Providing identical dev experience
Every cloud and product uses proprietary extensions that promise ease of use, efficiency, and speed, but also lock you into the ecosystem the more you use it. Giant Swarm orchestrates open source technology to avoid lock-in and provides you with even greater flexibility, efficiency, and simplicity all while being production-ready instantly.
As every cloud is different, it requires you to build up, manage, and configure networking, observability, automation, Identity and Access Management, and many other elements repetitively for every public and private cloud you want to use. Your teams will need to learn interaction with the respective platforms and their intricacies. While most customers have one primary or preferred cloud provider, development teams are asking for more freedom in choosing the right cloud for their projects. Infrastructure teams then have the choice to split their energy and build up a second platform from scratch or limit the choices they can support.
Giant Swarm has been managing different private and public clouds for customers from the very beginning, abstracting proprietary technology when open source technology proved superior. One recent abstraction included networking, where Giant Swarm switched to Cilium for all public and private clouds. Cilium offers significantly more functionality than the cloud providers' networking layer (e.g., AWS CNI), providing not only more efficient management, error handling, and issue resolution but also a consistent set of functionality across all clouds.
With Giant Swarm’s GitOps-first approach, you declaratively define all settings in one central place for all clouds, clusters, namespaces, workloads, and dev teams. Automation takes care of provisioning, updating, removing, and restoring the desired state.
The more consistency between the clouds, the easier it is to simplify implementation, find and resolve errors, and harmonize and extend functionality across all clouds. According to analysts like Gartner, such solutions should rarely be developed by companies themselves as too much complexity is involved.
Since out-of-the-box solutions typically cover only 80% of needs, close collaboration is required to adapt, constantly evolve and automate your company’s specific use cases. This is where Open Source pays off:
Future-proof investments: A whole community works on its evolution.
Full flexibility: There are no limitations in adapting it to your company.
Faster development: You are not limited to one vendor.
And with Giant Swarm, you enjoy the extension of the team that continuously adapts a fully tested, production environment for Hybrid- and Multi-Cloud setups based on pure upstream open source. This environment is fully operated by a “you build it, you run it” team from day one.
With every environment that is different, it gets more difficult to quick-start developers or have them switch between teams. When Covid struck, adidas decided to switch 200 developers from their shop systems to their online store unit overnight.
While such significant events don’t happen often, it is quite common in modern development organizations to have developers switch teams to increase teams’ productivity and motivation for individuals. By abstracting away infrastructure that is specific to a cloud environment, you add more flexibility to the development organization and help developers focus on coding instead of understanding the cloud infrastructure.
A good way to abstract away that complexity is by providing developer portals, where teams use self-service to set up their environment and automation handles individual cloud setup and configuration in the background. Combined with services that the platform teams develop and bundle with technology, developers can fully rely on capabilities like “root cause analysis” that provide them with logs, tracing, reports, and insights without having to go into the details. By using a common set of tools that are shared between clouds, it becomes even easier for the platform team as well as the developers.
Many organizations create separate teams for each public and private cloud they are going to support and thereby spread resources thinly considering the massive effort of such an undertaking. The teams have to create and maintain their own platform and reuse between projects often is limited to security and other aspects that are handled by yet another team.
At Giant Swarm, we also used to have separate teams per provider but abstracted away anything that could be commonly used across the teams (like networking) and automation of the platform itself. By leveraging Cluster API, we utilize the offerings of the public and private cloud providers for Kubernetes and deploy a common open source developer platform on top. This way we create synergies between the public and private cloud provider platforms and ensure the specific implementations are kept to a minimum.
This also ensures that a common platform team of the customer can efficiently build and jointly drive offerings for development teams forward, and achieve a comprehensive and unified developer experience.