Google is adding direct Istio access to its Kubernetes Engine (GKE) platform to make it easier to use the service mesh platform with containers running in GKE. Istio still lacks direct support from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
Eric Brewer, vice president of infrastructure at Google Cloud, noted in a blog post that the direct support will be available in beta beginning next month. He added that “dozens” of early access customers were already tapping into the support.
Istio sits at the network level and uses a substrate for microservices development and maintenance. This allows for the decoupling of management from application development.
In terms of a service mesh, Istio acts as the control plane for management of the service mesh. It can handle the deployment of Envoy sidecars – where Envoy sits next to a running container pod – and coordinate that deployment through the container orchestration layer working with platforms like Kubernetes or Apache Mesos.
Within GKE, Istio will collect telemetry about a running container and send that information to either Stackdriver or Prometheus to allow an organization to monitor the health of that container. Information sent includes traffic, error rates, and latencies, and it can also include tracing data to support performance analysis. The Istio deployment also allows for encryption of all data in transit between services.
Google is also adding Istio support to its GKE On-Prem platform that it launched earlier this year. And it will provide visibility into serverless applications as well.
Brewer said that Google will also plan to integrate Istio into the company’s broader Cloud Services Platform. That platform was launched earlier this year and is an integrated portfolio of cloud services that combines open source projects with Google’s cloud infrastructure and security services. It also included a managed Istio deployment that will still be offered for organizations that don’t want to deal with direct management of Istio.
Short on Broad Support
Istio was established last year to provide developers with visibility into microservices without the need to change application code. Google, Lyft, and IBM were its initial backers, but it has since drawn support from a number of vendors. The platform in July hit its 1.0 release, which appeared to solidify its ability to support production environments.
However, some noted that even with the 1.0 release, Istio was not quite ready for prime time.
“I would say it was premature,” noted Christian Posta, senior principal architect at Red Hat, on the 1.0 release. “On the other hand, until you hit 1.0 people don’t give something a lot of attention. Even through it could have benefited from a few more months of work, at some point you have to ship it.”
While Google is fully embracing Istio, the service mesh platform still lacks direct support from AWS and Microsoft, which dominate the public cloud market. Some predict that AWS could announce some form of managed support at this week’s Re:Invent conference.
Edwin Yuen, senior analyst for cloud at Enterprise Strategy Group, recently told SDxCentral that he thinks that additional support would help but is not necessary.
“I think that having Google backing it and the strength in the existing partnerships will be enough to sustain Istio going forward,” Yuen said via email. “It certainly would benefit the community at large if AWS and Microsoft officially support it, especially in their managed offerings, but I don’t think it’s essential for Istio adoption in the future.”