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.