Project Syn Tech

Second Beta Release of Project Syn Tools

23. Jul 2020

Without further ado, we’re announcing the release 0.2 of the Project Syn tools.
Since the first public release mid-March this year (read more about it in First Pre-Release of Project Syn Tools) we used the tools on a daily basis, in particular for the development of our new product “VSHN Syn Support”. And of course we have incorporated all of that experience in the source code. The main features are now in place, and are getting better and better on a daily basis.

New Features and Improvements

When reading the announcement of a new version, engineers are always interested in new features and improvements. So these are the most important new additions since 0.1:

  • Everything required for setting up a new cluster (GitOps repository, cluster config file in Tenant configuration, Vault secrets, and more) is now fully automated. One API call to register a new cluster and you’re done.
  • In parallel to the creation of clusters, we have also automated all steps required to decommission them (Repo deletion, Vault secret cleanup, and more). Just delete it and everything is gone (of course, there are preventive measures in place to not make this an Uh-oh moment).
  • Commodore got a lot of improvements: for local development, and for developing new components with a comprehensive cookiecutter template.

Document All The Things

Besides implementing new features and fixing bugs we put a lot of effort into the documentation. The main documentation page got a completely new structure and a huge amount of new content. We’re in the process of adding new pages frequently, so make sure to check it out every so often.
Before 0.2 it was hard to get started with Project Syn and to understand what it was all about. To solve that issue we wrote the following introductions:

Our next goal is to document the concepts behind configuration management with Commodore in detail.

Commodore Components on GitHub

An important building block of Project Syn are Commodore Components. Over the past months we’ve written and open sourced more than 10 Commodore Components on GitHub. They offer the flexibility to install and configure Kubernetes system services, adapted to their respective distribution and infrastructure.
These Commodore Components can be found by searching for the “commodore-component” topic on GitHub.
We are writing and refining more and more Components every day. We are going to publish some guidelines about how to write Commodore Components (one specifically for OpenShift 4 Components is already available) and eventually enforce them via CI jobs and policies.
An upcoming Component Writing Tutorial will help beginners to start writing own Components or contribute to existing ones.

The Road to 1.0 and Contributions

What we learnt while working on Project Syn over the last few months gave us a very clear picture of what we want to achieve in version 1.0. The roadmap contains the most important topics:

  • Documentation! We have to and will put a lot of effort into documentation, be it tutorials, how-to guides, or explanations.
  • Full Commodore automation to automate and decentralize the cluster catalog compilation process.
  • Developer experience improvements for simplifying the development of Commodore Components even further.
  • Engineering of a new tool helping users to launch managed services on any Kubernetes cluster.
  • Cluster provisioning automation integration, to leverage third party tools for automatically bootstrapping Kubernetes clusters.

This is not all; check the more detailed roadmap on the Project Syn page for more. The GitHub project will grow with issues over the next few weeks.
If you think that this sounds interesting and you would like to contribute, we now have an initial Contribution Guide available and are very open to suggestions and pull requests. Just get in contact with us if you’re interested.

Our Product: VSHN Syn Support

Besides the Open Source project we were also working on defining what added value you can get from VSHN. We call this product “VSHN Syn Support.” If you’re interested in getting commercial support from VSHN for Project Syn on a Managed Kubernetes Cluster based on OpenShift 4 or Rancher, get in touch with us. More information about VSHN Syn Support can be found here.

Tobias Brunner

Tobias Brunner is working since over 20 years in IT and more than 15 years with Internet technology. New technology has to be tried and written about.

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