Solo.io Announces Beta Release of GraphQL for Gloo Edge – TechStrong TV

Today, Solo.io, the application networking company, announces major product news that includes Gloo Mesh 2.0, at Solo’s annual community-driven virtual event, SoloCon. SoloCon is Solo.io’s one-stop shop for participants to learn the latest about service mesh, eBPF, GraphQL, WebAssembly (Wasm), Envoy Proxy, Istio, and more. The latest version of its Istio service mesh and control plane simplifies the configuration and operation of service-to-service connectivity within distributed applications, as well as the beta release of GraphQL for Gloo Edge. The video is below followed by a transcript of the conversation.

Alan Shimel: Hey everyone. Welcome to another Techstrong TV interview. I am so happy to be joined by my friend Idit Levine. Idit is the CEO founder of Solo.io. Wicked smart woman, I always enjoy talking with her. It’s been too long and we were talking off camera. But she’s been a little bit busy and she’s going to tell you all about it in a second. Hey Idit. Welcome to Techstrong TV.

Idit Levine: Hey. Thanks so much Alan. It’s great to see you and be here.

Alan Shimel: Great to see you. Good to have you on. So Idit before we jump into the news I think most people in our audience are familiar with Solo.io but maybe some aren’t. So why don’t we start there just real quickly give them a quick background?

Idit Levine: Sure, sure, sure. So I started Solo around four years ago and so I was focusing on solving the next problem that people will have after they will migrate from analytic to micro-services. So when people usually move from analytic to micro-services it’s giving a lot of credibility for them and it’s giving a lot of functionality, scale, velocity but it’s also creating a lot of new problems because now there is a lot of problem of maybe connectivity. Right? How do you connect if you’re taking something that is big and cut it to small pieces how do you reconnect them basically? 

When I’m saying reconnect them I’m talking about communication between those services. So how do services communicate to each other? How do you make sure that it’s in a safe way? And how do you make sure that you can see what’s going on when a request is coming to all these classes of micro-services. So that’s the things that we were focusing about it. So in general connectivity we call it application networking. So everything that the application needs that’s related to networking in order to basically be successful in what you do.

Alan Shimel: Sure.

Idit Levine: So that’s in a nutshell. And we’re focusing on a few technologies. Right? So API gateway specifically envoy based, service mesh like Istio, EVPF so we think that EVPF will be an amazing tool to basically enhance the service mesh and last but not least is GraphQL and again this is honestly all of this is kind of evolved based on customer requests.

Alan Shimel: Yeah. I mean I love talking with you because you really have your finger on what it is organizations, what people are dealing with, right, as they make this move to micro-services. And make no mistakes. There’s millions, millions of good reasons to move to micro-services. Right? No one is saying not to. But it does. It adds some complexity. It adds a different set of problems that you need to deal with. And some of the solutions or at least some of the frameworks around which solutions are built are as you mentioned. This whole idea of mesh and service mesh is one of the biggest ones. But you used the word, was it application connectivity? 

Idit Levine: Application networking. Yeah. Everything with application.

Alan Shimel: Application networking.

Idit Levine: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Alan Shimel: That’s a new one. I’ll have to start using that because I haven’t. I haven’t used that one yet. All right. And Solo I might add has been one of the leaders out here in the space for the last four years bringing solutions to market. And you guys are about to enhance your product line, your offerings, next generation stuff. Why don’t you tell them?

Idit Levine: Yeah.

Alan Shimel: I don’t want to.

Idit Levine: For sure. For sure. So first of all a year ago, right, we start getting a lot, a lot of requests. So as part of this basically the customer asked us look we really wanted to get together right now. Don’t forget COVID no one can get together. But at least virtually get together, right? And basically share use cases, how they’re using the product, how they’re solving those problems with very complex problems. So last year we started first time with Solo Con, the first Solo Con. Doing exactly the same thing this year again per request of the customers. It’s an annual conference. And as part of it we will have a lot of customers sharing their story and us sharing about what we were doing over the last year. And it gives anything they could say about the last year for Solo.

 Like if you need to pick and choose a word kind of like what we did was grow. Right? Seriously like we have like if you look at the metrics it’s insane about how quick we’re getting more and more customers. Therefore we needed to grow the team dramatically. So everything that we’re doing is basically very, very good for exponential growth. So we’re building for the last four years but honestly every year we’re getting more and more customers and more and more customers basically helping us because we understand more and more use cases. So to me like if you see what we are going to announce right now honestly the strength of Solo is that there is hundreds of customers and probably one that you’re using every day when you’re buying something, when you’re getting into US or anything that you’re doing is basically you’re going through us. And as part of those complex environments force us to learn a lot. 

