Enterprise

After years of debate, Google Cloud is ready to submit Istio to the CNCF

Istio is the last major component of the Kubernetes ecosystem to sit outside of the CNCF. At one point, Google seemed unsure whether it would cede control of the service-mesh project, but things have changed.

Google's Thomas Kurian

Google’s announcement comes almost exactly two years after Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told Protocol that the technology giant planned to donate Istio to a foundation.

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google plans to announce Monday that it will submit the Istio open-source service mesh project and trademark to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Google executives told Protocol that the Istio Steering Committee will ask for Istio to be admitted as an incubating project within the CNCF, the vendor-neutral home to several open-source enterprise tech projects including Kubernetes, the popular open-source container orchestration system originally developed by Google.

“We have seen the importance that Istio has to complement the rest of the cloud-native ecosystem…[including] Kubernetes, Knative and Envoy,” Chen Goldberg, Google Cloud’s vice president of engineering and leader of the cloud provider’s open-source work, told Protocol in an exclusive interview. “We feel it will make it easier for those communities to work together under the umbrella of the CNCF, which is the home of much of the cloud-native technologies today.”

First released in 2017 by Google, IBM and Lyft, Istio extends Kubernetes to establish a programmable, application-aware network using the Envoy service proxy. It provides a uniform way to connect, secure, manage and monitor microservices, an architectural approach to software development that allows developers to separate applications into smaller independent parts, making them faster to develop and easier to scale.

The news about its transfer to the CNCF is being announced today at IstioCon, the community conference for Istio that runs through Friday.

The Istio project reached v1.0 in July 2018, when it was being used at scale by eBay and The Weather Company. More than 20 providers now offer Istio as a managed or hosted service. Those services include Google Cloud’s Anthos Service Mesh, a set of tools that helps customers monitor and manage a reliable service mesh on-premises or on Google Cloud.

“It's been a long journey with Istio, and we're really proud of what the community has achieved with this project,” Goldberg said. “We see an amazing adoption by our customers and users throughout the world with different industries, and we believe this is an important step forward. It will allow us to continue the journey of extending Istio's ecosystem and really amplify the affinity and the importance Istio has as a component in the cloud-native ecosystem, in particular Kubernetes.”

Google, which initially released Kubernetes in 2014, handed it over to the CNCF soon after the foundation was formed in 2015. Google had continued to manage and fund the Kubernetes CI/CD processes, container downloads and other services such as the Domain Name System until 2018, when it finally ceded day-to-day operational control of the project to the CNCF and Kubernetes community. In March, the CNCF also took official control of the Google-developed Knative open-source project.

“One of the things we've learned at Google over time is software and capabilities really thrive at scale when you wrap ecosystems and communities around them,” Will Grannis, Google Cloud’s chief technology officer, told Protocol.

This, however, was not always Google’s mindset toward Istio. Industry sources told Protocol in late 2019 and early 2020 that Google had blindsided its partners by alluding during the early days of development that it would eventually submit Istio to a neutral foundation, only to backtrack on that promise amid internal debate over whether the decision to cede control of Kubernetes was a mistake.

It would appear that open-source advocates within Google Cloud just won an argument.

“You can look at the legacy of Google and our most successful products – whether on the consumer side, or even now with our cloud platform – once you get a community active and once you get the ecosystem active around it, it really takes off,” Grannis said.

Google’s Istio announcement comes almost exactly two years after Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told Protocol that the technology giant planned to donate Istio to a foundation following the confusion about its plans for the project.

Google was a founding member of the CNCF and continues to support the foundation as partners and contributors, “so that seemed like the perfect home,” Goldberg said.

“I acknowledge that there's been some confusion about the intent and the journey, but frankly, what we have shared also in the past is that we wanted to achieve a certain level of maturity in the technology and in the community,” she said.

The first step toward that was improving the quality and predictability of Istio’s technology with investments in automation and testing. In 2020, Google began to focus on three other areas of investment: the simplicity and ease of use of Istio, its extensibility and interoperability and evolving Istio’s governance model.

“Today, the Istio community has, of course, a working group, a steering committee and a clear path for maintainers with contributions to become leaders in the community,” Goldberg said. “We feel that we have achieved this important milestone, and we would like to further this engagement with the community.”

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins