The Giant Swarm Blog


Issuing Certificates for Kubernetes with cert-operator using Vault and OperatorKit

On in tech

At Giant Swarm our Giantnetes (G8s) platform runs Kubernetes within Kubernetes and is built using microservices and operators. You can read more about Giantnetes in a post we did for The New Stack earlier this year. We’ve been developing with microservices for a long time but operators are a much newer concept and the term was originally coined by CoreOS.... Read More

Why Kubernetes or How Giant Swarm Builds Infrastructure

On in product

Giant Swarm’s goal is to build the simplest platform to professionally host your distributed applications. In pursuing this goal for the last few years we have worked with a lot of technologies in production and tested even more. From this experience we found that the best way to build infrastructure is to be open-minded, stay flexible, and make decisions guided... Read More

Wait for it - Using Readiness Probes for Service Dependencies in Kubernetes

On in tech

In a perfect world of microservices every part is aware that things can break. If some endpoint can’t be reached it should just be retried after some time and repeated over and over. This connection problem will be monitored and some upper layer may decide to take further actions. The microservice does its one job and acts resiliently with regards... Read More

On Running your Local Development Environment in Kubernetes

On in tech

At Giant Swarm, I work on Microservice Infrastructure and a lot of my work is centered around improving how we run clusters as well as software on clusters. However, this work isn’t reflected in my local development environment – as much effort as we put into improving the server experience, the local development experience still lags behind. From Snowflake to... Read More

Adding a gRPC engine to boost CoreOS fleet scalability and performance

On in tech

Note: As the ecosystem has developed a lot over the last few years, we moved our user services away from fleet into Kubernetes running on a lightweight underlying fleet layer. However, with recent developments in Kubernetes and lightweight container engines like rkt, we revisited our decision and decided to also migrate our base layer to Kubernetes and thus won’t be... Read More

Giant Swarm is “Remote First” and I put it to the test

On in inside

When Giant Swarm hired me about a year ago I was totally overjoyed at the opportunity to work remotely. It presented me with a world of opportunity that until now I haven’t really taken full advantage of. At first I dipped my toe into the pool by working from random coffee places, and having an irregular working pattern. I’d split... Read More

Understanding Basic Kubernetes Concepts V - Daemon Sets and Jobs

On in tech

This post is the fifth in a series of blog posts about basic Kubernetes concepts. In the first one I explained the concepts of Pods, Labels, and Replica Sets. In the second post we talked about Deployments. The third post explained the Services concept and in the forth we looked at Secrets and ConfigMaps. In this final post we will... Read More

Understanding Basic Kubernetes Concepts IV - Secrets and ConfigMaps

On in tech

This post is the fourth in a series of blog posts about basic Kubernetes concepts. In the first one I explained the concepts of Pods, Labels, and Replica Sets. In the second post we talked about Deployments. The third post explained the Services concept and now we will look at Secrets and ConfigMaps. In the fifth and final post we... Read More

Understanding Basic Kubernetes Concepts III - Services Give You Abstraction

On in tech

This post is the third in a series of blog posts about basic Kubernetes concepts. In the first one I explained the concepts of Pods, Labels, and Replica Sets. In the second post we talked about Deployments. This post will elaborate the Services concept. In the forth we look at Secrets and ConfigMaps. In the fifth and final post we... Read More

Getting Started With A Local Kubernetes Environment

On in tech

Update: This post has seen some great response and I’ve been receiving lot’s of nice suggestions. I updated the post with two more options that can be found in the official Kubernetes repo. There’s some more options in the comments below. Thanks everyone for your feedback. At Giant Swarm we’re currently working on the next generation of our Microservice Infrastructure... Read More

Rolling Updates Of Kubernetes On Top Of Fleet

On in tech

As some of you might have seen, we recently released a whole set of provisioning tools for CoreOS fleet clusters. Now, when you have a fleet cluster, the next step would be deploying unit files on it using fleetctl. However, that process gets quite tedious especially with groups of units that should go together. Further, once you go into more... Read More

