KubeCon Europe 2024: Watch these 8+ Crossplane-y talks

What’s the latest with Crossplane, the cloud native control plane framework? Check out the latest talks from the community from the 2024 KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe held in Paris last month.

KubeCon Paris and Crossplane

1-Project Lightning Talk: How Crossplane is Accelerating Your Cloud Native Control Plane Journey

Crossplane experts Ezgi Demirel, senior distributed systems engineer at Upbound, and Lovro Sviben, senior distributed systems engineer at Upbound, share a five-minute update on Crossplane.

Abstract: In this talk, we will take a lightning tour through the brand new experience in Crossplane that focuses on helping platform engineers build their own cloud native control plane from start to finish. We've listened to all the feedback from the community about how it can be challenging to get started with Crossplane, so in recent releases we've invested heavily into improving the developer experience and making it quicker and easier to successfully create a cloud native control plane and have it running reliably in production.

We will start the tour by showing off the new init command, through which you can rapidly initialise a new Crossplane Function, Provider, or Configuration project based on common templates. Using post-init hooks to continue the journey, we will customise our Function to start capturing the unique requirements of our control plane. We'll then start the local development cycle using the render command to execute our Function and get early development feedback and rapidly arrive at our desired functionality. We'll further verify the correctness of our control plane's behavior with the new validate command, which will point out any ways that our generated resources may differ from their expected specification.

With our cloud native control plane verified in the local development loop, we deploy to a live production environment. But what if an elusive issue appears there that we can't quite pinpoint? This is where the new trace command shines to give you a tree-like graph of related resources in which you can easily identify and resolve the culprit! Finally, we will quickly show how you can observe the Crossplane health and resource usage using the new top command, further ensuring your production environment remains healthy and reliable.

2-Crossplane Intro and Deep Dive - The Cloud Native Control Plane Framework

Crossplane maintainers Jared Watts, founding engineer at Upbound, and Philippe Scorsolini, senior software engineer at Upbound, give a comprehensive overview of the Crossplane project, fit for all levels, from beginner to intermediate to advanced.  

Abstract: The maintainers of Crossplane, a CNCF Incubating project, will lead this session that will introduce the project to new attendees, as well as dive into the finer details of Crossplane’s functionality and roadmap. We will explain how Crossplane enables you to compose cloud infrastructure and services into your custom platform APIs, and how best to get started building a platform of your own. We will take a tour through the key features included in the latest releases, what problems and use cases they are solving, and how you can adopt them into your control planes. Finally, there will be an interactive opportunity to engage with the maintainers, ask questions, and influence the future of the project direction.

3-Crossplane Observability and Traceability for Effective Multi-Cloud Management

Katharina Sick, senior software engineer at Dynatrace and Viktor Farcic, developer advocate at Upbound, talk about building platforms, managing resources, and what happens after the first day. Think about cooking–gathering ingredients and assembling them to make something meaningful, and how the experience changes at a restaurant–just like we do in our industry as platform engineers. Crossplane is the way you create the menu, which you assemble in a recipe (composition), and provide to your developers to consume. Dive deeper to see an example cluster, taking it to day two operations, integrating observability into the platform, and more through the talk.

Abstract: Companies adopting cloud-native technologies increasingly use declarative definitions of cloud infrastructure. This shift offers excellent scalability, flexibility and agility opportunities, but also comes with challenges: What if resource creation takes longer than expected? What if resources fail to materialize at all? How to identify problems and potential performance optimizations? The answer lies in a familiar strategy: as in software development, we can address these challenges through instrumentation and leveraging observability data to uncover patterns, pinpoint root causes, and drive informed optimizations. Join to learn how to answer those questions using existing metrics, logs and distributed traces emitted by tools like Crossplane, a popular open source CNCF project. The presenters will walk you through their best practices for making declarative cloud infrastructure traceable and leverage this data to improve issue resolution and your cloud infrastructure's reliability.

4-Building a Large Scale Multi-Cloud Multi-Region SaaS Platform with Kubernetes Controllers

Sébastian Guillox, software engineer with Elastic, shares the redesign of the Elastic platform. He uses Crossplane, among other CNCF projects like ArgoCD, Helm, Backstage, cert-manager, and more, to achieve scale in a large-scale, multi-region, multi-platform on top of Kubernetes.

Abstract: Controllers in Kubernetes are implemented through a pattern that reconciles entities towards their desired state. This pattern can actually be extended to cover a large set of use cases, beyond the scope of Kubernetes, while still relying on Kubernetes libraries such as controller-runtime. Come learn how Elastic is building a large-scale multi-cloud multi-region platform on top of Kubernetes, and what design decisions it led to. In this presentation we’ll describe an architecture made of hundreds of Kubernetes clusters, and talk about the challenges we have faced along the way. For example, by going into some details about how some of our controllers don’t actually work with etcd and the apiserver as their backend. They use a different datastore, and reconcile resources in different clusters than the one they are deployed into. We’ll also describe how some CNCF tools help achieve that scale (ArgoCD, Crossplane, Helm, Backstage, cert-manager, etc.).

