Source Code: Your daily look at what matters in tech.

enterpriseenterpriseauthorTom KrazitNoneAre you keeping up with the latest cloud developments? Get Tom Krazit and Joe Williams' newsletter every Monday and Thursday.d3d5b92349
×

Get access to Protocol

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Power

Google Cloud CEO: Istio is going to a foundation

Thomas Kurian ended years of confusion by telling Protocol that one of Google Cloud's most important open-source projects will be donated to a foundation in the near future after all.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has ended years of confusion about the destiny of one of the company's biggest open-source projects.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has ended years of confusion by telling Protocol that Google will eventually donate its open-source project Istio to a foundation at some point in the near future.

In an exclusive interview with Protocol on Tuesday, Kurian said that the company is evaluating which foundation's governance policies will best suit Istio, one of Google's most prominent open-source projects. But he added that the company is still "working through which foundation to grant it to."

Istio is a "service mesh," a tool that helps technology organizations manage application strategies built around microservices. Microservices allow developers to work on various parts of an application without having to worry about screwing up the whole thing — and help ensure that if one service goes down, the impact is relatively minor.

Late last year, Google surprised longtime partners working on Istio by implying that it was no longer interested in donating the project to a foundation, which would have allowed the company closer control over how and where Istio is used.

Kurian's latest statement means that Istio is instead set to follow a path similar to Kubernetes, another open-source cloud-computing tool that Google donated to a foundation in 2015. Google created the Cloud Native Computing Foundation — an offshoot of the Linux Foundation — to give away Kubernetes. In the years since being given away, Kubernetes went on to become a de facto standard for managing containers — application building blocks that allow for greater flexibility in cloud computing — at scale, and is now offered as a managed service by Google Cloud rivals AWS and Microsoft.

Asked why it has taken so long to clarify Google's stance on giving away Istio, Kurian said that the project wasn't ready.

"Unlike Kubernetes, which we had invented many, many years earlier and matured in our own internal use, we've been going through that process with Istio. And people interpret the process of maturation mistakenly to interpret that we're not giving it to the community," he said.

That was Google's standard response about Istio for years. But people familiar with Istio's behind-the-scenes discussions said that Google had changed its mind late last year, driven by a faction within the company that believed donating Kubernetes to a foundation was a strategic mistake. When contacted by Protocol earlier this year, Google declined to clarify its plans for Istio.


Protocol Cloud, your weekly guide to the future of enterprise computing. Sign up now.


Donating an open-source project to a foundation can take on many forms, but in many cases the governance rules of the foundation require the company making the donation to cede control of the trademarks associated with the project, which allows other companies to build commercial services around it.

Foundations also help ensure that no one company has outsized input over the future direction of the project. As was the case with Kubernetes for many years, Google engineers have made the majority of the contributions to Istio, but under the control of a foundation, Istio would theoretically be allowed to evolve in a direction guided by lots of different participants.

Nicholas Chaillan, chief software officer for the U.S. Air Force, told Protocol in January that his organization — a prominent user of both Kubernetes and Istio — would have to drop support for the technology this year if Google didn't donate the project to a foundation.

While the Cloud Native Computing Foundation has been seen by many as the natural home for Istio given its history with Kubernetes, Kurian cast a wider net in his interview with Protocol on Tuesday. "Some [foundations] have the right governance models, and some of them don't," he said, adding that Google will choose a foundation that ensures community participation will drive the project forward.

Kurian said that the massive changes to the tech industry's priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic would not change the timeline for donating Istio to a foundation, and that the company would provide more details about its plans "relatively soon."

Protocol | Workplace

In Silicon Valley, it’s February 2020 all over again

"We'll reopen when it's right, but right now the world is changing too much."

Tech companies are handling the delta variant in differing ways.

Photo: alvarez/Getty Images

It's still 2021, right? Because frankly, it's starting to feel like March 2020 all over again.

Google, Apple, Uber and Lyft have now all told employees they won't have to come back to the office before October as COVID-19 case counts continue to tick back up. Facebook, Google and Uber are now requiring workers to get vaccinated before coming to the office, and Twitter — also requiring vaccines — went so far as to shut down its reopened offices on Wednesday, and put future office reopenings on hold.

