🎉 Crossplane Community Day Europe '21 Recap — read the blog


PLEASE NOTE: This document applies to v1.0 version and not to the latest release v1.2

Documentation for other releases can be found by using the version selector in the top right of any doc page.


Crossplane introduces multiple building blocks that enable you to provision, compose, and consume infrastructure using the Kubernetes API. These individual concepts work together to allow for powerful separation of concern between different personas in an organization, meaning that each member of a team interacts with Crossplane at an appropriate level of abstraction.

Crossplane Concepts

The diagram above illustrates a common workflow using most of Crossplane’s functionality.

An infrastructure operator…

  1. Installs Crossplane and one or more providers (in this case provider-azure) as packages. This enables provisioning of external infrastructure from the Kubernetes cluster.
  2. Defines a new CompositeMySQLInstance composite resource and a corresponding MySQLInstance resource claim by authoring a CompositeResourceDefinition.
  3. Creates a Composition that instructs Crossplane how to render one or more managed resources installed by providers in response to the creation of the composite resource. In this case the Composition specifies that Azure MySQLServer and MySQLFirewallRule managed resources should be created to satisfy a CompositeMySQLInstance.

An application developer…

  1. Creates an OAM Component for their service that specifies that they wish to be run as an OAM ContainerizedWorkload.
  2. Creates an OAM Component for their MySQL database that can be satisfied by the MySQLInstance resource claim.

An application operator…

  1. Creates an OAM ApplicationConfiguration, which is comprised of the two Component types that were defined by the application developer, and a ManualScalerTrait trait to modify the replicas in the ContainerizedWorkload. In response, Crossplane translates the OAM types into Kubernetes-native types, in this case a Deployment and Service for the ContainerizedWorkload component, and a MySQLServer and MySQLFirewallRule for the MySQLInstance component.
  2. Crossplane provisions the external infrastructure and makes the connection information available to the application, allowing it to connect to and consume the MySQL database on Azure.

The concepts used in this workflow are explained in greater detail below and in their individual documentation.


Packages allow Crossplane to be extended to include new functionality. This typically looks like bundling a set of Kubernetes CRDs and controllers that represent and manage external infrastructure (i.e. a provider), then installing them into a cluster where Crossplane is running. Crossplane handles making sure any new CRDs do not conflict with existing ones, as well as manages the RBAC and security of new packages. Packages are not strictly required to be providers, but it is the most common use-case for packages at this time.


Providers are packages that enable Crossplane to provision infrastructure on an external service. They bring CRDs (i.e. managed resources) that map one-to-one to external infrastructure resources, as well as controllers to manage the life-cycle of those resources. You can read more about providers, including how to install and configure them, in the providers documentation.

Managed Resources

Managed resources are Kubernetes custom resources that represent infrastructure primitives. Managed resources with an API version of v1beta1 or higher support every field that the cloud provider does for the given resource. You can find the Managed Resources and their API specifications for each provider on doc.crds.dev and learn more in the managed resources documentation.

Composite Resources

A composite resource (XR) is a special kind of custom resource that is defined by a CompositeResourceDefinition. It composes one or more managed resources into a higher level infrastructure unit. Composite resources are infrastructure operator facing, but may optionally offer an application developer facing composite resource claim that acts as a proxy for a composite resource. You can learn more about all of these concepts in the composition documentation.


Crossplane supports application management as the Kubernetes implementation of the Open Application Model. As such, Crossplane currently implements the following OAM API types as Kubernetes custom resources.

For more information, take a look at the OAM documentation.