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A Terraform Provider for Kong in 120 Hours

Kong partnered with Speakeasy to make its leading API platform accessible in the Terraform ecosystem. The Speakeasy platform ensures that the provider automatically stays up-to-date with Kong’s API.

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About

Kong is one of the leading API platforms in the industry. Built on the world’s most adopted API gateway and supporting over 400B API calls daily, Kong provides the foundation for any company to become an API-first company.

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Company

Kong Inc.

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Industry

B2B SaaS

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Website

konghq.com

A Terraform Provider for Kong in 120 Hours

"Thanks to Speakeasy, the cost of offering a Terraform provider for Kong wasn't 'give me two engineers and 12 months', it was 'sign off on this purchase order and I will give you a provider'. The actual cost to the business time-wise and disruption-wise was minimal."

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Michael Heap, Senior Director of Developer Experience at Kong

Kong (opens in a new tab) is one of the leading API platforms in the industry. Built on the world’s most adopted API gateway and supporting over 400B API calls daily, Kong provides the foundation for any company to become an API-first company.

Providing a top-quality user experience is imperative for Kong to maintain a steady competitive advantage. Michael Heap, Senior Director of Developer Experience at Kong, ensures that Kong products are as user-friendly as possible, including documentation, automation capabilities, how well the products work together, and more. This led him to explore the Terraform ecosystem.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction with a Terraform Provider

There has always been a demand to configure Kong via Terraform. For a long time, Kong would refer customers to the provider managed by the Kong community. But for large enterprises, a community-maintained provider was a compliance liability that made it a no-go. The bigger issue for the Kong team was the time to market for new features. For customers using the community provider, it would take weeks, sometimes months, before a new feature would be available.

That lag between development and availability became increasingly problematic – convincing the Kong team that they needed to offer their enterprise customers a Terraform provider with tier-one support.

When a Design-First Approach Pays Off

In 2022, Kong made a decision to become a design-first company. This means that, before releasing a new product, they have to consider all possible use cases carefully, focus on flexibility and simplicity, and accommodate all levels of users. The company has put significant effort into designing its OpenAPI specs for the best customer experience. This came in handy when they chose the Speakeasy platform to generate the Terraform provider from the OpenAPI spec, resulting in:

  • the engineering team staying focused on their existing roadmap projects without any detours,
  • maintained service reliability with no disruption to existing customers,
  • improvements to Kong’s existing OpenAPI specs for other use cases, like documentation,
  • enterprise customers receiving support when needed,
  • new feature updates to the Terraform provider as soon as they are released.

"Adding the annotations required to generate the Terraform provider took about 120 hours of work, with a handful of feature requests to the Speakeasy team, which they turned around within a week or two each time."

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Michael Heap, Senior Director of Developer Experience at Kong

The provider's automated updates wouldn’t be possible if it was maintained solely by in-house resources and without Kong’s commitment to a design-first approach. The Speakeasy platform ensures that the provider stays up-to-date with Kong’s API by pushing a new branch to the provider's repository whenever an API spec change is detected.

This helps Kong ensure that:

  • their customers always have access to the most recent version of the provider,
  • their engineering team saves time due to no manual updates required,
  • the support team’s workload is decreased thanks to no discrepancies between the provider and the API,
  • the company maintains the highest quality level of customer experience.

You can read more about Kong’s experience working with Speakeasy in an article they wrote for The New Stack. (opens in a new tab)

Watch Michael Heap talk about the Kong Terraform Provider and his experience with Speakeasy.

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