CNCF Cloud Native Landscape and Trail Map

The Cloud Native Ecosystem is constantly evolving and continues to grow at a fast pace. The usage of Cloud Native Technologies in Production has tremendously increased during the recent past.

CNCF is an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable. CNCF encourages the development and collaboration on cloud native solutions by harmonizing the tools/projects in the same space. Few of the most popular CNCF projects are Kubernetes, Envoy, Prometheus, Fluentd, Jaeger, Helm, etcd and more. To summarize, you can consider CNCF to be the home for the most popular open source projects that enable modern day cloud native applications.

You can view the complete list of Graduated/Incubating/Sandbox projects in this link hereThese different phases are determined by the level of code maturity of the projects.

  • Sandbox – Projects with potential in an early stage.
  • Incubation – Projects which meets all Sandbox criteria and has demonstrated maturity and adoption from the community.
  • Graduation – Projects which meets all Incubation criteria, have proven itself in Production by multiple organizations and demonstrates high adaption rate.

Kubernetes was the first project that was part of the CNCF so it’s going to be the base building block into which other projects will integrate. You can view K8s as the most important project in the entire ecosystem.

CNCF Cloud Native Landscape

There is a wide range of technologies involved in the Cloud Native space with different complexity levels and if you are new to this technology stack – it can be overwhelming. The CNCF Landscape provides an overall view of the various projects that are involved and attempts to categorize these projects/products for better understanding. The CNCF fosters this landscape of open source projects by helping provide end-user communities with viable options for building cloud native applications. 


The Cloud Native Interactive Landscape filters and sorts hundreds of projects and products, and shows details including GitHub stars, funding or market cap, first and last commits, contributor counts, headquarters location, and recent tweets. You can view the CNCF Cloud Native Interactive Landscape here —

Cloud Native Landscape

It is completely open sources and you can contribute and share feedback with the community here by submitting pull requests to the GitHub repo —

I really like this view since you can filter the tools/platforms/products and view the details as per your convenience. Clicking on a card will provide you detailed information about the tool – website, GitHub repo, documentation links, social media presence and more.

Kubernetes CNCF
Cloud Native Trail Map

Amidst this large Cloud Native space, there are a number of paths you can take to get started with your Cloud Native journey. It is a complicated landscape with a lot of products/tools – so there is every chance that you get overwhelmed. CNCF provides guidance to companies who are making this move by providing a trail map.

The Trail Map shows the different paths you can take in your Cloud Native Journey.
The Cloud Native Trail Map is CNCF’s recommended path through the cloud native landscape. It’s not interactive at this point and I do think that enterprises can take different paths based on their use case & requirements. It needn’t be following all the 10 steps mentioned below. The Trail Map will evolve over a period of time and hopefully, multiple maps will be provided in the Cloud Native stack.

Currently, the Trail Map displays 10 static steps, with Containerizing your application being the first step in your Cloud Native Journey —

  1. Containerization
  2. CI/CD
  3. Orchestration
  4. Observability
  5. Service Mesh
  6. Networking
  7. Distributed Database
  8. Messaging
  9. Container Runtimes
  10. Software Distribution


Reference links with useful information

CNCF Trail Map, Cloud Native Landscape and Serverless Landscape are available in PDF and PNG format in the GitHub repo here.

The Beginner’s Guide to the CNCF Landscape

Introducing The Cloud Native Landscape 2.0 – Interactive Edition

Categories: Architecture, Cloud Native, Envoy, Istio, Kubernetes

1 reply


  1. Speaking at O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference 2019 – dotnetvibes

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