Highlights –

  • Istio service mesh backers and attendees at IstioCon welcomed the move, saying it will broaden the adoption of the project among users and vendor partners.
  • Being a part of CNCF brings Istio closer to the cloud-native ecosystem and will keep going through innovation.

Google Cloud has submitted its popular open-source service mesh technology Istio for donation to the vendor-neutral Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

The news was announced at the IstioCon virtual event and came close on the heels of Google’s donation of the Knative event-driven computing project. Google officials believed that the decision to donate Istio was in part led by a desire to have one foundation for all three of its container automation frameworks.

Istio service mesh backers and attendees at IstioCon welcomed the move, saying it will broaden adoption of the project among users and vendor partners that have been leery of Google having sole control over its governance.

Launched in 2017, Istio allows developers to manage network traffic, security for applications deployed, telemetry, and orchestrated with Kubernetes, which was donated to CNCF by Google in 2015.

Other popular service mesh options include Consul and Linkerd by HashiCorp. Microsoft also revealed in 2020 its plan to release its open-source service mesh – called Open Service Mesh (OSM) – and transfer it to the CNCF.

Google says that if the CNCF accepts Istio, it will continue investing in the project as a key maintainer and upstream contribution.

During the KubeCon in 2019, Google had initially announced that it had no plans to donate either its popular serverless platform Knative or Istio to the CNCF in the near future. It preferred to manage Istio itself under the Open Usage Commons Foundation.

However, it later deviated from the plan and donated Knative in November 2021. The CNCF accepted the application as an incubating project in March 2022. Now, the company has followed suit with Istio.

For long, Google’s Kubernetes had been the primary project for the CNCF. Recently, the firm also brought Knative, a project that plans to make it easier to build and deploy serverless applications on top of Kubernetes, to the CNCF as well. Therefore, it is not surprising that Istio, too, will likely become a CNCF project.

Experts’ view

“Today we are excited to announce that Google and the Istio Steering Committee have submitted the Istio project for consideration as an incubating project,” Chen Goldberg, VP of Engineering at Google Cloud wrote in a blog post.

“Istio is the last major component of organizations’ Kubernetes ecosystem to sit outside of the CNCF, and its APIs are well-aligned to Kubernetes. On the heels of our recent donation of Knative to the CNCF, acceptance of Istio will complete our cloud-native stack under the auspices of the foundation, and bring Istio closer to the Kubernetes project,” Goldberg wrote.