Most of the development world is aware of the microservices and containerisation movement, given we’re now in 2018!

When folks start working with microservices, they quickly realise that they proliferate fast. One application can contain a large number of microservices that all need to interact and talk to each other for lots of different reasons in order to make the application work as intended. They need to do this securely, and they need to be able to manage traffic for balancing and testing/rollout purposes too. This network of microservices needs managing, specifically around areas of service discovery and communication to build a working “service mesh.”

Istio provides an open source implementation of a ‘service mesh manager.’ It has been built to control communication, secure, and manage microservices that need to work together. It’s kind of like the beginning of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) for the microservice architecture world.

You can learn much more about Istio here.

Istio essentially lets you manage traffic between your microservices — which services can talk to which and when, what policy they should use. It also provides nice telemetry and reports through the Grafana interface that Istio is implemented with.

Istio’s Grafana-based analytics dashboard gives you visibility into traffic flows

Right now, Istio supports Kubernetes. But the plan is to extend to other container management platforms later.

I’ve been playing with Istio recently and it’s pretty cool. So, we wanted to give you a place to try it out for yourself! You can hit the Istio DevNet Sandbox now. (If you’re not already a DevNet member, just sign in with any one of the social login options and you’re good to go!)

In the Sandbox, we give you a Kubernetes cluster at 1.8, with Istio 0.4 already installed and ready to go. Just hit ‘reserve’ and we’ll set that up for you in minutes. From there, there’s a ‘Hello World’ example to follow that riffs off of a standard containerised app that is great for deploying and then starting to play with the Istio functionality and to understand what makes it tick and why it’s so useful (and really, will be more required as micro service architectures grow.)

The Istio DevNet Sandbox provides your own Kubernetes
Cluster with Istio, at the click of a reserve button!

As usual, we’ve also provided a little DevBox for you to use. It’s crammed with Dev Tool goodies you might find useful, but may not want to deploy to your local machine to begin with – just log into the DevBox and the tools are yours.

Hopefully, you’re enjoy learning and creating with the Sandbox. Keep in touch with us and let us know what you think!

We’d love to hear what you think. Ask a question or leave a comment below.
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Tom Davies

Manager, DevNet Sandbox

Developer Experience