Our Ten Favorite Cloud-Native Influencers (and Five Who Are Just Getting Started!)

Lukas Gentele
Goodness Chris-Ugari
11 min read

It’s no secret that the cloud-native space is booming, and the world is moving increasingly toward cloud-based solutions. It’s important for organizations to keep up with the latest trends and developments in their industry to stay relevant and competitive, which is where influencers come in. Influencers are those who are knowledgeable, respected, or insightful about a particular topic. Cloud-native influencers are thought leaders who are shaping the future of the cloud. They come from various backgrounds, but all have a deep understanding of cloud-native technologies and are always willing to share their knowledge with others. They’re leading the charge in making cloud-native technologies more accessible and widely adopted. They exert significant influence on the market and can even make or break trends, so it’s worth following them for both interesting insights and innovative ideas.

As much as you can learn about cloud-native and cloud-native technologies through online courses and documentation, getting information from those who have had firsthand experience with the field or technologies can help educate or inspire your cloud-native journey. Following these influencers will help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and give you insights into different perspectives and alternate ways of approaching problems. Seeing what others have achieved can inspire you to do the same and push your own boundaries.

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of our ten favorite cloud-native influencers and five new influencers who are just getting started but have a lot of potential to make a significant impact. The cloud-native influencers in this article have been chosen for one or more of the following reasons: their experience in the cloud-native field, contributions to cloud-native projects, and commitment to helping others learn about and use cloud-native technologies. These top ten influencers are all well-respected members of cloud-native communities and are well-known for their work in promoting and developing these technologies, their contributions to cloud-native projects, and their ability to communicate complex concepts clearly.

#Our Ten Favorite Cloud-Native Influencers

If you’re looking for someone to follow on Twitter or LinkedIn or someone to watch at an upcoming conference, these are the ten people you should be following. These influencers will help you stay up-to-date on all the latest news and developments in the world of cloud computing, and they’ll also provide valuable insights into how best to use these technologies in your own organization.

#Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower)

Kelsey Hightower’s Twitter

First on our list is Kelsey Hightower. Sometimes referred to as the “Kubernetes guy,” Kelsey Hightower is a software engineer, developer advocate, and speaker. He is known for his work with Kubernetes, open source software, and cloud computing. Kelsey Hightower is a principal platform engineer at Google.

Kelsey Hightower is one of the most well-known and respected voices in the cloud-native community. He’s a strong advocate for the use of open source technologies and has helped promote the use of Kubernetes, one of the most popular open source container orchestration platforms. He is one of the core maintainers of the Helm project and has been instrumental in making Kubernetes and Helm more accessible to developers. He’s also a prolific speaker (at events like CloudNativeCon and KubeCon) and writer, sharing his expertise on cloud-native technologies with the wider community.

#Ahmet Alp Balkan (@ahmetb)

Ahmet Alp Balkan’s Twitter

If you’re looking for some cloud-native inspiration, you need to check out Ahmet Alp Balkan. He’s one of the top cloud-native influencers out there, and his blog is a wealth of information.

Ahmet Alp Balkan was a staff software engineer on Twitter’s Compute Platform team, where he worked to update the company’s infrastructure, making it easier for developers to work. Before joining Twitter, Ahmet worked at Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure for almost ten years, focusing on container-based open source tools and services including Kubernetes, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Knative. He was the first to work on bringing Docker into the Azure ecosystem and porting it to Windows. He created and helps maintain developer tools like krew.dev, grpc-health-probe, kubectl-tree, and kubectx.dev.

Ahmet is a true practitioner of the cloud-native way of life, and he loves sharing his insights with others. He’s always on the lookout for new technologies and trends, and he’s not afraid to experiment, as can be seen in his open source projects that many have found useful. Ahmet also has a YouTube channel where he talks about infrastructure technologies and explains cloud-native concepts in Turkish, so if you speak Turkish, do check that out!

#Kief Morris (@kief)

Kief Morris’s Twitter

Kief Morris is an author, speaker, and consultant for Thoughtworks. His time in both DevOps and cloud development in large organizations has given him insights into how cloud-native can be productively used within larger enterprises. Kief is one of our favorite cloud-native influencers. Why? Because he’s a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to the cloud, and he promotes discussions about how cloud and infrastructure technology may be improved to assist teams in providing value efficiently and consistently.

