Google finally gives Istio to the CNCF

After Knative, Google decided to place its service mesh in the care of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Launched in 2017, this open source project had been jealously guarded by the American firm within an ad hoc foundation, Open Usage Commons.

Google’s vice is served on the Istio project, an open source service mesh. The Mountain View firm has indeed announced its desire to transfer this solution to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), neutral vis-à-vis suppliers. “Today, we are thrilled to announce that Google and the Istio Steering Committee have submitted the project for consideration as an incubation project within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF),” wrote Chen Goldberg, vice president of engineering at Google Cloud in a blog post.

However, this decision will take time. Indeed, Google jealously guarded Istio from its launch. During Kubecon 2019, the American company explained that it did not intend to donate its Knative (serverless) and Istio projects to the CNCF. She had even created a foundation of her own called Open Usage Commons. Then at the end of 2021, Google backtracked by finally giving Knative to the CNCF.

Google will remain a major contributor

Launched in 2017, Istio empowers developers to manage network traffic, telemetry, and security for applications deployed in containers and orchestrated with Kubernetes. The latter was transmitted by Google to the CNCF in 2015. Concretely, a service mesh or service mesh is an infrastructure software that ensures fast and reliable communications between the micro-services on which the applications depend. Application identification, load balancing, authentication, and encryption are among the remit of this service. Network requests are routed between microservices through proxies that run in parallel with the service. These proxies form a mesh network to link the different microservices. A central controller provides access control as well as network and performance management.

Other popular service mesh options include HashiCorp’s Linkerd and Consul. Microsoft also announced in 2020 that it would release its own open source service mesh – called Open Service Mesh (OSM) – and transfer it to the CNCF. In its blog post, Google indicated that if Istio is accepted by the CNCF, it will continue to invest in the project as a key contributor and maintainer. “Istio is the last major component of organizations’ Kubernetes ecosystem not to be part of the CNCF, and its APIs are well aligned with Kubernetes. On the heels of our recent Knative donation to the CNCF, the acceptance of Istio will complement our cloud-native stack under the auspices of the foundation, and bring Istio closer to the Kubernetes project,” concludes Chen Goldberg.

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