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NGINX Modern Reference Architectures

Current Test Status

FOSSA Status AWS Status DO Status LKE Status K3s Status MicroK8s Status Minikube Status

MARA Project

This repository has the basics for a common way to deploy and manage modern apps. Over time, we'll build more example architectures using different deployment models and options – including other clouds – and you’ll be able to find those here.


Internally, we refer to this project as MARA for Modern Application Reference Architecture. The current repository name reflects the humble origins of this project, as it was started with the purpose of allowing users to build custom versions of the NGINX Ingress Controller in Kubernetes. This went so well that we expanded it to the project you're currently viewing.

Modern App Architectures

We define modern app architectures as those driven by four characteristics: scalability, portability, resiliency, and agility. While many different aspects of a modern architecture exist, these are fundamental.

  • Scalability – Quickly and seamlessly scale up or down to accommodate spikes or reductions in demand, anywhere in the world.

  • Portability – Easy to deploy on multiple types of devices and infrastructures, on public clouds, and on premises.

  • Resiliency – Can fail over to newly spun‑up clusters or virtual environments in different availability regions, clouds, or data centers.

  • Agility – Ability to update through automated CI/CD pipelines with higher code velocity and more frequent code pushes.

This diagram is an example of what we mean by a modern app architecture: Modern Apps Architecture Example Diagram

To satisfy the four key characteristics, many modern app architectures employ:

  • Platform agnosticism
  • Prioritization of OSS
  • Everything defined by code
  • CI/CD automation
  • Security-minded development
  • Containerized builds
  • Distributed storage

What's Being Built

For details on the current state of this project, please see the readme in the pulumi/python subdirectory. This project is under active development, and the current work is using Pulumi with Python. Additionally, please see Status and Issues for the project's up-to-date build status and known issues.

Subdirectories contained within the root directory separate reference architectures by infrastructure deployment tooling with additional subdirectories as needed. For example, Pulumi allows the use of multiple languages for deployment. As we decided to use Python in our first build, there is a python subdirectory under the pulumi directory.

This project was started to provide a complete, stealable, easy to deploy, and standalone example of how a modern app architecture can be built. It was driven by the necessity to be flexible and not require a long list of dependencies to get started. It needs to provide examples of tooling used to build this sort of architecture in the real world. Most importantly, it needs to work. Hopefully this provides a ‘jumping off’ point for someone to build their own infrastructure.

Deployment Tools


Pulumi is a modern Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool that allows you to write code (node, Python, Go, etc.) that defines cloud infrastructure. Within the pulumi folder are examples of the pulumi being used to stand up MARA.


We welcome pull requests and issues!

Please refer to the Contributing Guidelines when doing a PR.


All code in this repository is licensed under the Apache License v2 license.

Open source license notices for all projects in this repository can be found here.

FOSSA Status