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Cloud-Native Application Networking

As Kubernetes continues to expand, the service mesh must scale to track and manage them.



The 48th IT Press Tour had the opportunity to meet with Brian Gracely, CMO, head of marketing and product strategy at Solo.io a service mesh and API platform for Kubernetes, zero-trust microservices.


Ambient Mesh

Istio is the leading service mesh project, however, it is complicated and costly. As such, Idit Levine and her team worked to create a new variant. They introduced Ambient Mesh, a new open-source contribution to the Istio project that defines a new sidecar-less data plane. Silo.io and Google are the lead contributors to Istio and Ambient Mesh.

By moving from a sidecar proxy per-pod architecture to a proxy per-node architecture, they reduced compute cost, simplified operations, and reduced maintenance. The change makes the mesh transparent to applications and improves their performance.


Previously Solo.io offered an API gateway (GlooEdge) and an Istio service mesh (GlooMesh). Today the GlooPlatform combines the GlooGateway, GlooMesh, and GlooNetwork to provide the service mesh and API platform for Kubernetes, zero-trust microservices.


Customer Stories

Brian provided two examples of customers who are using the platform to transform their companies.

A large fast-food purveyor of boneless chicken sandwiches with more than 2,000 retail stores in the U.S. COVID prevented in-store visitors. Mobile app orders went from 5% to 50% of their business overnight. The infrastructure for their mobile app was not prepared to deal with the dramatic increase in API calls. There was a need for a more flexible API gateway for cloud, scale, and innovation.

Shipt is a U.S. retail operation with 300,000 shoppers that was acquired by Target in 2017. Shipt provides new business insights for Target as they compete with Amazon Prime for deliveries. COVID required Ship to build new services faster which they did with a more flexible API gateway and service mesh.


These retailers exemplify the most common customer challenges -- the need for digital transformation, application modernization, zero-trust security, and cost reduction.


Emerging Trends with Applications Networking

Brian highlighted four key drivers:

  • Continuing maturity of Kubernetes deployments

  • Adoption and evolution of platform engineering

  • Standardization and simplification of service mesh

  • Merging service mesh and API management

Cloud-native 1.0 has a lot of confusion. Too many independent solutions are available. It's difficult to keep up with, evaluate, and decide on what's best for your business. The wild west nature of open source became evident. The explosion of projects made it difficult to know where to invest energy. The DIY nature of cloud-native solutions limits adoption for many.

Cloud-native 2.0 has successes and challenges. The successes include a lot of innovation, standardized infrastructure, a multi-cloud standard, automated and frequent deployments, and DevOps/SRE teams. The challenges include API scalability, microservices scalability, zero-trust security, multi-cluster management, observability, and GitOps operations.

The critical elements of cloud-native 2.0 are automated deployments with GitOps, managing the number of clusters at scale, managing multi-cluster, managing the security of microservices, managing both inside and outside traffic (APIs, uServices), adding advanced capabilities (Lambda, GraphQL), Kubernetes-native operational model, and consistent technologies.


The Solo Gloo Platform enables cloud-native 2.0 with serverless GraphQL, scale microservices multi-clusters, service mesh zero-trust for observability, microservice applications, DevSecOps, GitOps, and modernized API management.


The Solo.io community is centered around their academy where more than 10,000 students have attended hands-on workshops and more than 4,000 engineers have achieved certifications.

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