A Story Of True Dedication And Hard Work

Jan 7, 2019

Over the last couple of months I was pondering how Giant Swarm has become so successful. I was wondering why the product and service we provide works out so well for our customers. From my current point of view, I figured it is exactly that: our product and our service. Giant Swarm provides these two pillars. When your business depends on ever-evolving and interconnected applications, Giant Swarm provides the technology and support you need to master your Kubernetes infrastructure. And not only yours, we also dog food our own product and service for our internal applications. Our website and testing environments are just a few examples.

We were already here before Kubernetes was even a thing. When we started out developing our own first scheduler based on Docker containers and CoreOS’ Fleet, we quickly noticed that this is just not good enough in the long run. Just around that time, we noticed this Kubernetes thing was gaining traction. Like mad. It was interesting and we thought that might be something. At some point we had to make a decision. A tough one. We could not go back. We had to move on. We gathered together, evaluated alternatives, and chose Kubernetes. We threw away basically everything we worked on back then over the past two years, and with it time and money. As it turned out, the bold move was the right one. Now we were essentially backed by the collective intelligence of the community and their amazing efforts to transform digital infrastructure management like the world has never seen before. We were sitting on the train basically from day one and stood once more on the shoulders of giants.


With Giant Swarm you get as close to the Kubernetes upstream ecosystem as it gets. Our technology policy is open source by default. Kubernetes, Calico and Flannel ring a bell. Check out our Github organization, with its roughly a dozen of operators and lots of other microservices and tools. We are a Golang shop, but we also have a little bit of Python. We try to automate away anything we can get our hands on, in order to make infrastructure for the end user as easy as possible, while maintaining a healthy balance of providing established community standards transparently. We leverage our own operatorkit framework. It was the first of its kind and continues to evolve. We run all of this in production on a daily basis and manage hundreds of Kubernetes clusters reliably while opening and resolving dozens of postmortems proactively every week. We deploy improvements every day, everywhere. Bugs often get fixed within an hour. Our mindsets are aligned and center around the constant value innovation of our product and its ability to serve our customers’ most pressing needs. In the future we want to provide an easy button for a lot of managed apps and extend our product to run on even more cloud providers. On-premise, AWS, and Azure are already a thing you might be interested in. One specialty we cover already is AWS in China, which is a whole different beast BTW. Give us a reason and we do it, no matter what.


When working with Giant Swarm you get a bolt-on team who are experts in their field. At the scale we operate, we fix problems you never thought about, before you could ever have experienced or fixed them yourself. That is also how we add value for you in the long run. And when you are in this game, you are in it for the long run. Our single most important mission is to stand by your side and help you solve real problems. The dedication of my colleagues humbles me over and over again. When working on a solution for your problem, these guys often forget to eat, because their mission to support you, no matter the time of day, is so important to them. With Giant Swarm you get exceptional first-level support. We will chat and video call with you all day long if necessary, whatever works best for the current situation. If you have a problem, we are there. We usually respond within minutes. We try to develop and maintain the best strategy that suits the purpose. The relationship and trust we build, maintain and prove every day, makes working together more fun. When shit hits the fan, you know, we are there. You get some kind of peace in mind. We want you to worry about what matters to your business, not the infrastructure below. We are in this here together, and you have the choice.


One might ask, why can’t you just go with either the product or the service? In Germany we have a popular saying especially established in the tech scene: “Das kannste’ schon so machen, aber dann isses halt kacke.”. Which translates as: “You can do it like that, but then it is shite.”. When you get the product and nobody takes care, or you have to take care of somebody else’s product, it is like assembling Ikea’s SVÄRTA Bunk Bed Frame using the provided instruction manual. No fun included. When you get the service without the product, you have to provide the product yourself, and when you are going down that dark road, you are actually better off just doing the support yourself as well, because nobody wants to assemble your home grown SVÄRTA Bunk Bed Frame. The combination of product and service is most powerful when it comes out of one hand. Perfectly fitted, like a second skin. Giant Swarm gives you the technology you need, plus the service to operate it reliably. We maintain and evolve everything around you and the required infrastructure, so you can focus on what matters to you.

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