5-Building AI-Ready Platforms - Symphony for Developer and Platform Engineer

Thomas Vitale, software engineer at Systematic and Lize Raes of LangChain4j share how to extend cloud native platforms to support AI use cases with Backstage, Buildpacks, and Crossplane.

Abstract: You’ve just built a platform, but now AI arrives and brings new requirements for applications wielding the power of large language models. Are you ready to support them? This session bridges the gap between platform engineers and developers, focusing on adapting your platform for AI while providing a smooth developer experience. You’ll learn to:

  • Assess the capabilities of polyglot LLM-powered cloud native apps, including prompt engineering, LangChain4j AI Services, and integration of external knowledge.
  • Build AI golden paths to streamline integrations and provisioning of models and embedding databases using Backstage, Buildpacks, and Crossplane.
  • Implement production-grade capabilities for scaling and LLM observability using Knative and OpenTelemetry.

Join Lize and Thomas in building an AI-ready platform and implementing a composer AI assistant. In a final twist, you’ll choose which movie scene to score, and they’ll compose the music live for it, supported by AI.

6-Building Confidence in Kubernetes Controllers: Lessons Learned from Using E2E-Framework

Matteo Ruina, senior software engineer at Datadog, and Philippe Scorsolini, senior software engineer at Upbound, discuss using the e2e framework and how Datadog and Crossplane adopted it to test their own clusters and controllers.

Abstract: When working with cluster components, or while developing new controllers, it is often necessary to run end-to-end (E2E) tests against real clusters. This allows developers to have confidence in the changes being made, allowing for frequent updates without compromising on reliability. Although Kubernetes has its own E2E framework, it is baked into the Kubernetes source code, making it difficult to consume from other projects. For this reason, the Testing Special Interest Group built the e2e-framework, an out-of-tree Go framework to define end-to-end tests suites that can be used to test Kubernetes components. In this session we will talk about the e2e-framework and will explain how Datadog and Crossplane adopted it to test their own clusters and controllers. We will cover why we chose this framework, how to start writing your own tests, the approach we took, as well as the drawbacks you need to be aware of.

7-Object Storage on Kubernetes? Completed with Provider Ceph

Richárd Kovács, staff software engineer at Akamai, and Conor Nolan, senior software engineer at Akamai discuss their new addition to the Crossplane ecosystem: Provider Ceph. Watch the talk and read more in Conor’s blog post: Object Storage on Kubernetes? Completed with Crossplane Provider Ceph.

Abstract: The challenge of managing multiple Ceph clusters dispersed across various regions from within a single Kubernetes cluster is not a trivial one. Unsurprisingly, it sparked a journey of discovery and innovation. Faced with a unique problem and no existing solution, we embarked on building our own, opting to keep it open source with the hope of benefiting others in similar situations. Enter Crossplane, the framework that proved to be the ideal canvas for our solution - Provider Ceph. In this session, we'll delve into the intricacies of crafting Provider Ceph, a dynamic open source component that sits at the heart of a distributed object storage system. Learn how we leveraged Crossplane's capabilities to give life to a robust S3 bucket manager, seamlessly scaling to asynchronously orchestrate hundreds of thousands of buckets across multiple Ceph clusters.

8-Why Kubernetes is Inappropriate for Platforms, and How to Make It Better

Stefan Schimanski, senior principal engineer, Upbound, Sebastian Scheele, Kubermatic CEO, and MJ, staff engineer, Cast AI discuss the necessary shift in mindset in Kubernetes for platforms, all without reinventing the wheel.

Abstract: The ecosystem is building platforms on Kubernetes now, starting with a hub cluster and then sticking tools for Gitops, for application descriptions and for infrastructure management together, with the goal to create custom APIs for the platform consumers. This works, but hits limits of Kube as a framework quickly. Can we do better? Oh yes, we can! This talk is about extending Kube, adapting its architecture to be a better fit for a world where instead of container orchestration two new personas are at the center: (a) the service & API provider (b) the self-service consumer, often developers or application owners. We focus on 3 dimensions to enable Kube to serve platform engineering better:

  • from kcp we take the workspace hierarchy as a vastly better multi-tenancy primitive.
  • cross-workspace API exports and bindings tailor-made for the service provider and consumer personas.
  • cluster mounting that integrates Kube clusters for a unified user interface and identity management.

But wait, there’s more!

Catch these three talks at the March 19 co-located events.

Platform Engineering Day, App Developer Con and ArgoCon

Crossplane - The Best Kept Secret in Platform Engineering

At Platform Engineering Day, Bassam Tabbara, creator of Crossplane and CEO of Upbound, shares insights about arguably the largest success story in platform engineering, starting in 2002. He connects this story to 22 years later, paralleling the current opportunity to build platforms with Kubernetes and Crossplane, which can give you the same power as the company in this famous success story.

