KubeCon 2020 in 5 Charts — Evidence Based Conference Summary

Here is an alternative look at Kubecon. This is based on the summaries of the 336 KubeCon sessions, on all 8,490 Tweets from 497 Twitter accounts, receiving a total of 11,116 retweets reaching altogether 131,081,141 Twitter users, and finally of an analysis of the event’s public slack channels.

Chart #1: Top 10 Topics — Operations, Developers, and Security

“Operations” of cloud native environments was the #1 topic at KubeCon 2020, and rightfully so. Enterprises large and small are increasingly struggling with operating distributed apps and traditional enterprise apps side-by-side. This is one of the key facts of 2020 and will be no less important in 2021. Therefore, software vendors need to place their focus on simplifying day 2 operations within dynamic distributed environments.

“Developers, developers, developers,” says Ashesh Badani when talking about Red Hat’s priorities regarding cloud native platforms. The large software vendors all have experienced that without getting developers on board, the GTM (go-to-market) of any, even the very best, operations platform for cloud native solutions will fail.

“Security is everywhere”, at KubeCon, says one of the (virtual) attendees, and she could not be more right. Not only is security by itself the #3 topic on the official show agenda, it also penetrates into most other topics, making it really the overall key theme of KubeCon 2020.

Chart #2: Topic Map

The topic map, made up from all 8,490 Tweets during KubeCon 2020 underlines the crucial character of security for today’s cloud native world. Security is located in the middle of the map and bleeds into all other core topics, such as GitOps, DevOps, opensource, and of course Kubernetes management. Specifically GitOps is closely related to security, as a clean GitOps approach enables the transition from “shift left” to “start left.”

Chart #3: Most Involved Software Vendors

Red Hat/IBM/Ansible, VMware/Dell, and Google Cloud, Cisco, and Stackrox were the most involved vendors on Twitter. The timing of IBM’s acquisition of the Instana Observability platform showed Big Blue’s (and Red Hat’s) commitment to “start left” and treating continuous compliance as the #1 success factor for digital transformation.

Chart #4: What Vendors Talked about

The chart reflects the number of tweets coming from a Red Hat (purple), VMware (blue), or Cisco (green) account talking about specific KubeCon related topics during the show. Unsurprisingly the biggest topic for both, VMware and Red Hat is Kubernetes. Then Red Hat is branching out into Hybrid Cloud management and a number of cloud native topics, while VMware sticks with data and service mesh as its key themes for the show. Cisco focuses on #rethinkappfirst to show the tremendous impact of an application aware network on cloud native operations and DevOps.

Chart #5: Top 5 Concepts in Observability

On the KubeCon Slack channel for observability, we find data, metrics, Jaeger (distributed tracing), traces, and Prometheus (time series monitoring) as the 5 most important concepts, calculated through a simple TF-IDF analysis. Considering certain monitoring vendors working against the Jaeger project, it is nice to see Jaeger being at the center of the observability discussion at KubeCon 2020.

Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Computing, Automatic Machine Learning in DevOps, IT, and Business are at the center of my industry analyst practice at EMA.