By on April 28, 2020

Kong Turns Five!

Today – April 28, 2020 – Kong celebrates its fifth anniversary since it was first open sourced by Mashape in 2015, starting a new era in the API landscape.

This is how the Kong logo changed over the years.


Since the first time it was released, and driven by five years of dedicated contributions from the community, Kong forever transformed the API gateway ecosystem by being the first widely successful open source project in the APIM landscape, the first containerized API gateway and the first Kubernetes-native API gateway ingress to support a new generation of distributed and decoupled applications. Prior to Kong, for the most part, API management meant adopting close source monolithic solutions that were hard to deploy, hard to extend, were not performant and did not support modern containerized deployments and Kubernetes.

Kong is today the most widely adopted OSS API gateway in the world with over 1.5M instances running across organizations of any size and in every vertical, with more than 150M downloads. And while Kong is platform-agnostic and supports 15+ distributions, Kong’s Kubernetes Ingress Controller needs a special mention as one of the most popular ways to deploy a modern API gateway ingress.

When we first started Mashape in 2009, the company that would eventually open source Kong in 2015, we were strong believers that APIs would trigger a “third industrial revolution” in the world and that everything would be API-powered: like in an assembly line, developers would build new applications by assembling together all sorts of APIs – built either internally or externally – and glue them together. In the 2010-2020 decade, we witnessed for the first time the emergence of the first API-only companies in the world like Stripe and Twilio. Today in the era of the Cloud, microservices and Kubernetes, this prediction couldn’t be more true: everything is API-powered, from our digital applications to IoT. Back then in the Mashape days, we thought that an API world needed – first and foremost – a marketplace of APIs where developers could share and even sell their APIs that others could use. And so the Mashape marketplace was born. Mashape – a microservice-oriented platform itself built before microservices were well known – grew over the years to support hundreds of thousands of developers consuming and publishing tens of thousands of APIs every day. We ourselves – back then – needed to adopt a lightweight, extensible, performant gateway that could process all this API traffic in a fast and scalable way. Since nothing was available in the market that could satisfy our requirements, we decided to build one ourselves, and then exactly five years ago, we decided to open source it. Then – a few years later – the Mashape marketplace was divested so that we could focus 100% on Kong and its growing adoption.

When Kong was born, it was born out of the very peculiar obsession of being able to be the best API gateway the world had ever seen (a very niche goal back in 2015), built on a strong technology foundation and strong guiding principles like extensibility, performance and platform agnosticity. Over the years, the contributions from the community, the incredible adoption and the enterprise hardening of the product made Kong a leader and an enabler to countless applications and API-led architectures across every industry in the world running on Kubernetes, VMs and public clouds. Today, Kong – under the hood – powers large areas of our financial system, enables millions of tickets to be issued for concerts and traveling, and connects our cars and devices and keeps them up to date. Countless consumer, business and governmental/military applications rely on Kong every day to keep the world running. Kong does its best to power the third industrial revolution, driven by you – the community, the contributors and the adopters – and by its open source DNA.

And so here we are, five years later, looking a little bit into the past to learn where we came from in this long journey. There is still a lot of building to do and many years ahead of us, but I am confident that if they will be anything like the past five, then they will be amazing and full of surprises.

To the Kong community and to every user out there, thank you!




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