Kubernetes Grows Up – The View from KubeCon EU 2019

Our little Kubernetes is growing up.

By “growing up” I mean it is almost in a state that a mainstream company can consider it fit for production. While there are several factors that act as a drag against mainstream reception, a lack of completeness has been a major force against Kubernetes broader acceptance. Completeness, in this context, means that all the parts of an enterprise platform are available off the shelf and won’t require a major engineering effort on the part of conventional IT departments.

The good news from KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU 2019 in Barcelona, Spain (May 20 – 23 2019) is that the Kubernetes and related communities are zeroing in on that ever so important target. There are a number of markers pointing toward mainstream acceptance. Projects are filling out the infrastructure – gaining completeness – and the community is growing.

Project Updates

While Kubernetes may be at the core, there are many supporting projects that are striving to add capabilities to the ecosystem that will result in a more complete platform for microservices. Some of the projects featured in the project updates show the drive for completeness. For example, OpenEBS and Rook are two projects striving to make container storage more enterprise friendly. Updates to both projects were announced at the conference. Storage, like networking, is an area that must be tackled before mainstream IT can seriously consider container microservices platforms based on Kubernetes.

Managing microservices performance and failure is a big part of the ability to deploy containers at scale. For this reason, the announcement that two projects that provide application tracing capabilities, OpenTracing and OpenCensus, were merging into OpenTelemetry is especially important. Ultimately, developers need a unified approach to gathering data for managing container-based applications at scale. Removing duplication of effort and competing agendas will speed up the realization of that vision.

Also announced at KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU 2019 were updates to Helm and Harbor, two projects that tackle thorny issues of packaging and distributing containers to Kubernetes. These are necessary parts of the process of deploying Kubernetes applications. Securely managing container lifecycles through packaging and repositories is a key component of DevOps support for new container architectures. Forward momentum in these projects is forward movement toward the mainstream.

There were other project updates, including updates to Kubernetes itself and Crio-io. Clearly, the community is filling in the blank spots in container architectures, making Kubernetes a more viable application platform for everyone.

The Community is Growing

Another gauge pointing toward mainstream acceptance is the growth in the community. The bigger the community, the more hands to do the work and the better the chances of achieving feature critical mass. This year in Barcelona, KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU saw 7700 attendees, nearly twice last year in Copenhagen. In the core Kubernetes project, there are 164K commits and 1.2M comments in Github. This speaks to broad involvement in making Kubernetes better. Completeness requires lots of work and that is more achievable when there are more people involved.

Unfortunately, as Cheryl Hung, Director of Ecosystems at CNCF says, only 3% of contributors are women. The alarming lack of diversity in the IT industry shows up even in Kubernetes despite the high-profile women involved in the conference such as Janet Kuo of Google. Diversity brings more and different ideas to a project and it would be great to see the participation of women grow.

Service Mesh Was the Talk of the Town

The number of conversations I had about service mesh was astounding. It’s true that I had released a pair of papers on it, one just before KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU 2019. That may have explained why people want to talk to me about it but not the general buzz. There was service mesh talk in the halls, at lunch, in sessions, and from the mainstage. It’s pretty much what everyone wanted to know about. That’s not surprising since a service mesh is going to be a vital part of large scale-out microservices applications. What was surprising was that even attendees who were new to Kubernetes were keen to know more. This was a very good omen.

It certainly helped that there was a big service mesh related announcement from the mainstage on Tuesday. Microsoft, in conjunction with a host of companies, announced the Service Mesh Interface. It’s a common API for different vendor and project service mesh components. Think of it as a lingua franca of service mesh. There were shout-outs to Linkerd and Solo.io. The latter especially had much to do with creating SMI. The fast maturation of the service mesh segment of the Kubernetes market is another stepping stone toward the completeness necessary for mainstream adoption.

Already Way Too Many Distros

There were a lot of Kubernetes distributions a KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU 2019. A lot. Really.  A lot. While this is a testimony the growth in Kubernetes as a platform, it’s confusing to IT professionals making choices. Some are managed cloud services; others are distributions for on-premises or when you want to install your own on a cloud instance. Here’s some of the Kubernetes distros I saw on the expo floor.  I’m sure I missed a few:

Microsoft Azure Google Digital Ocean Alibaba
Canonical (Ubuntu) Oracle IBM Red Hat
VMWare SUSE Rancher Pivotal
Mirantis Platform9

 

From what I hear this is a sample, not a comprehensive, list. The dark side of this enormous choice is confusion. Choosing is hard when you get beyond a handful of options. Still, only five years into the evolution of Kubernetes, it’s a good sign to see this much commercial support for it.

The Kubernetes and Cloud Native architecture is like a teenager. It’s growing rapidly but not quite done. As the industry fills in the blanks and as communities better networking, storage, and deployment capabilities, it will go mainstream and become applicable to companies of all sizes and types. Soon. Not yet but very soon.

