CNCF 2021


of us

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it's been a year to remember

When I look back at 2021, I'm amazed by what we have achieved together on our journey towards making cloud native ubiquitous.

I want to thank you #TeamCloudNative, for your passion and commitment to this community. Despite all the challenges of
the past 12 months, you've made 2021 a year to remember.

Priyanka Sharma

The power of us is the
power of our culture.

Priyanka Sharma

General Manager, CNCF

We've seen record growth across all areas — from projects, events and the cloud native ecosystem, to membership and community. Most importantly, this year the definition of “us” has evolved to encompass a truly global, welcoming community of doers, working collaboratively to fundamentally change how technology is built and delivered.

In the spirit of our evolution, the Annual Report is a little different this year. This web version shares all the great highlights of 2021, but if you're after more please download the PDF version which sets out an in-depth analysis of the past 12 months.

I hope you enjoy reading these fantastic milestones and reflecting back on the incredible progress we've achieved together this year.

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740+ Members
Across 6 continents

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120+ Projects
Driving worldwide

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142,000+ Contributors
Fundamentally changing computing


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CNCF is an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing ubiquitous

Since we were founded in 2015, we've pioneered cloud native technologies — hosting and growing some of the world's most successful open source projects including Kubernetes, Prometheus, Envoy, ContainerD, and many others.

Today we are a powerhouse for visionary projects and people. If cloud native was fast becoming mainstream before 2020, then the global pandemic pushed adoption into the stratosphere. Now, CNCF hosts 120+ projects with over 142,000 contributors representing 189 countries, and there are no signs of slowing down. In fact, cloud native is actively being adopted by multiple industries, driven by our global community.

This year, the Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) Working Group launched as the newest CNCF Telecom Initiative, with representatives from Telecom and cloud native communities. Thanks to our strategic partner, by the end 2021, the CNF Test Suite had more than 60 tests across many important categories. This tool provides feedback on the use of Kubernetes and cloud native best practices in networking applications and platforms, with contributions from 16 organizations.

Remember when digital transformation used to be a buzzword?

Priyanka Sharma

General Manager, CNCF



The CNCF ecosystem continues to grow across vendor and end user memberships, making CNCF one of the most successful open source foundations ever.

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In 2021, we welcomed over 200 new members to CNCF, equating to a 23% increase from 2020.

Today, CNCF has over 740+ organizations participating, including the world's largest public and private cloud companies, along with the world's most innovative software companies and end user organizations. Investment from these leading organizations signifies a strong dedication to the advancement and sustainability of cloud native computing for years to come.


Chart showing CNCF Member growth

Organizations that sell cloud native technologies built on, or integrated with, CNCF projects are eligible to join as general members.

Become a CNCF Member

Member Movers and Shakers

Upgraded to

Grafana Labs
New Relic

New Gold

American Express
Charter Communications
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200+ new members
80 new members
from China

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740+ member

23% growth from 2020

End users are not passive, they're becoming leaders in open source projects.

Cheryl Hung

Engineering Lead, Apple

End User Community

At our heart, CNCF is driven by a welcoming foundation of doers at the leading edge of cloud native. We're committed to creating end user-driven open source and this year, more than ever, we've seen End Users actively shape the ecosystem — driving huge-scale adoption and growth of CNCF projects.

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would recommend CNCF
to other companies
(2021 End User survey)

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End Users

End User

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End Users leverage cloud native technologies internally, but don't sell cloud native products or services. Come shape the cloud native ecosystem with us!



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We were thrilled to grant Spotify our Top End User Award this year, in recognition of its notable contributions to the cloud native ecosystem.

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to 13 different projects

Contributed project

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We love being a part of this community, where you can not only learn from other end users in your position but also have a voice in the direction of the community and its projects. We have come a long way from our early days of learning about cloud native to making Spotify a technology innovator and good open source citizen, and can't wait to see what milestones we reach next!

Dave Zolotusky

Principal Engineer, Spotify & CNCF TOC member

Enjoyed our 2021 member highlights? Get more details in the full report...

Download Full Report

Virtual &
Hybrid Events

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Despite all our hopes, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to shape 2021

To ensure the safety of our growing cloud native community, CNCF doubled down on digital last year, launching a suite of programs to bring #TeamCloudNative together and providing opportunities for collaboration, learning, and networking from every corner of the globe.