So in Solo Con we’re going to announce a few announcements. The first one from us is regarding to our service mesh product. So we have a service mesh product called Gloo Mesh. And that product specifically again it’s not a new product. Right? It’s basically evolved but if you look at the blockhead at the end of 2018 you will see that that vision didn’t change. And what we basically did is we understood what will be the problem that people will have once they will use the open source Istio. And we tried to basically make it very simple to use. We were focusing on multiclass still. But while working with customers we heard a lot of other requests for customers of how we can make it better. 

And instead of kind of like it was such a huge impact that instead of kind of like building incrementally and change a little bit we decided to kind of like do a refresh and take everything that we learned and put into the product and reassemble everything back to make sure that we will have the best user experience. So we’re announcing Gloo Mesh 2.0. It’s a brand new API. The idea with those API is to cover two things. Number one which is very important is basically our platform, Gloo Mesh basically is a service mesh and an API gateway together. Right? All of them built on top of Istio. It was very important to me that the API would look and feel like one product. It didn’t in the beginning. So basically what we did we basically make it that way that doesn’t matter if you’re using service mesh. Doesn’t matter if you’re using API gateway. Doesn’t matter if you’re using them together. It’s the same idea. You’re taking policy and apply them. So in terms of the user experience it’s just very clean. 

The last one we learned which I think is very important and the biggest concept that we brought is the notion of work space. And what do I mean when I’m saying it? Why are people using service mesh? Why are people using anything in their infrastructure? Because they want to enable the application. That’s their job. They are giving services to someone else. So someone maybe will come that’s installed Gloo Mesh which will register the classes. It will put some policy on it but it will put a service mesh everywhere. Maybe some of them will be some of them will be fixed comply and some of them will be regular. But its virtually what you want. It’s to carve part of their infrastructure which means basically in any space it could be in different clusters, right? Carve it, decide what we allow and not allow that application to do and delegate it to them. 

And that’s the notion of work space. So basically what we did there I think we have a lot of customers and we run that idea by a lot of them and they love it. This is exactly what organizations do and our product right now is perfect, perfect fit to all those organizations trying to Istio production, Istio or API. And that’s exactly what we did. So this is one of the biggest announcements that we make. Honestly you know me. I’m building software for a long time. I swear to god that’s the best we ever put out there.

Alan Shimel: Really?

Idit Levine: It’s so beautiful. Like the code is so beautiful it’s like an art. Seriously art. It’s beautiful. It’s scalable. It’s insanely tested. And honestly I’m so excited about how beautiful we did it.

Alan Shimel: Good.

Idit Levine: So that’s kind of like –

Alan Shimel: You’re so excited I’m excited it. I mean –

Idit Levine: Yeah. Honestly this is one of the biggest changes.

Alan Shimel: It is but you know what. Look. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve run many companies. that is what’s the difference with startups versus sometimes bigger companies when they’re not as personally hands on is that enthusiasm because you know. You know what your customers are asking for. You know where the problems are. And when you can build something that hits it, that’s dead on like that it’s exciting. That’s why we do this. Yeah, you do it for money and yeah, you do it all of that. Great.

Idit Levine: And not for money honestly.

Alan Shimel: Yeah. It’s deeper down. There’s a deeper reason is that somehow you think what you’re doing makes the world better.

Idit Levine: Yes.

Alan Shimel: It makes the world better.

Idit Levine: Totally.

Alan Shimel: And that’s important. Idit let me back up a second. I want to let people know. When is Solo Con?

Idit Levine: Solo Con is March 8th which is coming up right now.

Alan Shimel: So next week. Yep.

Idit Levine: Yes, yes, yes. It’s going to be there. It’s pretty exciting. There’s a lot of people, a lot have registered already. And also honestly a lot of stories that you will see there. You will say yay. You will see there Chick-fil-a. You will see there T-Mobile. So a lot of our customers and way more customers is talking there. You will see the different cloud providers. So like we have a joint call with Google Cloud. We have joint talks with Amazon as well as an amazing speaker for the keynote. So Solomon Hykes the founder of Dagger. You know Dagger. As well as –

Alan Shimel: Sure. I know Solomon. 

Idit Levine: Yeah, yeah. And then Louis Ryan who is the founder of Istio both will be on the keynote. So we are really excited, yeah, exciting, exciting lineup. I think the content will be huge. Yeah.

Alan Shimel: Excellent. Where can people go tune into this?

Idit Levine: So just solocon.io and you can go and you register. It’s free, right? I mean our job is – technology is not enough. We wanted to link in education. So that’s why it’s for everyone just come and join and you will learn a lot. Before we go I really wanted to –

Alan Shimel: No. No. We’ve got plenty of time. I just wanted to make sure we got that in for people to go see. 

Idit Levine: No worries.

Alan Shimel: Tell me more. Come.

