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To Infinity & Beyond: Illustrating the Cloud Native Universe

Get your ‘guaranteed to be out of date’ poster, showcasing our interpretation of the Cloud Native universe!

Headshot of Zoë Allen
Zoë AllenMarketing & Events Coordinator
To Infinity & Beyond: Illustrating the Cloud Native Universe

Last year our debut cloud native poster transformed Packet’s downtown NYC office building into a figurative “stack”. With hardware in the basement, end users on the rooftop deck, and all the key categories taking up the floors in between, we tried to provide context to the cloud native ecosystem. Bringing this dynamic community to life was great fun and we hoped it would be both enjoyable and useful to our friends, peers, investors and clients. Plus it allowed us to pay homage to the brilliant posters created by Grafana and other friends.

Imagine our surprise when the poster was rather a big hit! People loved the easter eggs we baked in, and seeing their favorite companies and tools brought to life à la Where’s Waldo. We got hundreds of requests and shipped them off to over 30+ countries. Most of them even arrived! Germany: please note it is quite hard to mail stuff to you  :) 

Fast forward to the end of 2018 and our super-relevant, timely poster was already out of date. New layers had been added, companies had been acquired or started, and fresh projects spawned or even graduated. It was time to start working on the refresh. 

But how do you begin a second version when you just knocked it out of the park? Doesn’t everyone always mock the sequel? At worst we could get reviews like Mulan II, which was deemed "a direct-to-DVD disgrace that takes everything excellent about its predecessor film, rips it to shreds, and uses it for rat cage lining”. We wanted an “Incredibles 2” story, which is no easy feat.  

The only answer: add value (and more easter eggs)!

Rocket Fueled Adoption

In the past year, the cloud native ecosystem has continued to grow at a supersonic pace. If you’ve attended one of the recent KubeCon events, you’ve probably seen a slide that looks like this:

KubeCon attendees statistic (increasing)

Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the CNCF and tireless cloud native leader, has spoken about how cloud native is zooming quickly through the traditional technology adoption lifecycle.  

This is not only changing the conversation from a technology perspective, but disrupting how teams are built, how investments are made, and accelerating change in related worlds like infrastructure.    

In short: more projects, more businesses, more contributions, more practitioners, more investments, more touchpoints, and more opinions! But also a more mature and impactful stack that is driving the conversation across more than just “cloud native.”

From Ecosystem to Universe

As we looked at updating the poster for this year, we started down the path of drawing a much bigger building to help reflect the growth. Unsurprisingly, since we stare at the World Trade Center each day from our own office, that was where we went first.  

But as we sketched, we realized that there was more energy and disruption that we needed to represent. Cloud native in 2019 is more than just a stack, neatly organized and evolving. It’s a tour-de-force that is starting to upend areas not included in earlier definitions of the cloud: low level networking, hardware, and wireless/telecom. 

Watching the Falcon Heavy launch got us thinking upwards to the final frontier. With decades of exploration under our belts, billions of dollars spent on space expeditions, satellites, and telescopes, we still have only explored a minute fraction of our known universe. Space is the new frontier: full of mysteries and, what seems to our eyes, unexplained chaos.

Illustration sketch: space chaos

The immenseness of space allows itself to chaos, and so we embraced this new idea and ran with it. Most importantly, it allowed us to tap into our inner Geek (capital ‘G’) and well known science fiction tropes. 

Illustration sketch: Planets

We hit our stride once we decided to represent the CNCF-related projects as a caravan, barreling through space led by a converted Winnebago. Although the stack is much less structured than last year, we felt it represented the reality of the ecosystem: dynamic, evolving, and disruptive.  

Building up from there, we included our friends in the public cloud as well as those focused on hardware, edge computing, and the massive world of telco/wireless. While we worked hard to include everyone, and had a lot of fun doing it, no doubt we messed up. Forgive us if we missed you or your favorite project!

Get Your ‘Guaranteed to be Out of Date’ Poster!

So, once again we did a thing. It took us about three months, on and off, and we are absolutely positive that it will be out of date and full of holes by the time Spring really comes to New York.   

Want a copy? Just fill out the form below and we’ll send you a care package.

Final poster illustration with colors


Published on

26 March 2019


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