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PDQ Living It Up At KubeCon

Alyssa WinslowAlyssa Winslow
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Recently, we sent a crew of PDQ party people to KubeCon 2019 based out of San Diego, California. We thought it would be fun to ask other co-workers (who didn’t attend the conference) what they thought this was and we got all kinds of responses. Some ranging from thinking it was a Rubik's Cube competition, to a Lego fanatics dream come true. Obviously, we don’t send our employees to a week-long conference just to play with Rubik's cubes and Legos, so, what is KubeCon? 

Well, simply put, it’s the biggest Kubernetes conference in the world. If you’re not sure what Kubernetes is, check out this video. For everyone else,  this post is jam-packed with all kinds of awesome insight to KubeCon, Kubernetes, and what our employees liked most. Now, hang on tight, this ride is about to get wild and crazy...well maybe...we are a bunch of nerdy sysadmins over here, so you be the judge.

Let’s Get The Party Started

Jason - “One of the presentations that I attended at KubeCon was a deep dive on gRPC (gRPC stands for gRPC Remote Procedure Call. Yay, recursive abbreviations!) It is an RPC framework that provides client/server communication across the HTTP/2 protocol, with data transmitted as serialized binary, as opposed to serialized JSON. 

They covered the concept of Flow Control, which (at least for dotnet projects), gRPC implements by default in any of its streaming channel scenarios.  Flow Control gives receivers the ability to notify a chatty sender receiving the data too rapidly, which prompts the sender to slow down. This can prevent services from drowning in notifications or running into “Out of Memory problems,” due to constantly expanding queues.”

Paul- “KubeCon was great. We learned a lot about the tools we are already using and also learned about other tools we might want to use in the future. There were also several sessions where we learned about security vulnerabilities. In another presentation learned about different application architectures in Kubernetes. 

The biggest win for me personally was learning about all the big players in the Kubernetes world. Knowing which companies offer good continuous integration and delivery products were helpful so we can have a better pipeline for the next-gen platform at PDQ.”

Michael - “Despite a raging migraine on the second day, not related to the conference mind you, overall I would say it was a blast. Some of the sessions were hit or miss but that is generally to be expected. My main intent was actually to talk to attendees, mainly to see if I could find some talent (we are hiring), and to talk to vendors. I was surprised at how productive talking with so many vendors could be, once you got past the salesman and found the technical representative.”

KubeCon - More Than Just Tech

Steven - “By far my favorite session at KubeCon wasn't even about the technology but about social issues in tech that I think are extremely important. It was the session titled "Panel: Beyond Codes of Conduct: Igniting Diversity in Your Community."

Some of my favorite points from the panel interview:

  1. We should be creating communities that don’t put the onus of inclusion on the marginalized. Create environments where the default is being a citizen.

  2. Meritocracy does not exist. Meritocracy assumes a level playing field, which does not exist. Meritocracy is really a "mirror-ocracy" in that it reflects the privilege of those who set up the barriers.

  3. Stop gate keeping. Appreciate and value the skills and perspectives of "non-technical" people. The same goes for people who are technical but in a different way. Don't say things like, "You're not doing things the way we're doing them, so you're not one of us." Work to foster community across your entire organization. You need everyone - Sysadmins, developers, accountants, marketers, salespeople, and everything in between to run a successful organization.

  4. When trying to increase inclusion and diversity, don't focus on only one area. If you overemphasize one area without staying aware of the whole, you are likely to create exclusion.”

Selin - “I'd like to thank PDQ for allowing me to attend KubeCon. I can honestly say that I've felt a drive for learning at an accelerated pace. The experience was invaluable to me and my professional growth. Attending this conference changed how I think about IT problems.”

Jarem - “Kubecon was my first convention, I didn’t really know what to expect to get from it. The thing that surprised me the most was just how passionate everyone there was about Kubernetes. It was quite inspiring seeing all the ways different organizations were using the technology. I gained a lot of contexts around what the platform is capable of and got some inspiration for how we can increase our utilization of it here at PDQ.”

Mark - “My main goal for the conference was to go to as many breakout sessions as possible to be exposed to new ideas and learn how this technology is used by other companies. I was also looking forward to attending the hands-on tutorials and get experience trying out some of these new tools.

All the other sessions I went to were very informative, and I had a hard time deciding what to go to... there were so many options! We coordinated in Slack to say where we were going, and I met up with my coworkers in quite a few sessions. There was a presentation for the disaster recovery software I had some experience with, and that demonstrated how it should work.

Overall this was a great experience, and I had a great week at this conference. Kubecon pushed me to tackle some concepts I might not have approached otherwise, and spend some time with my coworkers outside of the office. I am so glad PDQ.com gave me the chance to go!”

Survey Says...KubeCon Was a Success

Most of our attendees said they had fun and learned something useful while at this convention. Their expectations were generally exceeded and many of them said they would go again if the opportunity came along again. So, even if you didn’t have the chance to experience the conference this year, hopefully, this post gave you a good idea of what you can expect if you ever do get the chance to party it up at KubeCon. Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch ya next time. Cheers!

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