Istio Market Strategy with Zack Butcher

Kubernetes has created a widespread system for deploying and managing infrastructure. As Kubernetes has been increasingly adopted, companies are thinking about how to leverage that common layer of infrastructure. With the common infrastructure abstraction of Kubernetes, it becomes easier to adopt other abstractions that are uniform across the entire company. 

This has created a market opportunity for products such as a service mesh.

A service mesh consists of sidecar containers that get deployed alongside services in a distributed system. Each sidecar container is used as a proxy for all the communication that goes through the service it is deployed with. This consistent proxying layer provides each service with benefits such as security, routing, telemetry, and policy management.

Istio is a service mesh that was created and open sourced by Google. Istio is built around the Envoy service proxy sidecar and a control plane that manages the Envoy sidecars. Since the launch of Istio, some of the Google employees who were working on Istio have started Tetrate, a company with the goal of commercializing Istio into a product that enterprises will pay for.  

The market demand for service mesh has been proven, but there are many competitors to Tetrate. Istio is open source and can be commercialized by other companies, as well as cloud providers such as Google and AWS. Linkerd is a service mesh built by the company Buoyant, which was the first company to focus exclusively on this space. There are other companies that are expanding existing products into service mesh: Kong, NGINX, and Hashicorp.

Zack Butcher is a founding engineer with Tetrate, and he joins the show to discuss the market for service mesh and the plan for Tetrate to build a business around Istio.

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