Weaveworks unravels. Here’s what that means for CNCF's Flux project

  • Weaveworks built the foundation of the CNCF’s Flux project

  • Flux is an open-source GitOps toolkit that companies can use to configure and manage Kubernetes cluster and application deployments

  • The company shut down this week, raising questions about Flux’s future

Weaveworks seemingly had everything going for it a few short years ago. Founded in 2014, the company snagged $15 million funding from Google Ventures in 2016 and, more recently, $36.6 million from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, and Orange Ventures to fuel adoption of its Kubernetes GitOps solutions. This week, though, it all came crashing down.

In a heartfelt post on LinkedIn (because the Weaveworks website has already been wiped off the internet), CEO Alexis Richardson announced the company was shutting down. He said while it was pulling in double digit revenue, sales growth was “lumpy,” resulting in a “volatile” cash position.

Though Weaveworks attempted to find a partner to help stabilize the company, an M&A deal the company had lined up fell through at the last minute, leading to the decision to close the business.

What is Flux?

While sad in and of itself for the company’s employees, Weaveworks’ downfall raised important questions about the future of a key project at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF): Flux.

Flux is essentially an open-source GitOps toolkit that companies can use to configure and manage Kubernetes cluster and application deployments. That’s wildly oversimplifying things, but you get the idea. Weaveworks developed an initial version of Flux before turning it over to CNCF in 2019. The project achieved the “graduated” maturity level in 2022 and Flux V2.0 was released in July of last year.

You may not have heard of it, but rest assured Flux is used by some very big names. AWS, Microsoft, GitLab and VMware all offer products built on Flux. Orange, RingCentral, SAP, Volvo, Virginia Tech and William and Mary all also use the software, among many others.

Future in Flux

But what will happen to Flux now that a key sponsor of the project is no more?

CNCF’s CTO Chris Aniszczyk told Silverlinings “The open source community abhors a vacuum on widely used cloud native software and some Flux maintainers have recently been hired by other leading companies and continue to contribute and maintain the project.”

He pointed to Stefan Prodan as an example. Prodan is a former Principal Engineer at Weaveworks and core Flux Maintainer who last month joined Kubernetes and cloud consulting company ControlPlane. There he has continued work on Flux and just this week announced new updates for the project.

Could it happen again?

Contributors are both the boon and bane of the open source community. Asked whether CNCF has a standard protocol for dealing with situations in which key member companies go out of business (thus jeopardizing a project’s contributor base), Aniszczyk said the organization does “our best to notify our member companies to pitch-in when it comes to these situations.”

He added “The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) reviews the health of projects often and in cases where a project is forked or is lacking maintainers, we work with our member community. Not so long ago, the Cortex project ran into issues where Grafana forked it and maintainers were moved to focus on that project. CNCF made a call to our members to see if folks can help and AWS and Red Hat stepped in.”