Scenario-Based Learning and Behavior Change: A Brain Science Analysis

Key Stakeholders: Chief Learning Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, Learning and Development Directors and Managers, Corporate Trainers, Content and Learning Product Managers, Leadership Trainers, Cybersecurity Trainers, Compliance Officers, Environmental Health and Safety Trainers, Sales Managers.

Why It Matters: People skills, compliance skills, safety skills and other skills involve choosing the right behavior in real-time or near real-time. It is behavior change that is the gold standard for Learning and Development, and many L&D vendors utilize scenario-based approaches to elicit behavior change. In this report, we use brain science to evaluate the effectiveness of scenario-based learning approaches in eliciting behavior change, and determine whether this approach helps employees to choose appropriate behaviors and to be more effective managers and employees.

Top Takeaway: Real-time interactive scenario-based learning approaches optimally elicit behavior change by directly engaging the behavioral skills learning system in the brain. Non-interactive scenario-based approaches are effective for behavior change (although to a lesser degree) because they engage emotional learning centers in the brain that draw learners in, and make them feel like they are part of the training. Non-interactive scenario-based approaches are practical and cost-effective alternatives to real-time interactive scenario-based approaches.

Overview

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Knowledge 2019 and ServiceNow’s Vision for Transforming the World of Work

In May 2019, Amalgam Insights attended Knowledge 2019, ServiceNow’s annual end-user conference. Since ServiceNow’s founding in 2004, the company has evolved from its roots as an IT asset and service management company to a company that supports digital workflow across IT, HR, service, and finance with the goal of making work better for every employee. In attending this show, Amalgam Insights was especially interested in seeing how ServiceNow was evolving its message to reflect what Amalgam Insights refers to as “Market Evolvers,” companies that have gained market dominance in their original market and taken advantage of modern mobile, cloud, and AI technology to expand into other markets. (Examples of Market Evolvers include, but are not excluded to, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday, Informatica, and Tangoe.) Continue reading “Knowledge 2019 and ServiceNow’s Vision for Transforming the World of Work”

Analyst Insight – Assessment in Talent and Human Capital Management: A Psychological Science Evaluation

Key Stakeholders:

Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief People Officers, Chief Talent Officer, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Digital Officers, Human Capital Directors and Managers, Human Resource Directors and Managers, Learning and Education Managers, Learning Project Directors and Managers, Organizational Change Directors and Managers, Talent Directors and Managers, Training and Development Directors and Managers, Training Officers.

Why It Matters:

Generational differences and continuous, rapid changes in the workplace, place a heavy burden on talent and human capital management platforms to effectively guide individuals through the full employee lifecycle from hire to retire. One-size-fits-all approaches to recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, succession planning and incentive compensation lead to weak employee engagement, poor job satisfaction and high turnover rates.

Top Takeaway:

Talent assessment blends psychology and data science, and when incorporated into talent and human capital management platforms, offers insights that are actionable and can increase engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Talent assessment is most commonly applied to recruitment and onboarding, and many vendors have developed impressive and effective offerings. However, talent assessment is less commonly applied in learning and development, succession planning and incentive compensation, which represents a missed opportunity.

Relevant Assessment Vendors: AllyO, Hirevue, IBM, Infor, Phenom People, PSI Services, TalentQuest

Relevant Talent and Human Capital Management Vendors: Bamboo HR, Cegid, Ceridian, Cornerstone on Demand, Kronos, Oracle NetSuite, PageUp People, PeopleFluent, Reflektive, Saba, SAP Successfactors, SumTotal, Talentsoft, Ultimate Software, Workday. Continue reading “Analyst Insight – Assessment in Talent and Human Capital Management: A Psychological Science Evaluation”

Blackberry Successfully Transitions into a Software Company: Mission Accomplished

In April 2019, Amalgam Insights attended BlackBerry’s Analyst Summit, a collection of high-profile industry analysts and financial analysts who were provided with the key highlights of BlackBerry’s accomplishments over the past year. This day included BlackBerry’s top executives including CEO John Chen, President and Chief Operating Officer Bryan Palma, Chief Financial Officer Steve Cappelli, Chief Marketing Officer Mark Wilson, Chief Technology Officer Charles Eagan, and a collection of subject matter experts across security, the Enterprise of Things, mass communications, and Blackberry’s key verticals including automotive, government, and healthcare.

Above all, the key takeaway from BlackBerry’s Analyst Summit is that BlackBerry’s transformation  into a software and services company is complete.

