CNCF Postpones KubeCon+CloudNativeCon Europe 2020 Amid Coronavirus Concerns

4 Mar 2020 11:01am, by

Due to the growing concerns around the rapid spread of Coronavirus Disease, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has decided to officially cancel and reschedule its upcoming 2020 KubeCon+CloudNativeCon in Amsterdam next month, originally scheduled for March 30-April 2. The CNCF will also completely cancel KubeCon + CloudNativeCon + Open Source Summit Shanghai in July 2020. The event is currently expected to be rescheduled to a yet-to-be-determined date in July or August 2020, with the North America event in Boston next November expected to occur as planned.

According to the announcement, all registrations for the event in Amsterdam would be updated to the July/August date, with the CNCF working with host hotels to cancel current reservations. All 180 sponsors will be accepted for the new dates as well, and speakers are expected to give a talk on the same subject, although they may need to “make adjustments to their topics to cover advances in the intervening six months.” Alongside this, the announcement also notes that each of the Day 0 co-located events will go forward as planned on the new dates.

For those attendees not able to make it to the new dates, the CNCF says that a full refund will be available.

KubeCon is one of a number of tech conferences that have been canceled due to  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), including Google I/O, Facebook F8, Mobile World Congress and others.

Discussion around canceling the event had been making the rounds of the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) email list earlier this week, with the co-located Kubernetes Contributor Summit also discussing whether or not to virtualize the 2020 EU Kubernetes Contributor Summit — now moot with the rescheduling of the conference itself.

The decision to cancel and reschedule KubeCon was announced by CNCF executive director Dan Kohn, who today told The New Stack that the decision had been made because of a number of factors.

“Between corporate travel cancellations, health and well-being concerns, and the wishes of many members of our community, we decided it was in everyone’s best interest to postpone,” wrote Kohn in an e-mail.

Earlier this week, Kohn had asserted that the conference would continue “as planned,” a confirmation he offered “given the understandable anxiety” around COVID-19.

At that time, the CNCF had decided upon a number of requirements for attendees, including that they had not visited certain China, South Korea, Iran, and the Lombardy region of Italy within a specified time period, and Kohn wrote that “we are sending an email to all registrants shortly that requires them to log back into the registration system and attest that they’re following those guidelines.” Guidelines also included suggestions that attendees “maintain Social Distancing” by standing “a minimum of 3 feet (1 meter) from other people, especially those that may be sneezing, coughing and/or exhibiting cold/flu symptoms” as well as adopting a “no-handshake policy.”

While Kohn had insisted the show would go on as planned, the email thread grew over the last week, with respondents pointing out that, between governments banning large gatherings and companies banning non-essential travel, they may have to reconsider. Shannon Williams, a co-founder at Rancher Labs, for example, wrote that he had “been getting a number of notes from people letting me know they won’t be attending, and it sounds like a few sponsors have decided not to participate” and that he would “like to understand the financial implications to the foundation if we reached a point where we did need to cancel the event, or turn it into a virtual event.”

Kohn addressed this idea of a virtual event in the cancellation email, writing that “Although nearly all the implementation work for CNCF-hosted projects is conducted online, in-person events are invaluable for making and strengthening the connections that enable our technical communities to thrive,” seemingly affirming the opinion that a virtual replacement would not suffice.

The new date will be finalized and announced shortly, wrote Kohn, noting that “by mid-summer, there will be more clarity on the effectiveness of control measures to enable safe travel to industry events like this one.”

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, KubeCon+CloudNativeCon are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image by iXimus from Pixabay.