Keep Reading Show less
Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.

After a year and a half of living and working through a pandemic, it's no surprise that employees are sending out stress signals at record rates. According to a 2021 study by Indeed, 52% of employees today say they feel burnt out. Over half of employees report working longer hours, and a quarter say they're unable to unplug from work.

The continued swell of reported burnout is a concerning trend for employers everywhere. Not only does it harm mental health and well-being, but it can also impact absenteeism, employee retention and — between the drain on morale and high turnover — your company culture.

Crisis management is one thing, but how do you permanently lower the temperature so your teams can recover sustainably? Companies around the world are now taking larger steps to curb burnout, with industry leaders like LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Bumble shutting down their offices for a full week to allow all employees extra time off. The CEO of Okta, worried about burnout, asked all employees to email him their vacation plans in 2021.

Keep Reading Show less
Stella Garber
Stella Garber is Trello's Head of Marketing. Stella has led Marketing at Trello for the last seven years from early stage startup all the way through its acquisition by Atlassian in 2017 and beyond. Stella was an early champion of remote work, having led remote teams for the last decade plus.
Protocol | China

Livestreaming ecommerce next battleground for China’s nationalists

Vendors for Nike and even Chinese brands were harassed for not donating enough to Henan.

Nationalists were trolling in the comment sections of livestream sessions selling products by Li-Ning, Adidas and other brands.

Collage: Weibo, Bilibili

The No. 1 rule of sales: Don't praise your competitor's product. Rule No. 2: When you are put to a loyalty test by nationalist trolls, forget the first rule.

While China continues to respond to the catastrophic flooding that has killed 99 and displaced 1.4 million people in the central province of Henan, a large group of trolls was busy doing something else: harassing ordinary sportswear sellers on China's livestream ecommerce platforms. Why? Because they determined that the brands being sold had donated too little, or too late, to the people impacted by floods.

Keep Reading Show less
Zeyi Yang
Zeyi Yang is a reporter with Protocol | China. Previously, he worked as a reporting fellow for the digital magazine Rest of World, covering the intersection of technology and culture in China and neighboring countries. He has also contributed to the South China Morning Post, Nikkei Asia, Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. In his spare time, Zeyi co-founded a Mandarin podcast that tells LGBTQ stories in China. He has been playing Pokemon for 14 years and has a weird favorite pick.
Power

The video game industry is bracing for its Netflix and Spotify moment

Subscription gaming promises to upend gaming. The jury's out on whether that's a good thing.

It's not clear what might fall through the cracks if most of the biggest game studios transition away from selling individual games and instead embrace a mix of free-to-play and subscription bundling.

Image: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Subscription services are coming for the game industry, and the shift could shake up the largest and most lucrative entertainment sector in the world. These services started as small, closed offerings typically available on only a handful of hardware platforms. Now, they're expanding to mobile phones and smart TVs, and promising to radically change the economics of how games are funded, developed and distributed.

Of the biggest companies in gaming today, Amazon, Apple, Electronic Arts, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nvidia, Sony and Ubisoft all operate some form of game subscription. Far and away the most ambitious of them is Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, featuring more than 100 games for $9.99 a month and including even brand-new titles the day they release. As of January, Game Pass had more than 18 million subscribers, and Microsoft's aggressive investment in a subscription future has become a catalyst for an industrywide reckoning on the likelihood and viability of such a model becoming standard.

Keep Reading Show less
Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
Protocol | Policy

Lina Khan wants to hear from you

The new FTC chair is trying to get herself, and the sometimes timid tech-regulating agency she oversees, up to speed while she still can.

Lina Khan is trying to push the FTC to corral tech companies

Photo: Graeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images

"When you're in D.C., it's very easy to lose connection with the very real issues that people are facing," said Lina Khan, the FTC's new chair.

Khan made her debut as chair before the press on Wednesday, showing up to a media event carrying an old maroon book from the agency's library and calling herself a "huge nerd" on FTC history. She launched into explaining how much she enjoys the open commission meetings she's pioneered since taking over in June. That's especially true of the marathon public comment sessions that have wrapped up each of the two meetings so far.

Keep Reading Show less
Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

Latest Stories