Improbable is donating Thanos to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

9 August 2019

Our massive-scale monitoring tool Thanos is moving to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Read on to see why Improbable is donating it.

More than a year ago we announced our open-source monitoring project Thanos. It’s a unique monitoring system that enables horizontal scalability, HA and long term metric retention for a vanilla Prometheus setup. 

Thanos was originally started at Improbable to solve our own use cases, monitoring our infrastructure and massive simulated worlds. Since we open-sourced it, it has been heavily adopted in the wider tech community thanks to its capabilities, simplicity, flexibility in deployment model and gradual installation process.

To support that wider use, today we are officially announcing that Thanos has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox. The CNCF is an open-source host for critical components of the global technology infrastructure. 

Looking back

The Thanos project was designed and built initially by Fabian Reinartz and Bartek Plotka in November 2017 and was fully open-source from the first commit we made. We knew that the problems we were solving are generally unsolved, so we aimed for solid documentation and easy setup from the start. We managed to complete an MVP in three months and presented Thanos at the Prometheus London Meetup on January 2018. 

After that presentation, the community grew at an extremely fast rate. That same month we had our first major external contribution which added S3 object storage support. 

Together with a growing community, we spent the next nine months adding necessary features, more documentation, and our own website, as well as stabilizing and optimizing the project. We were present at many conferences and meetups to introduce and explain how to improve your monitoring stack using Thanos project. 

Thanks to the early adopters, we had a quick feedback loop and an incredible amount of help from contributors. In March 2019, we officially announced five Thanos maintainers and three triage contributors. We are proud that they represent the diversity of the companies that depend on the Thanos project.

In mid-June 2019 we presented Thanos to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) technical oversight committee. The committee unanimously agreed that the Thanos project aligns with the CNCF mission and requirements, and it was accepted as a CNCF project. The meeting is available on YouTube here. On 20th of July 2019, in response to that decision, the Thanos project moved to the thanos-io organization.

Why did we donate Thanos to the CNCF?

At Improbable, we depend upon open-source software. Our platform is built on projects such as Prometheus and Kubernetes. 

We believe that the true value of the open-source movement comes with an unrestricted, diverse collaborative effort, and you have a duty to help, not merely utilise. That’s why we devote time to giving back to projects we use: contributing, giving feedback and helping others. 

Communities grow best when they are inclusive, diverse, and welcoming, and we want Thanos to be lead by the community that has formed around it. We believe that it allows the project to continue to flourish as potential new contributors and adopters gain confidence that the project will not be dominated by one company.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is known as the vendor-neutral home for fast-growing open-source projects. Projects in the Foundation benefit from organisational help, mentoring, and access to CNCF organised events, so we believe that Thanos becoming a part of the CNCF stable will be beneficial to everyone.

Does this change anything for Thanos?

Thanos will have the same maintainers and triaging contributors as it had before. The only changes are for the communication channels and interaction with the project:

  • Thanos is now in the thanos-io Github organization, which is jointly owned by the CNCF and Thanos maintainers.
  • Thanos Slack channels were migrated to the CNCF. Please join us in the #thanos and #thanos-dev channels on https://slack.cncf.io!
  • We are introducing a single email address to reach all Thanos maintainers: thanos-io@googlegroups.com

We are looking forward to what the Thanos community can achieve in the CNCF landscape to improve this project even further. If you want to join us and help to maintain Thanos, please drop us a message on Slack or email us!