What is Knative?

Developed by Google, Knative provides a set of middleware components that are essential to build modern, source-centric, and container-based applications that can run anywhere: on premises, in the cloud, or even in a third-party data center. Knative components are built on Kubernetes and codify the best practices shared by successful real-world Kubernetes-based frameworks.

Knative provides accomplishes three major things: Serving, Build, and Eventing. Knative can orchestrate source-to-container workflows, auto-scale workloads, route and manage network traffic, or bind running services to eventing ecosystems.

Knative Logo

Knative Major Functions

Knative does three things essentially: Serving, Build, and Eventing.


Knative Serving builds on Kubernetes and Istio to support deploying and serving of serverless applications and functions. Serving is easy to get started with and scales to support advanced scenarios.

The Knative Serving project provides middleware primitives that enable:

  • Quick deployment of serverless containers
  • Scaling up and down to zero automatically
  • Routing and network programming for Istio components
  • Snapshots of deployed code and configurations


Build provides a cloud-native source to container orchestration. Knative build is an extension of Kubernetes primitives which enables users to run on-cluster builds from source. For example, you could retrieve the code from a git source repository, build a container image that runs the serverless function from the repository, and then execute the container upon an event trigger.

If you are interested in building fully compatible Amazon Runtimes you can use the TriggerMesh Knative Lambda Runtime (KLR) for migration of Lambda functions from AWS to Knative.


Eventing provides building blocks for consuming and producing events that adhere to the CloudEvents specification (a specification developed by the CNCF Working Group). It includes abstractions for feeds from event sources, and decoupled delivery through messaging channels backed by pluggable pub/sub broker services.

Knative Eventing defines a single event forwarding and persistence layer, called a Channel. Events are delivered to Services or forwarded to Channels using subscriptions. This allows m

Knative Architecture

Knative is a serverless extension. That utilizes both Kubernetes for container orchestration and Istio as a Service Mesh.

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