Happy 7th Birthday, Istio

7 years ago today, Google and IBM launched Istio, an open technology that enables developers to seamlessly connect, manage, and secure networks of different microservices – regardless of platform, source, or vendor. has been employing core contributors of Istio since its v0.1 release, and we’ve witnessed impressive growth and innovation over the years. To celebrate Istio’s 7th birthday, we’re sharing three accomplishments we’re proud of from the past year.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate, check out my blog post on the Istio website, featuring birthday wishes from a diverse group of contributors and users.

CNCF Graduation

In July 2023, Istio reached CNCF graduation, making it the fastest ever project to move from incubation (in September 2022) to graduation. Achieving that milestone recognizes Istio for its maturity, stability, and widespread adoption.

Istio’s graduation also highlights the project’s innovative features such as adopting Gateway API, and simplifying the service mesh with innovative sidecar-less architecture (known as ambient mode).

Istio’s Ambient Mode Reached Beta

The introduction of ambient mode, which is now in Beta in v1.22, has been a game changer. Features like zero-trust security and observability can now surround your services without using sidecars, with very little resource overheads and much simplified operation without sidecars. Ambient mode is already in production by users.

That means service mesh becomes truly ‘ambient’, allowing workload additions without changing or restarting them, and saving on resources normally used for sidecars.

Istio’s Diversity and Solo

Not only am I excited that Solo has become the top contributor of Istio, but also I’m passionate about Istio’s continued diversity with big vendors such as Google, Microsoft, RedHat/IBM, Intel and users such as Salesforce and Ericsson. The diversity of Istio is what makes it really special and unique not only as a CNCF graduated project, but also as the only non-single vendor service mesh project. It is also the secret sauce of Istio for driving innovation, such as designing proper architecture for sidecar-less with Istio ambient mode.

Join the Istio Community!

The generosity and brilliance of the Istio community is always worthy of celebration. If you are interested in working on cloud native open source projects like Istio, here’s how: