Gardener implements the automated management and operation of Kubernetes clusters as a service and provides a fully validated extensibility framework that can be adjusted to any programmatic cloud or infrastructure provider.
Gardener’s main principle is to leverage Kubernetes concepts for all of its tasks.
In essence, Gardener is an extension API server that comes along with a bundle of custom controllers. It introduces new API objects in an existing Kubernetes cluster (which is called garden cluster) in order to use them for the management of end-user Kubernetes clusters (which are called shoot clusters). These shoot clusters are described via declarative cluster specifications which are observed by the controllers. They will bring up the clusters, reconcile their state, perform automated updates and make sure they are always up and running.
To accomplish these tasks reliably and to offer a high quality of service, Gardener controls the main components of a Kubernetes cluster (etcd, API server, controller manager, scheduler). These so-called control plane components are hosted in Kubernetes clusters themselves (which are called seed clusters). This is the main difference compared to many other OSS cluster provisioning tools: The shoot clusters do not have dedicated master VMs. Instead, the control plane is deployed as a native Kubernetes workload into the seeds (the architecture is commonly referred to as kubeception or inception design). This does not only effectively reduce the total cost of ownership but also allows easier implementations for “day-2 operations” (like cluster updates or robustness) by relying on all the mature Kubernetes features and capabilities.
Gardener reuses the identical Kubernetes design to span a scalable multi-cloud and multi-cluster landscape. Such familiarity with known concepts has proven to quickly ease the initial learning curve and accelerate developer productivity:
Please find more information regarding the concepts and a detailed description of the architecture in our Gardener Wiki and our blog posts on kubernetes.io: Gardener - the Kubernetes Botanist (17.5.2018) and Gardener Project Update (2.12.2019).
Conformance test results of latest stable Gardener release, transparently visible at the CNCF test grid:
 Version is technically supported but no longer actively tested. Regressions will go unnoticed.
Besides the conformance tests, over 400 additional e2e tests are executed on a daily basis. Get an overview of the test results at testgrid.
See our documentation in the
/docs repository, please find the index here.
The quickest way to test drive Gardener is to install it virtually onto an existing Kubernetes cluster, just like you would install any other Kubernetes-ready application. Launch your automatic installer here
Feedback and contributions are always welcome!
Please report bugs or suggestions about our Kubernetes clusters as such or the Gardener itself as GitHub issues or join our Slack channel #gardener (please invite yourself to the Kubernetes workspace here).
Please find further resources about our project here: