MuleSoft Embraces Istio to Manage Microservices

MuleSoft today announced it will leverage an instance of the Istio service mesh to extend the reach of its Anypoint integration platform to microservices running on top of Kubernetes clusters.

Announced its MuleSoft Connect event, the Anypoint Service Mesh provides a mechanism for centrally managing microservices by adding an instance of Istio to the runtime provided by MuleSoft that provides access to the company’s integration framework that many organizations have already widely deployed.

David Chao, vice president of product marketing for MuleSoft, says given all the dependencies between microservices, the need for a service mesh to govern and manage microservices is becoming acute. Microservices may make IT teams more agile, but they are considerably more difficult to manage. The MuleSoft Anypoint Service Mesh will make it possible to manage microservices more easily alongside all the application programming interfaces (APIs) they depend on to interact with one another.

IT organizations may not know what a service mesh does, but the management challenges that arise from employing microservices at scale are being keenly felt, he says.

MuleSoft decided to embrace Istio, developed by IBM, Google and Lyft, to address that challenge because it is becoming a de facto standard, Chao notes. In many ways, the need to govern and integrate microservices may very well push organizations to adopt Kubernetes to run Istio. In those instances, Istio may pull Kubernetes into some IT environments for the first time. But regardless of whether Kubernetes is the chicken or the egg, managing containers and microservices at scale requires both Kubernetes and a service mesh such as Istio.

As integration becomes core to every modern application being developed, IT organizations also are starting to move away from a command-and-control approach to providing access to integration in favor of a more democratic approach that assumes every application will need to build, deploy and maintain APIs. As part of that shift, Chao notes many IT organizations are now moving away from so-called “centers of excellence” in the form of a platform controlled by a dedicated IT team in favor of “centers of enablement” that make integration services more readily available to developers.

In the meantime, as the management of APIs and services continues to converge, the opportunity for IT teams to collaborate correspondingly increases. In some cases, that may even lead to a whole reorganization of the IT department involving the adoption of best DevOps practices that revolve more around the services being delivered versus the infrastructure employed to deliver them. In fact, the shift to a microservices-based architecture almost requires organizations to embrace DevOps.

It may take a while before microservices-based applications supplant monolithic applications, many of which are being reconstructed as a set of microservices to make various features and capabilities more accessible. However, given the current rate at which microservices are being built, it’s only now a matter of when that will occur, once it becomes easier to manage and govern microservices at scale.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

Mike Vizard has 1621 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard