Knative: Serverless on Kubernetes

Published 18.06.2021

When we hear about cloud and cloud native, we often come across many technical terms, but sometimes we don’t pay any attention to them. But, keeping these terms in the back of our mind can come in handy.

So, right now, we will discuss one such term, which you have probably heard during reading about Kubernetes, called Knative.

Let’s start!

What is Knative?

We all know that Kubernetes is an open-source solution platform that helps manage workloads and services in containers present in the cloud that helps in automation and configuration. Well, Knative can be simplified as Kubernetes on steroids.

Knative is a platform installed on top of Kubernetes that provides you with serverless capabilities. The capabilities help you to deploy, run and manage serverless and cloud-native application to Kubernetes.

Cloud-native applications are scalable applications and run in all types of cloud environments. Now, the question remains what is serverless? And what is its relationship with Knative? We will have a look at that now.

Knative and Serverless

The cloud computing execution model where the machine resources allocated by the cloud providers taking care of the infrastructure is known as serverless cloud computing. Simply, you need to worry about your code, and everything else is managed.

The relation between Knative and serverless cloud computing is very simple. Knative has a serverless environment. So, in Knative applications, we can be assured that machine resources of cloud vendors are managing the application servers, and that helps in faster deployment of the application.

As Knative is a serverless solution and helps in developing modern, faster applications, it saves time for a developer to build more in cloud computing. Now, let’s watch the components which hold Knative firmly.

Components of Knative

All this serverless Framework of Knative stands on the three major components, and they are the following.

Building Framework

Building Framework helps in extending Kubernetes abilities. It also helps in utilizing the Kubernetes primitives (building blocks of Kubernetes) to enable the running of the on-cluster container builds from source code, meaning helping the container containing clusters to run directly from the written code.

Eventing Framework

Eventing Framework is mainly responsible for the creation of communication between the event producers and event consumers who have zero knowledge about each other’s components to achieve the architecture which will help in running, deploying and others based on the event.

Serving Framework

Serving Framework is highly responsible for supporting the deployment of serverless applications and functions on Kubernetes and Istio. It helps in the rapid deployment of serverless containers, automatic scaling of up and down to zero, routing, networking and other things for Istio and Kubernetes.

Knative Implementation in a container ecosystem (Source: Knative)

Advantages of Knative

Knative frame and applications have several benefits and advantages that help many individuals mitigate some of the challenges. Let’s have a brief look below.

Fast Deployment

Fast iterative development is one of the big advantages that Knative offers because it helps in the rapid deployment of applications and cuts down a lot of time during container building, and, as a result, faster rollouts of container versions are possible

Code Focused

Who doesn’t likes just to focus on code? Knative applications provide an event-driven architecture simply meaning the architecture will automatically enable the application to run deploy and other things automatically, which helps developer focus on writing code and not on the infrastructure.


Faster entry into serverless computing is possible with Knative as it is a serverless framework and helps in the quicker establishment of serverless workflows. In addition, manual configurations are not required as all the works of the servers are done behind the scene.

Usage of Kubernetes ecosystem by groups (Source: CNCF)

Disadvantages of Knative

Managing container infrastructure is the biggest and the only drawback of Knative. Knative is not aimed at the end-users, and because of which we have to manually manage the infrastructure of the containers.

To simply put, the customers have to manually manage the container infrastructure because Knative mainly facilitates developers.

Value Proposition of Knative

From all the above discussions that we have seen, we can safely say that Knative is highly helpful when it comes to application deployment and creating serverless functionalities.

Knative is fully open-source, which is a big advantage to all the companies and businesses which want to migrate to serverless cloud computing; as we all know, open-source frameworks or platforms are free of cost. This is really big when we compare such businesses with mid-market values and their aim to be serverless in cloud computing.

Companies or businesses with high market caps can hugely contribute to the Knative Framework as well as get the advantages of using it as big companies will probably prefer their developers to focus more on coding, which will help in their product development and also can get the advantage of serverless computing that automatically helps developers to focus more on code building.

Small market caps businesses get a free pass here to get the advantages of using the Knative Platform and Framework as it is completely free of cost, and you can actually get the source codes from Github, which will help a lot of businesses to grow more with the help of serverless computing.

Final Thoughts

So, we have seen all the things Knative is modernizing the cloud and serverless ecosystem and empowering Istio and Kubernetes. If you want to read more, feel free to check these links out:

Happy Learning!

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