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How Linode Is Helping Users Embrace Kubernetes


Swapnil Bhartiya: When and why did Linode decide to offer Kubernetes for Linode users?
Leslie Salazar: We are an alternative cloud provider, and in my mind, what that really means is we provide these basic core primitives that anyone needs, with the goal of making cloud computing accessible to as many people as possible. So we have the core primitives, like volumes, load balancers, Linode instances, and it just makes sense that you can then also provide a service that very often needs these core primitives to run. Users need an external volume, they need a load balancer, they need object storage, and we have all those things. It was a logical next step to then provide this managed service that so many people need and want to use, and to do it in a way that’s actually really affordable and really simple. That’s why we offer managed Kubernetes service.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Linode is offering a beta of LKE (Linode Kubernetes Engine), can you talk a bit about what kind of use-cases of LKE you have seen so far?
Leslie Salazar: Yeah, the beta was really exciting, because we were able to engage with the users who were excited to kind of kick the tires of our managed Kubernetes service, LKE, and there was such a variety of use cases. The ecosystem is starting to really mature, but for me, the really interesting ones are ones that your team might benefit from today by deploying. So of course, you could do something like deploy a Ghost CMS blog, and that’s really cool if you already have that and you’re already using that, but let’s say you have a team of developers. What’s something that you could deploy on LKE that would be useful to you today, and is also a way for you to become much more familiar with the way Kubernetes does things?

One of those use-cases is a private Docker registry, and that’s a cool example because you’re going to engage with several of the ways that you work with Kubernetes. You could use Helm Charts to download some of the software that you need. So for example, you will also use NGINX Ingress, and that’s something that is kind of a basic concept in Kubernetes land, and something that you want to learn about, and so deploying a private Docker registry would give that to you.

Another thing that you would do there is creating an SSL and TLS certificate using cert-manager. So that one use-case, you’re really touching upon a lot of things, and then, of course, your team would be very excited to have a Docker registry to work with their containers. Another really cool one is Jenkins X, because, of course, if you’re not familiar with what Jenkins is, it automates CI and CD deployments, but what Jenkins did is they rebuilt Jenkins from the ground up, and they wrote it in GO, and it is made specifically to be deployed on a Kubernetes cluster, and then to deploy to Kubernetes clusters. So that’s a really great way to really kind of interact with the way things are being architected to work on Kubernetes.

Then another kind of just fun one that your team could use, that we saw some people were looking to interact with, is Mattermost, which is basically a self-hosted messaging platform that’s an alternative to Slack. So those are some cool use cases that I think people could get a lot out of deploying on a Kubernetes cluster today.

Swapnil Bhartiya: As you saw these use cases, did you also see some of the challenges that these users were facing, which provided some kind of feedback that also help your team, which is a documentation and resource team, that helps the community, to identify some of those key areas and create resources that can help the community and the ecosystem?
Leslie Salazar: There are some really basic roadblocks sometimes just around terminology, just because there’s a very Kubernetes-centric way of doing things, and it’s interesting because there might be concepts that people are already familiar with in a certain way, but then because there is new terminology around it, it becomes a little bit of a stumbling block. So we try to generate docs that address those things where we can contextualize things for you and explain things in a familiar way. So for example, if you think about an Ingress controller, like a reverse proxy, in a way, you might have a better entry point into it. Of course, there’s more to it, but we can kind of say things like that and then provide helpful resources and links to the user so that they can get a better handle on these certain concepts. So that’s kind of the way we look to author our guides for things like Kubernetes, which can sometimes seem a little bit challenging to people.

Swapnil Bhartiya: How much of these resources or documentation work that you’re doing is internal to Linode, versus how much contribution do you take from outside? Is there any platform or program that either technical writers or developers can also get involved with to create these resources?
Leslie Salazar: The way that I’ll kind of talk about this is that Kubernetes is such a vast topic, and while there are really cool generalized use cases, like I just talked about before, and we definitely are writing about this and want to write about more similar things, there are also more specific topics that the community would benefit from, and here’s where our Write for Linode program is a really good way for us to be able to provide that to users.

So with Write for Linode, subject matter experts from the Linux community can contribute guides, tutorials, conceptual guides about Kubernetes, because they have probably already encountered certain difficulties, or they have really cool experiences around using Kubernetes, and they want to share that with the community. With Write for Linode, they have a really great platform where they can do that and, I guess, engage with users, and what’s really cool is we have so many ways of receiving feedback from our users. The docs, we have a comment section that we look at every single day. So if you really want to have that live and active engagement with the community, and you have a lot to say about Kubernetes best practices, et cetera, then Write for Linode is a really interesting way for you to be able to do that.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Can you tell us just a bit more about the Write for Linode program?
Leslie Salazar: Write for Linode, you can submit an application to contribute any topic to our documentation library. So right now, we’re talking specifically about Kubernetes, and we’re really interested in having users or having community members contribute guides and tutorials about Kubernetes, but there are a vast array of topics that we’re interested in. I’ll relate it to open source and Linux. So you can visit our website,, and there you can navigate to our Write for Linode page and kind of learn a little bit more about how you can become involved with that program, and then you’ll be interfacing a lot with us, the technical writers, the editors, and we will kind of help you get that out there in the best package possible.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I will go back to LKE. It’s in the beta phase. Do you have any kind of roadmap for [inaudible 00:08:23]? As it’s nearing GA, what kind of goals do your documentation team have so that you are ready to help the community as the LKE hits GA?
Leslie Salazar: Yeah, so definitely coming, and the best way to get the latest information about that is to visit our blog. We will be announcing dates and things like that there, and we really, as the documentation team, and Linode as a whole, we really, really care about our users, and we want to provide the best support that we can, and we know that one of the ways that we can do that is by providing really great documentation by creating examples that people can really use to learn more about Kubernetes and the way you do things on Kubernetes, and then kind of intersecting, as I said before, with the Write for Linode program, then talking about these really specific cases where you are actually kind of just looking for a recipe and a resource to go and do XYZ on Kubernetes.