Upbound Advances Crossplane Control Plane for Hybrid IT Environments

Upbound has made generally available an Upbound Cloud service through which IT teams can manage clusters running a curated distribution of Crossplane, an open source control plane being advanced under the auspices of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Originally developed by Upbound, Crossplane isolates the control plane created for Kubernetes from the core underlying platform.

Bassam Tabbara, CEO, Upbound, says that approach makes it possible to apply that control plane to both legacy and cloud-native computing environments rather than having to deploy a separate control plane for each IT environment.

Available on the GitHub repository in addition to the AWS Marketplace and OperatorHub registry, the distribution of Crossplane being made available by Upbound is dubbed Upbound Universal Crossplane (UXP). Upbound is also making generally available Upbound Registry, a library of tools for deploying and managing instances of Crossplane.

Enterprise IT environments are simultaneously becoming more extended and complex. Application workloads are now being deployed on edge computing platforms alongside existing on-premises IT environments and multiple public clouds. Those workloads are now made up of containers, serverless computing frameworks that are being deployed on top of both virtual machines and bare metal servers. At the same time, IT organizations are under pressure to reduce the total cost of IT by centralizing the management of the extended enterprise.

It’s not clear what level of momentum Crossplane currently has, but one way or another, the management of enterprise IT environments will eventually be centralized as IT automation platforms continue to advance. The issue that IT organizations will need to come to terms with is the degree to which they may want to deploy IT automation frameworks built on top of a control plane themselves versus relying on a managed service deployed and maintained by an external service provider.

Organizations that embrace Kubernetes gain a control plane that is embedded within the platform. Unlike legacy control planes that might one day be extended to support Kubernetes, Tabbara said many organizations will find it more practical to extend a modern control plane based on an immutable architecture to manage legacy platforms alongside Kubernetes.

Each organization will naturally need to decide which approach makes the most sense. There is always an upfront cost when implementing any new control plane that needs to be weighed against either extending an existing platform or opting to implement multiple control planes, regardless of the friction it creates. Right now most IT organizations already have at least one or more control planes in place, but as Kubernetes clusters starts to become more widely deployed, the pressure to find a way to centralize the management of IT is only going to increase. The issue at hand is how quickly legacy management platforms can be extended to manage Kubernetes at any real depth.

Regardless of the path forward, the need to converge management tasks is becoming more acute. Various specialists spanning everything from traditional IT operations and DevOps processes to security and compliance need to find simpler ways to collaborate. A common control plane, in one form or another, is foundational to enabling those efforts.

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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