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Kubernetes Is Like Minecraft: Head Honcho of CNCF

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In the 2019 KubeCon opening keynote address, Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), compared Kubernetes to Minecraft.

Kohn told the live audience of 8,000 about how he came across his son intently staring at a dark iPad screen.  “I’m hiding from zombies,” the son explained. It turns out that the only way the second-grader could figure out how to escape the nighttime zombie attack was to dig a hole with his hands. Effective, sure, but limiting. There were tools available, he just didn’t know how to use them.

They brought in an ‘expert,’ a fourth-grader, who showed him the ‘craft’ part of Minecraft.  He showed him how to find basic tools in the crafting kit. Then his son was able to chop wood to make planks, kill a spider to get a string and kill a chicken to get a feather. He combined these elements using a crafting table to create bows and arrows.

The lesson of Minecraft is that you can take simple things and combine them into much more complex things to build very powerful tools,” said Kohn.

Kubernetes works the same way.  Combining development and operations creates DevOps, similarly, combining mining and crafting creates Minecraft.

For example, Kubernetes uses a firewall technology to IP tables to  manage network connections between pods.  IPFW, the first Linux firewall has transformed over the years, becoming Extended Berkeley Packet Filter.  So the firewalls have been crafted over time to become complex and therefore more useful.  Kubernetes is built on hundreds of these basic technologies, he said, which can be crafted to make thousands of tools.

“Kubernetes itself is a crafting table. You have all the tools you need to build what you want.  Even tools to build new tools. It has an alchemy that transmutes simple things into powerful tools, but what we construct is up to us,” he said.

He continued the analogy to the assembled community.  Where do second graders go to learn crafting? Kubecon.

Those of you at Kubecon for the first time are the second graders, he said.  And you are here to learn from the fourth graders – or those of us who have been crafting for a while.

There are benefits of being a fourth-grader, said Kohn.  His son’s fourth-grade friend got chocolate chip cookies for sharing his knowledge.  At the conference cookies equal job offers. Also, the second graders will soon enough become fourth-graders, he said. “In our community where democratization is a core principle, we are always looking for people who can contribute new crafting ideas.”

Kohn pointed out that Kubernetes is just five years old.  “We’re all still in grade school.”

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