Kong HQ

For our November Tech Forum, Vikas Vijendra from Kong visited our Melbourne office to bring us up to speed on what’s happening at KongHQ.

At Marlo we are already familiar with the Open Source Kong API Gateway and we like how it fits into our own digital enablement platform. Kong, however, are making a bold shift in product direction with the announcement of their Service Control Platform. They understand that while we might be focused on RESTful APIs today, the future will also include protocols such as gRPC, GraphQL and Kafka. Moreover, the advent of Kubernetes as the container platform of choice means Kong needs to extend into the cluster itself to provide full lifecycle service management.

The main features of the Service Control Platform are:

  • A centralized control plane to design, test, monitor and manage services
  • Multiple Runtimes – not just the nginx engine of Kong but also Istio, Kuma, Apollo and serverless
  • Multiple Protocols – REST, gRPC, GraphQL and Kafka
  • Multiple Platforms – All major cloud providers plus any Kubernetes

The open source API Gateway offering will remain with most of the new features available in the Kong Enterprise offering. These include:

  • Kong for Kubernetes (K4K8S): a supported version of the Kong Ingress Gateway for Kubernetes along with all enterprise plugins
  • Kong Studio: for designing, mocking and testing APIs
  • Kong Manager: for the runtime monitoring and management of deployed services.
  • Kong Developer Portal: a self-service portal providing access to the service catalog.

All of the above features are available as a SaaS offering (Kong Cloud) or on-premise, or any combination of the two.

Perhaps most interesting is the announcement of the Kuma service mesh. An Ingress Controller alone, is limited to managing traffic entering a cluster (north-south traffic). In a microservices architecture most of the traffic is between services on the same cluster (east-west traffic). A service mesh allows control of traffic between these services.

Of course Istio is the dominant product in the service mesh space but Kong (and others) believe Istio has become too complex and Kuma provides a more appropriate level of functionality. The functionality of the Ingress Gateway and the service mesh will eventually morph into a single product controlling both north-south and east-west traffic.

Tech Lead Vishal Raizada recently conducted a very informative Tech Forum at the Marlo Office. He presented on Istio: Architecture, Application and Ease of Implementation.

Our tech forum presentation is downloadable here and showcases an example of Istio’s implementation, application and benefits.

Istio is now a key part of the Marlo Digital Enablement Platform – our open source, cloud-native platform which provides a complete on-demand environment for digital delivery.

The enterprise application landscape has changed a lot in the last decade: from managing on premise servers to using infrastructure as a service; from monolithic applications to building microservices.

The new world offers many benefits but it also introduces new challenges. With the distributed nature of the application landscape, service discovery and general application composition becomes extremely complex. Controls, such as traffic management, security and observability, which could previously be managed in one place now become a scattered problem.

Enter Istio, a service mesh framework, which wraps around a cloud native architecture and adds a layer of abstraction to manage these complexities. It enables a truly automated delivery process, where a development team can purely focus on code, and Istio handles the rest, including service discovery, security, circuit breaking and much more. In addition, it is programmable, hence it can be incorporated as part of the DevOps & DevSecOps process with ease. A service mesh gives control back to the enterprise application world without taking away any of the benefits.

Read Vish’s full presentation here.