The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) has voted to accept cert-manager as a CNCF incubating project. 

cert-manager is a Kubernetes add-on to automate the management and issuance of TLS certificates from various issuing sources, for cloud native Kubernetes or OpenShift environments. It will continuously ensure that certificates are valid and up-to-date, and attempt to renew certificates at an appropriate time before expiry. This machine identity is essential to allowing highly secure, encrypted data communications using TLS. 

As cloud native environments are highly distributed with high levels of automation, cert-manager has become very popular with developers as an open source tool to protect cloud native workloads with TLS encryption and provide critical security for clusters.

cert-manager also aligns with many other CNCF projects, including Cilium, Knative, SPIRE, Isitio, and Linkerd.

“We are humbled by the trust and support from our users and the community. We are equally humbled by the support and endorsement from the CNCF and believe that reaching incubation status is an important milestone for the project. The cert-manager maintainers look forward to collaborating with the CNCF in our goals to make trust and certificate management more accessible in the cloud native landscape.” – Joakim Ahrlin, Engineering Team Lead at Jetstack, a Venafi company, and cert-manager maintainer.

“cert-manager is probably one of the first applications you install on a Kubernetes cluster. The cert-manager maintainers aim to make this first experience as smooth as possible, while supporting the advanced use cases through our accompanying components, like csi-driver and approver-policy.” – Tim Ramlot, Software Engineer at Jetstack and cert-manager maintainer.

“cert-manager is the de facto standard for X.509 certificates in Kubernetes environments,” said Ricardo Torres, Chief Engineer of Open Source & Cloud Native at The Boeing Company. “Thanks to cert-manager’s flexibility, development teams can leverage the same tool with self-signed certificates in development environments and with certificates signed by trusted CAs in production environments.”

“Dealing with certificates is a task that most cloud native deployments need to handle and not one that should be taken lightly,” said Ricardo Rocha, Computing Engineer at CERN and TOC sponsor for cert-manager. “The popularity and very large user base of cert-manager shows it has gained the trust from the users and has become an integral part of the ecosystem. With the project moving to incubation, I look forward to watching the community continue growing and seeing the project integrate further with other cloud native tools.”

Main Components:

Diagram showing cert-manager architecture

Notable Milestones:

“The cert-manager project is a fantastic work of engineering that lowers the barrier of obtaining security certificates for the Kubernetes and cloud native ecosystem. We look forward to supporting the growing community and increasing the number of adopters,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of The Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

cert-manager is continuously adding support of upstream Kubernetes enhancements, including Gateway API, CSR API and Trust Anchor Sets and has made significant progress since joining the CNCF Sandbox in 2020 including: 

The team is also improving the extensibility and user + developer experience of cert-manager and aiming to shrink the core of cert-manager to reduce deployment complexity, binary size, attack surface and image sizes.

Further information about the roadmap can be found here.

As a CNCF-hosted project, cert-manager is part of a neutral foundation aligned with its technical interests, as well as the larger Linux Foundation, which provides governance, marketing support, and community outreach. For more information on maturity requirements for each level, please visit the CNCF Graduation Criteria.