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Joint Solo.io-Google Effort Brings the Future of Service Mesh to Istio with Industry-First Support for Sidecars and Sidecarless Architecture

September 8, 2022

Joint Solo.io-Google Effort Brings the Future of Service Mesh to Istio with Industry-First Support for Sidecars and Sidecarless Architecture

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — September 8, 2022 Solo.io, the leading cloud-native application networking company, today announced that it is continuing to advance, evolve, and accelerate enterprise Istio adoption with Istio Ambient Mesh. Istio Ambient Mesh is both an evolution of Istio and a next-generation architecture that gives applications and infrastructure teams greater flexibility, security, and performance. The new framework meets the ever-changing requirements of forward-looking enterprises as they deploy more diverse applications at greater scale. Solo.io co-developed Istio Ambient Mesh with Google, and the new Istio Ambient Mesh architectural framework will be contributed to the Istio Project.

“Istio is the future of service mesh, and Ambient Mesh brings a whole new level of flexibility for companies that deploy Istio — along with ease of use, boosted performance, and reduced cost,”  said Idit Levine, CEO and co-founder, Solo.io. “Since its inception five years ago, Istio has become the de facto service mesh standard. All along, we have listened to customers and recognized the need to enable larger, more diverse types of applications. Our work on the Istio Steering Committee and Istio Technical Oversight Committee has placed us in the unique position to chart the course of Istio. We have customers running 30 billion transactions a day — and the number, scope, and scale of these workloads is always increasing. Istio Ambient Mesh allows companies to adjust for cost, observability, and  performance based on their individual application needs — this is a market first, and a ‘must-have’ for modern enterprises.”

 

New Enterprise Application Needs, New Istio Innovation

Solo.io has written about the evolution that companies expect to see in their service mesh deployments. Solo.io works with some of the largest production deployments of Istio in the industry and, given the company’s Istio community leadership, is well-prepared to meet these enterprise needs.

Until now, the Istio architecture has been centered around a sidecar architecture that ensured maximum security and observability. But as microservice architectures evolved, the need for a strict sidecar architecture for all applications has evolved, with many applications requesting the optimizations of a sidecar-less architecture. Istio Ambient Mesh is the industry’s first service mesh to deliver both sidecar or sidecar-less architectures, with a consistent control plane for any deployment model. Companies now have greater flexibility to deploy applications on Istio, while continuing to have a proven model for scaling and securing applications. 

Istio is the industry’s leading service mesh in production environments. As such, the Istio community receives a wide variety of feedback from users about how they deploy service mesh to enable microservices applications — everything from performance and security to resource utilization to ease of use. Istio Ambient Mesh addresses several challenges the Istio community has reported, including:

  • Improving the performance of applications that use a service mesh
  • Reducing the compute/memory overhead resources required for a service mesh
  • Simplifying on-going operations of the service mesh
  • Enabling greater flexibility for applications that do not always require full Layer 7 services from the service mesh (for example, if only Layer 4 is needed)
  • Enabling multi-tenancy applications using the service mesh, with the full flexibility of both high performance and high security
  • Addressing the modularity of future technologies that may be incorporated into the service mesh

 

Istio Ambient Mesh — Flexibility, Transparency, and Much More

Istio Ambient Mesh offers a more flexible set of architectural choices, meaning that performance, security, and application offload can now be configured on a highly granular basis. The new framework also delivers on three critical areas that will improve the overall experience for Istio users. Istio Ambient Mesh:

  • Enables a sidecarless architecture that moves the proxy functionality from the pod-level to the node-level, improving overall application performance — and this new architectural option delivers 10-20x less compute and memory overhead, significantly reducing overall cost. 
  • Delivers a fully transparent experience for applications, which will not only simplify operations, but also make it easier for system upgrades and new applications to be deployed into the mesh. 
  • Offers a new optional security element, PEP (“policy enforcement point”), that delivers full Layer 7 security inspection. 

Istio Ambient Mesh is fully compatible with sidecar-based Istio deployments, and either sidecar or sidecar-less deployments are managed by the Istio control plane. With the Ambient Mesh enhancements, Istio becomes the first service mesh to deliver both modes with a consistent control plane. Also, with Istio Ambient Mesh, there is no loss of platform or policy management capabilities on the overall service mesh, no loss of application-specific security and application offload capabilities, and no need for application or infrastructure teams to immediately learn new programming languages.

“Solo has always been a leader in and contributor to the Istio service mesh space and open source community,” said Louis Ryan, principal engineer, Google Cloud. “That’s why Idit and her team are ideal partners — together, we are helping Istio reach its innovation potential with Istio Ambient Mesh. We are excited to have the community participate as we continue to build the Istio evolutionary roadmap, advance the application networking market, and further enterprises’ digital transformation efforts.”

“The biggest enemy of service mesh adoption has always been complexity,” said Joe Searcy, member of technical staff, T-Mobile. “The resource and operational overhead to manage service mesh for a large enterprise has continued to make service mesh adoption cumbersome even as projects like Istio have worked to decrease complexity. The opportunities that Ambient Mesh provides are extremely exciting. With better transparency to applications, fewer moving parts, simpler invocation, and huge potential in savings of compute resources and engineering hours…all I can say is: Sign me up!“

 

Availability and Additional Information

Istio Ambient Mesh is fully open source and part of the Istio project; it is also fully compatible with Istio. Istio Ambient Mesh is an optional configuration of Istio and can co-exist with previous configurations of Istio.

Istio Ambient Mesh is currently available in beta to Solo.io customers, and will be fully GA in the upcoming version Solo.io Gloo Mesh 2.1 platform release. It is currently available as a tech preview in Gloo Mesh. Additional information can be found here.

 

Resources

 

About Solo.io

Solo.io, the application networking company, delivers API infrastructure from the edge to service mesh, helping enterprises adopt, secure, and operate innovative cloud native technologies. APIs drive microservices and cloud native technologies, forming the foundation for developers, partners, and customers to interact with application services quickly, effectively, and securely. Solo.io brings developer and operations tooling to manage and federate security and traffic control and tie together the integration points to enable and observe the application network. Founded in 2017 in Cambridge, MA, Solo.io is backed by Altimeter Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and True Ventures. For more information, visit https://www.solo.io/ or follow @soloio_inc.

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