Gloo Portal 1.0 – What’s in the New Release
This week we announced Gloo Edge 1.8 and Gloo Portal 1.0. We have delivered so many exciting features in these releases driven by input from our customers, partners and open source community. For Gloo Edge, over 80% of the enhancements were driven by direct input from our customers and community. With Gloo Portal, we underwent a year long alpha and beta cycle to ensure that we were building a modern API management product that could hold up to the exacting requirements of scalable and declarative cloud native environments that often see Istio and Kubernetes across 100s of clusters on thousands of nodes.
To get a good idea of the highlights for the release, you can see the Gloo Edge 1.8 and Gloo Portal 1.0 here, but as the leader of the product management team here I wanted to go give more details behind the motivation and user experience behind each of these enhancements.
I’ve broken this blog into two parts and will start with Gloo Portal because I am excited to reach the 1.0 milestone.
Gloo Product Momentum
Gloo product usage continues to soar to the moon. First, because of your support we have reached over 3,000 stars on the open source Gloo Edge Github repo. Second, we now have over 3500 users in the general and 1800 users in the Gloo Edge channels in our community Slack. There are now hundreds of private channels to support individual customers and teams. Furthermore, between Gloo Portal and Gloo Edge we have had over 550 releases to date! That is a lot of releases since December 2018.
Gloo Portal 1.0 Features
Gloo Portal is now a full API management suite with the self service Edge configurability that customers have shown interest in during the pre-GA release. Gloo Portal is CRD driven and works flawlessly with existing GitOps processes. Some customers utilize the API management features alone while others want to also catalog their APIs in the user interface. No matter your use case, Gloo Portal now includes the access control that is needed to give developers the freedom they want to share their APIs with customers and users while giving IT the control they need.
Some of the exciting new features in 1.0 include:
Full Gloo Edge Integration
Previously, Gloo Portal provided a nice way to catalog APIs but one of the most requested enhancements was that customers who loved Gloo Edge wanted to be able to have the same control over configurations in the portal. With that guidance we streamlined Portal so that you can now configure Gloo Edge Virtual Services, Routes Tables and even set up routing to arbitrary upstreams such as AWS Lambda.
You even have option to configure some of the Gloo Edge features straight from the admin UI of Gloo Portal
And an example of virtual service configuration in the Gloo Portal 1.0:
Usage Tracking that Enables Showback and Monetization of APIs
Many API Management customers want to monetize their APIs. However, the tools that API management solutions gave were often too restrictive and were not able to match the modern billing solutions, like Stripe, that have been released in the market in recent years.
When we talked to users, they only were using the building blocks, like usage tracking, in their API management tools and not these features that have been surpassed by the likes of Stripe, like invoicing, to create a billing solution. When we set out to create our own feature we wanted to modernize this approach and really help customers get the fundamental features they would need in order to build a full showback, chargeback and billing solution.
In Gloo Portal 1.0 we have added the ability to track usage on a much more granular level than is allowed by monitoring solutions. We allow you to use a consistent database, such as Postgres, to log API activity to level that if it is in the database, you know the API was actually used. We also provided safeguards so that if anything fails, API usage data will fail closed and your customers will not get overcharged.
Empower Engineering Teams to Manage Their APIs Through Self-Service Controls
Self service allows you to empower developer teams using self service options. In the original Gloo Portal Beta release there were two personas – an administrator and an API consumer. The administrator was in charge of cataloging APIs as well as setting rate limiting and access policies. The API consumer was able to peruse APIs in the portal and try them out. Most of our Beta users wanted great versatility in these roles so that API developers can add their own APIs to the catalog while not having the full admin controls.
With Gloo Portal 1.0 developers can now define their own APIs using API products and set rate limiting based on predefined choices set by an administrator.