Matt Klein at Tetrate's Service Mesh Day 2019: Envoy as the standard data plane and where it's going

Matt Klein, the creator of Envoy, says he had greatly underestimated the market demand for a proxy that could be used in a generic way. The Lyft software engineer wrote Envoy as a “communication bus” to handle issues like rate limiting, circuit breaking, and load balancing. It facilitates network-transparent applications and allows developers to focus on business logic rather than debugging and network management.

The keynote at Tetrate’s Service Mesh Day 2019 spoke about the rise of Envoy, its ecosystem, and its growth from a proxy into more of a platform.

Matt Klein, creator of Envoy and SMD keynote speaker

Both the use cases and the organizations that have adopted Envoy have been wide-ranging. It’s being used by an array of cloud providers, large internet providers, and startups, including Tetrate, that are building businesses on top of it.

Klein attributes Envoy’s popularity to its stability and efficient performance, its devoted open source community, and the increasing focus on DevOps in the API-driven, cloud and cloud-native world. It supports developers who need to run the software that they’re also building. Envoy has focused on having best-in-class stats, logging and tracing, said Klein. And its extensible platform has encouraged contributors to build incredible things on top of it.

The success of a platform sets off a virtuous cycle, said Klein. As the platform becomes more powerful and plug-in apps proliferate around it, more people want to build on top of it. Considering the innovation that will spring from apps relying on independent network plumbing, and the observability and auditing that’s enabled by developing metrics, logging and tracing systems, he added, we’re only at the beginning.

Envoy and service mesh have significant implications for traffic management that allows people to identify and fix problems in systems, and for building up increasingly sophisticated control planes. These will have to deal with federation and intersecting trust domains. “But again, if there’s a universal API and a universal proxy in place [for] these control planes, people can build businesses and systems that will span multiple clouds and not bound to a particular cloud.”

Envoy is an open source project sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

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