Things are once again shifting in the cloud industry. A change is underway, and it has a name – Cloud Native 2.0. Some years back, analysts prophesied that enterprises that are cloud-native, will eventually double down on digital transformation, and keep the modernization going. What is happening today is sort of a fulfillment of that prophesy. And we don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that. The obvious maturity of Kubernetes, the transformation of applications to microservices, and the growing pains of application networking, are proof enough.
At the recent Cloud Field Day event, Solo.io hit this topic. Christian Posta, Cloud Field CTO explained the application networking challenges facing enterprises at this second stage of cloud evolution. In the following session, he showed off Solo.io’s newly released Gloo Platform that alleviates those challenges, and help companies transition to this new era of service meshes and microservice applications, to leverage its opportunities.
The Trends of Cloud Native 2.0`
Cloud Native 2.0 has opened a floodgate of innovation. Microservices architecture has grabbed mainstream attention, and is seeing rapid adoption. There is a higher demand for scalability as a result of that, as enterprises need to add more clusters to manage the sprawl.
Having mastered Kubernetes over the past years, organizations are moving on to service meshes to harness new capabilities. Seeing how often the functions of a service mesh overlap those of API gateways, most users are in favor of having these capabilities combined into a modular architecture.
These trends are a reminder that enterprises need to rethink application networking with a new, Cloud Native 2.0 mindset.
What is Application Networking?
To level set, Mr. Posta gave a quick high-level description of application networking at the beginning of his presentation at Cloud Field Day. In plain-speak, application networking is the process of making applications available to each other, and to the users. In a network, applications are constantly connecting with data, devices, and with each other through APIs. As they communicate, their assets get exposed to the network in part or in whole. These assets are then discovered and used by other consumers in the networks.
Problem occurs when this needs to happen seamlessly in a distributed and dynamic environment. In the world that Cloud Native 2.0 has brought upon us, nothing is easy. Things are constantly changing in the network, and applications are spread out across multiple availability zones and clouds, which makes it even harder for services to discover each other and communicate.
“When you deploy an application, you might scale it up or scale it down, or it might become unhealthy. There’re no guarantees on exactly how the distributed nature of these services will behave over the network, and what the infrastructure is going to do,” noted Mr. Posta.
Likewise, observability and security too remain a challenge when deploying applications in a cloud platform. When overlooked, these problems make room for unpredictable failures and security breaches.
Getting a Closer Look at the Solo.io Gloo Platform
Solo.io addresses the complexities, inconsistencies, and overheads that organizations run into when deploying microservices applications onto a cloud platform like Kubernetes.
“At Solo, we think about solving these problems, at the gateway layer, or the edge of a boundary, inside a particular boundary in the so-called East- West direction or service to service direction, and then tying this down deeper into the lower layers of the networking stack.”
Solo.io takes a multi-layer approach to solving the challenges of Cloud Native 2.0. The Gloo Platform, released in the fall of 2022 after 18 months of engineering and collaboration work, brings together service mesh and API management in an integrated solution. The platform constitutes Gloo Network, a Container Network Interface (CNI) for Kubernetes, Gloo Mesh, a service mesh, and up top, Gloo Gateway, an API gateway. These come under the API management of the central Gloo Portal.
The platform’s suite of tools offers simplified operations, automated deployment, zero-trust security and deep observability into Layers 3 to 7.
The Gloo Gateway that is “the only API gateway that’s built directly on top of the service mesh” is built with cloud-friendly technologies. It ties natively to Gloo Mesh allowing users to have consistent policies across networking and security for all traffic.
The second layer, Glue Mesh is an enterprise service mesh that allows teams to transparently add properties like centralized observability, zero-trust security and multi-tenancy without modifying the app code.
The last layer which forms the foundational piece is the Gloo Network. Gloo Network provides connectivity, defense and observability for containerized applications using a Cilium-based CNI.