Upbound Unfurls Managed Crossplane Control Plane Service

Upbound today made generally available a namesake multi-tenant instance of a control plane management service based on the open source Crossplane project.

Crossplane is an extension of the Kubernetes control plane that makes use of opinionated Crossplane composite resource definitions (XRDs) and Kubernetes custom resource definitions (CRDs) to integrate with legacy platforms. That capability makes it possible to centrally manage control planes across multiple clouds and on-premises IT environments.

Upbound CEO Bassam Tabbara says the goal is to make it simpler for platform engineering teams to centrally manage infrastructure resources. The managed service provides a higher level of abstraction based on a declarative application programming interface (API) through which they provision infrastructure in a way that eliminates configuration drift.

Created in 2018 to make it possible to build control planes without needing to write code, Crossplane is being advanced as an incubating project under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Upbound is now providing managed instances of Crossplane that will auto-scale as more resources are added. The company also automatically manages major and minor upgrades of core components and offers backups with automatic snapshotting of the platform to enable disaster recovery.

Every control plane that runs on Upbound has a configuration defined in a Git repository. With Git-synced configurations supported on GitHub, platform teams can then iterate on the definitions of their control plane’s APIs within their repository and push them to their control plane without needing to manage the build or deployment pipeline.

That capability will enable IT teams to bootstrap a cloud platform in minutes and then authenticate to external services using the OpenID Connect (OIDC) framework. They can also control plane usage, manage operations, debug API calls flowing through control planes and integrate with logging and monitoring solutions.

Finally, IT teams are also provided with a single view of the control planes being managed.

It’s not clear at what rate organizations are moving to centrally manage control planes, but the Upbound service is arriving at a time when IT organizations are becoming increasingly sensitive to the total cost of IT. Each control plane employed today is managed in isolation, requiring organizations to hire IT staff to manage each type. Upbound is making a case for a centralized approach to managing infrastructure at a higher level of abstraction that promises to reduce overhead in a way that reduces IT costs.

Organizations that embrace Kubernetes gain a control plane that is embedded within the platform. Rather than attempting to extend legacy control planes to Kubernetes, it may prove simpler to extend the Kubernetes control plane to legacy IT environments using Crossplane as the number of DevOps teams familiar with Kubernetes continues to rise.

Each organization will naturally need to decide which approach makes the most sense, but regardless of the approach, any effort to reduce the total cost of IT needs to start with the control planes being used to manage modern IT infrastructure.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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