This document is for an older version of Crossplane.

This document applies to Crossplane version v1.12 and not to the latest release v1.14.

Crossplane introduces multiple building blocks that enable you to provision, compose, and consume infrastructure using the Kubernetes API. These individual concepts work together to allow for powerful separation of concern between different personas in an organization, meaning that each member of a team interacts with Crossplane at an appropriate level of abstraction.


Packages allow Crossplane to be extended to include new functionality. This typically looks like bundling a set of Kubernetes CRDs and controllers that represent and manage external infrastructure (i.e. a provider), then installing them into a cluster where Crossplane is running. Crossplane handles making sure any new CRDs do not conflict with existing ones, as well as manages the RBAC and security of new packages. Packages are not strictly required to be providers, but it is the most common use-case for packages at this time.


Providers are packages that enable Crossplane to provision infrastructure on an external service. They bring CRDs (i.e. managed resources) that map one-to-one to external infrastructure resources, as well as controllers to manage the life-cycle of those resources. You can read more about providers, including how to install and configure them, in the providers documentation.

Managed Resources

Managed resources are Kubernetes custom resources that represent infrastructure primitives. Managed resources with an API version of v1beta1 or higher support every field that the cloud provider does for the given resource. You can find the Managed Resources and their API specifications for each provider on the Upbound Marketplace and learn more in the managed resources documentation.

Composite Resources

A composite resource (XR) is a special kind of custom resource that is defined by a CompositeResourceDefinition. It composes one or more managed resources into a higher level infrastructure unit. Composite resources are infrastructure operator facing, but may optionally offer an application developer facing composite resource claim that acts as a proxy for a composite resource. You can learn more about all of these concepts in the composition documentation.