Benchmarking Fleet Clusters With Rkt And Docker

On in tech

On Tuesday we showed you how you can simulate CoreOS clusters on a single machine with Onsho. We also mentioned that we are working on improving fleet to make it more performant for use in highly scalable microservice infrastructures. The fleet PR is a first effort to merge the changes we made to our internal fork of fleet upstream. When... Read More

Replicate A Whole Data Center Locally With Onsho

On in tech

Two weeks ago we introduced Mayu and Yochu, a set of tools to set up customized CoreOS clusters on bare metal, available as open source. However, not everyone has access to some bare metal or spare servers sitting in his basement. This is why we created Onsho, which we are releasing today as open source software. Onsho is a tool... Read More

Meet Kocho - Our Bootstrapping Tool For CoreOS Clusters On AWS

On in tech

Last week we made Mayu and Yochu, a set of tools to set up customized CoreOS clusters on bare metal, available as open source. Today we are introducing Kocho, Mayu’s cloudy sibling in our family of CoreOS provisioning tools. Bootstrap AWS CoreOS Clusters with Kocho Like Mayu, Kocho sets up a fleet cluster with CoreOS nodes, but instead of bare... Read More

Enter Mayu & Yochu – Our Provisioning Tools For CoreOS On Bare Metal

On in tech

Despite the ongoing growth of the public cloud market we see more and more companies operating their own bare metal. These are not only big tech companies, but even startups that require significant resources, which would get prohibitively expensive on current cloud providers. However, managing and provisioning your own bare metal is not easy and with the move towards “disposable”... Read More

Continuous Deployments with Docker Hub

On in tech

Swarm Inception is a simple application which implements continuous deployments using Docker Hub’s builder service. Builds are conducted via Github webhooks and when the build completes, Docker Hub will call this service’s webhook handler, which in turn triggers a deployment or update of the image built by Dockerhub onto Giant Swarm’s public cloud. While Inception uses Giant Swarm’s APIs to... Read More

Deploy An Elastic High-Availability SQL Cluster with Crate and Weave

On in tech

Recently, I sat down with one of our customers to see if we can get a Crate cluster running in their dedicated Giant Swarm cluster. As we have built Giant Swarm for exactly these kinds of use cases, it was easier than our customer would have expected, so I thought I’d share some details here with you. TL;DR: Basically we... Read More

Open Sourcing our CLI

On in tech

We are pleased to announce that our ‘swarm’ command line interface (CLI) has been Open Sourced under the Apache 2.0 License! We are also Open Sourcing all the tooling depended on by the CLI, including builder, a tool written in Go, and our Go client library, client-go which can be used to talk to the the Giant Swarm API with... Read More

Moving Docker Containers and Images Around

On in tech

Giant Swarm runs a Docker container registry at registry.giantswarm.io as a convenience feature for users that have signed up for the private alpha test. When you signup for an account, you also get an account in the registry we host. You can use this private registry to store container images for the services you run on Giant Swarm. One feature... Read More

Get Visual with Our Web UI

On in product

As of today, all users have access to The Giant Swarm Web UI. Use it to get an overview of the status of your services. It also features a novel way to correlate logs with usage metrics in real time. Read on to see what it looks like and what you can do with it. A Complement to Our CLI... Read More

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Cloud

On in tech

We all know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and it’s various uses in psychology, sociology, management, and marketing in someway or the other. In the original pyramid, Maslow uses the terms (in order) “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe a pattern that human motivations generally move through from lower to higher layers. While talking to our... Read More

Introducing A Better Way To Define Services

On in product

TL;DR: We’re moving to a new format for defining services on Giant Swarm. In this blog post we want to explain to you the migration timeline, main changes, benefits you will experience as well as reasons behind this revision. When, What, and How? As of Monday, Aug 10th, 20:00 UTC you will no longer be able to create applications in... Read More

Deploy a Clojure application in Under 1 Minute

On in tech

After having deployed a Meteor application in under 1 minute, I thought I’d try myself at another deployment. This time I wanted to go for something dynamic and having watched Simple Made Easy by Rich Hickey, the author of Clojure, I thought I’d try myself at deploying that. Again for the impatient, here the 1 minute fix: Prerequisites Docker A... Read More

