When you’re hot in tech, you aspire to yawns.


AUSTIN — Waiting for your phone to charge: boring. Refreshing a web page multiple times: boring. Glacially slow wifi: boring.

Tiresome tech isn’t usually a good thing, but the Kubernetes community hopes to become the good kind of boring. So boring that there’s nothing to fiddle with, no workarounds needed. Day two morning keynotes at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2017 focused on the aspiration to good-boring and how to get there.

First up was Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google, who brought up the energy, the star power and the demos. (The “rockstar” thing gets thrown around too often and too easily, but when audience members shout “I love you” at the speaker, the person probably deserves the title.)

“We’ve reached a major milestone: the most recent changes were so boring that I have no updates for you,” says Hightower, adding that this was the goal the whole time. “We want to get Kubernetes to a place where can build things on top of it, grow the community and the ecosystem and keep the core boring — so a round of applause to the entire community for getting it close to boring.”

That said, he was quick to advise newcomers against making it the wrong kind of boring. “If you’re new to Kubernetes, it’s going to set you free, but first it’s going to piss you off,” especially if you’re doing it wrong, says the author of a guide called “Kubernetes the Hard Way.”

His target: people over-relying on command-line interface kubectl; “kubectl is the new SSH…If you’re using kubectl to deploy from your laptop you’re missing the point. If you’re doing it right no one should know you’re using Kubernetes.”

To better make his point, he launched into live demo to show how much easier it can get by using Google Now to provision an 8-node cluster. “That’s what I call Kubernetes the easy way,” the phone shot back at him when it was all said and done. The crowd was impressed — but he had another thing to show on the quest for boring: a developer workflow featuring Grafana.

“As a dev you have one work flow in mind everything else is noise,” he says. This is how you see things…you don’t want to install Kubernetes.” Using a registry with a hello world app, he cloned the repo, then developed against it. Simple changes (from hello world to “go is the best programing language ever”) and then pushed the commit to great effect.
Using the voice commands on his smartphone again, he scaled 10 replicas. “I gotta admit, that was pretty dope,” the phone pronounced.

Clayton Coleman, architect, Kubernetes and OpenShift at Red Hat, underlined Hightower’s message. “Red Hat helps build boring software,” he says. “Open Source is not always an exciting thing. People have to chop wood and carry water.”

People tend to think that “exciting” means launching a new feature, he says, but in the infrastructure world “exciting means everything is on fire, again.” Stressing that the goal isn’t infrastructure but what what you build with it, he talked about three typical kinds of fire and what to do about them.

So uninteresting you can run “Game of Thrones” with it

Illya Chekrygin and Zihao Yu from HBO’s digital delivery team offered up a stellar case study about how they’re pushing the limits of Kubernetes with the popular drama series.
The short version: they run everything on Kubernetes, EC2 and a lot of nginx pods.


Future boring

Engineering director Chen Goldberg came out in a cape to talk about the “superpowers” of Kubernetes — extensibility and automation. She brought out software engineer Anthony Yeh to demo a metacontroller that makes it easy for anyone to write controllers. Called kube-metacontroller it offers lightweight Kubernetes controllers-as-a-service. You can check it out here.

“We’re creating a general purpose platform for developers running any application, what we showed today is an important building block towards that,” Goldberg said. “We want to make the ecosystem richer and make more of the Google tools available to everybody as open source,” she added. “Remember: we all possess this superpower, I hope you take advantage of it.”