Cartographer is a Supply Chain Choreographer for Kubernetes. It allows App Operators to create pre-approved paths to production by integrating Kubernetes resources with the elements of their existing toolchains (e.g. Jenkins).
Each pre-approved supply chain creates a paved road to production; orchestrating supply chain resources - test, build, scan, and deploy - allowing developers to be able to focus on delivering value to their users while also providing App Operators with the peace of mind that all code in production has passed through all of the steps of an approved workflow.
Cartographer Design and Philosophy
Cartographer allows users to define all of the steps that an application must go through to create an image and Kubernetes configuration. Users achieve this with the Supply Chain abstraction, see Spec Reference.
The supply chain consists of resources that are specified via Templates. Each template acts as a wrapper for existing Kubernetes resources and allows them to be used with Cartographer. There are currently four different types of templates that can be use in a Cartographer supply chain:
Contrary to many other Kubernetes native workflow tools that already exist in the market, Cartographer does not “run” any of the objects themselves. Instead, it monitors the execution of each resource and templates the following resource in the supply chain after a given resource has completed execution and updated its status.
The supply chain may also be extended to include integrations to existing CI/CD pipelines by using the Runnable CRD (which is part of Cartographer). The Runnable CRD acts as a wrapper for CRDs that are immutable (meaning that instead of updating an object, a new object would be created). There are a number of CI/CD CRDs that follow this pattern, including Tekton. The Runnable CRD provides a declarative way for pipelines to be run inside of Cartographer.
While the supply chain is operator facing, Cartographer also provides an abstraction for developers called workloads. Workloads allow developers to create application specifications such as the location of their repository, environment variables and service claims.
By design, supply chains can be reused by many workloads. This allows an operator to specify the steps in the path to production a single time, and for developers to specify their applications independently but for each to use the same path to production. The intent is that developers are able to focus on providing value for their users and can reach production quickly and easily, while providing peace of mind for app operators, who are ensured that each application has passed through the steps of the path to production that they’ve defined.