Swacker: Code to Container, No Docker Required

On in tech

The dream of most development teams is to have a setup where code is committed, built, and tested on a continuous basis. This practice is called continuous integration (CI). Add deployment to that list of actions, and you get the practice of continuous deployment, which looks a bit like #commitcode and #lookatthatitworks. In practice it’s more like #thisisahugepainintheass to implement.... Read More

The New Make or Buy Decision in Cloud - Your Own Docker PaaS

On in tech

A lot has been said about how containerization and Docker enables companies to build and run their own PaaS the same way big companies like Facebook, Google, and Spotify have it internally. Some might even say that Docker needs the PaaS (or similar concepts) to be more than just containers. At the same time people are wondering, “Whatever Happened to... Read More

Building a Smart Client-Side JavaScript “Discuss on Hacker News” Button

On in tech

At Giant Swarm, we build infrastructure for developers, and of course we want our content to be visible amongst developers, too. To foster the distribution and discussion of our blog posts on Hacker News, we built ourselves a little button to appear here in our blog. No rocket science, just a little something we thought we’d share with you. Here... Read More

Deploy a Meteor Application in Under 1 Minute

On in tech

Recently, we had someone on Twitter asking us if we support Meteor. As we were not sure, I thought challenge accepted we could just try it out. And it was easier than I thought. If you’re really in a hurry here’s the 1 minute quick fix: Prerequisites A Giant Swarm account (or for local deployment Docker and Docker Compose) Your... Read More

The Best of Rhineland Finals

On in inside

Henning, Timo, and me have never been ones for startup competitions, especially those you need to pay for, and we still think a lot about the effort involved versus the potential benefit of such events. After the Cologne Future Award, another award recently appeared on the horizon, namely the Best of X, or more specifically the Best of Rhineland. The... Read More

Step by Step Towards Zero Downtime Deployment - Rolling Updates are Here

On in product

Update: With swarm CLI 0.18.0 we introduced different update strategies that you can choose from. The one described in this blog post is the default one-by-one strategy. There’s another strategy called hot-swap, which gives you zero downtime no matter how many instances your component has. We are continuously improving upon update our strategies. For an always up-to-date reference of update... Read More

Swarm Stories: Enterprise Architecture Management with leanIX

On in inside

Today we are talking with one of our users, that we got introduced to by their investor Capnamic. We like introductions by VCs that are not invested in Giant Swarm (yet), so we were happy to have a deeper discussion with leanIX about their needs. One of the points that brought us together is that the leanIX team had just... Read More

Cologne Future Award for Digital Transformation

On in inside

Last Tuesday we won the Cologne Future Award, which was given out the first time as part of a yearly meeting called “Kölner Impulse” held at the Rotonda Business Club, which since years discusses future trends in urbanism, „future work” or digitisation (program). It’s a gathering of the old guard of Cologne, meaning you are in a room with the... Read More

Visualizing Apps Using Giant Swarm’s APIs

On in tech

Giant Swarm’s core values consist of transparency, enabling others to do their best work and providing reliable infrastructure. Our vision is to build a trusted collaborative compute model which provides resources when and where they are needed for helping you run your microservices in a scalable, reliable and secure way. The key tenants of collaborative coding are documentation and discussion,... Read More

10 Insights of Doing International Recruiting

On in inside

Before I allow myself any TL;DR, I have to mention a very important aspect: This blogpost is, beside the topic hiring, about people, stereotypes, and things that makes you wonder and maybe smile when you have experienced recruiting in a more corporate context. I want to add that a) nobody should do recruiting without being truly interested in people and... Read More

Deploy a Ghost Blog in 10 Minutes with Giant Swarm

On in tech

Right before I started working fulltime at Giant Swarm, I authored a containerized deployment of Ghost which could be used by anyone to deploy a blog on our service. The first version of the deployment was fairly basic, so I spent a bit of time patching it up to include a few new features including: Automated backups of all content... Read More

