KubeCon EU 2021 Wrap Up: Linkerd momentum continues to skyrocket

What a conference. This year’s Kubecon + CloudNativeCon EU was the most Linkerd-heavy KubeCon yet, with double-digit talks, tons of buzz, and huge amounts of general excitement around the CNCF’s most popular service mesh.

One remarkable thing was the sheer number of talks from Linkerd end users. Other service meshes were certainly present at the conference, but the vast majority of their talks were from vendors, not users. (E.g. of the Istio talks we saw at the zero-day ServiceMeshCon event, 80% of them were from vendors!) This further validates what we’ve already heard: “Istio may be on the slide decks but Linkerd is on the clusters.” (See also this recent blog post from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) detailing their journey from Istio to Linkerd!)

Here are a few of our favorite Linkerd talks from Kubecon and its zero-day events:

Dom DePasquale and Shawn Smith from Penn State scheduled 68k COVID tests with Linkerd. During this awesome talk, Dom and Shawn share how they built a system that allowed students, faculty, and staff to easily schedule COVID tests before coming back to campus in the fall of 2020.

Alex Jones shared how he leveraged Linkerd to introduce rapid experimentation at a multinational financial services firm, enabling them to create more resilient services and easily test changes.

Jossie Bismarck Castrillo Fajardo and Sergio Arnaldo Méndez Aguilar created Chaos in the University with Linkerd and Chaos Mesh. In their session, Jossie and Sergio provided a guide to creating chaos engineering experiments using the technical approach and advantages of service meshes.

Operating in the financial industry with highly regulated requirements has some serious requirements. Christian Hüning and Lutz Behnke share their decision-making process when selecting Linkerd to secure traffic for their application infrastructure with zero-config mTLS.

If you’re considering migrating a traditional cross-cluster app containing sensitive data to a meshed microservices-based application, Max Körbächer’s session is for you. He discussed how his team migrated an app with GDPR protected data to a Kubernetes-based architecture meshed with Linkerd.

Of course, the Linkerd team was also well represented. William Morgan delivered a great keynote on how Linkerd helped multiple organizations address the COVID pandemic, and was a part of “The State of the Service Mesh” panel at ServiceMeshCon as well as presenting the “Overview and State of Linkerd” alongside Matei David. Jason Morgan, a technical evangelist for Linkerd at Buoyant, showcased how easy it is to debug an application with Linkerd, especially if you use the service mesh’s tap functionality.

Linkerd was the first CNCF project to incorporate Rust and a major driver of the early Rust networking ecosystem. And as such, we were a big part of the very first Cloud Native Rust Day. Oliver Gould talked about the future of the cloud which he believes will be built on Rust, and participated in a panel discussion on Rust in the cloud.

Overall, we were thrilled to see so much end-user content, a clear testament to the hard work the community has put into the project. Now that Kubecon EU is over, we’re feeling happy and exhausted, but also excited: with Linkerd up for CNCF graduation, we can’t wait to see what KubeCon NA will bring!

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