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Celebrating 10 years of cloud native with 10 things Chainguardians love about Kubernetes

Chainguard Team
June 6, 2024
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Image showing balloons with Chainguard and Kubernetes logos, with confetti, and the message: Happy birthday, Kubernetes!

Today marks 10 years of the Kubernetes project! To celebrate this milestone, we wanted to share what Chainguardians love most about the cloud-native project that has spurred a thriving community and ecosystem of innovation, and pushed digital modernization forward for everyone. 

Chainguard co-founder, Ville Aikas, who is one of the original engineers who worked on Kubernetes at Google, also shared a trip down memory lane about his time growing the project with many other cloud-native pioneers and open source community leaders. 

1: Technically, I keep coming back to the API. Whether it's the declarative nature of the resources, the homogeneity that stems from the API Principles, the client libraries / sdk that folks use to constantly inform / reconcile, the extensibility through CRDs and Webhooks. I could probably list 10 things I love about just the API.

I think any list of things that are great about Kubernetes would be lacking if it didn't call out the vibrant community and ecosystem around the project. "Different company, same team." It's hard to even imagine the number of folks I'd never have met if it weren't for Kubernetes and the surrounding ecosystem. This is evident in the magnetism of events like KubeCon, which often feels like a reunion of friends, and any friends not in attendance suffer incredible FOMO. 

Matt Moore, CTO and Co-founder 

2. Kubernetes is a unique project because of the robust and generous community around it. Many folks are willing to mentor new contributors, create learning groups, and offer a hand with pair programming or reviews. Teams like SIG Release and SIG Docs are among the groups of smaller working communities that do so much for the larger project:  from ensuring seamless release cycles, to localizing documentation so that more users and contributors can join in on the project. Local meetups like KCDs also support a healthy spread of ideas so that more people can learn and build together. 

Lisa Tagliaferri, Senior Director of Developer Enablement 

3. I love KubeCons! I've attended KubeCon as a Chainguardian, a Googler, and a Canonicaler, and I've covered KubeCon as a host for theCUBE. It's such a fun, dynamic event, drawing the best of the cloud native computing landscape, including startups, enterprises, and lots of customers and end users. It's like a family reunion every six months somewhere interesting in the world. 

Dustin Kirkland, VP of Engineering 

4. One thing I learned recently about Kubernetes is why it’s called Kubernetes (although you should ask someone Greek how to say it properly). A lot of people are aware it’s Greek for “Helmsman” or “Pilot,” but it goes a bit deeper than that. When steering a ship, the helmsman is constantly making small adjustments in response to observations of the environment, which in turn affects the environment and requires new adjustments — exactly what control loops in Kubernetes do. In fact Kubernetes is also the root of the word “cybernetics,” which is the study of such feedback loops. I love that I learned this only a few weeks ago, after working with Kubernetes for almost 10 years! 

Adrian Mouat, Staff DevRel Engineer 

5. One of the things I love most about Kubernetes is the community and the sense of belonging to something important. I’ve made several friendships and met people from around the world, some of whom I now consider close friends. The Kubernetes community is a diverse and passionate group of contributors and users, all dedicated to advancing the platform. This collaborative spirit drives continuous innovation and improvement, ensuring Kubernetes remains at the cutting edge of technology. The community is known for its inclusivity and support, welcoming newcomers and seasoned professionals alike. 

Carlos Panato, Staff Software Engineer and member of Kubernetes SIG Release Team 

6. Kubernetes brought teams closer together. One of the core benefits of Kubernetes is that applications can run in a standardized way across environments. Primarily this standardization is achieved by leveraging the Kubernetes API as a common language for teams to define how applications should be managed. This has helped even the most bureaucratic organizations move away from siloed communications to collaboratively defining their requirements in a declarative (defining the end state) way. This has led to more resilient systems for which we are all thankful. 

John Osborne, Principal Enterprise Sales Engineer 

7. Last year, I attended my first KubeCon and I was so impressed by how diverse and vibrant the K8s community is! The way everyone comes together to improve the ecosystem, to support each other, and to drive the project to the future. The community is my favorite part of Kubernetes, and I truly believe it's what made the project so successful in the first place. 

Erika Heidi, Staff Developer Experience Engineer 

8. Kubernetes, for me, was where I first learned how important open source is and the value of community. Kubernetes technically requires lots of moving parts from various parts. For me, these were siloed. You either knew a few things about Application Development, Infrastructure Engineering, DevOps, Networking, Databases, and many others, but I was never able to understand all of it. Kubernetes brought the best effort of all these silos and showed how we could stand on each other's shoulders to build best in-class platforms, as well as a way to educate ourselves as to how to use and contribute to these. But community isn't just about technology, I was surprised at how many people are involved, from Marketing to Sales, Legal to HR. And similar to how I learned more about the technology, I have learned more about community. But this would only have happened by people being open and contributing towards this. There have been many jokes about the problems that Kubernetes can cause people, but we should celebrate the people who want to leave things better than they find it and build a better future. 

– Lewis Denham-Parry, Staff Solutions Architect 

9. The best thing about Kubernetes is the welcoming community. Never mind that Kubernetes is an amazing piece of engineering that democratized reliable computing at scale. What made it ultimately successful is its inclusive nature. This openness is visible throughout every SIG and subproject, but most keenly in its focus on the contributor experience. Kubernetes proves that even the most complex software project can be wildly successful in open-source — if you focus on the people first. 

– Thomas Stromberg, Director of Security 

10. The Kubernetes project has had a huge impact and usage, which makes their commitment to security even more important. The project’s adoption of Sigstore allows Kubernetes developers to be confident that what they're using is what it claims to be. The cohesion between these two open source projects has made each of them stronger, which is great to see. 

– Priya Wadhwa, Senior Manager, Engineering 

Here’s to 10 more years and beyond of secure, containerized applications underpinned by Kubernetes!

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