Kubernetes Day 2 challenges — Isovalent brings safe connectivity, nabs funding

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There’s no query that Kubernetes has turn out to be the brand new enterprise normal with regards to constructing and working fashionable purposes. 

Based on the Cloud Native Computing Basis’s (CNCF) annual survey, 96% of organizations are both utilizing or evaluating the container orchestration system. 

As such, as we speak’s enterprises and telcos are previous the Day 1 part of Kubernetes, mentioned Dan Wendlandt, CEO of Isovalent

And, as they develop into the Day 2 part, organizations are studying that Kubernetes doesn’t, by itself, present a networking layer with the safety, observability, reliability and efficiency required of extra mission-critical workloads, he identified. 


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This has pushed demand for open-source applied sciences — together with Cilium and eBPF. To assist meet these ever-increasing wants, Isovalent as we speak introduced that it has closed a $40M sequence B funding spherical. The corporate created the Cilium undertaking and gives Isovalent Cilium Enterprise, applied sciences each enabled by the brand new Linux kernel know-how eBPF. 

“eBPF is the one most fascinating factor to occur in Linux prior to now 10 and even 20 years,” mentioned Wendlandt. And, whereas Isovalent began as an “all-in” wager on the know-how and Kubernetes, “we’re nonetheless within the early days of seeing all of the methods through which Cilium and eBPF will rework the trendy infrastructure layer.”

Kubernetes Day 2 challenges

  • “Which Kubernetes distro do I run?” 
  • “How do I migrate my preliminary purposes onto Kubernetes?” 

These are widespread Day 1 questions. However now that companies have “discovered” methods to run Kubernetes itself, they’re tackling Day 2 challenges comparable to the next:  

  • “How do I troubleshoot connectivity failures or poor efficiency between two providers working in Kubernetes?”
  • “How does my safety workforce carry out an incident investigation in my Kubernetes surroundings?”

Not solely does Kubernetes not have built-in capabilities to sort out these issues, however conventional community infrastructure units — firewalls, community load-balancers, community monitoring units — are additionally restricted in closing gaps, mentioned Wendlandt. Such units then turn out to be bottlenecks, given the explosion of API-communication between fashionable purposes. Equally, their deal with conventional packet-layer identification means they will’t perceive service-identity and API-call particulars in fashionable workloads. 

Cilium addresses these challenges by offering a multicloud and on-premises connectivity material that’s safe and observable. This runs immediately within the Linux kernel alongside every utility workload. 

“This technological leap allows Isovalent to offer wealthy context and perception for safety and operator groups,” mentioned Wendlandt. 

Making eBPF consumable

eBPF, certainly, has fueled Cilum’s speedy rise, mentioned Wendlandt. “eBPF basically permits us to show the Linux kernel new methods,” he mentioned. 

With out it, the networking stack inside Linux is basically composed of code that hasn’t modified a lot in 20 years, he mentioned, and that was designed in an period when Linux was both working on a standalone server or a community equipment connecting static providers.

The world seems “drastically totally different” when Linux is used as the muse for Kubernetes infrastructure, Wendlandt mentioned, with lots of of containers working on every node and quickly showing and disappearing as workloads life-cycle by way of automated steady integration/steady supply (CI/CD) pipelines.

“eBPF permits us to show Linux to determine and correctly join, load-balance, firewall, and monitor these containerized workloads in a manner that might by no means be scalable or performant utilizing the legacy Linux networking,” mentioned Wendlandt. 

Nonetheless, he described it as a “very low-level know-how.” Cilium’s open-source neighborhood in the end makes eBPF consumable, he mentioned. 

“Cilium gives a constant technique to join, safe and observe workloads throughout any kind of underlying multicloud infrastructure,” mentioned Wendlandt. 

Assembly fashionable workload wants

And Cilium continues to evolve. The know-how initially targeted on Kubernetes networking and safety use circumstances comparable to connectivity, load-balancing and firewalling, mentioned Wendlandt. However demand prompted enlargement to community observability (Hubble), runtime safety observability and enforcement (Tetragon) and Cilium Service Mesh. Organizations are additionally trying to make use of eBPF to measure and implement software program provide chain safety and workload profiling. 

“It’s actually not an exaggeration to say that eBPF will change each facet of how fashionable workloads run on any and all Linux platforms,” mentioned Wendlandt.

Wendlandt underscored the truth that Kubernetes guarantees consistency in life-cycle utility workloads no matter underlying infrastructure. Multicloud environments the place workloads can seamlessly migrate isn’t “some pie-in-the-sky notion,” he mentioned. 

“Quite, it’s a realization that we’re and can proceed to be in a world of heterogeneous infrastructure, typically comprised of a mixture of non-public cloud and a number of public cloud suppliers,” he mentioned. 

He additionally identified that enterprises, distributors, analysts and enterprise capitalists alike are struggling to outline the brand new, rising layer within the enterprise infrastructure stack.

“As purposes shift towards being a set of API-driven providers, the safety, reliability, observability and efficiency of all purposes turns into basically depending on this new connectivity layer,” mentioned Wendlandt. 

The following step within the Kubernetes journey

Since its introduction in 2018, Cilium has been chosen because the default in a number of managed Kubernetes choices of main public cloud suppliers: Google Kubernetes Engine, Google Anthos and Amazon EKS Wherever. 

Fast adoption of Cilium throughout many verticals — finance/funds, ecommerce/retail, insurance coverage, telecommunications, authorities, information analytics, leisure — “highlights the truth that we’re fixing a crucial piece of the puzzle for customers as they take the following step on their Kubernetes journey,” mentioned Wendlandt. 

Moreover, Cilium is likely one of the fastest-growing cloud-native connectivity initiatives within the Kubernetes ecosystem, he mentioned, and it’s the solely Container Community Interface (CNI) on the incubation stage within the CNCF. Its full “Graduated” undertaking standing is focused for early 2023.

Isovalent additionally co-maintains the eBPF codebase upstream within the Linux kernel, maintains, hosts the eBPF Summit, and helped create the eBPF Basis together with Meta, Netflix, Google and Microsoft. 

The latest funding spherical was led by Thomvest Ventures, joined by Google, Cisco, Microsoft and Grafana Labs. Further traders embody Andreessen Horowitz, Mango Capital, and Mirae Asset Capital. The spherical will assist Isovalent double its workforce — reaching roughly 100 workers — to proceed supporting open-source communities whereas addressing demand for Cilium Enterprise, mentioned Wendlandt. 

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