Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, February 28, 2020
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Avi Networks Extends Istio to Handle Most Apps 

Networking vendors are steadily adding new services to the emerging Istio service mesh used to link Kubernetes-based application components. That latest approach called a “universal service mesh” seeks to move beyond containers to include monolithic applications running on virtual machines and bare metal as well as micro-services infrastructure.

Avi Networks this week unveiled new “gateway services” to the Istio service mesh that entered production during the summer. The company said its “universal” mesh is designed to provide secure connections for Kubernetes-orchestrated container applications across multiple clusters, clouds and regions. Further, it is extending the service to applications running on VMs and bare metal.

That, the startup said, would allow deployment of a single service mesh for all applications running either on-premises or in public clouds. That capability addresses what Avi Networks claims in an obstacle to enterprise deployment of application containers: the current inability of Kubernetes applications to communicate across different hybrid infrastructure.

With the emergence of open-source service meshes like Istio, Avi Networks touts its universal mesh as anticipating the enterprise requirements for mesh capabilities such as traffic management and security. Those features can now be applied beyond Kubernetes clusters to include applications running on multiple clouds in different regions along with hybrid infrastructure.

The all-purpose mesh builds on the startup’s existing container services platform for Kubernetes and OpenShift called Vantage. The platform provides features like load balancing and traffic management across multiple clusters and clouds. The integration with the Istio service mesh adds new features such as real-time application monitoring and identity-based security and data encryption along with authentication and authorization frameworks.

The integration with Istio “extends and enhances the security, observability and traffic management features of the service mesh across clouds and application architectures beyond containers,” said Avi Networks CTO Ranga Rajagopalan.

The universal service mesh will be rolled out in phases starting in the first quarter of 2019, beginning with integration of gateway services for Kubernetes based on the Istio service mesh.

Avi Networks, Santa Clara, Calif., announced a $60 million funding round in June that included Cisco Investments. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) resells Avi Networks’ flagship Vantage platform. Founded in 2012, the cloud infrastructure startup has so far raised $115 million.

The expansion of Istio’s reach from microservices to traditional applications reflects growing enterprise demand for mesh services that can provide capabilities like load balancing and security across a spectrum of monolithic and container applications. The application market is pegged at about $12 billion, according to industry estimates.

The Istio service mesh designed to link application components and manage Kubernetes-based microservices was spearheaded by IBM (NYSE: IBM), Google Cloud (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Red Hat’s CoreOS unit and ride sharer Lyft. Among the goals is simplifying enterprise deployment of microservices while allowing developers to add, change and route those services within cloud-native applications.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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