Announcing Istio 1.1

We are pleased to announce the release of Istio 1.1!

Download | Release Notes | Docs

Since we released 1.0 back in July, we’ve done a lot of work to help people get into production. Not surprisingly, we had to do some patch releases (6 so far!), but we’ve also been hard at work adding new features to the product.

The theme for 1.1 is Enterprise Ready. We’ve been very pleased to see more and more companies using Istio in production, but as some larger companies tried to adopt Istio they hit some limits.

One of our prime areas of focus has been performance and scalability. As people moved into production with larger clusters running more services at higher volume, they hit some scaling and performance issues. The sidecars took too many resources and added too much latency. The control plane (especially Pilot) was overly resource hungry.

We’ve done a lot of work to make both the data plane and the control plane more efficient. In our 1.1 performance testing, we’re now seeing a sidecar that typically takes half of a vCPU to process 1000 rps. A single Pilot instance is capable of handling 1000 services (and 2000 total pods) while consuming 1.5 vCPU and 2GB of RAM. The sidecar adds 5ms at the 50th percentile and 10ms at 99th percentile (enforcing policy will add latency).

We’ve done work around namespace isolation as well. This lets you use Kubernetes namespaces to enforce boundaries of control, and ensures that your teams cannot interfere with each other.

We have also improved the multicluster capabilities and usability. We listened to the community and improved defaults for traffic control and policy. We introduced a new component called Galley. Galley validates that sweet, sweet YAML, reducing the chance of configuration errors. Galley will also be instrumental in multicluster setups, gathering service discovery information from each Kubernetes cluster. We are also supporting additional multicluster topologies including single control plane and multiple synchronized control planes without requiring a flat network.

There is lots more – see the release notes for complete details.

There is more going on in the project as well. We know that Istio has a lot of moving parts and can be a lot to take on. To help address that, we recently formed a Usability Working Group (feel free to join). There is also a lot happening in the Community Meeting (Thursdays at 11 AM) and in the
Working Groups.

We are grateful to everyone who has worked hard on Istio over the last few months – patching 1.0, adding features to 1.1, and, lately, doing tons of testing on 1.1. Thanks especially to those companies and users who worked with us installing and upgrading to the early builds and helping us catch problems before the release.

So: now’s the time! Grab 1.1, check out the updated documentation, install it and…happy meshing!