Kong, Inc. revealed it has allied with Red Hat to drive adoption of the Kong Konnect connectivity platform for managing application programming interfaces (APIs) on top of the Red Hat OpenShift platform based on Kubernetes.
Reza Shafii, vice president of product at Kong Inc., says the company has achieved Red Hat Operator Certification for Kong Konnect on Red Hat OpenShift, which makes its API management platform the first third-party offering to achieve that goal. Kong Konnect will also be made available via the Red Hat Marketplace.
Red Hat already provides its own API management platform, gained with the acquisition of 3scale in 2016. The company also makes available a Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh platform based on open source Istio software originally created by Google. Kong, however, has been making a case for a lighter-weight alternative service mesh that, like Istio, runs on top of Envoy proxy software that is also being advanced under the auspices of the CNCF. Istio, in contrast, is being advanced under a separate open source consortium led by Google and IBM.
The alliance between Kong and Red Hat, however, is not exclusive. Kong will also look to make Kong Konnect available on other distributions of Kubernetes, while Red Hat is free to pursue alliances with other API gateway providers. Nevertheless, the alliance with Red Hat is a vote of confidence for the Kuma service mesh platform.
Shafii says most organizations are not going to need a service mesh until they start managing hundreds of APIs. The Kong Konnect connectivity platform provides IT teams with a series of options for managing APIs depending on how advanced they are. In addition to a service mesh, Kong also provides access to proxy software, ingress controllers and API gateways. However, as organizations start to deploy microservices-based applications, the number of APIs that need to be managed will exponentially increase because each individual microservice exposes an API.
It remains to be seen to what degree IT organizations might standardize on one service mesh versus another. The one thing that is clear is application connectivity becomes more challenging to attain and maintain as the number of dependencies between microservices increases. Connectivity in a microservices application environment is now maintained at Layer 7 rather than Layer 4 of the networking stack, notes Shafii.
Regardless of how application connectivity is achieved and maintained, it’s apparent that application environments are becoming more complex. The challenge IT teams now face is how to manage a highly distributed application environment in which new dependencies between APIs are being created daily.