IBM Throws Weight Behind Crossplane Project

An open source project that makes it easier to deploy and manage applications at scale on multiple Kubernetes clusters called Crossplane has reached a 1.0 milestone at the same time IBM is revealing it is making available an experimental edition of Crossplane available on the IBM Cloud.

Crossplane provides the mechanism that enables developers to model applications as a single unit that can be orchestrated and deployed to the cloud or cluster of their choice using a single scheduler. Crossplane makes it possible to incorporate a set of cloud application programming interfaces (API) using a simple API schema to create a Crossplane Resource Model.

Currently a sandbox level project being advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Crossplane employs the APIs of a Kubernetes cluster to make it easier for DevOps teams to model repeatable blueprints for deploying multiple applications in concert across a distributed computing environment made up of services from multiple cloud providers.

Chris Bailey,  lead architect for hybrid cloud observability and hybrid cloud solutions at IBM, says IBM has decided to join this project as part of an effort to advance application release automation in a way that empowers developers to developers to deploy complex applications safely.

Crossplane was originally developed by Upbound, a provider of tools for orchestrating Kubernetes environments systems. The latest version defines a set of APIs while adding support for leader election, Prometheus metrics for all binaries and configuration tools. Members of the Crossplane project community include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Alibaba Cloud, Red Hat, GitLab Equinix, Accenture, VSHN AG and Akirix.

Bailey says IBM expects Crossplane will play a significant role also in enabling observability across hybrid Kubernetes environments in addition to making it easier to manage latency issues by optimizing traffic flows as applications based on microservices are added and updated within a distributed IT environment. More than 85 IBM cloud services are now compatible with Crossplane, with more to come in the weeks ahead, he says.

IBM will also be working toward employing Crossplane to make it easier to deploy the open source Istio service mesh as well as Knative middleware for integrating Kubernetes clusters with serverless computing frameworks.

While IBM is betting heavily on the Red Hat OpenShift application development and deployment platform based on Kubernetes to provide the foundation from which hybrid cloud computing will be enabled, it’s clear additional tools and capabilities will be required. For example, IBM recently announced its intention to acquire Instana to gain access to an observability platform optimized for microservices-based applications. IBM is now describing Crossplane as a “vital component” of its hybrid cloud computing strategy.

Of course, IBM isn’t the only IT vendor betting on Kubernetes and a raft of associated open source platforms to drive the next era of IT. Regardless of which vendor provides that platform, it’s increasingly apparent the rate at which that new era is going to arrive is accelerating. In the meantime, IT teams might want to start planning now how they might centralize the management of multiple clouds today that are increasingly becoming prohibitively expensive to operate.

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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