Ambient mesh available in Istio’s main branch

A significant milestone was achieved today for ambient mesh, bringing us closer to the goal of having ambient mesh production ready by the end of 2023. 

Until now, ambient mesh code lived in experimental branches, but thanks to the work of the Istio community, the ambient mesh code is now merged into Istio’s main branch. 

All experimental branches are deprecated, and any ambient mesh work will continue in the main branch. As Istio 1.17 was released a couple of days ago, the targeted official Istio release that will include ambient mesh is 1.18.

The ambient mesh code in the main branch and part of the official Istio releases makes it easier to test and experiment with.

What is ambient mesh?, together with Google, announced Istio Ambient Mesh in September 2022. Ambient mesh is a new, open-source, sidecarless service mesh architecture for Istio.

At the core of Istio Ambient Mesh is a new proxy architecture, which moves the sidecar proxy to the node level for mTLS and identity and allows a flexible policy-enforcement policy to manage Layer 7 security filters and policies. It was designed in a way that doesn’t sacrifice security or functionality and maintains the core features of Istio, which are zero trust security, telemetry, and traffic management.

What are the next steps?

As co-creators of the ambient mesh data plane and leaders on the Istio Steering and Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) we’re continuing towards the goal of having ambient mesh production ready by the end of 2023. 

We are working with early adopters and interested parties to close gaps in critical functionality and harden what’s already there. If you’re interested in POCing ambient mesh with a trusted partner who can help you with your mesh use cases, please reach out to us.

Join the Get Started with Istio Ambient Mesh course at Academy to try it yourself and get the Istio Ambient Mesh Foundation Certificate.

To get involved and start contributing to the Istio ambient mesh, join the Istio Slack and community.

DOWNLOAD THE WHITE PAPER: Achieve Compliance, Zero Trust with Istio Ambient Mesh