Clear up this mesh: Control plane Kong Kuma gets hybrid universal mode and a new cloud-native home


API platform provider Kong has pushed out version 0.6 of open source control plane Kuma – the last release before the project is handed over to the Cloud Native Computing foundation.

The latter seems like a good fit for Kuma, given that the project is based on the Envoy proxy, which has been through the CNCF wringer already and now holds the status of a graduated project. Kuma will start off small by joining the foundation’s sandbox, to which it was offered back in April 2020. The new environment is meant to make Kuma more visible to the rest of the cloud-native ecosystem, align it with other projects, and get project governance into a good shape. 

According to Kong CTO Marco Palladino, the project’s open sourcing last autumn was already done with a new vendor-neutral home in mind. In a canned statement he said: “Our ultimate goal was to donate it to the CNCF, where it can serve the most good in the community and benefit from the brightest developer minds.”

Kuma is touted as an “universal service mesh” or control plane for platforms ranging from Kubernetes to bare metal and virtual machines. Combining a data plane with advanced control plane capabilities, it is meant to help enterprises secure traffic between services, come up with connectivity permissions and routing policies, and manage high numbers of services across setups comprising multiple clusters.

Version 0.6 plays even more to the targeted enterprise audience, by introducing what it calls the hybrid universal mode. Since most companies aren’t starting from scratch with their infrastructure, the new addition is supposed to support scenarios in which old and new application infrastructure are mixed. 

It does so by abstracting the underlying complexity of a mesh away so that it looks like everything runs on one central cluster from the outside which makes it easier to integrate with other infrastructure. It then provides users with an ingress data plane mode to automate cross-platform and cross-cluster service mesh communication, automated service connectivity, and a native universal DNS service discovery API. 

Kuma now also knows the concept of global and remote control planes. This gives admins a way to set up control mechanisms for specific zones, such as a selected platform, instead of all environments communicating to one control plane which can get quite confusing. The approach comes with advanced replication functionality in a bid to improve scalability. Release notes with additional details haven’t been available at the time of writing, but should land in the Kuma repository in the coming days.