The Istio Blog

Mixer and the SPOF Myth

As Mixer is in the request path, it is natural to question how it impacts overall system availability and latency. A common refrain we hear when people first glance at Istio architecture diagrams is “Isn’t this just introducing a single point of failure?”

In this post, we’ll dig deeper and cover the design principles that underpin Mixer and the surprising fact Mixer actually increases overall mesh availability and reduces average request latency.

Mixer Adapter Model

Istio 0.2 introduced a new Mixer adapter model which is intended to increase Mixer’s flexibility to address a varied set of infrastructure backends. This post intends to put the adapter model in context and explain how it works.

Announcing Istio 0.2: Improved mesh and support for multiple environments

We launched Istio; an open platform to connect, manage, monitor, and secure microservices, on May 24, 2017. We have been humbled by the incredible interest, and rapid community growth of developers, operators, and partners. Our 0.1 release was focused on showing all the concepts of Istio in Kubernetes.

Today we are happy to announce the 0.2 release which improves stability and performance, allows for cluster wide deployment and automated injection of sidecars in Kubernetes, adds policy and authentication for TCP services, and enables expansion of the mesh to include services deployed in virtual machines. In addition, Istio can now run outside Kubernetes, leveraging Consul/Nomad or Eureka. Beyond core features, Istio is now ready for extensions to be written by third party companies and developers.

Using Network Policy in concert with Istio

The use of Network Policy to secure applications running on Kubernetes is a now a widely accepted industry best practice. Given that Istio also supports policy, we want to spend some time explaining how Istio policy and Kubernetes Network Policy interact and support each other to deliver your application securely.

Canary Deployments using Istio

One of the benefits of the Istio project is that it provides the control needed to deploy canary services. The idea behind canary deployment (or rollout) is to introduce a new version of a service by first testing it using a small percentage of user traffic, and then if all goes well, increase, possibly gradually in increments, the percentage while simultaneously phasing out the old version. If anything goes wrong along the way, we abort and rollback to the previous version. In its simplest form, the traffic sent to the canary version is a randomly selected percentage of requests, but in more sophisticated schemes it can be based on the region, user, or other properties of the request.

Depending on your level of expertise in this area, you may wonder why Istio’s support for canary deployment is even needed, given that platforms like Kubernetes already provide a way to do version rollout and canary deployment. Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. Although doing a rollout this way works in simple cases, it’s very limited, especially in large scale cloud environments receiving lots of (and especially varying amounts of) traffic, where autoscaling is needed.