Anyway, as it’s based on GKE, Google Kubernetes Engine, it was all about container workloads. Well, now it’s extending that reach to VMs. And that’s definitely a good thing, as most organizations I know, at least the ones that would be interested in Anthos, have container and VM workloads.

If you go the Anthos route, you’re about to get standardized processes and tooling for containers and VMs. Sounds like a winner to me!

2. Google Distributed Cloud

Right, on to number 2 for this month. At their recent Cloud Next ’21 event, Google announced Google Distributed Cloud. Which, in a nutshell, looks like the Google Cloud wherever you need it. So at the edge, in your data centers, and even at the 5G edge on carrier networks.

Now again, it’s early days, but there’s a real push from the major clouds to extend their reach and services to as many places as possible. I know places like the 5G edge, so having cloud hardware and services available on a carrier’s network, like right on the edge of 5G, can be a game-changer. So entirely new classes of edge apps.


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3. EKS Anywhere

And finally, my third and final pick from the month: in a similar vein, Amazon announced the immediate availability of EKS Anywhere, their managed or Amazon-flavored Kubernetes service. So on-premises Kubernetes based on the Amazon EKS distro, with an AWS management experience. Wondering about the differences between AKS, EKS, and GKE, check out AKS vs EKS vs GKE: managed Kubernetes services compared.

Keep up with K8s

That’s it for this month’s edition of Kubernetes this month. Stay safe, and I’ll see you all again next month — same Kube time, same Kube place.

Want to keep up with all things Kubernetes? Follow Nigel on Twitter or keep up with him here. Subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for regular updates, analysis, and assorted awesomeness. You can also like ACG on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join the conversation on Discord!

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