Did you know that among companies contributing to Kubernetes, SAP ranked among the top 10 committers in 2019?

Although SAP may be one of the world’s largest proprietary software companies, we also have a well-established history of contributing to a diverse range of open source projects. In part, our goal has been to support the open development of enterprise-scale tools, and enable free discussion and collaboration. At SAP, we believe it is important to be involved as de facto standards are decided, to ensure the interoperability of different tools and services.

Our commitment to Kubernetes stems from pragmatism. SAP needs to deliver wherever our customers are, which means offering a multicloud strategy and a uniform deployment stack. Kubernetes fits the bill; it supports the enterprise-scale adoption of the tools and services needed by SAP’s customers as they transition to public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

What Is Gardener?

Gardener is an SAP-driven open source project that tackles real-world demands for hyperscale Kubernetes services, regardless of infrastructure. It provides a layer across any cloud provider and the means to use a range of mixed Kubernetes clusters in parallel.

The result is flexibility for cloud native developers, who can use the tools they want, within the environment they want. Gardener provides a neutral toolbox for the technology stack of today, and we designed it to be sufficiently extensible so that — with relatively low effort — it can additionally adapt for the tools and infrastructures that come next. No one can say which direction the Kubernetes ecosystem will take, but Gardener is designed to keep things open and flexible.

Sponsor Note

A key principle of Gardener is to adhere to Kubernetes concepts for all of its tasks, and to offer a common, open platform that eliminates lock-in. Many cloud services offer a Kubernetes-based platform, and many vendors also provide their own branded Kubernetes distributions. However, we found them to be highly restrictive, occasionally low in terms of technology readiness, and also limited by their business model (typically locked into a single vendor).

With Gardener, SAP customers can automate the management of thousands of heterogeneous conformant Kubernetes clusters across multiple infrastructures — for example, Alicloud, AWS, Azure, GCP, OpenStack, Packet, MetalStack, and vSphere — in a homogeneous way and at minimal cost.

Within SAP, workloads on Kubernetes range from databases (SAP HANA), big data (SAP Data Hub), IoT, AI and Machine Learning, to diverse business workloads (SAP Commerce Cloud). Recent success stories that also include Gardener on top of Kubernetes are the SAP Business Application Studio, SAP HANA Cloud and the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, Kyma Runtime.

Why Have We Open-Sourced Gardener?

Within SAP, we have been running a managed service based on Gardener for some years now. We decided to open source Gardener when it became clear that it has the potential to fill a gap as companies develop their multicloud strategies. Although we do not provide Gardener as a public managed service, the public project benefits from the ongoing improvements that we make as we run our own managed Kubernetes services for our customers.

We are determined to be transparent with Gardener, by developing everything in the public space and then adopting it with minor SAP specific integrations in-house. It’s always been imperative to keep it vendor-neutral and to stick to upstream Kubernetes practices, design and processes.

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Growing Kubernetes at Scale with Open Source Project Gardener
1.25 GEEK