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KubeCon 2020 preview: Session guide for Kubernetes professionals

The virtual format of KubeCon 2020 means Kubernetes adopters can learn from their peers and take in expert presentations on Kubernetes and related technologies.

Some of your applications are containerized, running in production on Kubernetes or a supported distribution thereof. You're reaping the benefits of a consistent application environment from development to test and production. What's next?

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2020 is a fully virtual conference, November 17-20. It presents an opportunity for Kubernetes professionals to bring their containerized deployments to the next level through expert sessions on diverse topics. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which hosts the conference, manages Kubernetes and offers training and certifications.

Attendees who understand the basics of Kubernetes and how to use it should deep dive into related technologies, such as Helm, and Kubernetes capabilities, such as autoscaling. Make time for case studies that share what to expect as you grow Kubernetes usage. And take detailed notes in the sessions about what can go wrong. Following are a few selections that should appeal to Kubernetes shops on the path to mature deployments.

Editor's note: If you're new to Kubernetes -- or, on the other hand, consider yourself an advanced user -- check out our KubeCon session roundups for Kubernetes beginners and expert users.

Helm: Past, Present, Future

Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes, also managed by the CNCF. Helm charts are a way to define, install and change Kubernetes applications. This session will cover the history of the project and provide guidance on Helm 4. Expect to leave the session with an understanding of what Helm does, its roadmap, and how it works.

The session is co-presented by Helm contributors from IT vendors Microsoft and Rancher Labs. Bridget Kromhout is the Helm program manager at Microsoft. Matt Butcher is a principal software engineer at Microsoft, leading a team on Helm and other open source projects. Matt Farina is a software architect at Rancher Labs, maintaining Helm Core. Learn more about the session here.

Introduction to Autoscaling

Get a handle on autoscaling applications and clusters in Kubernetes in this session. The talk will focus on how to autoscale in Kubernetes and its benefits, such as lower operations costs. Gain knowledge on Cluster, Horizontal Pod and Vertical Pod Autoscalers and best practices to use them in production with various types of workloads.

This session is co-presented by members of the CNCF's Special Interest Group SIG-Autoscaling. Guy Templeton is a senior software engineer at travel search platform Skyscanner. Joseph Burnett is a senior software engineer in Google Cloud's serverless division. Learn more about the session here.

Introduction and Deep Dive into containerd

Containerd is a container runtime for Linux and Windows. This session is a fit for newcomers and containerd users, covering the project's design and architecture and delving into new features. Learn about the CRI (Container Runtime Interface) implementation as part of the project's core features, such as the Sandbox API and other improvements.

This session is co-presented by a group of containerd maintainers: Michael Crosby, software engineer at Apple; Phil Estes, distinguished engineer and CTO of container and Linux strategy at IBM; Wei Fu, software engineer at Alibaba; and Derek McGowan, software engineer at Apple. Learn more about the session here.

A Week in the Life of a Kubernetes Performance and Scale Team

You've already reached a milestone by creating a reliable Kubernetes cluster in production. Now, learn how to tune and scale Kubernetes with testing. This session focuses on performance and scale challenges, dealing with clusters with thousands of nodes and containers. It will cover tests and how to monitor and analyze performance, as well as the tools the presenters use to accomplish these tasks.

Naga Ravi Chaitanya Elluri is a senior software engineer and Mike Fiedler is a quality engineer, both at Red Hat, which provides the OpenShift supported commercial Kubernetes platform. Learn more about the session here.

Eating Your Vegetables: How to Manage 2.5 Million Lines of YAML

Ready to adopt GitOps? This session uses a large environment -- more than 200 clusters, 2,500 Git repositories and 9,000 namespaces -- as a case study on configuration management in Kubernetes. Financial software platform provider Intuit manages and deploys 2.5 million lines of Kubernetes configuration using GitOps. See how the company uses Kustomize, an overlay for YAML files, to define and distribute standard patterns and templates that work with customizations. The presenters will share successes and challenges, and detail the other options they tried for configuration management.

The session is co-presented by Daniel Thomson, formerly in the modern SaaS program at Intuit and now a software engineer at authentication provider Stytch and Jesse Suen, principal software engineer at Intuit. Learn more about the session here.

10 More Weird Ways to Blow Up Your Kubernetes

As you can guess from the session title, accommodations platform Airbnb has gotten a lot of things wrong on its Kubernetes journey. Chances are, you will too. Learn from the company's mistakes in this session about OOM-kills, disappearing pods, downtime on Kubernetes masters and more. And keep in mind that the result of Kubernetes failures isn't failed Kubernetes. Airbnb operates microservices in containers on Kubernetes with service mesh, running thousands of services this way.

Jian Cheung and Joseph Kim are software engineers at Airbnb, in the compute infrastructure team. Learn more about the session here.

PKI the Wrong Way: Simple TLS Mistakes and Surprising Consequences

Production Kubernetes clusters, whether you operate one or 100, must be secure. This session covers how to manage TLS certificates and keys with Kubernetes at scale. See common configuration mistakes, the dangers they pose and ways to prevent them in a Kubernetes cluster deployment. Additionally, gain an understanding of how Kubernetes control plane components use TLS mutual authentication.

Presenter Tabitha Sable is a senior systems security engineer at monitoring platform vendor Datadog. Learn more about the session here.

A full list of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America sessions, with times and hosting platform, is available on the conference website. All sessions offer live speaker Q&A, but will also be recorded so you can view them at a later date.

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