Looking back over 2019 it's been a huge time of change for us as a company. When I co-founded Civo four years ago we were aiming to be an IaaS (Infrastructure-As-A-Service) provider, focusing on small developers and teams rather than huge corporate hosting requirements.

The developer experience was really important to us, but trying to carve out a niche in such a crowded market was really challenging.

In early 2019 we started looking for a new way to host the Civo site itself having gone through the usual progression from single server during development, multiple servers deployed to simultaneously using Capistrano in early production to a Platform-As-A-Service (Flynn in our case).

We were feeling the stresses of running a production platform in Flynn that we really didn't understand so we had two options - learn how Flynn works behind the scenes to better be able to run our website hosting platform, or consider an alternative.

Enter Kubernetes

Kubernetes was already being raved about and had huge community interest/support, so we did some quick learning and deployed a cluster. We quickly moved our production website and API to it and found it to be incredible.

So in June 2019 we decided to build an offering for Kubernetes but focus on the things that would be more useful to developers and those new to Kubernetes - speed of launch and ease of installing different popular software in it to play with the system.

Good things come in small packages

Rancher had been working away on their k3s product for about four months and were at version 0.6 when we first caught wind of it, still a way from its non-beta release - but it was a really great product and super quick to launch! So we decided to build our platform based on it.

Rancher k3s

Since launching the our k3s powered beta (named KUBE100), we’ve really enjoyed hearing from the burgeoning and enthusiastic community that’s building around it. We've contributed back to the open source community before, but these are the first projects we've released that have had so much effort put in by so many people, so we're hugely grateful for that!

Check out a blog post I did a few months back for more info on k3s and how it differs from k8s.

Every day’s a school day

As we weren’t one of the earliest adopters of Kubernetes, we’ve had a lot of work to do to try to catch up, but we’ve been learning fast. We currently have three of the team (including myself) studying for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam. I also attended KubeCon in San Diego in November which was a week filled with cramming lots of new knowledge. I found the experience so rewarding that this year we’re planning on going to KubeCon + CNC Europe in Amsterdam too.

So one thing that's very clear is that we've really pivoted away from being just another IaaS provider, to a truly developer-focused Kubernetes company. We're only at the start of this journey, but each day is great fun trying to learn new areas and build cool things!

What’s next in 2020

For the year ahead, we've got a few things we're working on that should really help us realise our future vision for Civo:

  • Working on an improved signup process for the beta to enable potential community members to go from "form-to-member" much quicker in most cases.
  • Building a new super-secret architecture platform instead of running on top of OpenStack, that should hopefully enable us to launch 95% of clusters in under a minute (I actually have a tighter personal goal for this, but that's our public goal)
  • Enhancing the "managed" side of our service with functions such as resource monitoring, automatic problem notification and auto-scaling.

We have a roadmap of ideas that seems to be growing daily, but those are the big ones (and all I’m willing to give away so early in the year).

We look forward to pushing towards our goals with our community alongside us, thanks for your support!

If you've not joined us yet, come try out the world's first k3s-powered, managed Kubernetes service - we'd love to hear your feedback. Apply at https://civo.com/kube100 and join.