Red Hat weaves Istio’s Service Mesh into OpenShift

If you were thinking that what Red Hat’s Openshift platform really needs is a service mesh, your prayers have been answered, courtesy of Istio. As long you don’t actually plan to use it in production anytime soon.

Red Hatter Erik Jacobs said in a blog post yesterday that the firm had unleashed the first technology preview of the Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh, and that it was based on the Google, IBM and Lyft-backed Istio.

Istio is designed to take the complexity of managing microservices architectures away from the application developer or DevOps team. Istio’s backers pitch it as taking care of load balancing and monitoring, as well handling authentication and communications between services, access and traffic control.

Jacobs said Red Hat “been an early adopter of and contributor to the Istio project. We have worked with the upstream community to help it reach its 1.0 milestone, with the goal being that Red Hat will make Istio officially a part of the OpenShift platform. “

The preview starts now, he added, and “will provide existing OpenShift Container Platform customers the ability to deploy and consume the Istio platform on their OpenShift clusters.” Full support and general availability of Istio on OpenShift is scheduled for next year.

However, Jacobs added that “As the initialization of the Envoy sidecar still requires privileged access during the Technology Preview, any OpenShift cluster with Istio installed may not receive production support from Red Hat. “

The sidecar proxy intercepts all network comms between services, and has to be deployed throughout the environment. It is an extended version of the Envoy open source edge and service proxy.

So, “While we want to make Istio generally available via OpenShift Service Mesh as quickly as possible, customers interested in participating in the Technology Preview should not attempt to use it in production clusters at this time.”

Istio was first debuted in May last year, and hit v1.0 just last week, after a month of performance tuning and bug fixing. However, it is apparently already being used by major outfits including eBay and Auto Trader to underpin their services.

Full details on installing the Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh are here.