Microservices Finally Deliver on the Promises of SOA

On in tech

We often hear that microservices should be loosely or de-coupled. The former reminds many software engineers of what SOA already stood for. Thus, there’s a common misunderstanding that having SOA is having a microservices architecture. However, there’s quite a difference, especially if you don’t look at the academic theories, but work on real-life projects that use these architecture patterns. SOA... Read More

Why I Joined a German Infrastructure Startup

On in inside

Late October of last year I was Germany for the first time since visiting as a teenager from Oklahoma over 30 years ago. The world has changed dramatically since, but Germany felt different…I’m not doing my feelings justice here…but the best way to put it, is that it felt oddly familiar and comfortable. The purpose of the trip was to... Read More

Scaling for More Users by Allowing Less

On in product

We had a lot of deep discussions at the office the last few days. Yes, we are creative thinkers, startup people to the core, always agile and flexible but … we have mental models too and they make you get stuck. We were in our tiny little box. A little background is in order. A few weeks ago we started... Read More

Interning - Building a Status Page for Microservice Clusters

On in inside

As Marian and Puja before me, I want to introduce myself. 25 years ago I was born in east Germany and moved to a small city near Cologne a few years later. After 3 years of training and one year as a full time media designer, I realised that I had to find a different profession, which would fit my... Read More

Running an FI Ware Specific Enabler on Giant Swarm

On in tech

TL;DR: Running webservices like PPnet - a simple social network - from the european FICONTENT project on Giant Swarm was no problem at all. When looking for exciting use-cases for our microservice platform, one obvious candidate was Pixelpark, conveniently situated right here in beautiful Cologne. While we are working on multiple things together, one interesting project jumped out in the... Read More

How Docker Made Coding and Testing New Projects Fun and Accessible

On in tech

With Docker’s 2nd birthday coming up soon, I thought about what Docker has changed for me personally in this time and what that could mean for a wider group of people. But first a little background. In the recent years I've looked into many development trends and tried Ruby/Rails, Python/Django, Objective-C/iOS, but it was always combined with a huge hassle... Read More

Blogging with Docker on Giant Swarm - First Steps with Ghost and Wordpress

On in tech

tl;dr In the spirit of dogfooding I got my blog running on Giant Swarm, first I tried Ghost, then moved to Wordpress. My goal in this article was to do that without relying on any deep Docker or Giant Swarm knowledge. Learn how to do this yourself. My Twitter profile reads “developer whisperer” and that is always my answer to... Read More

Dogfooding: How we run our own Website on Giant Swarm

On in tech

Our product is created by developers for developers. To make our product great, we believe that eating one’s own dog food is required. In this article, I’d like to share with you how our own website, giantswarm.io, is currently set up on Giant Swarm. It provides you with an example for a real world use of our product. Additionally, it... Read More

Docker and Related Services Enable a Future of Microservices for Everyone

On in tech

Earlier in 2014 Benjamin Wootton wrote an insightful post on how microservices are not a free lunch. In that post he writes about the complexity of microservices in the real world and the many hurdles we have to take to make microservice architectures a reality. Especially, he writes about the "significant operations overhead" and "substantial DevOps skills required" to get... Read More

Getting started with Go and Docker for an elegant Gopher Gala

On in tech

This weekend is the Gopher Gala the world’s first Go(lang) distributed hackathon. As Golang is our primary and beloved language we figured it’s a perfect timing to show how easy it is to deploy Go code with Docker and a free account on Giant Swarm. The example If you have read a bit through our documentation, you know our famous... Read More

How Developer-Focussed Startups can Promote Transparency - Even in Legal

On in inside

Two of our core principles at Giant Swarm are being developer-focused and striving for transparency. Being developer-focused means we believe in the “empowerment of the developer” ( Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital ) and “developer-focused startups” ( Ethan Kurzweil of Bessemer Venture Partners ). Innovation in technology is happening bottom-up. Developers start using the tools they love and companies will... Read More

Getting Started with Microservices using Ruby on Rails and Docker

On in tech

This is a guest post by Dirk Breuer. tl;dr This article is a very opinionated approach to microservices and Docker in general and how a framework like Rails could fit in there. Further, we’re looking into how an infrastructure service built for microservices and Docker, Giant Swarm, could help getting it running in the cloud. Talking about architecture nowadays will... Read More

