October 22, 2020

KubeCon 2020 Q&A: Spectro Cloud Will Showcase Its Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution for Kubernetes Infrastructure Stack Management

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KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2020 goes digital.  Will you be in attendance?  If the event were physical, we would have looked forward to visiting with Spectro Cloud.  So we reached out to them digitally instead.

Read this exclusive pre-show interview between VMblog and Tina Nolte, VP Product at Spectro Cloud, an enterprise cloud-native infrastructure company that makes Kubernetes manageable at scale for enterprises that need superior control and flexibility.

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VMblog:  Are you sponsoring this year's KubeCon 2020 digital event?  If so, can you talk about what that sponsorship looks like now that things are digital?  How will it be different?

Tina Nolte:  Of course we are! We sponsored the EMEA event as well - while we're clearly looking forward to the day when we can interface in person with attendees again we still found that the event was lively. Something that we appreciated is just how accessible a digital platform makes the event.

VMblog:  What type of things will people be able to do and find at your virtual booth this year? 

Nolte:  The key thing that a virtual booth offers is the opportunity for conversation. Our technical leaders and executives will be there to help answer questions about infrastructure, Kubernetes, edge, Cluster API... and, of course, Spectro Cloud! It's so much more important in times like these that we all have the opportunity to interact as humans.

VMblog:  Are you giving away any prizes at your virtual booth or participating in any prize giveaways?

Nolte:  We're hosting a Kubernetes infrastructure stack builder game... and we'll be giving away some fantastic Lego sets to the top scorers. (As an aside, my CEO had to convince me that they should not all be Star Wars sets...)

VMblog:  Have you sponsored KubeCon in the past?  What keeps you coming back as a sponsor of this event?

Nolte:  This will be our third Kubecon sponsorship. Kubecon is really the best venue for hearing from the thought leaders in the space, and for having conversations with people that are taking this technology and turning it into something that solves their business problems. We also have a significant contribution profile, particularly within the Cluster API project, and this is a great forum to ensure that we continue to focus on what really matters to users.

VMblog:  With COVID-19, we've seen a lot of changes in the tech world.  One big change has been the disruption of physical trade shows.  Many, like KubeCon, have become digital in 2020.  What are your thoughts on digital events compared to traditional physical events?

Nolte:  Well, we feel pretty mixed on it. Clearly we miss the in person interaction and connection that we value as members of the human race. At the same time we're grateful that technology enables us to still have conversations and learn from each other in venues such as Kubecon's digital one during these challenging times we are living through.

VMblog:  What do you attribute to the success and growth of this industry and the KubeCon event itself?

Nolte:  Technology in the distributed system space has finally reached a point where a large population of developers can consume it and get benefit. That has been in conjunction with the rise of digital transformation initiatives, where people are making data driven decisions and executing on them more quickly than ever. That has necessitated a new approach to development that Kubernetes was well placed to help with, and Kubecon is a venue custom built, if you will, to enable the community around that technology.

VMblog:  What are you most interested in hearing about at this year's KubeCon event?

Nolte:  There are a couple key topic areas that are growing in popularity and applicability. They aren't unexpected, I don't think: edge computing and AI/ML are what we are being asked about more and more often in our engagements, and the community is definitely digging in there.

VMblog:  How does your company or product fit within the container, cloud, Kubernetes ecosystem?

Nolte:  Spectro Cloud is a CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution, though our technology is really geared around allowing users to define their own flavors of infrastructure stacks around Kubernetes. We support deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters and their associated infrastructure stacks in public or private clouds or bare metal and edge environments.

VMblog:  Can you give us the high-level rundown of your company's technology offerings?  Explain to readers who you are, what you do, what problems you solve, etc.

Nolte:  Spectro Cloud provides an enterprise Kubernetes management platform that removes tradeoffs between flexibility in infrastructure technology options and manageability and ease of use. It enables administrators to say "yes" to the unique infrastructure needs of their different teams (think particular flavors of operating systems or service meshes), no matter what infrastructure they are deployed on.

VMblog:  And while talking about your products, can you give readers a few examples of how your offerings are unique?  What are your differentiators?

Nolte:  Our differentiation is really around choice and optionality throughout an infrastructure stack, without giving up manageability and ease of use. Users get the flexibility and optionality that you can get with a DIY approach, but with the ease of use and ongoing manageability of a managed service offering.

VMblog:  Normally at the KubeCon event, sponsors are showcasing new products or new product updates and features for the first time.  Do you have anything new that you've either recently announced or plan to discuss in more detail at the event?  Can we get a sneak peek?

Nolte:  Some of the new things we are discussing at Kubecon are around our newest sets of features. We're introducing options around self-hosting the Spectro Cloud management plane, as well as some new self-service features.

VMblog:  At what stage do you feel we are at with regard to containers?  Is there anything still holding it back?  Or keeping it from a wider distribution? 

Nolte:  We see containers are being in early majority; enterprises by and large have either dipped their toes or are planning to in the not too distant future. However, it is still not a technology space that is particularly easy to adopt and consume; that is certainly an inhibitor. We see solutions that are focused at a very important part of that problem, namely deployment, but we still have opportunity areas in the day 2 side of things.

VMblog:  There will be plenty of interesting topics covered during the KubeCon keynotes.  But can you take this opportunity to share your own thoughts about any big changes or directions you see for this industry?

Nolte:  We're going to continue to see progress on how this technology will enable and be consumed at the edge. We're also going to continue to see consolidation amongst the players here...

VMblog:  Finally, without a crystal ball, what do you think trade shows look like in 2021?  Do we go back to thousands of people in person at an event?  Or do things stay virtual for the near term?  Is your company prepared to sponsor a physical event next year should they return?

Nolte:  I think most folks believe that we are staying virtual for a while... until a vaccine is available and widely distributed at least. Whenever those conditions hold we'll be eager to safely engage with our broader community.

David Marshall

David Marshall has been involved in the technology industry for over 19 years, and he's been working with virtualization software since 1999. He was able to become an industry expert in virtualization by becoming a pioneer in that field - one of the few people in the industry allowed to work with Alpha stage server virtualization software from industry leaders: VMware (ESX Server), Connectix and Microsoft (Virtual Server).

Through the years, he has invented, marketed and helped launch a number of successful virtualization software companies and products. David holds a BS degree in Finance, an Information Technology Certification, and a number of vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTia and others. He's also co-authored two published books: "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and acted as technical editor for two popular Virtualization "For Dummies" books. With his remaining spare time, David founded and operates one of the oldest independent virtualization news blogs, VMblog.com. And co-founded CloudCow.com, a publication dedicated to Cloud Computing. Starting in 2009 and continuing all the way to 2016, David has been honored with the vExpert distinction by VMware for his virtualization evangelism.

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