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Many developers, getting their hands dirty with application development based on Kubernetes, are faced with quite some technology decisions early in the process. Making the wrong choice could potentially have a big impact later, when distributed deployment or higher volumes of load come into the picture. Wouldn’t it be much easier if there was a standardized way of application integration that makes building and deploying cloud applications in a cost-efficient manner much less painful?

That is why Google created Knative, which was announced during the Google Next keynote in July. The project was initiated by Google in collaboration with Pivotal, IBM, Red Hat, and SAP. SAP's direct involvement in Knative was not triggered by pure technology demands, but by SAP's own development around enterprise software extensibility: project Kyma. Let’s explore how these two fresh open source projects together will (hopefully) make the development of cloud-native enterprise applications on Kubernetes a lot easier.

Knative: Abstracting Away the Infrastructure For Developers

Since Google introduced Kubernetes a few years ago, it has grown into the de-facto standard infrastructure orchestration layer. But cloud-native application development involves more than just running dynamic workloads. What was still missing was a finely grained programming model that lowers the bar for developers by abstracting away all the low-level network, storage and clustering specifics, allowing them to develop microservice-based applications in an efficient manner.

Knative addresses exactly this gap, making it easier for developers to create applications that make full use of the underlying infrastructure, without necessarily exposing them to the complexity involved. Knative provides the building blocks required to build and deploy modern, container-based serverless applications. It's worth noting that serverless is not limited only to serverless functions but covers the overall application lifecycle-management and the scale-to-zero capabilities of the infrastructure.


Kyma: Providing Flexibility For Enterprise Software

At practically the same time project Kyma was born as an initiative at SAP, to address software extensibility needs that surfaced as customers were navigating their digital transformation journey. Geared towards enterprise applications, Kyma was envisioned as a cloud-native application development framework, making software customization easy, while leveraging all the benefits of the rapidly evolving cloud-native technology stack.

Kyma’s mission is to equip enterprise software users with agile, open-source tools to connect, customize and extend any API-enabled application and tailor it to their specific business needs. If you’re not yet familiar with Kyma, you can learn more on its website and get involved on GitHub.

Kyma eases the development and operation of microservices-based solutions by providing a consistent service consumption layer, which blurs the boundaries between legacy enterprise software and the large variety of cloud services that originate from different providers. To achieve this, Kyma leverages the standard Kubernetes Service Catalog and expands it further by using the Open Service Broker (OSB) standard. The other major advancement by Kyma is the implementation of end-to-end flows, triggered by business events in existing enterprise solutions, resulting in extension modules being executed in Kyma.

In Kyma we share the same belief as Knative: Serverless is more than just functions. Therefore Kyma supports the deployment of both function applications and container-based applications, handling both of them the same way – scaling them down to zero and up as needed, depending on multiple factors. All this combined will result in a radical increase in flexibility of business processes and the involved business software.

Knative & Kyma At Google Cloud Next 2018

As highlighted during the official announcement of Knative at Google Cloud Next Summit 2018, SAP and Google have a long-standing partnership which expands in multiple directions around Google Cloud Platform and the related technologies. Because of this, Michael Wintergerst (VP of SAP Cloud Platform Core) had the opportunity during the Serverless session to announce Kyma as one of the first projects to build on and further expand the reach of Knative in the enterprise application space.

The feedback received both internally and externally was very exciting indeed and validated both the technical direction as well as the value proposition Kyma has taken so far.
"SAP's extensive enterprise expertise and far-reaching commercial experience made for an ideal partnership as we developed Knative. SAP brought informed customer-driven use-cases to the table, helping us collectively shape the capabilities of Knative to meet the needs of real-world businesses. Knative and SAP Kyma make a perfect fit, and we look forward to the ongoing technical collaboration.”  - DeWitt Clinton, Google Cloud

We also got very positive feedback internally at SAP, with some of our executives classifying Kyma as the most advanced extension framework in the industry to date.

Become Part of the Community and Drive Cloud-Native Innovation

It’s exciting to be at the forefront of innovation, putting modern technologies to good use to help companies evolve and become more efficient intelligent enterprises. The whole Kyma team is thrilled to explore the serverless application development space together with the Knative community. At the same time this collaboration allows us to focus our efforts in Kyma on what we know best: application connectivity and business scenario extensions, expanding the set of supported products way beyond the SAP ecosystem.


Come join the Kyma community and be a part of the “cloud ≠ standard software” movement!

Thomas and the Kyma team


Want to get involved? You can find us here:

Join our Kyma Slack or dive into the code on GitHub
Learn more about Kyma on the website
Follow Kyma on Twitter
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