A Successful Transformation

When John Chen first joined Blackberry roughly 2000 days ago, BlackBerry was a 7 billion dollar mobility company focused on its once-iconic handsets, but losing money hand-over-fist in the era of the iPhone and Android. Although Apple and Google had taken over the handset market, BlackBerry’s leadership at the time was reluctant to take the hard steps necessary to transform into a digital company and to take full advantage of its intellectual property. In this 2011-2012 time period, I was among the analysts who were criticizing BlackBerry for its inability to separate devices, software, and services and hoped that BlackBerry would move to Android, QNX (a 2010 acquisition) or another operating system that would be more flexible and app-friendly than BlackBerry.
Continue reading “Blackberry Successfully Transitions into a Software Company: Mission Accomplished”

Todd Maddox Reveals How PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture Speeds Time to Productivity While Reducing Training Costs

The brain science of learning suggests that the most effective workforce training tools engage the worker in a way that directly and naturally maps onto the relevant learning and memory systems in the brain.

PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture uses augmented reality technology to meet these needs by curating subject matter experts’ knowledge and presenting that information to workers in a way that minimizes cognitive load while simultaneously engaging experiential and behavioral skills learning systems in the brain.

This speeds time to productivity, trains subject matter and behavioral skills expertise, all while reducing training costs. To describe how this works, I’ve recently written a Market Milestone describing the brain science and use cases that Expert Capture is best suited for. To access this report, which has been licensed by PTC, at no cost, please visit https://www.ptc.com/en/resources/ar/report/brain-science-behind-augmented-reality

Press Release: Amalgam Insights’ Tom Petrocelli: Service Mesh Market Continues to Grow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

For more information:

​Steve Friedberg

​MMI Communications for Amalgam Insights

​484.550.2900

steve@amalgaminsights.com

AMALGAM INSIGHTS: Service mesh market continues to grow, even as “the market is not as mature as the technology”

New research report finds while service mesh is “a required part of a system based on microservices,” platform battle causes “conflict and confusion”

BOSTON, May 15, 2019 — A new SmartListMarketGuide™ from industry analysts Amalgam Insights finds that the market for service mesh technologies and products is still evolving, saying service mesh increasingly represents a required part of a system based on microservices and is likely to be as standard as a web server in an Internet application.

Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli reports, “As is often the case with a developing market, there is an abundance of vendors, open source projects, and other resources available to system architects looking to implement a service mesh in a microservices architecture.” His new SmartList Market Guide complements Amalgam Insights’ “Service Mesh Primer,” which was issued last month.

Service mesh has become more important to companies seeking to modernize their IT infrastructure. Petrocelli notes that service mesh is highly scalable, resilient, and easier to update minimizing the amount of processing affected by a system failure and allowing for systems to scale up without losing resiliency. It also costs less to scale since microservices make better use of unused system capacity.

But the report cites an ongoing “unfortunate rivalry” between the Istio and Linkerd platforms. Companies like IBM, Red Hat, Google and Lyft are supporting Istio, with the Linux Foundation’s CNCF leading open source development efforts for Linkerd, which is championed by Buoyant and Envoy. Petrocelli says while neither side is currently winning the fight, Istio’s alignment with major organizations “is causing supporting vendors to pour resources into Istio/Envoy which practically ensures that Istio/Envoy will succeed. The concern that Amalgam Insights has with this arrangement is that the control plane (Istio) is not open governance. This calls into question its future independence.”

Petrocelli concludes that “the ongoing Istio versus Linkerd debate will act as a drag on the market. It introduces unnecessary conflict, confusion, and distraction. Not only is this unfortunate but unnecessary. There is plenty of headroom for many vendors and approaches.” Nevertheless, he says emerging innovations like a service mesh orchestrator “will be especially important for multi-cloud and hybrid environments that may be running service meshes with different technology.”

Companies prominently mentioned in the report include NGINX and Aspen Mesh, which are now part of Vamp, F5, Solo IO, Buoyant, A10, Red Hat, HashiCorp and IBM.

Petrocelli’s report is available for download at no charge for one week at www.amalgaminsights.com; after that, it will be available for individual license for $500 after that, with vendor licensing available.

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About Amalgam Insights

Amalgam Insights (www.amalgaminsights.com) is a community of visionaries focused on maximizing the business outcomes of technology. We focus on the trends, findings, and strategies that translate leading data, cognitive, and coding technologies into professional value.

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How Red Hat Runs

This past week at Red Hat Summit 2019 (May 7 – 9 2019) has been exhausting. It’s not an overstatement to say that they run analysts ragged at their events, but that’s not why the conference made me tired. It was the sheer energy of the show, the kind of energy that keeps you running…

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Perspectives 2019: The 20th Anniversary of Skillsoft and Todd’s Top Takeaways!

On April 15 – 17, 2019, I attended Skillsoft’s Perspectives 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Last year was spectacular, and I was not sure if Skillsoft could outdo last year, but they did! The conference opened with a keynote from the Executive Chairman, Ron Hovsepian, who reminded the audience that this was Skillsoft’s 20th Anniversary as…

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