Abstract: So your company has decided to invest in an internal developer platform? This multi-year initiative is likely to bring new levels of developer productivity and decrease overall costs. What recipe should you follow for your platform? In this talk we will share how Crossplane plays a critical role at the heart of every internal developer platform. It’s the best-kept secret within platform engineering teams. It’s no surprise given the world’s largest platforms are built on top of control planes. Come hear how a bank and an athletic company are building their internal platforms to get a glimpse of Crossplane in action. We’ll highlight the benefits of using Crossplane to create self-service, scalable, and efficient platforms that abstract away the complexities of the underlying infrastructure, allowing developers to focus on what they do best: building applications.

Unleashing the Power of Serverless on Kubernetes with Knative, Crossplane, Dapr, KEDA, and Friends

At App Developer Con, Viktor Farcic, developer advocate at Upbound, talks about managing serverless workloads.

Abstract: In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud native computing, serverless computing has emerged as a transformative force, offering a paradigm shift in application development and deployment. This talk delves into the world of serverless computing within the Kubernetes ecosystem, showcasing how open-source projects like Knative, Crossplane, Dapr, KEDA, Shipwright, and others empower developers to harness the power of serverless on top of Kubernetes. This is a hands-on talk, where we will build a serverless application (including infrastructure) from scratch. We will then explore how to extend the application with additional serverless capabilities, such as eventing, messaging, and state management. We will also explore how to leverage the power of Kubernetes operators to extend the Kubernetes API with custom resources and controllers, and how to use these operators to provision and manage serverless applications.

Platform Engineering with the Argo Ecosystem: The Elastic Story

Alejandro Martínez, tech lead - platform tooling, Elastic, Stephen Schmidt, platform tooling - SRE, Elastic, talk about the adventure they had while using a variety of tools in the cloud native ecosystem including Argo and Crossplane.

Cloud Native Rejekts

Get more knowledge with these talks from the Cloud Native Rejekts conference talks from Paris, too.

Crossplane Composition Functions Step by Step

Stefano Borrelli, principal solutions architect at Upbound, share insights and the latest on Composition Functions.

Abstract: Crossplane Composition functions are one of the most consequential new features in the project's history. Crossplane is a CNCF project that allows users to manage anything (like S3 buckets of Gitlab repositories) in a Kubernetes-native manner.

Composition Functions run in a pipeline to create a desired state using any programming language, allowing platform engineers to easily create and manage complex infrastructure deployments. Since graduating to beta in November 2023 functions have been rapidly adopted by the Crossplane community.

This talk will help engineers get up to speed with Composition Functions. We'll go over their design and runtime concerns of Functions in a K8s cluster. We'll then cover how to use functions to build out cloud infrastructure using field patching and Go templates.

Finally we'll discuss the basics of writing distributing your own functions in languages like Python and Go.

Too Many CRDs? I Say Not Enough! Leveraging Crossplane & Cluster API for Effective Platform Delivery

Carlos Mestre del Pino, KCD NL Organizer and platform engineering consultant at ITQ, shares an example, of leveraging Crossplane.

Abstract: Kubernetes is a platform for building platforms, but for some organizations, embracing its distributed and granular nature can easily lead to fragmented platform mayhem.

As platforms engineers tasked to automate the provisioning of infrastructure and/or services, (through IaaC, templating or custom code in pipelines) it sometimes might feel like we are just gluing components together.

Enter Crossplane, which enables you to bake your abstractions within the Kubernetes API without the need for building custom operators. Define the blueprints you need for provisioning infrastructure and the ones your developers need to deploy their services, reducing their cognitive load.

In this talk, I will discuss how you can leverage Crossplane and ClusterAPI for effective platform delivery, while minimizing the coding effort of your platform team and your developer's exposure to the Kubernetes' nitty gritty.

Are you one of those people who think there are too many CRDs? Let me challenge that!

The Magic of Backing Service Provisioning and Consumption With Crossplane and ServiceBindings

Time Salm, senior lead developer experience solutions engineer, EMEA, for VMware Tanzu discusses Crossplane’s capabilities to automate the provisioning of backing services and expose simple, abstracted interfaces for developers to claim those.

Abstract: As the amount of cloud-native applications continues to rise, there is an unprecedented surge in the demand for backing services, amplifying the need for automated provisioning.

We will embark on a journey to demystify the complexity of managing and connecting backing services.

Crossplane, a multi-cloud control plane, will take center stage as we explore its capabilities to automate the provisioning of backing services and expose simple, abstracted interfaces for developers to claim those.

The second component in this magical symphony are ServiceBindings that enable the automated supply of the required information for the connections between applications and their required backing services in a consistent way.

This session is your compass to navigate the enchantment of effortless backing service provisioning and consumption and will illustrate how this dynamic duo enhances developer productivity, reduces operational overhead, and facilitates the seamless deployment of applications.

Have a talk idea?

Don’t forget the KubeCon North America call for speakers is open through June 9, 2024 so get your talks in!

You can also submit your Crossplane-y talks to Level Up with Crossplane, presented by Upbound, an ongoing event series with technical, hands-on talks for platform engineers, DevOps, SREs, and more to get more expertise with Crossplane.

Submit your Level Up With Crossplane talk here.

Keep up with Upbound

* indicates required