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KubeCon + CloudNativeCon has always been a celebration of that community spirit, a place where contributors and users from across the world get to meet
and share ideas face-to-face.

Betsy Amy-Vogt


Kubernetes Community Days

In response to the cloud native community's evolving needs and geographies, CNCF relaunched the Kubernetes Community Days (KCD) program in 2021 — community-organized events that gather adopters and technologists to learn, collaborate, and network. The goal of the events is to further the adoption and improvement of Kubernetes and cloud native technologies around the world.

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relaunched to
massive demand

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12 KCDs
In-person, virtual and

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in multiple languages

(English, Chinese, Indonesian,
Italian, Korean, and Spanish)

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7,500+ attendees
Adopters & technologists

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12 countries
Across the

Kubecon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2021 (Virtual)

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May saw KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU Virtual once again set record-breaking registration and attendance, with 26,648 registrants (a 42.5% increase on 2020).

The event
in numbers

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Total Registrations

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624 Submissions

145 Speakers

Breakdown of attendees by location

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Attendees from six continents

Chart showing breakdown of Kubecon 2021 EU attendees by country

Breakdown of participating companies

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Chart showing breakdown of Kubecon 2021 EU attendees by company type

Kubecon + CloudNativeCon North America 2021

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As a truly global community, gathering for our first hybrid KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Los Angeles in October was a special moment. We welcomed 3,531 attendees in-person, and 19,633 through our virtual event platform — setting a new standard in hybrid events.

Research from David Sally tells us that cooperation and collaboration increases 45% when meeting in person and having face-to-face interactions, so we're committed to driving more future opportunities for #TeamCloudNative to collaborate and learn together in-person.


Building support for your
Cloud Native journey

Robert Duffy, Expedia

Robert Duffy speaking at conference

The event
in numbers

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Total Registrations

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Attendees from six continents

Breakdown of in-person attendees by location

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Most represented countries in attendance

Map showing countries with most in-person representation at Kubecon NA 2021

Breakdown of virtual attendees by location

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Most represented countries in attendance

Map showing countries with most virtual representation at Kubecon NA 2021

Breakdown of participating companies

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Breakdown of Kubecon NA 2021 participants by company type
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North America 2021



Download Event
Transparency Report

COVID response

Our commitment to enabling collaboration also means we're deeply committed to keeping #TeamCloudNative safe.

CNCF has a long-standing relationship with Dr. Joel Selanikio, a physician, former CDC epidemiologist and outbreak investigator, and consultant epidemiologist to the DC Department of Health and to FEMA for the COVID-19 response over 2020-21.

Thanks to Dr. Selanikio's continuous counsel, we have been able to take educated and well-thought out steps to ensure the safety of our community members as we navigate COVID-19.

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Kubecon + CloudNativeCon
China 2021

We don't yet have all our statistics available from this virtual December 9+10 event, but we'll share them as soon as they're ready!

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Registered Attendees

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See you at our next KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Valencia!

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Enjoyed our 2021 event highlights? Get more details in the full report...

Download Full Report

Training &

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CNCF doubled down on our commitment to #TeamCloudNative in 2021 by expanding our globally recognized certifications, boosting employment opportunities, and helping more folx to upskill their practical application of cloud native technologies.

This year we launched the Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) — a pre-professional certification designed for candidates interested in working with cloud native technologies. The KCNA underscores conceptual knowledge of the entire cloud native ecosystem, particularly focusing on Kubernetes, and is meant for more than just developers.

Alongside, we launched a new practical training course — Inclusive Strategies for Open Source (LFC103) — designed to ​​provide specific strategies for creating inclusive open source communities and codebases, and advice on executing those in communities.

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Training Courses

CNCF's training and certification program continued to grow. These training courses and exams received considerable interest:

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39% Increase

Kubernetes Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) hit 229,000 enrollments.

86% Increase

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) hit 34,000 exam registrations.

89% Increase

Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam hit 70,000 enrollments.

8,450 Registrations

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) launched in November 2020.

28% Increase

Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP) program reached 230 certifications in 2021.

14% Increase

Kubernetes Training Partner (KTP) program grew to 57 certified companies.


Courses that CNCF funded in 2021:

Introduction to Kubernetes on Edge with k3s
A deep dive into the use cases and applications of Kubernetes at the edge using examples, labs, and a technical overview of the K3s project and the cloud native edge ecosystem.

