9 Open Source Developer Tools for Kubernetes

In 2014, Kubernetes surfaced from work at Google and quickly became the de facto standard for container management and orchestration. Despite its Silicon Valley origins, it became one of the most impactful open source projects in the history of computing. Today, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) maintains Kubernetes with help from many private companies and independent open source developers. 

Open source extensibility remains critical to the Kubernetes community and the project’s life cycle. The CNCF publishes a standardized set of APIs and runs a Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program to facilitate this. That ensures every version of Kubernetes and related tools, regardless of whether those are vendor or community developed, supports the APIs required for Kubernetes implementations to function properly. 

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The community surrounding Kubernetes is deeply committed to the project and is constantly sharing new tools and features to help developers run, test, and code cloud-native services within Kubernetes. While 2021 was a massive year for the project, there’s more to come. Here are some additional emerging open source tools you should check out for testing, software delivery workflow, monitoring, networking, scanning and service mesh, among others. 

Kubernetes Testing

Kube Monkey

Kube Monkey implements Netflix’s famous Chaos Monkey chaos engineering experiments in Kubernetes implementations. It works by randomly deleting K8s pods in a cluster, thereby continuously evaluating and validating failure-resilient services.  

Software Delivery Workflow

Devtron

Devtron is a software delivery workflow tool designed for operationalizing and maintaining applications in a developer-friendly way. It features zero-code delivery that minimizes manual scripting and allows deployment to multiple clusters in multiple clouds and/or on-premises data centers from one Devtron setup. 

Monitoring

Prometheus

If you haven’t yet worked with Prometheus, it may be time to give it a try. Prometheus is an open source monitoring framework that provides out-of-the-box monitoring capabilities for Kubernetes. It can collect massive amounts of data every second and is suitable for highly complex workloads. It works by sending HTTP requests, also called scrapes, based on a pre-defined configuration. The scrape response is parsed and stored along with any relevant metrics and metadata. 

Kubernetes Delivery

Argo CD

Argo CD is a declarative, open source, continuous delivery tool for Kubernetes. It enables application deployment and life cycle management that is automated, auditable and relatively easy to understand and manage. 

Kubernetes Network

Calico

Calico is an open source container network interface (CNI) solution designed for containers, virtual machines (VMs) and local host-based workloads. In Kubernetes implementations, Calico operates over Layer 3 to securely route packets to pods and provide network policies. It can also integrate with a service mesh to enforce workload policies within clusters.  

Service Mesh

Istio

Istio is an open source service mesh designed to layer with existing distributed applications (such as service-oriented applications). In Kubernetes implementations, Istio complements K8s by enhancing security, observability and traffic management. 

Kubernetes Scanning

Trivy

Trivy is an open source scanner for container images designed to detect vulnerabilities on OS packages and application dependencies. Unlike some similar products, it is known for its ease of implementation and usability and the ability to integrate seamlessly into existing software deployment pipelines. 

Checkov

 Chekov is an open source scanning framework that uses command line interface (CLI) capability to manage and analyze infrastructure-as-code (IaC) implementations across many platforms, including Kubernetes. It enables the detection of misconfigurations and helps maintain cloud security best practices. 

Kubescape

 Kubescape is the first open source tool for testing if Kubernetes is deployed securely according to multiple frameworks such as the NSA-CISA and the MITRE ATT&CK® framework and marks the first time that teams can test Kubernetes against multiple frameworks in one single click. Kubescape scans K8s clusters, YAML files and Helm charts, enabling the detection of misconfigurations and software vulnerabilities at early stages of the CI/CD pipeline, calculates a risk score and shows risk trends over time. It became one of the fastest-growing Kubernetes security compliance tools among developers due to its easy-to-use CLI interface, flexible output formats and automated scanning capabilities. Kubescape integrates natively with other DevOps tools, including Jenkins, CircleCI, GitHub workflows, GitLab and Slack and supports multi-cloud K8s deployments like EKS, GKE and AKS.

The Future of Open Source Kubernetes Tools

It’s incredible how many tools are there to empower Kubernetes developers and operators with powerful container orchestration. Since the very beginning, open source tools have been both the foundation and the future of Kubernetes implementations. While 2021 was a pretty big year for open source extensibility with Kubernetes a number of high-quality products, there is still plenty of opportunity for new innovation in the future. 

Jonathan Kaftzan

Jonathan Kaftzan is vice president of marketing and business development at ARMO.

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