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What is Istio?

Cloud platforms allow developers to create and run applications with ease, however the demand and consumption of shared libraries provides a challenge in most environments, and cloud-based architectures are no different.  Developers are using the Cloud model to refresh legacy applications to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of existing infrastructures.

Istio eases the applications deployment and facilitates the developer’s actions, allowing the creation of Cloud native and modern apps with microservices.  It creates a service mesh helping the developer to manage autonomous bundles of small applications (microservices) in terms of networking. 

Monolithic applications can be divided into small services named microservices. Those microservices will belong to specific side-car in order to facilitate application development.

Istio, what does it stand for?

Istio allows connecting, managing and securing microservices within a network area including load-balancing, authentication, monitoring. Istio is defined as an open platform (C++ standard).

Istio does allow DevOps to properly manage internal network security policies. Some say that istio has been created as a missing piece of Kubernetes puzzle. Schema below shows where istio is located within a Kubernetes environment.

Istio comes with 2 components:

  • Control plane
  • Data Plane

The Control plane consists of 3 elements, the Pilot, Citadel and Mixer

  • Pilot - as a service discovery for all Envoy side-car and for traffic management
  • Mixer - as access control and usage policies and for telemetry purpose
  • Citadel - as services authentication

Data plane includes an Ingress and Egress controller as well as an Envoy Proxy for each Pod

When several microservices generate traffic flow, Istio deploys a side-car proxy named Envoy as an open source project that enables ingress/egress traffic between services.

This allows load-balancing between microservices and to ease application development.

Istio has inbuilt fault tolerance and resilience features such as:

  • Timeouts (Retries w/ timeout)
  • Circuit breakers
  • Health checks
  • Load-balancing
  • Connector connection
  • Systematic fault injection



Istio overcomes inherent issues with distributed apps that run within Kubernetes. It allows developers, DevOps to focus on microservices that have performance issues or other codes issues for instance.

Istio allows managing, debugging and monitoring applications that run into Kubernetes such as Grafana.

Istio provides an application management facility for DevOps as with Istio DevOps will struggle less by managing applications.


In this specific arena, there are other applications similar to Istio;


Istio and InterCloud

Now that we know more about Istio, the main question that should come in your mind is: how Istio and InterCloud can work together?

InterCloud is a platform that provides a secured connectivity to major CSP such as Google, Amazon Web Services, Azure, Alibaba and many others.

Istio can be deployed on Azure cluster, Amazon Web Services cluster, Google cluster.

While you have Istio running on two different clusters, for instance, Azure and Google, InterCloud can act.

Whenever, you are in a multi-cloud environment, multi-network architecture, InterCloud provides you Cloud-to-Cloud connectivity.

The diagram below reflects how the connectivity between Istio within a multi-network and multi-cloud environment.

While knowing that InterCloud provides a Regional Total Capacity, developers can enjoy with the full benefits of apps developments without impacting the production environment.

Overall, in case where multi-cluster deployments are required across multiple zones and/or regions, InterCloud can provide you the capability to keep isolation and availability of each link crossing the InterCloud platform.






Yannick Frair

Pre-Sales Engineer

AWS & InterCloud

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