Kief has been working in the technology industry for over twenty years, and his expertise ranges from public cloud to containers to DevOps. He’s also the author of Infrastructure as Code and is a regular keynote speaker at conferences all over the world.

#Mitchell Hashimoto (@mitchellh)

Mitchell Hashimoto’s Twitter

Mitchell Hashimoto is a cofounder of HashiCorp, a company that’s shaking up the way we think about DevOps. His work has been instrumental in the rise of containerization and the DevOps movement, and he was also named on the Forbes 30 Under 30: Enterprise Technology list in 2017.

Mitchell Hashimoto has created some of the best-known DevOps tools, including Vagrant and Terraform, so he tends to focus heavily on those areas in his talks. As the creator of Vagrant and Hashicorp, Mitchell Hashimoto is one of the leading cloud-native architects and most influential people in the cloud-native space.

#Joe Beda (@jbeda)

Joe Beda’s Twitter

Joe Beda is a well-known name in the cloud-native world. He is one of the creators of Kubernetes and Google’s Compute Engine. Joe works for VMware as a principal engineer. Prior to VMware purchasing Heptio (a company with the aim of making Kubernetes available to all), he served as its cofounder and CTO.

Joe is also a speaker and author. He has given talks at conferences such as KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, OSCON, and GopherCon. His book Kubernetes: Up & Running, which he coauthored with Kelsey Hightower and Brendan Burns, is a comprehensive guide to understanding and using Kubernetes. Joe is always sharing his insights and knowledge on Twitter.

#Tim Hockin (@thockin)

Tim Hockin’s Twitter

Tim Hockin is a principal software engineer at Google, working on Kubernetes and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). Tim Hockin has been a big contributor to Kubernetes. In fact, he’s one of the cocreators and maintainers of Kubernetes, and he often posts on Twitter about the project’s broader ecosystem.

You may not have heard of Tim Hockin, but you should definitely keep an eye on him. He’s one of the stars in the cloud-native world. Tim is helping others learn more about the cloud-native tool Kubernetes through talks, presentations, podcasts, and even Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions. He has spoken at events like CloudNativeDay and KubeCon.

#Bilgin Ibryam (@bibryam)

Bilgin Ibryam’s Twitter

Bilgin Ibryam is a principal product manager at Diagrid. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the author of Camel Design Patterns, and the coauthor of Kubernetes Patterns. Bilgin has been working in the software industry for more than fifteen years. He was a senior technical product manager at Red Hat, focused on the management of various Red Hat product and service offerings like OpenShift API Designer, OpenShift Service Registry, and OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka.

Bilgin Ibryam’s work focused on open source integration technologies including Apache Camel, Apache Kafka, and Apache ActiveMQ. He’s one of the top cloud-native influencers out there, and his insights are always ahead of the curve.

Bilgin is a true cloud evangelist and has been working in the industry since the early days of cloud computing. Bilgin takes pleasure in mentoring, coaching, and organizing teams to achieve success with application integration, distributed systems, and cloud-native apps. He also blogs and contributes to open source projects in his free time.

#Ian Coldwater (@IanColdwater)

Ian Coldwater’s Twitter

Ian Coldwater is currently the director of offense security at Twilio, a cochair of Kubernetes Special Interest Group (SIG) Security, and also a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) ambassador, which means they are an advocate for using open source technologies to build scalable, cloud-native applications.

They have also spoken at several conferences, including KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America, devopsdays, and the O’Reilly Velocity Conference. Before joining Twilio, Ian was a lead platform security engineer.

Ian Coldwater has been focused on security issues in cloud-native technologies. Ian was voted Top Ambassador by other CNCF Ambassadors in 2020 for being a top advocate of the cloud-native space and raising awareness of cloud-native as well as CNCF and its projects. They’re quickly becoming one of the top cloud-native influencers out there. They are an engineer with a serious knack for making complex concepts easy to understand.

