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Experiences at KUBECon Europe and Advice for Trade

KUBECon Europe was last month and took place in Spain. That’s obviously a long haul from North Carolina. We were fortunate enough to have a DZone Core member, Xavier Portilla Edo. that lived in town. He went on our behalf and helped us produce a news roundup from the KUBECon Europe show floor.  

KUBECon is run by The Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The CNCF is a vendor-neutral organization working to promote cloud-native computing. They hold annual events the world over to help companies improve their applications and streamline their workflows using the latest cloud computing tech. 

I saw an opportunity here. In-person trade shows have been off-limits for several years because of the state of the world. This is a great opportunity to share Xav’s experience at the show, and also to give some tips on how to navigate your OWN trade shows. 

Xav’s Experience at KUBECon Europe 2022

I took a moment after the show to ask Xav some questions about his time at the show, what he saw, and how he felt about it. Below are his answers:

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How was KUBECon? What was your time at the show like?

The KubeCon was INCREDIBLE! this event was the event that the entire community was looking for a time a while. Now that pandemic at pretty much under control, we can organize and attend these kinds of events again. Of course, at KubeCon, a lot of COVID restrictions were applied: wearing masks was mandatory, and daily temperature controls were done on all the attendees. With that, they create a safe environment for everyone. I just spent one day but WHAT A DAY, I was trying to visit all the booths and attending a bunch of technical talks. I wish I went the whole week, the schedule was very good!

Did the experience live up to your expectations?

Honestly yes, for so many reasons. The conference was very well organized. The venue was awesome, and the city (Valencia) where the KubeCon took place too. After nearly 3 years without big conferences in Europe, this one charged my power so much! All the most important companies related to the cloud were there like AWS, IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft Azure. 

What was the most interesting thing you saw during your time at the show?

There were a lot of things interesting at the show. Firstly, a large number of startups related to the Kubernetes and Cloud ecosystem were there. It is fantastic that the Linux Foundation brings that opportunity to the startup ecosystem like Okteto, Gitpod, Roost, or I think that more than 50% of the booth were startups and that is really cool. Isn’t it?

Second, were the tech talks. The quality of the talks was very impressive. For me at least, was really hard to determine which talk to attend because there were so many interesting talks! Finally, I did my schedule to try to attend the most interesting ones but I will watch the other talks on their online platform because all the talks were recorded.

And also I loved the special section that the Linux Foundation had dedicated to the CNCF project such as Helm, FluxCD, ArgoCD, etc. It was really nice to talk with their project maintainers and ask them questions about their roadmap, releases, etc.

You live in the same city where KUBECon was held. How was the experience of having a multinational trade show right in your neighborhood?

That experience was really nice! The entire city was plenty of international people. They were coming from all over Europe! There were a lot of german people and people from The Netherlands. I hope they like Valencia, the vibes of this city are unique. Valencia is that kind of city that when you visit it, you will want to come again in the future. And also the week of the KubeCon, we enjoyed awesome weather. I heard some people talking about how much they enjoyed walking in the city on those sunny days with fresh air!

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If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently about your day at the show?

This one is easy! Networking! Networking!! and Networking!!! In my case, I only had the chance to attend one day (yes, very sad) so I missed a lot of networking events. The Linux Foundation and also some companies organized a lot of events not only at the venue but also around the city. That is a good opportunity to meet new people, establish new relationships, and grow your network!

Did you get to sit in on any interesting panels or talks? Did you learn anything interesting from them?

Yes, I did! I attend a lot of tech talks. This year my focus was security not only in Kubernetes but also in the cloud. The most interesting one was “Seeing is Believing: Debugging with Ephemeral Containers” by Aaron Alpa. This talk was about debugging a pod within a cluster: Fortunately, a new, cutting-edge approach — ephemeral containers — simplifies debugging running pods and more! With ephemeral containers, you can dynamically deploy a container that shares pod resources. These containers use Linux namespaces to share network and process resources so debugging can occur using a container image of your choosing. During this talk, Aaron covered the what, why, and how of ephemeral containers, and the underlying mechanics that make ephemeral containers useful for debugging and testing.

In addition, I had the chance of having a “Kubernetes Patter” book signed by one of these authors, Roland Hub!

Trade Show Advice From Xav and Stephen

Trade shows can be INTENSE experiences with long hours, crowded show floors, and crammed schedules. It can take time to get used to them. But, now that the dust has settled, Xav is a seasoned pro and I’ve been attending them for years.

First up are Xav’s thoughts:

Do you have any advice for people who might want to go to a show like KUBECon in the future now that you have been to your first show?

Sure thing! My recommendation is to have everything well planned before attending. What does it mean? That means having all the schedules set beforehand. Spending time reading all the talks and what are the talks about is really worth it. Also when you are in place, try to visit all the booths (not only to get merchandising) to understand and discover new solutions. This will help you a lot. Also if you are using some technology and the company behind that technology is at KubeCon, visit them and say hi! It is important to meet the people that you already know only online, but now in person.

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Stephen’s Advice for Attending Trade Shows

Xav’s advice above is spot on. The best thing you can do is plan ahead. Knowing what talks you want to go to and what booths you want to stop at is very helpful. It will help shape your day and hold off that overwhelming feeling when you walk onto a crowded show floor.

However, you also don’t want to overbook yourself. Putting too many back-to-back talks onto your calendar will fill up your calendar and will take away your chance to walk through the show floor. You need to let those moments of serendipity find their way to you. They may be an unexpected booth that provides a solution you hadn’t heard of or a networking opportunity that could land you a new job down the line.

Another very important piece of advice is to make sure you take time to eat. I know. I get it. This isn’t a food blog. But, trade show days are long and you won’t be at your peak and able to take advantage of all they have to offer if you are dehydrated and hangry. You can make important connections at shows, so a bagel or an apple can be the difference between making a good first impression or not. 

Do you have any trade show advice? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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