Upbound seeks to take advantage of Kubernetes’ growing role as an operating system for the cloud

Can a five-year-old startup with $69 million in funding emerge as the preferred solution in the multicloud management space? This is the main question surrounding Upbound Inc. And for him Crossplan Open source initiative.

the Release Crossplane in May 2020 marks a major step in multicloud management. With a single declarative API, Crossplane delivers a unified solution for handling cloud resources and infrastructure across multiple vendors.

The approach leveraged an interesting set of cloud-native technologies to centralize control, including the Kubernetes container orchestration tool and infrastructure-as-code. As much as the enterprise computing industry has converged on Linux and Kubernetes in years past, Upbound is building on a similar effect to Crossplane.

“People want a central point of control,” he said, “and they do it around a level of control regardless of the workload.” Bassam TabbaraFounder and CEO of Upbound, exclusively interview With siliconeangle. “The best kept secret in the cloud is the control plane.”

Open multi-cloud management

Upbound’s focus on the control plane highlights growth Kubernetes role As a platform for building platforms. Crossplane exposes workload abstractions on top of Kubernetes for easy migration across the cloud.

in White papers Published nearly four years ago by Tabbara and a couple of colleagues to introduce Crossplane, technologists have made it clear that cloud computing needs an open-source tool that isn’t proprietary to “a small group of cloud providers.” By leveraging Kubernetes, users can basically hire a high-level coordinator across the cloud.

“Crossplane enables platform teams to aggregate infrastructure from multiple vendors and expose higher-level self-service APIs for application teams to consume, without having to write much code.” Arun Chandrasekaran, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research, in an interview for this story. “A common challenge in multicloud deployments is that each cloud service provider has its own control planes, APIs, tools and user interface. Crossplane control plane reduces friction in multicloud management through an open approach.”

Since Crossplane’s initial preview in 2019, the technology has made steady progress in getting major companies interested. At the end of 2020, IBM announce It will provide a trial version of Crossplane on the IBM Cloud.

Originally a sandbox project for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Crossplane was upgraded to incubation status last year, a step before graduation. The engineering team shares Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services Inc. Code generation lines With the Crossplane community, Red Hat Inc. partners With Crossplane to provide the infrastructure.

Customer use cases are beginning to demonstrate the impact of Crossplane in enterprise operations. Accenture Consultants work for Crossplane Build a DevOps platform As part of a project with Deutsche Bahn, a German railway operator. The European particle physics research center CERN uses Crossplane to transition from the infrastructure as a puppet code tool.

Competitive scene

Upbound, with its Crossplane technology, doesn’t have a multicloud management space to itself. A number of companies are bringing various cloud governance and infrastructure management technologies to the market.

Humanitec GmbH was invoice As the Platform Coordinator for operating internal developer resources and Join CNCF in September. Massdriver Inc. offers development environment To connect production-ready cloud architectures. It r Powered by Combinator The startup that recently raised $4 million in seed capital.

There is also a group of fledgling cloud computing vendors targeting the multicloud management space. These include Prosimo Inc. , which provides multicloud infrastructure for the distributed enterprise cloud; Stacklet Inc. , cloud governance platform; and Stateless, which provides network automation technology for the hybrid and multicloud world.

Then there is VMware Inc. , a virtualization giant who is clearly interested in building control aircraft solutions. company Introduced the Pacific Project In 2019 as a vSphere re-architecture with Kubernetes as the control plane. with the vSphere 7 releaseVMware’s model exposed itself to the traditional Kubernetes control plane and vSphere APIs. Last updates Peripheral vSphere8 and vSAN 8 include a new level of control to provide users with application management in a private cloud or on premises.

“VMware version of the cloud consumption interface uses the Kubernetes control plane to manage vSphere,” he said. Gary Chen, Director of Software-Defined Computing Research at IDC, in an interview with SiliconANGLE for this story. “This is very much in line with what Crossplane is doing with Kubernetes.”

bypass containers

The emergence of Upbound and other companies focusing on multicloud management indicates that Kubernetes has entered a new stage; The container orchestrator ushered in the dawn of the cloud engine. This has led to what some have referred to as a “bifurcation” in the Kubernetes space. While major cloud service providers have built platforms to orchestrate containers, such as Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Google Kubernetes Engine, organizations have needed a broader operational layer. As Upbound shows, Kubernetes can handle this as well.

“There are a lot of functions that can be managed and controlled in multiple clouds,” Chen said. “There is compliance and security and many different angles. There is a trend with Kubernetes to manage things that are not containers.”

Not to be ignored in this direction is the important role CNCF plays in supporting this changing landscape. There were more than 65 organizations Which joined the enterprise last September, and at least a third of it provides cloud infrastructure and operational orchestration services. In addition, there are a number of sandbox projects CNCF is currently preparing to add new orchestration functions derived from the Kubernetes platform.

Karmada enables organizations to migrate applications across clusters and the cloud without having to change code. KubeVela offers a similar service of application, programmable, and agnostic infrastructure. Meshery is a service network management layer deployed on a Kubernetes cluster to manage application microservice connections.

“There will be a whole generation of developers who have grown up with Kubernetes,” Chen noted. “It could help democratize the level of control in the cloud.”

Industry experts believe that what Upbound does to facilitate Crossplane as an essential part of the multicloud story can only grow in importance. But despite being name of the thing As one of Gartner’s four “cloud computing hotspots” this year, there is also a sense that having so many CNCF projects and startups building on the Kubernetes platform could lead to a very fractured space. While early returns point to potential disruption for larger cloud-based companies, the market reality is that Crossplane may eventually need to be adopted by one of them to really get up to exit velocity.

“The broader support Crossplane can get is an important factor here,” said Chandrasekaran of Gartner. “The status quo is that it’s pretty shattered, but if any of the big vendors adopt Crossplane – it could become influential.”

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