The co-creators of Istio– Louis Ryan of Google and Tetrate’s Varun Talwar– talk with TC Currie on the history of Istio, how it came to exist in its current form and the collaboration between Google, IBM and Lyft that got the project off the ground. They address how the project was designed to allow businesses to solve observability issues, routing problems, security, and policy concerns all in one place.

They share their thoughts on how far the project has come, and where it still has to go, including:

The perceived complexity of Istio, and how, according to Louis, there are two parts to this concern: Its designed purpose, to solve several problems all in one place despite the initial complexities of the project, and the environment it was created in. [16:25]

Varun is keen to dispel any concerns of complexity that could deter adoption. “If you were a large enterprise, this covers the core pillars into one framework and doing it consistently is your biggest draw as a value proposition”. [20:37]

Louis had noted that most customers are happy with running the control plane in Kubernetes, whether it’s them or someone else. However, Varun explains that he and Tetrate, as a company, strongly believe that “Istio is applicable to all infrastructures and the value proposition it applies to a VM workload as much as to a Kubernetes workload.” He adds that the company is investing heavily in, the project they started to make the data plane easier for VM workloads. [23:56]

Similarly, you don’t have to adopt Kubernetes before Istio. In fact, you can do it the other way round and Istio can act as an enabler for a faster and safer move to Kubernetes. [23:56]

Both Varun and Louis offer key advice to those who want to adopt Istio. Engineers should prioritize the problems that they’re trying to solve, and the best way to get started can be with the observability elements.”Conceptually, it’s easier to get started with observing… pick the application that you want to get started with and be clear on why.” [15:53]

If there is a place to get a full picture of Istio, this is where to start.