KubeCon Europe 2024 Retrospective

Adriana Villela
7 min readMar 27, 2024
Paris je t’aime! Words couldn’t be truer! Photo by Adri Villela.

KubeCon EU wrapped up last Friday and I’m still buzzing from the excitement! This is now officially my fourth KubeCon, my third as a CNCF Ambassador, and my second KubeCon EU. This year’s KubeCon EU took place in Paris, France, and you couldn’t have asked for a more awesome location.

The following is a recap of my personal experience at KubeCon Paris.

Speaking French!

I was pretty excited to put my French to some good use in Paris. Living in Canada, French is a mandatory part of the school curriculum, though the number of years you’re taught French in school varies from province to province.

I really enjoyed learning French because Portuguese is my first language, and I found many similarities between the two languages growing up. Ask my daughter how much she loves French, however, and it’s a different story. 🫠

I’d say that considering how long it’s been since I’ve spoken French regularly, I did pretty well for myself. I managed to hold some conversations, even if I fumbled for some words along the way. 😆

Bouldering Gym Visit

I always make it a habit of checking out the local bouldering gym whenever I’m in a new city. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many gyms in Paris!

Look at all the climbing gyms in Paris!!

I wanted to go bouldering, and I wanted a gym that opened up early so that it wouldn’t mess with my conference schedule. Luckily, I found this cool little gym called Arkose Didot which met my criteria (it opens at 7am). It’s a small bouldering gym/restaurant/café combo, and it had a great vibe, with a good variety of challenging problems!

I managed to make it in twice — once by myself, and another time with fellow Torontonian and recent bouldering convert, Marino Wijay.

Another city, another bouldering gym!

🚨 Shameless promotion alert: Marino is organizing a Toronto-based conference called KubeHuddle. I highly recommend that you check it out, especially if you live close-ish to Toronto. I was a speaker last year, and it was a very warm environment. PS: I’m also helping out!

Observability Day

KubeCon itself started on Wednesday, March 20th; however, the Tuesday, March 19th was a host to a number of co-located events, including Observability Day.

Observability Day is near and dear to my heart because, not only do I work in the Observability space, I was also a speaker, speaking alongside my OTel End User Working Group co-lead, Reese Lee from New Relic. I love working with Reese because we are truly kindred spirits. We approach talks in the same way, and we’ve totally got each other’s backs. 💜💜 #teamwork

Our Observability Day talk is called, Dude, Where’s My Error: How OpenTelemetry Records Errors and Why It Does It Like That. It features cute pictures of AI-generated penguins, courtesy of Dalle-3 via Bing Copilot.

The talk is about how OpenTelemetry provides a standard on how errors are reported. This is super important if you consider the fact that many applications are made up of multiple micro-services written in different languages. Languages that don’t all agree on how to express errors and exceptions.

The talk went over super well, and we got tons of questions afterwards. I’m soooo happy to know that it resonated well with folks!

Our talk got some love, yo!

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can check out the blog post version of our talk.

You can also check out the example GitHub repo that I put together to accompany the talk, along with an explainer video. It features a Python example which illustrates errors in OTel.

You can catch the full talk here:

And you can check out the list of other Observability Day talks here.

Photo highlights from Observability Day with speakers Adriana Villela and Reese Lee
Highlights from Observability Day. Get a load of our cute penguin slides!

Ambassador Breakfast & Day 1

As with my two previous KubeCons as a CNCF Ambassador, all of the Ambassadors gathered together on Day 1 for breakfast, a class photo, and to walk over to the kick-off and keynote together.

I remember my first Ambassador breakfast, and how I barely knew anyone. Fast-forward to almost a year, and I’m blown away by how many folks I knew. It definitely felt like a wonderful little reunion.

The keynotes as usual kicked off with huge fanfare, and there was definitely an overarching theme: AI.

Kicking off KubeCon with the CNCF Ambassador breakfast, followed by the Day 1 keynotes!