Idit Levine: Yeah. No. I just wanted to talk about the other announcement that we’re making which I’m really, really excited about that and that’s the GraphQL one. So we basically – we again we kind of like, we came with that vision in 2017 and release it. But we didn’t have the resources to work on there. So that’s basically what we did right now. And honestly we talked to our customers. Right? There is a lot of, we have a lot of API gateway customers and what we discovered is that there is this problem in the organization. It’s a new problem. And that’s the fact that a lot of those UI and front team and the application team basically really excited about GraphQL. So now the question is what they should do about that. 

So they’re basically going to spin it up in GraphQL server themselves. And though it’s not a piece of your infrastructure that you need to take care of it and somehow they need to go to the IT team. It’s not really understand why they need this extra piece. And it’s an API piece so how do you make sure that its secure and safe and scaled. And there was a lot of problems around that. So basically a lot of our customers came to us and said to us look. Can you somehow make us control this GraphQL? Can you somehow make it better? So what we were working for the last year which is honestly very tough to do is to take GraphQL and embed it inside the envoy. So basically we teach envoy how to speak GraphQL language which is pretty insane. 

So now you don’t need to spin up a GraphQL server because your envoy or your sat in the API gateway all in it.  It basically can act as a GraphQL. And it’s taking advantage of everything that we already did inside, all the security stuff and rate limiting, external,  IDC, OPA, everything that we already, observability of envoy. Everything that you already have now you can embed it on the GraphQL either on the level of the request or the resolver. So it’s really, really powerful. Its preventing you to have another hub because usually if you’re going to API gateway we’re going to adopt QL. We’re going to the micro-services. Now you don’t need that. You’re going to the API gateway, the API gateway just knows what to do. And I think this is honestly very unique but so powerful. And I’m telling you because we have customer standing in line for that right now honestly just wanting to put their hands on it. 

So we’re announcing it beta on – it’s a very, very solid beat honestly being done already. We have customers that did workshop days and try that and put their own on this. But just to be fair and be a little bit more sure about that we put it as a beta but then immediately it will go to TA. And honestly that’s – again this is innovation. This is taking something that no one else has done and honestly is not that trivial to do and put the resources, the amazing resources Solo has to do that so.

Alan Shimel: And this will also be announced at Solo Con and people will be able to sign up for the beta and start using it.

Idit Levine: Yeah. I mean Solo is not a small company anymore like we were. But I think you know we raised $135 million recently in a billion dollar valuation so we are unicorn. And all of this has basically helped us to grow dramatically so our engineering team is expanding and what an engineering team. Like honestly everyone that’s working in Solo is so strong so that’s allowing us to do more. So if it’s in the service mesh ecosystem, the API ecosystem, the GraphQL ecosystem and also the EVPF which we really, really question and working a lot. So that’s another thing that we’re going to announce.

Alan Shimel: Couldn’t happen to a nicer woman Idit. I’m so proud. I’m proud of you and the whole Solo team. I know how passionate. I know how hard you work. And the good news is I think the community appreciates it. Right? 

Idit Levine: Yeah. I hope so.

Alan Shimel: Good stuff going on there, fantastic.

Idit Levine: Honestly you mentioned something about people doing it for money. Honestly we’re doing it because we’re having a blast. I mean this is the only thing that I can say in Solo is that we’re really, everybody is there. Right? It’s like we’re just having a blast. That’s what we want to do. We want to do it. We don’t want to be limited about constraints and we’re just doing it so we’re really excited about it.

Alan Shimel: Just do it. Another company used that one already, just do it.

Idit Levine: Oh right.

Alan Shimel: But it’s ok. You’re doing it. Idit I’m really happy for you. I’m happy for the whole Solo team. Solo Con is the 8th. Check it out, solocon.com. Go check out some of these.

Idit Levine: Dot io.

Alan Shimel: Excuse me. Solocon.io. It’s solo.io is the company, Solo Con is also .io?

Idit Levine: Yes.

Alan Shimel: Ok. So make sure we got it right. And go check out some of these hot new releases from the Solo team. Idit great to see you. I hope to see you in person maybe at an event.

Idit Levine: Yes. Kube Con maybe.

Alan Shimel: Maybe. Yeah. Well I’m going to try in Spain.

Idit Levine: Yes. I will be there.

Alan Shimel: Yeah. I think everyone is trying to go there. All right. This is Alan Shimel for Tech Strong TV. We’re going to take a break. We’ll be right back.

Alan Shimel

As Editor-in-chief of DevOps.com and Container Journal, Alan Shimel is attuned to the world of technology. Alan has founded and helped several technology ventures, including StillSecure, where he guided the company in bringing innovative and effective networking and security solutions to the marketplace. Shimel is an often-cited personality in the security and technology community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences and events. In addition to his writing on DevOps.com and Network World, his commentary about the state of technology is followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast, "Ashimmy, After All These Years" (www.ashimmy.com). Alan has helped build several successful technology companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York street smarts combine to form a unique personality.

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