Google sends Istio to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Another piece of the open-source Kubernetes puzzle falls into place

Google announced this week that it has submitted Istio, its service mesh project, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Google said that it has submitted Istio for the CNCF’s consideration to become an incubating project, but the inference in the announcement is tied more to formality than hope.

Service meshes such as Istio abstract the communication between cloud app microservices to a layer of network infrastructure. The data plane comprises intelligent proxies, or sidecars, which mediate network traffic between microservices. The control plane manages and configures the proxies. Service meshes add resiliency to cloud networks, provide security, and improve visibility to help optimize network performance.

Istio is not the only service mesh available, or even the first to be passed along to the CNCF, but it is the most popular service mesh used with Kubernetes, the open-source cloud app container orchestration system also developed by Google.

“Istio works with both Kubernetes-based and traditional workloads, and brings standard, universal traffic management, telemetry, and security to complex deployments. Finding a home in the CNCF brings Istio closer to the cloud-native ecosystem and will foster continuing open innovation, ”said Chen Goldberg, Google Cloud VP of engineering.

Kubernetes has long been under the aegis of the CNCF, along with Knative, a Google-originated project which enables serverless Kubernetes deployments. Goldberg acknowledged that Istio is the last major Kubernetes component to sit outside the CNCF.

“Joining the CNCF also makes it easier for contributors and customers to demonstrate support and governance in line with the standards of other critical cloud-native projects, and we are excited to help support the growth and adoption of the project as a result,” she said. said.

Remanding Istio to the open-source community doesn’t change Google’s dedication to the service mesh project, Goldberg emphasized. Google is committed to contributing, sustaining, and improving its open-source projects, as demonstrated by its history with Istio already, she said.

“Google has made over half of all contributions to Istio and two-thirds of the commits,” she said. “After deciding to adopt Envoy for Istio, Google rose to be Envoy’s number-one contributor,” she added.

Envoy is another open-source project, originally developed by Lyft. It’s a high-performance network proxy which Google uses with Istio to mediate all inbound and outbound traffic.

“Istio is key to the future of Google Cloud and if the project is accepted, Google will continue to strategically invest in Istio as a key maintainer and through ongoing investment in engineering for upstream contributions,” she said.

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