Tetrate this week emerged from stealth to launch what it describes as an enterprise-class implementation of a service mesh based on the open source Istio project.
Fresh off raising $12.5 million in funding, Tetrate’s goal is to deliver a service mesh based on Istio that will span both modern containerized applications running on Kubernetes and legacy applications running on virtual machines and bare-metal servers, says CEO Varun Talwar.
Talwar previously was a product manager on the Google Cloud Platform team, in addition to having served as the founding product manager on the Istio and gRPC projects. Teltrate CTO Jeyappragash Jeyakeerthi previously led Twitter’s Cloud Infrastructure Management Platform.
In addition to providing support for a hardened version of Istio, Tetrate has committed to providing certified builds of the open source Envoy proxy software, on which Istio is built. Envoy is being developed alongside Kubernetes under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, but Envoy does not require Kubernetes to deployed. Teltrate also will make available open source tools to help organizations accelerate their transition to microservices.
Although Istio and Envoy are closely identified with Kubernetes, Talwar says Tetrate anticipates both Istio and Envoy will be adopted faster than Kubernetes. Most enterprise organizations by now have spun up a Kubernetes cluster. But the percentage of application workloads running on Kubernetes compared to legacy platforms such as virtual machines remains relatively small. While the number of workloads running on Kubernetes will grow rapidly, Talwar says it is clear enterprise IT organizations need a control plane to manage service regardless of what platform they are deployed on.
However, while there is a lot support for Envoy within the container community, the CNCF thus far has thrown its weight behind Linkerd as a lighter-weight alternative to Istio. It remains to be seen whether the CNCF will formally embrace Istio. But Istio, in addition to being developed by Google, IBM and Lyft, counts among its supporters VMware, Red Hat, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Most IT organizations will get their first initial exposure to Istio via a managed service provided by their cloud service provider. But as exposure to Istio grows, Testrate is betting more organizations will want to deploy a service mesh across a hybrid cloud computing environment. The challenge many of those organizations face today, however, is most of them have not yet mastered deploying Kubernetes at scale, let alone understanding when and how to employ a service mesh as a control plane for managing microservices. But it is apparent there will be a need for such a control plane as the number of microservices spanning a distributed computing environment increases.
In the meantime, Tetrate has emerged as one of the first companies solely dedicated to enabling IT organizations adopt Istio. It may take a little while for enterprise IT organizations to fully appreciate why they need that help. But once they do, the lack of service mesh skills is likely to quickly become a significant problem.