We gathered here today to celebrate Prometheus' graduation

Prometheus becomes second CNCF project to graduate

Gabriela Motroc
© Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi

Kubernetes was the first CNCF project to graduate but it’s no longer alone: Prometheus has just graduated. This technology has demonstrated thriving adoption, a documented, structured governance process, and a strong commitment to community sustainability and inclusivity.

All dressed in … a graduation gown. Prometheus has just emerged from CNCF incubation! This is already the second graduation this year after Kubernetes broke the ice for incubating CNCF projects.

If you’d like to know more about the criteria the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) defined to reflect best practices that all CNCF graduated projects must adhere to, here’s what Chris Aniszczyk, COO of Cloud Native Computing Foundation told us earlier this year:

  • Adopt the commercially friend Apache 2.0 license and adhere to CNCF’s IP Policy
  • Adopt and enforce security best practices via the Core Infrastructure Initiative
  • Adopt an open and transparent governance
  • Demonstrate a substantial ongoing flow of commits and merged contributions
  • Have maintainers from multiple organizations to promote diversity
  • Used successfully in production by multiple organizations
  • Define and follow a code of conduct

The CNCF graduation criteria established by the TOC define what is a sustainable, production ready, mature open source project with open governance that you can bet your business on. Just because a project is open source, doesn’t mean that it is high quality and sustainable.

– Chris Aniszczyk

Since reaching incubation level, Prometheus has had 30 minor and major official releases. As Richard Hartmann Richard, a Prometheus team member, explained in a recent blog post, the following things happened since reaching incubating level:

  • We completely rewrote our storage back-end to support high churn in services
  • We had a large push towards stability, especially with 2.3.2
  • We started a documentation push with a special focus on making Prometheus adoption and joining the community easier

The team anticipates even wider adoption now that Prometheus has graduated; the monitoring tool has almost 20 active maintainers, over 1,000 contributors and 13,000+ commits from its growing user base. Furthermore, the newly-graduated project also integrates with Kubernetes to support service discovery and monitoring of dynamically scheduled services.

Speaking of Prometheus and Kubernetes, if you’re wondering what these two have in common, the answer is the following: they “share spiritual ancestry,” Björn Rabenstein, engineer at SoundCloud and Prometheus core developer told us a couple of years ago.

Prometheus and Kubernetes share spiritual ancestry: Kubernetes is inspired by Borg (Google’s internal cluster management solution), Prometheus is inspired by Borgmon (Google’s internal monitoring system). Despite being developed independently and under quite different circumstances, the shared spirit of how to run large-scale production systems shines through (a spirit that has now been codified in the excellent book “Site Reliability Engineering – How Google Runs Production Systems” quoted above). Both are “second systems” that try to learn from the lessons of their ancestors.

The most striking thing they have in common is the idea of labels. Everything is labeled in Kubernetes, and selections can happen along arbitrary label dimensions. The same is true for Prometheus, where time series are labeled (and everything in Prometheus is a time series or acts on time series, including alerts). The labels from Kubernetes easily translate into Prometheus labels. If needed, they propagate through the full stack. The page you receive on your mobile phone may very well feature a label you have assigned to a container at start-up time.

– Björn Rabenstein

Prometheus 2.0 arrived in November last year with massive performance improvements in tow. Read more about the improvements here

We’re really happy for Prometheus but we’d also like to know what’s the third project to graduate. In our conversation about the CNCF graduation, Chris Aniszczyk said that they have Prometheus and Fluentd “in the queue with interest in graduation.”

Now that Prometheus is all grown up, maybe Fluentd, an open source data collector for unified logging layer with an ecosystem of 500+ plug-ins and used by companies from Amazon to Microsoft to Nintendo is next in line.


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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