But for me, most exciting news of the day was the OpenTelmetry project update because of the big announcement: OpenTelemetry is takings its first steps towards CNCF graduation!!

Slide showing that the OpenTelemetry project has applied for CNCF graduation
Exciting news! OpenTelemetry has applied for CNCF graduation!!

OTel Observatory

You may recall from my last KubeCon retro post that the OTel Observatory made its début at KubeCon NA 2023 in Chicago. It was such a hit that the lovely folks at Splunk with support from the OTel community brought it back for this KubeCon.

This time around, we had a number of activities planned for the OTel Observatory, including on-site OTel SIG meetings, end-user feedback sessions, and Humans of OTel interviews. Austin Parker, OTel’s community manager, even ordered OTel lab coats for OTel maintainers and contributors to wear, so that folks visiting the booth knew who to approach for questions. It was all kinds of awesome seeing a bunch of us OTel folk sporting our lab coats.

Photo collage of OpenTelemetry contributors and maintainers at the OpenTelemetry Observatory wearing white lab coats
Look at us sporting our lab coats at the OTel Observatory!

My favourite part of the OTel Observatory, however, was Humans of OTel. Reese (my speaking buddy) and I started these interviews at KubeCon NA in Chicago in 2023, and it was such a great way to get to know the lovely folks working on and using OpenTelemetry.

This time around, Henrik Rexed generously offered up his professional equipment to record the interviews. If you’ve ever seen Henrik’s Is It Observable YouTube channel, you know he definitely knows what he’s doing. I think he took pity on me after seeing the less-than-stellar sound quality from my crappy Amazon wireless mics at KubeCon NA 2023 💀 and I’m very grateful for it!

Some of the interviewees include OTel end useres Iris Dyrmishi and Vijay Samuel, and OTel contributors Severin Neumann (OTel Comms) and Kayla Reopelle (OTel Ruby).

We’re still going through the Humans of OTel interview footage, so stay tuned for a separate post on the Humans of OTel, Paris 2024 edition!

Photo collage of Humans of OTel interview setup
Humans of OTel recordings. Look at the setup!! 💜

Observability Track

KubeCon’s Observability track saw the return of the awesome Adriana/Reese speaking duo. This talk was called, Prometheus and OpenTelemetry: Better Together. It also featured cute AI-generated artwork; however, this time we went with a sloth theme.

The talk is about how OpenTelemetry can support and turbo-boost Prometheus, especially in a Kubernetes environment, with the help of the OTel Operator’s Target Allocator and with Kubernetes-specific components of the OTel Collector.

This talk was probably the hardest of the two to put together, as Reese and I delved into some uncharted waters of our OTel knowlege. No sweat though, because I love me a good challenge and opportunity for learning! Fortunately, we had tons of support from the OTel community. We asked tons of questions on CNCF Slack, and the resulting talk is something that we were super proud of!

And it turns out that this topic really resonated with folks, because our room was standing room only, with a lineup to get in! 🤯

We got some really great questions afterwards, and I’m still riding high from that day.

Highlights from the talk that Reese Lee and I did for the Observability track at KubeCon EU

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can check out the blog post version of our talk.

You can also check out the example GitHub repo that I put together to accompany the talk, along with an explainer video. It features a Python example which shows you how the Target Allocator works.

You can catch the full talk here:

Final Thoughts

All in all, it was a lovely week in Paris. I learned a ton, I got to hang out with friends old and new, I gave two talks, and I even managed to get a bit of sight-seeing done.

Some Parisian sites. Photos by Adri Villela.

This week it’s back to normal life, but we’ll always have Paris! I can’t wait until KubeCon North America later this year in Salt Lake City!

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Adriana Villela

DevRel | OTel End User SIG Maintainer | {CNCF,HashiCorp} Ambassador | Podcaster | 🚫BS | Speaker | Boulderer | Computering 20+ years | Opinions my own 🇧🇷🇨🇦