Announcing Project Syn – The Next Generation Managed Services

VSHN announces Project Syn

VSHN is proud to announce Project Syn, the next generation Open Source managed services framework for DevOps and application operations on any infrastructure based on Kubernetes.

Project Syn is a pre-integrated set of tools to provision, update, backup, observe and react/alert production applications on Kubernetes and in the cloud. It supports DevOps through full self-service and automation using containers, Kubernetes and GitOps. And best of all: it is Open Source.

Project Syn combines tools and processes to make the best out of containers, Kubernetes and Cloud Services

VSHNs mission is to automate all aspects of software operations to help software developers to run their applications on any infrastructure. Since 2014, we have been using Puppet and Ansible to automate monitoring, backups, logs, metrics, service checks and alerts. Project Syn is the next generation of application operations tooling packaged as containers and orchestrated on any Kubernetes service.

Project Syn provides an opinionated set of integrated tools and processes on any Kubernetes service and cloud infrastructure provider:

  • GitOps and infrastructure as code: declare the application environment requirements in Git and let the tooling take care of creation/changes
  • Observability and insights: service checks, metrics, logs, thresholds, alert rules and paging
  • Service provisioning: declare backends and other service dependencies as portable Kubernetes Objects (CRD) and let the tooling create the infrastructure-specific service (e.g. database service, S3 storage service, etc) with best-practice default configuration
  • Backup: regularly back up all user data from each service and persistent volume
  • Application container deployment automatically integrating the topics above
  • Work on any Kubernetes service and cloud provider

The Project Syn tooling is a fundamental part in your DevOps journey and provides you with production quality Ops.

Cloud Agnostic with Crossplane

VSHN has always been cloud agnostic and will further enhance this paradigm by partnering with Crossplane – „The open source multicloud control plane“. By leveraging Crossplane, the user of Project Syn can specify the backend services needed in a completely cloud-independent way. Provisioning of these services happens fully automated, handled by the tooling in the most optimal way. As an example: when a MySQL service is requested, Crossplane would provision a cloud service if the cloud provides it or deploys it inside the Kubernetes cluster leveraging a service operator. This way the user doesn’t have to care about the implementation and can fully focus on the application.

Project Syn is designed to run on all Kubernetes distributions and clouds. It’s prepared to support all the specific features of any given cloud and Kubernetes distribution by abstracting the specifics. This means Project Syn will run on OpenShift with APPUiO.ch, Rancher Kubernetes and all managed Kubernetes offerings. Support for even more Kubernetes flavors and clouds are added on demand. Plans exist to support single node Kubernetes Clusters using Rancher k3s.

Details of Project Syn

Project Syn will become an Open Source project in the near future. It consists of several components, working together to bring the necessary features for running applications in production on Kubernetes, acting as an operations framework. Multiple Kubernetes distributions are supported and it can be installed on an already existing Kubernetes clusters or it can even provision a new one. Taking care of what is running inside a Kubernetes clusters (including the Kubernetes cluster itself) is in the heart of Syn.

Production readiness Syn is made for production. It brings all aspects needed to run an application in production like monitoring of all important services and backup of data.
Self-service
All parts of Syn are engineered for self-service. Define what you need – declarative in code – and the platform does it for you. Be that provisioning of services, inside or outside of the cluster, configuration consistent backup incl. monitoring or setting the matching monitoring and alerting rules, the platform automatically takes care of it.
Developer happiness
By being able to work with the platform without external dependencies, the developer can express the needs for the application in code (e.g. „a Postgres database is needed“) and do this individually.
Service provisioning
Provisioning services like databases outside of the cluster (e.g. in the cloud) or inside the cluster is completely automated by Project Syn, leveraging the endless possibilities of Crossplane. It is a key part of the platform and fully integrated with all the important production readiness features.
Crossplane abstracts the specifics of the service to be provisioned. As a user of the platform you just tell Crossplane what you want. e.g. a MySQL server, and Crossplane then takes care to deploy the best matching service, depending on which cloud it runs. On AWS, Crossplane would provision an RDS instance, on a cloud without a managed database offering, it would provision an in-cluster MySQL instance managed by a matching database operator, installed and configured by the Project Syn platform.
The reconciliation process of Crossplane ensures that the provisioned services are configured as intended all the time and will take measures should the configuration drift apart.
Best-practices configuration
Project Syn makes use of best-practices configuration, learned from running Kubernetes and applications on top of it in production since many years, and applies them continuously. As the best-practices evolve over time, they are integrated as they are learned.
Data protection
Data safety is key. Project Syn makes sure to continuously backup the important data on a filesystem level and also on an application consistent level. All data is stored encrypted at rest and in transit by leveraging possibilities of modern application offerings.
Security
No secrets are stored in plain text, they all live in protected key stores. By applying best-practices configuration we ensure secure configuration by default of all components. Only TLS secured connections are used.
Configuration auditing
All configuration is stored in Git and applied using the GitOps pattern. This allows to have full auditability and history of the full configuration. By signing the generated configuration data we ensure that only trusted configuration is applied to the cluster.
In-cluster configuration reconciliation ensures that the configuration is up-to-date all the time and matches the intended state.
Regular maintenance
Project Syn components are regularly maintained in a fully automated way. This is to ensure that latest patches are installed and no vulnerable components are part of the system.
Decentralization A key part of Project Syn is a decentralized approach. All parts are designed to work without relying on a central management service.
Open Source
One of the goals of Project Syn is to make use of existing and fantastic Open Source applications and glue them together to form a unity. To name a few – the most important ones:
  • Kapitan
  • Jsonnet
  • Crossplane
  • Argo CD
  • Prometheus – Alertmanager
  • Grafana
  • Loki
  • Vault
  • Alerta
  • Renovate
All Project Syn components specifically written for tying all these tools together will become Open Source as well. Contributions from Project Syn are continuously brought upstream to support these tools.

Project Syn as Managed Service by VSHN

Project Syn is an Open Source project and can be used by anyone for free. VSHN in addition offers Project Syn as a managed service. Taking care of the Project Syn platform with engineering, 24/7 operations and maintenance is key part of the offering. By adding additional services VSHN ensures that the platform can be trusted to run business-critical application workload.

Alert handling
Reacting to alerts and handle them according to a specified SLA, including 24/7 operations and continuous improvement of alert rules based on a day-to-day experience
Expert pool The Project Syn experts at VSHN are available to help the user of the platform
Developer support
Supporting the users of the platform by actively participating as part of the development team enables the user to get the best out of the platform. We provide the Ops part in the DevOps chain.
SLA Specific SLAs are available for applications running on the Project Syn platform
Best-practice curation Delivering of best practice configuration learned by operating many Project Syn enabled clusters in production all over the world
Container image curation Only VSHN tested and approved images are running on the platform which ensures stability and security
Regular maintenance VSHN carries out regular maintenance on all involved components by keeping them up-to-date to latest bugfix and security updates
Active project Syn development Customer needs are actively developed by VSHN engineers and brought into the Project Syn platform
Assisting services Assisting Project Syn platform services are provided, like:

  • Customer portal with self-service capability and deep insights
  • Service desk
  • Image registry with curated and tested images
  • Inventory
  • and more

Early Access for Project Syn

The foundation for Project Syn is already prepared. We are actively looking for early access users of the platform, helping to test it and shape the future of Project Syn. If you are interested in getting a glimpse at our next generation managed services platform, please fill in the form below and let us know.

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