While there are many projects that address similar issues, none of them encapsulate the full use case that Crossplane addresses. This list is not exhaustive and is not meant to provide a deep analysis of the following projects, but instead to motivate why Crossplane was created.

Open Service Broker and Service Catalog

The Open Service Broker and the Kubernetes Service Catalog are able to dynamically provision cloud services from Kubernetes. As a result it shares similar goals with Crossplane. However, service broker does not have the ability to define, compose, and publish your own infrastructure resources to the Kubernetes API in a no-code way. Crossplane goes further by enabling infrastructure operators to hide infrastructure complexity and include policy guardrails, with a team-centric approach and a strong separation of concerns, so applications can easily and safely consume the infrastructure they need, using any tool that works with the Kubernetes API. Solutions like the GCP implementation of Open Service Broker have been deprecated in favor of a more Kubernetes-native solution, but one that is Google-specific.

GCP Config Connector

The GCP Config Connector is the GCP replacement for Open Service Broker, and implements a set of Kubernetes controllers that are able to provision managed services in GCP. It defines a set of CRDs for managed services like CloudSQL, and controllers that can provision them via their cloud APIs. It is similar to Crossplane in that it can provision managed services in GCP. Crossplane goes further by enabling you to provision managed services from any cloud provider and the ability to define, compose, and publish your own infrastructure resources in a no-code way. Crossplane supports a team-centric approach with a strong separation of concerns, that enables applications to easily and safely consume the infrastructure they need, using any tool that works with the Kubernetes API. GCP Config Connector is open source as of May 12, 2022.

AWS Controllers for Kubernetes

The AWS Controllers for Kubernetes is a recent project that implements a set of Kubernetes controllers that are able to provision managed services in AWS. It defines a set of CRDs for managed services like DynamoDB, and controllers that can provision them. It is similar to Crossplane in that it can provision managed services in AWS. Crossplane goes further by enabling you to provision managed services from any cloud provider and the ability to define, compose, and publish your own infrastructure API types in Kubernetes in a no-code way. Crossplane supports a team-centric approach with a strong separation of concerns, that enables applications to easily and safely consume the infrastructure they need, using any tool that works with the Kubernetes API.

AWS CloudFormation, GCP Deployment Manager, and Others

These products offer a declarative model for deploying and provisioning infrastructure in each of the respective cloud providers. They only work for one cloud provider, are generally closed source, and offer little or no extensibility points, let alone being able to extend the Kubernetes API to provide your own infrastructure abstractions in a no-code way. We have considered using some of these products as a way to implement resource controllers in Crossplane. These projects use an Infrastructure as Code approach to management, while Crossplane offers an API-driven control plane.

Terraform and Pulumi

Terraform and Pulumi are tools for provisioning infrastructure across cloud providers that offer a declarative configuration language with support for templating, composability, referential integrity and dependency management. Terraform can declaratively manage any compatible API and perform changes when the tool is run by a human or in a deployment pipeline. Terraform is an Infrastructure as Code tool, while Crossplane offers an API-driven control plane.