Open source-based startup Upbound is growing its portfolio with the launch of the Managed Control Planes service on April 4.
The concept of a control plane is central to the practice of platform engineering, which is a growing trend in 2023. A control plane provides a common interface for provisioning and management of services in a platform. Among the most popular control planes is the open source Crossplane project, which Upbound leads. Crossplane is based on the open source Kubernetes control plane, and it enables users to pull in services from different providers and cloud service providers.
With its new Managed Control Planes service, Upbound is providing a managed offering for Crossplane that provides a series of core benefits, including:
- Fully managed control plane. Upbound handles the scaling of the system.
- Git integration. The service can be integrated with a GitOps approach.
- Upbound console. Upbound is providing a unified management console.
- Initial user experience. A key focus is getting users up and running quickly.
- Simplified day-two operations. Platform operators can monitor and manage control plane usage, troubleshoot API calls passing through users' control planes, and integrate with monitoring and logging solutions.
"Most companies we talk to are building some form of a central shared services platform," Bassam Tabbara, CEO and founder of Upbound, told ITPro Today. "The way that they're doing that is they're now starting to use control planes to manage services and build around them."
Why the Crossplane Control Plane Matters to Platform Engineers
In recent years, organizations have been increasingly standardizing on Kubernetes as a way to orchestrate containers and the cloud workloads that run on them, according to Tabbara.
However, only a fraction of all the different services that cloud providers offer are actually running on Kubernetes. The promise of Crossplane is that platform engineers can pull in any number of cloud services from different cloud providers and manage them all from a single, unified control plane.
"With Crossplane, organizations are able to basically consolidate on a single point of control for everything," Tabbara said. "They're able to offer a self-service API experience to developers."
How Upbound Managed Control Planes Empowers Platform Engineers
To date, users of Crossplane have largely had to install and deploy the technology on their own and manage it inside of a Kubernetes cluster. The challenge is that Kubernetes was designed to scale nodes and the control plane is not something that scales particularly easily.
When you start Crossplane, you don't use nodes," Tabbara said. "You're just using the control plane, so that has become an issue in terms of performance and scale."
What Upbound Managed Control Planes does is provide what Tabbara calls a "pure" control plane that Upbound scales and manages for users.
"We've spent two years with customers deploying, managing, and scaling Crossplane at large companies, and now we're seeing the next level of what people need in terms of managing and scaling control things," he said. "And that's what we've built with Upbound Managed Control Planes."
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.