Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Service Mesh Hub Backs Istio as Adoption Accelerates 

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The list of open source service meshes, a low-latency infrastructure layer designed to link application containers and other microservices, continues to grow as ephemeral application infrastructure scales to production.

The latest offering comes from Solo.io, which this week released its “service mesh hub” to the open source community. The hub is billed as a unified dashboard for installing and operating a single service mesh or a group, enabling orchestration of a multi-cluster “virtual mesh.”

The hub also supports the latest version of the pioneering Istio service mesh rolled out by partners Google, Lyft and the former CoreOS unit of IBM subsidiary Red Hat in 2018. The rush to service meshes coincided with the separation of monolithic applications into microservices, some consisting of thousands of moving parts.

Solo.io, Cambridge, Mass., said Wednesday (April 8) the hub addresses the need to simplify the installation and operation of a growing list of service meshes. To that end, the company worked with Microsoft to develop a service mesh interface specification in hopes of promoting an industry standard for service meshes.

The interface is a specification for service meshes running on the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator. It defines a common standard that can be implemented by different mesh providers.

Solo.io also launched an open source orchestration project dubbed SuperGloo, a Kubernetes-native management scheme for configuring and managing different service meshes across multiple clusters via a unified API. The common application interface abstracts away the specific details of different service meshes.

The new service mesh hub is a “descendant” of SuperGloo, the company added.

Service meshes are catching on as enterprise infrastructure shifts to agile by complex microservices. Solo.io and others are attempting to abstract that complexity away from users as they scale service meshes. Silo.io’s hub is intended to “accelerate service mesh adoption and facilitate collaboration, and to make multi-cluster and multi-mesh a reality,” said Idit Levine, founder and CEO of Solo.io.

The company said its service mesh hub adds multi-cluster support for Istio 1.5, released last month. Enterprise adoption of the the Istio service mesh has grown in parallel with the de facto standard Kubernetes cluster orchestrator.

Along with Istio, the new hub supports the Linkerd “ultralight” service mesh also running on Kubernetes. Solo.io also said its will soon offer support for Amazon Web Services’ App Mesh and a service networking tool from HashiCorp dubbed Consul.

The Solo.io hub runs on the AWS cloud, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Solo.io joins a growing list of vendors releasing open source tools as service meshes enter production. For example, the Kuma framework released last year by API hub specialist Kong Inc. is promoted as a universal control plane for service meshes.

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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