Recap: Shipyard at KCD Texas + Civo Navigate Local 2024

This past week, we attended KCD Texas in Austin and Civo Navigate Local in Tampa. Natalie spoke at both events, and we heard some great thought leadership in the cloud native space both during and between sessions.

Shipyard went to KCD Texas and Civo Navigate Local Tampa in 2024!

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This past week, we spent some time in Austin and Tampa at two great cloud native events: KCD Texas and Civo Navigate Local. Here’s a quick recap of both events.

KCD Texas 2024

On Friday, we got to attend the first-ever KCD (Kubernetes Community Day) Texas! This was co-located with Texas Linux Fest at the Palmer Events Center in Austin.

The sessions

KCD Texas and Texas Linux Fest kicked off with Chris Aniszczyk’s keynote, “The Future of Cloud Native”. KCD Texas had two tracks, but attendees could also attend sessions from any of the three Texas Linux Fest tracks throughout the day.

Natalie Lunbeck at KCD Texas talking about ephemeral environments

Right after Chris’ keynote, I gave my talk on ephemeral environments. This was the first time I had given this talk in person, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to present to a group of people who were genuinely interested in the topic. I got some great questions on how to integrate with CNCF tools, how to handle certain best practices, and how to balance ephemeral and static environments in a pipeline.

The discussion carried on into the hallway track, and I got to talk to a number of people who were at varying stages of adopting ephemeral environments in their orgs. The hallway track was very popular at KCD Texas, and many people hung out for hours on end to share/learn about CNCF technologies. Personally, this was one of the most valuable learning “sessions” I’ve ever had at an event — everyone I talked to taught me something new and explained it thoroughly.

Angel Ramirez on K8s at KCD Texas

We caught some engaging sessions, including Shane Utt’s talk on the Gateway API project, a lightning talk on Navig8 (a web UI for Helm charts) from Mark Lavi and Satheesh Mohandass, a Kubernetes and CNCF tools kickstart workshop with Angel Ramirez, and a crash course on sidecars from William Morgan.

The experience

We had the chance to meet some speakers and organizers the night before for drinks and pizza, which was a great intro to the Austin cloud native community. Austin is already on the map as “the Silicon Valley of Texas”, and it really showed — the enthusiasm at KCD Texas was through the roof.

View of Austin, Texas from the Palmer Events Center

Since we were in one of the BBQ capitals of the world, it was essential that we stop at Terry Black’s for some brisket at lunch. After waiting in a 30 minute line (which went by quickly, thanks to a group-wide discussion on service mesh), we chose our cuts and sides, then sat down to have (what we agreed was) one of the best BBQ lunches in recent memory.

After the conference, StormForge sponsored a happy hour at Aussie’s Grill & Beach Bar. This was a much-needed chance to continue conversations and meet other attendees, which had been difficult during such a jam-packed event. A crowd favorite was the local Electric Jellyfish IPA.

The verdict?

It was clear that a local KCD was something the community was psyched about, and it looks like the excitement will translate into another one in Austin next year.

Civo Navigate Local Tampa 2024

On Tuesday, we had a warm welcome to (as we were quickly informed) “the other Bay Area”, Tampa Bay. Civo Navigate Local Tampa was the first ever “bite-sized” conference hosted by Civo. Last year, they put together a larger, two-day event also at Armature Works and found a really passionate local community, so it absolutely made sense to bring everyone together again.

Armature Works in Tampa

The sessions

Civo’s CEO Mark Boost kicked off the day with a keynote, and his 6 year old son stole the spotlight by deploying a Kubernetes cluster all by himself!

The event had a main track and a smaller workshop room. We heard some great thought leadership throughout the day, both in and outside the “official” conference rooms.

Civo Navigate's main stage

Platform engineering is in its renaissance, and we enjoyed hearing speakers share how they’re using and building IDPs. We were captivated by Eddie Wassef’s overview of the history of platform, which he presented with a clever “world history” timeline, and Kunal Kushwaha’s talk on how platform engineering differs from DevOps. Another highlight was Dinesh Majrekar’s session on the present and future of Civo and the greater tech industry. There was also a lot of excitement around using LLMs for various DevOps tasks, which seems to be one of the less-explored LLM use cases. It was interesting to learn about the thriving tech meetup scene in Tampa during a panel, where members agreed that “ is gridlocked with events”.

I had the privilege of delivering the final talk of the day on the main stage. I appreciated that I received a number of good questions as well as comments from audience members agreeing that ephemeral environments were the ideal solution to outmoded pre-production infrastructure.

The experience

The day before, we explored the beautiful Armature Works in Tampa Heights, which felt like a campus of craft coffee, delicious local cuisine, and countless spots to enjoy the sun right next to the Tampa Riverwalk.

Civo Navigate's famous taco bar
Photo credit to @CivoCloud on Twitter/X

Civo fed us well, with a delicious selection of pork and chicken tacos for lunch. There was an open bar all day, serving soft drinks, juices, and sparkling water. We appreciated the trays of cookies, brownies, and muffins during the afternoon break.

Civo Navigate Local Tampa's booth crawl

Right after my session, attendees gathered in the main room for the “booth crawl”, an aptly-named happy hour among the sponsor booths. We hung out until the bitter end, and Joey deVilla even broke out his accordion!

The verdict?

Civo knows how to organize a stellar conference, that’s for certain. And with the announcement of Navigate Europe 2024, many attendees mentioned being tempted to make the trek to Berlin.

Thank you from Shipyard

It was lovely to connect with the vibrant tech communities of Austin and Tampa! We’re looking forward to next year’s installments of both events, but in the meantime, we’re excited to carry on the conversations with the people we connected with.

On behalf of Shipyard, we want to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who worked hard and volunteered their time to make these events happen.


What is Shipyard?

Shipyard is the Ephemeral Environment Self-Service Platform.

Automated review environments on every pull request for Developers, Product, and QA teams.

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