Take the Paris Observability Challenge at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2024

Jeroen van ErpProduct Manager
10 min read

What started as a fun experiment to engage attendees of last year's KubeCon is returning this year in what we hope will become a repeating StackState tradition! In 2023, to drive the StackState exhibit booth experience, we had participants from all over the venue join us to try their hand at Pirate-themed troubleshooting challenges in our product playground — challenges that asked individuals to solve a puzzle and be entered to win some pretty epic prizes.

This year, we're taking it to a whole new level of fun and, of course, basing the challenges right here in Paris, the City of Light. What better place to use observability?

In 2024, we've introduced seven new labs to our product, each addressing distinct challenges. These labs offer a broader perspective and focus on day-2 experiences, ensuring the reliable and healthy operation of your clusters. There are a few reasons why we love to create new labs:

  1. Designing these events is a great opportunity for the StackState product team to truly think through how to capture our platform’s unique capabilities in a 60-second product challenge.

  2. The challenges are an excellent way to let the product speak for itself and let people experience how StackState’s remediation guides can dramatically reduce the time it takes to detect and solve an issue.

  3. Once the set of challenges is developed, it becomes an excellent foundation for all Kubernetes Observability workshops we run throughout the year at Meetups, training sessions, and other conferences.

  4. It’s just fun to prepare, come up with a great theme, and write a story that reflects the true nature of the city where KubeCon is held. You’ll see what I mean in the videos below.

Let’s take a closer look at our Paris Challenges to see how StackState helps platform teams, SREs, and software developers become more effective in running reliable applications in production.

Challenge 1: Scaling the Eiffel Tower

Just as the Eiffel Tower rose to be the tallest building of its time, breaking all records, this challenge invites you to push the boundaries of observability and experience firsthand the complexities of scaling your environment.

Mirroring the architectural marvel of the Eiffel Tower, if the underlying infrastructure isn't sized correctly, workloads will never operate smoothly — they may even cease to work.

This challenge clearly shows how the various resources in your cluster depend on each other and how StackState utilizes Kubernetes State information to detect the cause of an issue in seconds. It's also a fun way to discover the dynamic nature of our issue remediation guides, serving different paths to resolution depending on the cause of the issue.

Challenge 2: Arc de Triomphe Resource Rally

You'll need to jump into the driver's seat to conquer our virtual traffic jam around this monument on the Champs-Élysées. But don't worry — with the right observability tools and guidance, you'll navigate this slowdown with ease — just like a seasoned Parisian local behind the wheel of a classic, sporty Peugeot.

The Arc de Triomphe Resource Rally emphasizes the importance of allocating the right resources for optimal workload performance. Using the wrong resources is like using the wrong petrol: your car's engine will never operate like a smooth machine.

Discover how StackState uses PromQL as a metric query language and how easy it is to add a metric threshold. We've transformed this into a monitor applicable to all your pods simultaneously, making it effortless to implement across all your development teams.

Challenge 3: Breach at the Bastille

The French Revolution began on July 14th, 1789, in the heart of Paris. The people stormed the Bastille, a formidable fortress and prison, and in doing so, changed history as the French claimed their freedom with courage and determination.

Our Breach at the Bastille challenge clearly shows that a minor issue can have a massive effect. This challenge will teach you that certificates are of great importance for operating a cluster smoothly and that you have to be ready when something goes wrong with them.

How do you determine what's gone wrong? Well, not only does StackState monitor metrics, events, logs, and traces, but it also has a rich understanding of certificates in your cluster and can prompt you to take appropriate action when needed. So, no Breach at the Bastille on your watch!

Who isn't familiar with the Louvre, home to the iconic Mona Lisa portrait, drawing smiles from millions of tourists? Painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, this work of art represents only a fraction of what the Louvre holds. What about its hidden secrets? What about the lost art, neglected over the years due to inadequate tracking?

The challenge of the Louvre’s Lost Gallery will make it clear that — even in a modern cloud-native environment — you can lose sight of some of the resources in your cluster. 

With the help of StackState's unique topology, you'll quickly discover orphaned resources within your cluster. Lost and abandoned resources can be the source of compliance issues, which can often incur high costs unnecessarily — so find them and fix them fast.

Challenge 5: Moulin Rouge Exposed

Isn't the Moulin Rouge the kind of place you slip into, keeping your visits discreet — a haven where secrets are safeguarded within its walls? But what if those secrets were laid bare for all to see? Quelle horreur! Well, we firmly believe that the mystique surrounding the Moulin Rouge should endure, shrouded in secrecy.

But what about your Kubernetes cluster? If you inadvertently expose specific values within your cluster that should also be kept private, the repercussions could be significant.

In the Moulin Rouge Exposed challenge, you'll discover—with the help of frameworks like Gitleaks—how StackState quickly detects secrets you don't want to be exposed. This is a powerful example of how we utilize the data present in StackState beyond regular health monitoring. Obviously, your cluster is only reliable when this all comes together, but your secrets are safe with us!

Challenge 6: Phantom of the Opera

This dark challenge is inspired by this timeless tale of mystery, tragedy, love, and loneliness in a labyrinth beneath the Palais Garnier Opera House in the 1880s. The masked Phantom, threatening to breach the theatre halls, leaves no stone unturned. Yet, armed with the proper observability tools, we uphold perpetual vigilance, ready to detect and mitigate any potential breach.

Security is a top priority for every enterprise, so we have numerous tools in place to continuously scan your environment and take action if anything goes awry. While this is excellent for security, removing a workload can sometimes cause reliability issues.

At StackState, we believe that security and reliability need to be closely connected. The Phantom of the Opera challenge demonstrates how Falco and CI/CD events are integrated into your regular observability process. In fact, unlike the stealth Phantom, as soon as Falco takes action, it’s visible in StackState.

Challenge 7: Sacre Coeur Panorama

Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a beacon of devotion and architectural marvel atop Montmartre, watches over Paris like a beautiful but stoic guardian. Amidst the city's heartbeat, it remains a silent witness to tales untold. Its sacred walls harbor whispers of faith and history, standing as a testament to resilience and spiritual awakening.

As an SRE or application developer, your biggest concern is the reliability and performance of the applications running on the cluster. What happens when a required service suddenly becomes slow?

Like the Sacré-Cœur watches over Paris, StackState watches over your application landscape. Using our native support for OpenTelemetry, we can easily pinpoint the dependency under duress and allow you to take immediate action to remediate the issue.

Are you up for the challenge?

To see all of this in action, we invite you to join us in Paris on March 19-22 at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. Stop by StackState's booth #J33 any day of the gathering to test your Kubernetes troubleshooting skills. You might walk away with some great cutting-edge tech toys!

Can’t make it in person?

Challenge yourself from home or the office. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.