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KubeCon 2023: Observations and Takeaways

This year's KubeCon for North America was hosted at the McCormick Place in the windy city aka Chicago. It appears that there were 15,000 in-person attendees which explains why we were extremely busy all through the conference. In this blog, we summarize our observations and learnings from this year's KubeCon.

KubeCon 2023

Co-Located Events

At every KubeCon, the day before the opening keynote is generally reserved for co-located events. These are focused on specific topics of interest. This year was the inaugural Multi- TenancyCon. The Rafay team collaborated extensively with CNCF to support this co-located event.


Videos from this year's Multi-TenancyCon will be available on CNCF's YouTube channel.


We had the opportunity to welcome the attendees. This was followed by a number of presentations from both practitioners and architects from Octopus Deploy, Sysdig, WeaveWorks, NYTimes, Meilisearch and Loft.

Panel Discussion

We also had the opportunity to host a panel with a few of our partners AWS and Nirmata where we discussed practical aspects associated with multi-tenancy.


We had a full house at this co-located event because multi-tenancy is a foundational issue for all Kubernetes users. When we asked attendees why they were at this event and not others, the top response was

Implementing multi-tenancy in a sub optimal manner can set back an organization by months or years.

Full House at MultiTenancyCon

Solutions Showcase

Just like KubeCon EU in Amsterdam earlier this year, Rafay was supporting two booths at the Solutions Showcase. We had the opportunity to meet with attendees at the "Rafay Booth in the main show floor" and at the "Paralus booth" at the CNCF showcase.

Rafay Booth


Here are the top-3 observations and learnings from conversations with 1000s of attendees at the showcase.

1. Platform Engineering Everywhere

A significant number of attendees identified themselves as part of the Platform Engineering team. This is an accelerating trend that we started noticing since early 2022. We believe this is a very positive trend because these teams enable organizations to truly scale by being able to reuse world class patterns and it is economically impractical for every application team in an organization to have in-house Kubernetes experts.

Platform teams are critical in helping organizations standardize and establish best practices.

2. Domination of Managed Cloud Kubernetes Distributions

It should not be surprising to anyone that the vast majority (>90%) of attendees we spoke with are using managed Kubernetes distributions from one/more cloud providers (i.e. EKS on AWS, AKS on Azure, GKE on GCP, OKE on Oracle Cloud etc). The only exceptions were organizations that operate in highly regulated industries such as Healthcare. This is actually great news for the industry because they can now focus on tasks that actually matter for their organizations.

With the cloud providers providing a SLA backed, managed k8s control plane, users do not have to care about the control plane anymore!

3. Kubernetes, Part of a Larger Puzzle

Almost all attendees we met were operating applications running on Kubernetes were either leveraging services outside Kubernetes such as Amazon RDS (managed database) or Virtual Machines. For them, Kubernetes is an interesting piece of a larger infrastructure puzzle. Interestingly, everyone was struggling with self service provisioning and lifecycle management of environments in which Kubernetes is a small, but critical part. One attendee summarized it with a beautiful analogy.

Kubernetes is like the electric motor in a car, but it is not the car and therefore the platform team's focus needs to be on the car

Press Releases

At KubeCon 2023, Rafay announced our Infrastructure Templates for AI & Generative AI. For more information on this, read our blog and learn more about the infrastructure templates for AI and Generative AI.

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