Inclusive Strategies for Open Source (LFC103)
Delivers effective strategies for creating inclusive open source communities and code bases.

Man and woman working on laptops

Enjoyed our 2021 training highlights? Get more details in the full report...

Download Full Report

Project Updates &

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Throughout 2021, CNCF underscored our commitment to making cloud native ubiquitous. We hosted 16 graduated projects, 26 incubating, and 78 sandbox projects, driven by more than 142,000 contributors from 189 countries.

Reflecting the evolution of cloud native, this was the year that solidified Kubernetes' place as the de facto container orchestration tool. In fact, RedHat's Kubernetes adoption, security, and market trends report 2021 noted that: “Kubernetes is used by nearly everyone… (and) is living up to its title as the de facto container orchestrator.”

Complementing this maturation in CNCF's graduated projects, in 2021 the Technical Oversight Committee continued to sharpen focus on app delivery and the ease of creating Kubernetes applications, as well as bolstering the range of increasingly-mature storage projects.

With security coming under increased global scrutiny this year the CNCF Security Technical Advisory Group published Software Supply Chain Security Best Practices, to provide a holistic approach to supply chain security. Sarah Allen, then co-chair of the CNCF Security TAG stated: “It's exciting to see CNCF projects, like in-toto, providing a key part of supply chain security.”

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CNCF Graduated

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Chart showing number of projects accepted to CNCF each year

Project Moves

Projects increase their maturity level by demonstrating to the TOC that they have attained end user and vendor adoption, established a healthy rate of code commits and codebase changes, and attracted committers from multiple organizations.


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Joined at the Incubation level or moved from Sandbox to Incubation

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Kubernetes API Endpoint Testing

2021 saw the update of APISnoop, a visual insight into Kubernetes test coverage.

APISnoop is a community-driven project spearheaded by long-time CNCF contributor and community leader Hippie Hacker, which tracks the testing and conformance coverage of Kubernetes by analyzing the audit logs created by e2e test runs.


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Chart showing Kubernetes endpoint testing coverage in different versions

Phippy and friends

From a humble PHP app, Phippy has gone on to help thousands of folx take their first steps to understanding cloud native computing — from containerization to automation. Today, Phippy and Friends' mission is to demystify cloud native computing and explain complicated concepts in a compelling, engaging, and easy-to-understand manner.

Hazel Hazel The Hedgehog
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linky Linky The Lobster
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tiago Tiago The Tiger
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We enjoyed new Phippy Adventures in three books:

Admiral Bash's
Island Adventure

By the Cartografos Group

From 00-K8s, with Love
Donated by Microsoft Azure

The Illustrated Children's
Guide to Kubernetes

In Italian, thanks to SparkFabrik

Are you a maintainer on a graduated project? Do you want to help others better understand the concepts of cloud native computing?

Donate a character

Multiple Phippy characters

Enjoyed our 2021 project highlights? Get more details in the full report...

Download Full Report

Community &
Diversity Engagement

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The CNCF community spans the world, across our contributors, members, meetups, and ambassadors.

We strengthened our commitment to #TeamCloudNative in 2021, investing in community-driven initiatives to fuel sustained momentum, expansion, growth, and adoption. Importantly, we continued to sharpen focus on our DEI initiatives, ensuring that the ecosystem is a welcoming place where everybody can thrive.

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Diversity, equity and inclusion

CNCF continues to support the development of this incredible cloud native community while also striving to ensure that everyone who participates feels welcome, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or economic status. To date, we've offered close to 3,800 diversity and need-based scholarships.

Women &

43% of keynotes at
Kubecon EU
46% of keynotes at
Kubecon NA


Scholarships were funded by sponsorships from Apple, Cisco, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Cockroach Labs, Google Cloud, Iguazio, Meltwater, Salesforce, Scaleway, StackPulse, and Styra. Recipients were able to attend Kubecon + CloudNativeCon NA.

685 Diversity Recipients
807 need-based recipients
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Community Awards

Now in their fifth year, the CNCF Community Awards highlighted the most active ambassador and top contributors across all CNCF projects. The awards included:

Nikhita Raghunath

TOP Cloud Native Committer

An individual with incredible technical skills and notable technical achievements in one or multiple CNCF projects. The 2021 recipient was Nikhita Raghunath.

