KubeCon + Linkerd Day Amsterdam Wrap-up

KubeCon + Linkerd Day Amsterdam Wrap-up


May 5, 2023

KubeCon and Linkerd Day Europe in Amsterdam wrapped a few weeks ago, and we’ve been pretty much full steam ahead since then with everything we took away from it! This KubeCon was very special. We hosted the first-ever Linkerd Day, with 100% end user talks. We heard from engineers at Adidas, DB Schenker, StickerMule and much more. If you missed the conference or weren’t able to see all these Linkerd talks, we have everything you need to get caught up below.

The Linkerd team at the Buoyant booth

Hot topics at the conference

KubeCon is always a great opportunity to talk not just with Linkerd users, but also with our colleagues across the industry, and to get a better sense of what folks have on their minds. Some common threads were:

  • The eBPF hype is still strong – and still really confusing for people! We had a lot of conversations trying to shed some light on the realities of where eBPF shines (including with Linkerd!) and where the hype is getting a little ahead of itself.
  • It feels like multicluster has arrived. In Valencia we heard people thinking about this, but in Amsterdam those people were working on rolling it out in production.
  • We heard a lot of great questions about the Gateway API and its GAMMA extension for service mesh. This is still very much an area in flux, but it seems that people are starting to really want things to settle down.
  • Amsterdam seemed to have an awful lot of vendors focusing on operating a cluster, rather than on using the cluster to get something (beyond Kubernetes) done. This seems like something we’ll be writing more about in the future.

Linky in Amsterdam 

Since Detroit, CNCF Graduated projects are invited to produce a short video and tell the audience directly about what's new with their projects. Of course, Linkerd's mascot Linky couldn't resist and provided the Linkerd update (with assistance from Buoyant CEO William Morgan). If you missed it, be sure to check out the video here.

And at the Linkerd booth, we gave away our second limited edition KubeCon Linky stickers. Attendees loved them, and they were gone in a heartbeat.

KubeCon EU 2023 limited edition sticker

Didn't get the chance to get yours? While it's too late for the EU 2023 edition, be sure to get the Chicago one in November. Ask a friend if you can't make it, and come early. They were gone pretty fast. 

Linkerd Talks

Zero-Cost Linkerd at Adidas: Impossible Is Nothing. Daniel Baeyens, Miguel Allende, Adidas AG. 

Adopting any open-source project comes with a cost – but that doesn’t mean that a vendor offering is the best way to reduce that cost! It’s definitely possible to run pure open-source projects while keeping a small operational footprint, even when you also contribute upstream to help the community. In this talk, Adidas engineers Daniel Baeyens and Miguel Allende, will share how their team of just five people integrated Linkerd into their stack within a timeframe. 

Cost-Efficient Multi-Cluster Monitoring with Prometheus, Grafana & Linkerd. Carolin Dohmen, BWI. 

Finding the right observability solution can be tough, especially in the context of diverse multi-cluster or even multi-cloud ecosystems. Cloud native monitoring tools like Prometheus provide a good foundation for a unified observability stack across clusters. But how do you stay on top of cluster and application metrics from a variety of source clusters? And what about secure data transfer, high egress costs, and expensive data redundancy?  

Securing 1/3 of Norway's Annual State Budget. Hans Kristian Flaatten, Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV). 

The Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) manages one third of Norway's annual state budget through its various welfare schemes. When NAV moved out of their on-premises data centers and onto public cloud in 2020 it was clear that we needed a new approach to security - an approach where we did not assume trust just because you had network access. This was not an easy task. Today, NAV has 150 cross-functional product teams and over 1600 individual applications running in production on our Kubernetes. 

From Zero to Prod in 2 Months with a Team of One. María Teresa Rojas Illanes, Pento. 

In this talk, Maria Rojas, platform engineer at Pento, will share why this automated payroll company needed a service mesh that gets the job done without adding complexity (their small team just couldn't afford to throw a lot of resources at the problem). When the engineering team was tasked with breaking up a monolith, they got one specific request: provide platform-related features (e.g., security, observability, and reliability) at the infrastructure level and avoid implementation at the application layer. 

The Negatives to a Per-Host Service Mesh, the Sidecar Model Being a More Ideal Solution for Providing a More Robust Security Boundary. Chad Crowell, Raft. 

In our quest to improve the security of our service mesh, eBPF seems like a logical solution. In particular, a per-host proxy which would eliminate the need for a sidecar as a part of our service mesh implementation. But, there are security implications that we need to consider which would leave us more vulnerable if this decision was carelessly made. The sidecar proxy is actually an integral part of providing a reliable and scalable service, whilst providing necessary security constraints. 

How a Global Logistics Company Migrated Clouds with Zero Downtime. Björn Wenzel, Schenker AG. 

During this session, Björn Wenzel, Head of DevOps Platform at a Germany-based global logistics company, will share how they migrated multiple microservices from one cloud to another. Switching clouds never comes without challenges, especially considering their workloads communicate via synchronous and asynchronous HTTP(S) and Kafka requests across clusters and clouds. Björn will cover how the platform team implemented a migration factory for migrating workloads from one AWS Account and network to another AWS Account and network while ensuring there was no service disruption or compromised workloads. 

Increasing Platform Reliability and Performance in One Week with a Service Mesh. Eli Goldberg, Salt Security. 

Platform engineer Eli will share how they used Linkerd to load balance gRPC connections while realizing instant security, efficiency, and performance gains in just one week. When the company's customer base started to grow quickly, the platform needed to scale fast. That led to a few challenges, including backward compatibility issues. To address that, the team moved to gRPC, but load balancing of gRPC requests isn't supported by Kubernetes. After some research, they decided to adopt a service mesh and gave Linkerd a try.  

Lack of Features Is a Feature for This German Automaker. Dominik Táskai, LeanNet Ltd. 

During his session, Dominik Táskai, Junior DevOps Engineer at LeanNet, will make a case for how sometimes a lack of features is itself a feature: a technology focused on doing just a few things really, really well can often help us reach our goals faster than something that tries to do too much. That's the lesson he took away from implementing Linkerd at a major German automaker within just five weeks. A journey from no mesh to trying and failing with more complex ones and then finally successfully installing Linkerd in production. 

Life Without Sidecars - Is eBPF's Promise Too Good to Be True?. Zahari Dichev, Buoyant. 

The recent popularity of eBPF has triggered a number of discussions of whether this technology will revolutionize the service mesh space. The promise of all the benefits that a service mesh can bring to your cloud-native infrastructure at a fraction of the performance and operational cost seems tantalizing. eBPF is said to be the tool that can help us build a native and highly efficient service mesh implementation and free us from the sidecar model. Could this all be true? 

Overview and state of Linkerd. Matei David, Buoyant. 

In this talk, maintainers from the Linkerd project will present an overview of the project and an update on upcoming releases. They’ll cover what Linkerd is and how it compares to other service meshes; what the latest features and functionality are; what to expect in upcoming releases; and how you can get involved in one of the CNCF’s most talked-about projects. This talk will cover Linkerd's recent 2.13 release, which introduced circuit breaking and header-based routing, as well as the upcoming 2.14 release which adds ingress support. 

That's a lot of great Linkerd content! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For more Linkerd, sign up for Buoyant's Service Mesh Academy