Holiday Creative Container Contest #HC3 - Build a Microservice App

On in product

It’s holiday season and at least in Germany that means lots of sweets, christmas markets, and obligatory mulled wine. For a lot of us it also means finally some free time to play with stuff we don’t have time to otherwise and maybe even some new toys. And for those of you who are still not sure what they will... Read More

Opening up our Free Alpha - Simple Microservice Infrastructure for You

On in product

In the last weeks we have been testing our microservice infrastructure with several close friends. We called this phase our "Closed Alpha". At the same time we were letting interested users put themselves on what we used to call "Private Beta List". However, in the process of planning how to open up our platform to more people and especially people... Read More

Communications is About Conversations

On in inside

After Marian wrote the great story of how he became our UX guy, now it’s my turn to also introduce myself. I actually also joined Giant Swarm nearly two months ago, exactly one week after Marian. Before I tell you how I got here, let’s see where I come from. From Diverse Backgrounds to Startup Ecosystems I have quite a... Read More

Getting Started with Java Development on Docker

On in tech

This week Anna, Stephan, Timo and myself were at W-Jax a big conference in Munich on enterprise technologies and especially Java. The interest in Docker and Giant Swarm was astonishing. One question that came up quite often was: How do I get started with Java development on Docker? Personally, I’m a friend of small examples - leveraging a minimal framework... Read More

How I Became Giant Swarm’s UX Guy

On in inside

At Giant Swarm, we’d like to make it a habit to write about every new team member that joins the initial seven folks. After Dennis, I’m new hire number two. I joined Giant Swarm in the end of September, more than a month ago. But before writing this blog post, I had to think a bit to come up with... Read More

How We Get Things Done - Productivity Stacks For Tech Startups

On in inside

Being and staying productive is not just a personal challenge but also a very relevant topic on a group and company level. This is also closely related to information and communication flows in the company. In technology startups it sometimes gets even worse, as they are usually running very fast and under a lot of pressure (e.g. launch dates, funding... Read More

CoreOS Meetup Cologne, October 14, 2014 Recap

On in tech

Yesterday we held the CoreOS Meetup for the first time in Cologne and it was a great success. Over 110 people had registered on Meetup and they sure turned up at Startplatz last night. Who wouldn’t come to see such distinguished speakers and meet tons of likeminded people. Not only did we have a full house, there were more than... Read More

The History and Future of Hosting

On in tech

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 To really understand what Giant Swarm is doing, it is important to take a look at the industry we are in and where it has come from. The future is often meaningless without understanding the past. I am talking about the hosting... Read More

Welcome Dennis Benkert to the Swarm from the Symfony Community

On in inside

We had just started talking about what Giant Swarm was supposed to be, involving Docker and CoreOS and other of the hip and coming tools out there, when Dennis Benkert approached us. He wanted in and continued to talk to us almost daily with ideas, questions, comments and learnings about our world. Sooner or later there was no way anymore... Read More

Transparent salaries – it’s not for breaking workspace taboos

On in inside

After lots of deliberation, we now have ‘transparent salaries’ internally that are based on a modified version of the one Buffer has. To sum it up: Nobody freaked out during the announcement; there will be challenges in the coming months with getting new people on board; continuous improvement being critical. Why we did it: We have all made our experiences with... Read More

Getting started with Docker and MeanJS

On in tech

To get started with a new technology it’s great to have a small, yet non-trivial example. Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, portable, and self-sufficient containers from any application. We are using Docker as our core technology. With this tutorial we demonstrate how to use Docker by dockerizing MeanJS, a popular Node.JS Webstack. One of the great... Read More

Welcome to Giant Swarm

On in product

For our first post, we are cheating a bit. This has actually already gone out at a list of subscribers from our previous company. We thought an introductory post would be a good start though. It was sent out as people wanted to know what Henning, Timo andme would be doing next. Obivously, you already know, but here is the... Read More

Let’s start your journey towards microservices

Contact us Now