Envoy and Istio have quickly become two of the more prominent platforms in the burgeoning service mesh space. But, startup Tetrate thinks that they are too hard for enterprises to actually use and have launched a platform with the notion of making that process more seamless.
Tetrate CEO Varun Talwar, explained that organizations are looking for a more consistent way to manage their applications that are often deployed across multiple infrastructure locations. The Tetrate platform can manage the connection of those applications across on-premises, cloud, containers, and virtual machines (VMs), he explained.
“We are creating a product in using Envoy and Istio and our belief is that for applications to be managed in a consistent way and in difference infrastructure environments they need to have a consistent way to manage traffic and security,” Talwar said. “Envoy and Istio offer the perfect abstraction layer for managing functions in software like load balancing and API gateways.”
Istio is the control plane layer over Envoy. Tetrate augments these projects with scalability, performance, and ecosystem adapters, and also extends them to work in brown-field, virtualized-based environments both in public and private clouds.
“There are gaps in terms of stability and integration with existing systems,” Talwar said, adding that this gap also includes issues with scalability, workflows, and extensibility. “We are making it work on all infrastructures in a trustable and secure manner with a scalable control plane and the right user interface for teams.”
Talwar explained that today this is often done in code, which is hard and expensive to change, or in a traditional networking style that is more centralized and hardware based, which is also hard to change.
Talwar noted that of the two platforms, Istio remains the most challenging to work with. And he should know as he previously served as product manager at Google’s Cloud platform team and was a founding product manager on the Istio project.
Istio launched in mid-2017, with the backing of Google, Lyft, and IBM. It was established to provide developers with visibility into microservices without the need to change application code. The platform sits at the network level and uses a substrate for microservices development and maintenance. This allows for the decoupling of management from application development.
The platform hit its 1.0 release in the middle of last year, which signified its readiness for general deployments. However, it has yet to be officially adopted by cloud giants Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, though Google is fully onboard.
Despite those challenges, it’s still gaining converts. VMware late last year rolled out a beta program for its NSX Service Mesh based on Istio. This allows the vendor to extend its NSX networking and security capabilities across Kubernetes clusters via the Container Network Interface (CNI).
Envoy was originally created by Lyft in 2015. It was developed as a “service mesh” substrate that provides common utilities such as service discovery, load balancing, rate limiting, circuit breaking, stats, logging, and tracing to heterogeneous application architectures.
At a practical level, Envoy operates on the data plane of a service mesh where it sits next to running container pods. It’s designed to ease the transition to and the operation of cloud-native architectures by managing the interactions among microservices to ensure application performance.
Envoy last November was the third project to gain “graduation” status at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), joining Kubernetes and Prometheus.
Talwar noted that Envoy’s greater level of maturity is allowing Tetrate to add more in-depth functionality on that side of the ledger. This includes adding more security components for network connections.
Dell, Intel, Samsung Back Efforts
As part of its launch, Tetrate scored $12.5 million in initial funding to back its efforts. The investment was led by Dell Technologies Capital, and included participation from 8VC, Intel Capital, Rain Capital, and Samsung NEXT.
A handful of individuals also participated in the funding round, including Pankaj Patel, former chief development officer at Cisco; Guido Appenzeller, chief product officer at Yubico and former CTO for cloud and networking at VMware; and Shiva Rajaraman, chief product officer at WeWork.