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We're happy to announce the availability of our first technology preview of the Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh, based on the Istio Project.

The advancement of application/software development practices combined with technology/practice improvements in software delivery have resulted in a proliferation of application instances within many organizations. Whether these are macro/monoliths, “mini” services, or microservices, as the quantity of services increases, both the number and complexity of interactions increases.

Until now much of the burden of managing these complex services interactions has been placed on the application developer. The evolution of sets of libraries like the Netflix Common Runtime Services & Libraries have brought many features and benefits for application resiliency, traffic control, etc. However, the use of these libraries is runtime-dependent (eg: Netflix’ libraries are Java-based) and they must be integrated into the application by the developer.

Enter the Mesh

The service mesh concept pushes this responsibility to the infrastructure, removing this burden from the developer. When the underlying infrastructure is responsible for traffic management, observability, policy enforcement, and service identity/security, the developer is free to focus on business value. The developer no longer has to spend cycles integrating libraries into the application to perform these tasks. The infrastructure operations team then becomes responsible for maintaining the mesh infrastructure as a part of routine maintenance and management practices.

For several years now, Red Hat has been backing Kubernetes as its container orchestration solution via our Red Hat OpenShift product family. With respect to service mesh and Kubernetes, a community of contributors created the Istio project, whose goal is to be “a completely open source service mesh that layers transparently onto existing distributed applications.”

Service Mesh Tech Preview Now Available on Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat has additionally 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. Today, we commence a Technology Preview program for Istio on Red Hat OpenShift. This preview works with Red Hat OpenShift Platform 3.10.

The Technology Preview program will provide existing OpenShift Container Platform customers the ability to deploy and consume the Istio platform on their OpenShift clusters. Red Hat is providing this program in an effort to collect feedback and experiences as we look towards a goal of providing full support and general availability of Istio on OpenShift in the 2019 calendar year.

No special process, sign-up, or other formality is required to participate in the Technology Preview program. Istio is being provided as a set of container images that can be optionally installed into an OpenShift cluster using an Operator. The Operator will also be capable of uninstalling Istio from an existing cluster.

Limitations and Scope

The Istio Technology Preview program is designed around gathering customer feedback and experiences with a certain subset of Istio features.

  • Circuit Breaking
  • Fault Injection
  • Monitoring/Tracing
  • Advanced Routing Rules

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. 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.

Open by Default

As with everything Red Hat does, our work around Istio is also open source. Red Hat is working within the upstream Istio community to help advance the Istio framework and has created a community project called Maistra where we focus on the specific integration requirements of the upstream Istio framework within OKD and OpenShift, much like how OpenShift’s upstream community is OKD.

What Are You Waiting For?

Are you an OpenShift Container Platform customer? Then what are you waiting for? Visit which provides the documentation for how to get started with the OpenShift Service Mesh Technology Preview.

Not an OpenShift customer? You can learn more about Istio on OpenShift in these tutorials.

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