The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) has voted to accept Knative as a CNCF incubating project.

Knative is an open source, Kubernetes-based platform for building, deploying, and managing serverless and event-driven applications. It helps development teams manage, monitor, and operate Kubernetes in a way that requires less technical knowledge and time.

Knative was founded in 2018 by Google and subsequently developed in close partnership with IBM, Red Hat, VMWare, and SAP. The project has since grown thanks to the collaboration and contributions of more than 1,800 different individuals in the community.

The project reached version 1.0 in November 2021, meaning all its repositories are designated by the community to be stable and suitable for commercial use. It is currently at v1.2, with periodic releases happening every six weeks.

Knative already has many end users and is deployed as part of product offerings from multiple companies. Production users include Alibaba Cloud, Bloomberg, IBM, VMware, and more.

“Knative gives us a foundation of consistency,” said Andrew Webber, Senior Software Engineer, deepc. “It should be possible for somebody with an algorithm to have it on the [deepc] platform in an hour.”

“The community support is really great,” said Tilen Kavčič, Software Engineer, Outfit7. “The hands-on experience with Knative was so impressive. On the Slack channel, we got actual engineers to answer our questions.”

“I’m a strong believer in working with open source projects,” said Noah Fontes, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Puppet. “We’ve made contributions to numerous projects, including Tekton, Knative, Ambassador, and gVisor, all of which we depend on to make our product functional.”

Knative governance has three central components that oversee the project direction. These include:

“Following the recent achievement of reaching stability with Knative 1.0, we believe that joining CNCF is the next step in enabling the project to grow,” said Carlos Santana, Knative Steering Committee and DOCS-UX Lead. “Becoming an incubating project will encourage additional companies to adopt, contribute to, and evangelize the project. It will also bring the Knative community closer to other cloud native projects in the ecosystem – including all the projects it builds on – helping to establish a virtuous cycle for feedback and features.”

“I’m proud to see end-users adopt Knative for production workloads and vendors bundling it into their products. Knative offers so much value to so many organizations,” said Dave Protasowski, Knative TOC and Serving Lead. “Having the project and trademarks finally be in an open foundation like CNCF gives everyone assurances of its independent future. I’m looking forward to seeing new contributors and further adoption by end-users.”

“Given its close alignment with the Kubernetes project and greater cloud native ecosystem, we’re excited to accept Knative as a CNCF Incubating project,” said Davanum Srinivas, CNCF TOC member and project sponsor. “The Knative community is already thriving, and bringing the communities together  will help to foster innovation and collaboration that can help the project achieve its goal of making serverless workloads accessible to all.”

Main Components:

  • Knative has two main components named Knative Serving and Knative Eventing. While they manage different tasks and outcomes and can operate independently, together, they help make Knative a powerful tool for dev teams and IT professionals.
    • Knative Serving runs serverless containers on Kubernetes with ease. Knative takes care of the details of networking, autoscaling (even to zero), and revision tracking, letting developers focus on your core business logic.
    • Knative Eventing allows for universal subscription, delivery, and management of events based on CloudEvents. Teams can build modern apps by attaching compute to a data stream with declarative event connectivity and a developer-friendly object model.
  • A robust ecosystem of plugins and extensions exists in the knative-sandbox, including a CLI and Installation Operator.

Notable Milestones:

  • 11k+ GitHub Stars
  • 79 Releases
  • 500-1,200 pull requests per month
  • 150-400 issues per month
  • 1.8k+ contributors
  • 4k+ Slack Members

“Knative is a powerful technology that is well integrated with a variety of other CNCF projects and the cloud native ecosystem, making it easier to run serverless containers on Kubernetes,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of CNCF. “We think the project will benefit greatly from cultivating its community under CNCF and moving to a fully open governance model under the foundation, allowing it to grow even more by reaching new contributors and end users. We look forward to working with the Knative community and welcome the team’s contribution.”

The project has a comprehensive roadmap of new features for both Serving and Eventing. A key feature of Knative is its focus on developer productivity. Knative Functions, currently in pre-release, targets optimized developer productivity and ease of use for the Knative building blocks of Eventing and Serving, bringing an event-driven faas-like experience to Knative. Functions leverage CNCF Buildpacks to convert the user’s application code to a container.

As a CNCF-hosted project, Knative is part of a neutral foundation aligned with its technical interests, as well as the larger Linux Foundation, which provides governance, marketing support, and community outreach. Knative joins incubating technologies Argo, Buildpacks, Chaos Mesh, CIlium, CloudEvents, CNI, Contour, Cortex, CRI-O, Crossplane, Dapr, Dragonfly, emissary-ingress, Falco, Flagger, Flux, gRPC, KEDA, KubeEdge, Litmus, Longhorn, NATS, Notary, OpenMetrics, OpenTelemetry, Operator Framework, SPIFFE, SPIRE, and Thanos. For more information on maturity requirements for each level, please visit the CNCF Graduation Criteria.

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