General FAQ

What is Istio?

Istio is an open platform-independent service mesh that provides traffic management, policy enforcement, and telemetry collection.

Open: Istio is being developed and maintained as open-source software. We encourage contributions and feedback from the community at-large.

Platform-independent: Istio is not targeted at any specific deployment environment. During the initial stages of development, Istio will support Kubernetes-based deployments. However, Istio is being built to enable rapid and easy adaptation to other environments.

Service mesh: Istio is designed to manage communications between microservices and applications. Without requiring changes to the underlying services, Istio provides automated baseline traffic resilience, service metrics collection, distributed tracing, traffic encryption, protocol upgrades, and advanced routing functionality for all service-to-service communication.

For more detail, please see The Istio service mesh

Why would I want to use Istio?

Traditionally, much of the logic handled by Istio has been built directly into applications. Across a fleet of services, managing updates to this communications logic can be a large burden. Istio provides an infrastructure-level solution to managing service communications.

Application developers: With Istio managing how traffic flows across their services, developers can focus exclusively on business logic and iterate quickly on new features.

Service operators: Istio enables policy enforcement and mesh monitoring from a single centralized control point, independent of application evolution. As a result, operators can ensure continuous policy compliance through a simplified management plane.

How do I get started using Istio?

We recommend following the instructions on the getting started page, which installs a demonstration configuration along with Istio’s premier sample application, Bookinfo. You can then use this setup to walk through various Istio guides that showcase intelligent routing, policy enforcement, security, telemetry, etc., in a tutorial style.

To start using Istio with production Kubernetes deployments, please refer to our deployment models documentation and the which Istio installation method should I use? FAQ page.

What is the license?

Istio uses the Apache License 2.0.

How was Istio started?

The Istio project was started by teams from Google and IBM in partnership with the Envoy team from Lyft. It’s been developed fully in the open on GitHub.

What deployment environments are supported?

Istio is designed to be platform-independent, initially focused on Kubernetes. For our 1.12 release, Istio supports environments running Kubernetes (1.19, 1.20, 1.21, 1.22).

How can I contribute?

Contributions are highly welcome. We look forward to community feedback, additions, and bug reports.

The code repositories are hosted on GitHub. Please see our Contribution Guidelines to learn how to contribute.

In addition to the code, there are other ways to contribute to the Istio community, including on our discussion forum, Slack, and Stack Overflow.

Where is the documentation?

Check out the documentation right here on The docs include concept overviews, task guides, examples, and the complete reference documentation.

Detailed developer-level documentation is maintained on our Wiki

Istio doesn't work - what do I do?

Check out the operations guide for finding solutions and our bug reporting page for filing bugs.

What is Istio's roadmap?

See our feature stages page and news for latest happenings.

What does the word 'Istio' mean?

It’s the Greek word for ‘sail’.

How can I join the Istio Slack workspace?

If you’d like to have live interactions with members of our community, you can join us on Istio’s Slack workspace.