update: Picking up momentum into 2023

It’s amazing how fast time flies. So much has happened since the calendar flipped to 2023.

If we had to describe the last twelve months at in one word, it would be “transformational.” We transformed the size and shape of Solo, we helped our customers transform their digital businesses, we transformed our standing in the marketplace, and we transformed the entire application networking industry with several game-changing technology announcements.

The leadership and growth of Solo

At Solo, one of our top priorities is to attract and hire the best in the industry. This effort starts at the top: I was recently named DevOps Executive of the Year

From there, we scaled the size of the company by three times, with Solo employees now in nearly 20 countries around the world. As the company grows, we continue to attract new leadership that brings deep industry expertise. This includes:

  • Louis Ryan, Chief Technology Officer: The co-creator of Istio joins us from Google
  • Brittni Beers-Branco, Chief People Officer: The keeper of Solo’s values joins us from Puppet. 
  • Brent Holden, VP of Global Field Engineering: The leader of our technical interactions with customers and partners joins us from Hashicorp.
  • Kristian Gyorkos, VP of Alliances & Partnerships: The expert of GTM channel expansion joins us from Kong.
  • Dave Stanley, Director of Customer Success: The leader for ensuring our customers’ long-term success joins us from Red Hat.

Beyond the expansion of company leadership, Solo also expanded our community leadership with VP/Global Field CTO Christian Posta being named to the Istio Steering Committee.

In addition, we launched our Solo Ambassadors program with initial members from around the world. 

Reshaping the cloud native application networking industry

Sometimes big news flies under the radar. For the first time in several years, Solo was the only new company to break into the Gartner Full-Lifecycle API Management Magic Quadrant. This was significant because it signaled that Gartner is starting to better understand that Full Lifecycle API Management is Dead

API management has become critical to a company’s digital transformation, and old-world architectures just won’t get the job done anymore. We’ve spent the last year replacing old guard API gateway and API management offerings at our largest customers, and the upcoming Gloo GraphQL and Gloo Portal announcements are going to take things to a whole new level – stay tuned, big news coming out at KubeConEU 2023

In the world of security, our customers made it clear that we needed to step up our game in terms of encryption and zero trust architectures. And we delivered. Solo provides a government-ready zero trust architecture (ZTA) built on federal government requirements for cybersecurity with NIST standards FIPS 140-2, 800-204A, and 800-207. To ensure our customers are using a validated FIPS solution, we have worked with a third-party lab to certify our FIPS implementation

Built around a zero trust architecture, Istio, Gloo Gateway, and Gloo Mesh, Solo provides government organizations and system integrators with the centralized command and control required for FedRAMP certification.

And then there’s Istio. Solo took the leadership role in redefining enterprise service mesh with the introduction of Istio Ambient Mesh. Not only did we make zero trust security automatic, but we reduced the costs of service mesh by 70 to 90%. And that was before the team started working on the Rust-based zTunnel implementation, which will improve performance even more significantly. 

Most importantly, the team merged the Ambient Mesh code into the main Istio project, meaning that wide-spread availability is just around the corner. Every company we talked with about Ambient Mesh immediately asked when they could have it. We won’t be surprised if it’s the #1 priority for every Kubernetes deployment in 2023. 

Redefining what’s possible with application networking platforms

From talking to companies around the world, there are four big trends we see converging:

  1. The maturation of Kubernetes
  2. The need for security and scalability of Kubernetes and multi-cloud environments
  3. The convergence of service mesh and API gateway capabilities
  4. The emergence of platform engineering as the new organizational model

We call this evolution and convergence Cloud Native 2.0

For the last 5 years, companies have been adopting containers and Kubernetes, to accelerate their application development and deployments. Companies have had various levels of success with Kubernetes. We call these initial successes the Cloud Native 1.0 era. But with each milestone comes new challenges. 

These new challenges are the Cloud Native 2.0 era. The ability to scale and secure Kubernetes clusters. The ability to easily add new development teams and microservices to existing environments. The need to have a platform that can not only align to the new needs of Platform Engineering teams, but also be flexible enough to adapt to new innovations that are coming over the horizon. 

As we looked into the future, we wanted to build a platform that would meet today’s demands, and be enabled to take customers into the future. Those four principles were at the core of our launch of Gloo Platform. It’s the industry’s first unified application networking platform, that allows a customer to start small and scale to multi-cluster or multi-cloud with ease. Built on the leading open source projects, and future-proofed for whatever comes next. 

The future looks bright – and there’s so much more to come…

Finally, we threw a party. Well, it wasn’t intended to be a party, but it quickly turned into one. At KubeConNA in Detroit, we decided to host a community event focused on application networking. Turns out the community was very interested in this set of topics

So much so that we also needed to expand the facilities across the bridge into Canada. And the feedback was so good that we will be hosting Application Networking Day again at KubeConEU in Amsterdam. The event was AT FULL CAPACITY within a week, but we’re still taking registrations for the waitlist, and we’ll have live streaming of the sessions for anyone who can’t make it into the facility. 

Looking around the corner, we have a number of big announcements coming at KubeConEU, including updates to our industry-leading platform, Gloo Platform. As well as something brand new that you’re not going to want to miss – because nobody does cloud native innovation like Solo. Solo will be in Booth G9 at KubeConEU, and we hope to see you there! 

Finally, we want to thank our customers and community for being part of this journey. We look forward to continuing to deliver incredible innovation while building a strong community in 2023.