Istio 1.0: Making It Easier To Develop and Deploy Microservices

Lew Tucker

With the recent availability of Istio 1.0 it is not surprising that it continues to capture much attention from the technical press and developer community. As an open platform to connect, manage, and secure microservices, Istio promises to make it much easier to build and operate micro-service based applications. So what is behind all this interest and what problem does it solve?

Off-loading management of service-to-service networking

It’s clear that developing applications as a set of micro-services offers several advantages. Breaking up a large application into a set of services allows individual development teams to focus on building simple services – doing one thing – and doing it very well. Kubernetes adds to this by providing orchestration of containers, scaling, and resiliency.

But because microservices need to be connected, what started out simple suddenly becomes complex. Each development team must now know how to handle secure service-to-service communication, authentication, traffic management, and many other aspects of networking that may go way beyond the skillset of each team. Add to this the operational requirements for observability and management, and things quickly become much more complicated.

Istio reduces this complexity by off-loading management of service-to-service networking to a distributed service mesh. Sidecar proxies, sitting next to each service instance, manage traffic, setup secure connections and work in concert with control plane elements operating across the entire mesh.   Load balancing, A/B testing, policy changes, and failure recovery can now all be done without having to get each application development team involved. Most importantly, this single control plane means that it’s now easy to apply a consistent set of policies across the microservices.

Multicluster Istio

By now, you have hopefully heard about Cisco’s hybrid cloud work and partnership with Google , so when our team started to get involved with Istio, we immediately saw an opportunity for Istio to play a role in hybrid computing across multiple public and private clouds. Working upstream with the rest of the Istio community, Cisco engineers helped to develop a model for Istio to move beyond operating within a single Kubernetes cluster by simply extending a single control plane across multiple Kubernetes clusters.   This capability is available as an Alpha feature in Istio 1.0, and over time we expect to see the community develop different ways for Istio to play across multiple clouds.

In summary, just as Kubernetes provides orchestration of containers, Istio might best be viewed as providing orchestration of service-to-service networking yielding a much better way to develop and deploy microservice-based applications in a multicloud world.

By Lew Tucker

Steve Prentice

Episode 4: The Power of Regulatory Compliant Cloud: A European Case Study

An interview with Johan Christenson, CEO of CityNetwork With the world focusing on the big three hyperscalers, there is still room – and much necessity ...
Bruce Guptill

As The Digital Workplace Strengthens, Traditional Business Thinking Must Die

The Digital Workplace The cloud-driven, digital workplace is enabling better ways of working, new ways of doing business, and entirely new business opportunities. It is ...
Steve Prentice

Episode 3: The Bottomless Cloud – An Interview with David Friend of Wasabi

Why data is not “the new oil” and why “cloud” means more than we think. In his new book, author David Friend refers to the ...
Ian hayes

EasyShip – Shipping and delivering across the cloud

The Shipping Industry  Article branded by Easyship Shipping and delivering across the world is as hectic as it sounds, and it can get really chaotic ...
Anita Raj

Coronavirus: Can technology help fight the pandemic?

Coronavirus and Telemedicine Technology COVID-19 has brought the world to a near standstill. From NBA to Met Ball and Coachella, all major events and festivals ...