Anaïs Urlichs

TOP Cloud Native Ambassador

An individual with incredible community-oriented skills, focused on spreading the word and sharing knowledge with the entire cloud native community or within a specific project. The 2021 recipient was Anaïs Urlichs.

Tim Bannister

TOP Documentarian (new in 2021)

This award recognizes excellence in documentation contributions to CNCF and its projects. Excellent technical documentation is one of the best ways projects can lower the barrier to contribution. The 2021 recipient was Tim Bannister.

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"Chop Wood and
Carry Water"

To recognize contributors who spend countless hours completing often mundane tasks, CNCF created the “Chop Wood and Carry Water” awards. CNCF was proud to acknowledge the amazing efforts of five individuals for their outstanding contributions in 2021:

Emily Fox, Aeva Black, Tasha Drew, Carlos Panato, Carolyn Van Slyck.

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CNCF Meetups become
Community Groups

2021 saw the cloud native community switch from the Meetup platform to Cloud Native Community Groups and the new platform has taken off. It has become the singular place where meetups, online programs, project office hours, and community events are run. The platform now hosts over 29,000 members and we are excited to see this platform continue to grow.

Groups 2021

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Chart showing number of members in CNCF meetup group over time

Enjoyed our 2021 community highlights? Get more details in the full report...

Download Full Report

Mentoring &
Ecosystem Resources

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CNCF worked closely in partnership with individual contributors and community groups throughout 2021, developing programs to navigate and manage the fast-growing ecosystem, rising to meet the growing global demand for cloud native technologies.

Cloud Native Landscape Guide

If you've researched cloud native applications and technologies, you've probably come across the CNCF cloud native landscape. Unsurprisingly, the sheer scale of it can be overwhelming, with so many categories and so many technologies. In 2021, to help make sense of this important tool, we launched the Cloud Native Landscape Guide. This breaks down our mammoth landscape and provides a high-level overview of its layers, columns, and categories.

A huge thank you to those who made the guide possible! The cloud native landscape guide was initiated by the CNCF Business Value Subcommittee and Cartografos group. It was authored by Jason Morgan and Catherine Paganini, edited and reviewed by Simon Forster and Ihor Dvoretskyi, and built by Jordi Noguera, with UX consultation from Andrea Velázquez.

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CNCF Glossary

In May, we introduced the new CNCF Cloud Native Glossary to provide anyone getting started with cloud native an introduction that is largely free of jargon and assumptions of pre-existing familiarity.

It launched with 25 terms and more will be added with time. The project is spearheaded by the Business Value Subcommittee (BVS), whose primary goal is to provide tools to educate executives, business leaders, and non-technical audiences on cloud native technologies and their business value.

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As technologists we have a moral obligation to ensure that business stakeholders understand the transformative change that cloud native allows, and that cloud native isn't seen only as a set of technologies.

Daniel Jones

Managing Director of EngineerBetter

The Glossary is a community-driven effort and everyone is welcome to contribute new terms, update current ones, or help translate into different languages.

Community Mentoring

CNCF proudly supported more than 100 individuals through various mentoring and internship opportunities in 2021, including the LFX mentorship platform (previously known as Community Bridge), Google Summer of Code (GSoC), Google Summer of Docs (GSoD), and Outreachy. These programs are important catalysts for internships to have an impact on future technologies that we all depend on.

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In Numbers

104 Mentorships


Who we are

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable.

Presently folx on our staff and governing board self-identify as she/her or he/him. We welcome all individuals and encourage applications for future opportunities on the CNCF Job board.


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Data visulization showing proportion of men and women in exec leadership


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CNCF's revenue is derived from four primary fundraising sources, including membership, event sponsorship, event registration, and training.


Data visulization showing CNCF funding sources

A basic premise behind CNCF, our conferences (including KubeCon + CloudNativeCon), and open source, in general, is that interactions are positive-sum. There is no fixed amount of investment, mindshare, or development contribution allocated to specific projects.

Equally important, a neutral home for a project and community fosters this type of positive-sum thinking and drives the growth and diversity that we believe are core elements of a successful open source project.

Thank You

We hope you enjoyed reflecting on
all the great things we accomplished
together in 2021.

Your comments and feedback are welcome at

We're looking forward to seeing you in 2022!
Check out our calendar for community events near you and don't forget to register for KubeCon+CloudNativeCon Europe in Valencia, May 2022.

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