#Chris Aniszczyk (@cra)

Chris Aniszczyk’s Twitter

Chris Aniszczyk is the CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, where he helps promote and advance cloud-native technologies. Chris Aniszczyk is an open source technologist with a passion for building a better world through open collaboration, and he’s focused on developer relations and running the Open Container Initiative (OCI)/Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). He’s been a part of the open source community for over a decade and is a frequent speaker on all things cloud-native.

If you want to keep up with what’s happening in the world of containers and container orchestration, Chris Aniszczyk’s feed is a good place to start.

#Brendan Burns (@brendandburns)

Brendan Burns’s Twitter

Brendan Burns is a distinguished engineer at Microsoft Azure and a founding member of the Azure Container Service team. Brendan is also a Kubernetes cofounder and core contributor, and he currently serves as the corporate vice president at Microsoft. In addition to his work on container orchestration, Brendan has also been instrumental in developing other cloud-native technologies, such as the Service Fabric platform-as-a-service offering.

Brendan tweets about Kubernetes and related tools, not just from a technical standpoint but also from an operations perspective. He’s a strong advocate for using Kubernetes to manage and orchestrate cloud-native applications. He’s now a maintainer of the project and is helping to drive its continued development and growth.

#Five Cloud-Native Influencers That Are Just Getting Started

You may not have heard of all of these cloud-native influencers, but they’re worth keeping an eye on. Why? Because they’re starting to make their mark in the cloud-native world, and they’re going to be big players in years to come. So here are five relatively new cloud-native influencers who we think deserve your attention.

#Ihor Dvoretskyi (@idvoretskyi)

Ihor Dvoretskyi is the developer advocate at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), focused on Kubernetes-related efforts in the open source community. He’s also a Google Developer Expert (GDE) and speaks at industry events such as Google DevFests, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Kubernetes Leadership, Contributors Summits, and OpenStack. Prior to joining CNCF, Ihor worked as a program manager for Kubernetes at Mirantis.

#Daniel Bryant (@danielbryantuk)

Daniel Bryant is well-known within the cloud-native community. His influence can be seen in his many blog posts and conference presentations on topics such as service mesh, microservices, distributed tracing, and more.

Daniel Bryant is also a regular speaker at industry events such as KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, the O’Reilly Velocity Conference, the GOTO Conference, and QCon London. In addition to his technical expertise, he has a strong focus on culture and advocacy within the cloud-native community. He is a firm believer in giving back to the community through mentorship and participation in open source projects.

#Neependra Khare (@neependra)

Neependra Khare is the founder of CloudYuga, a cloud computing training and consulting company. He is also a Docker Captain, meaning he is one of the official leaders of the Docker community. He has been working in the IT industry for more than fifteen years and has experience with a wide range of technologies.

Neependra Khare’s training platform is aimed at helping people learn about cloud-native technologies and DevOps. He also has a YouTube channel called CloudYuga, which features tutorials and lectures on various topics related to cloud computing. In addition to his work with CloudYuga, Neependra Khare is also a CNCF Ambassador.

#Katie Gamanji (@k_gamanji)

Katie Gamanji is a senior Kubernetes field engineer at Apple, leading all things Kubernetes and cloud-native, and is a leading voice in the cloud-native community. She’s a strong advocate for the use of containers and microservices.

Katie is a member of the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC). She’s also one of the creators of the Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) exam and has a free cloud-native application development course on Udacity that helps people learn how to deploy applications to a Kubernetes cluster.

#Nana Janashia (@Njuchi_)

Nana Janashia is a DevOps trainer and consultant. Using her YouTube channel, TechWorld with Nana, she has been able to share her knowledge on DevOps and cloud-native technologies. She has reached and helped hundreds of thousands of people via her channel and many courses. Her interest is in making difficult concepts simple enough for anyone to understand. Nana is also a CNCF Ambassador, Docker Captain, and AWS Container Hero.


There are many great cloud-native influencers out there who are doing amazing things to promote the use of cloud technologies. In this article, we listed our ten favorites as well as five up-and-coming influencers who are only just getting started. Following some (or all) of these influencers will help keep you up to date with the latest advancements in the world of cloud computing.

Sign up for our newsletter

Be the first to know about new features, announcements and industry insights.