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A new operator for Istio is now available on Red Hat OpenShift as a developer preview. This new operator, temporarily known as the Sail Operator, will serve as the foundation for Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh 3, which will be released in the upcoming year.

Key features

Key features of the new operator include:

  • Simplified configuration: The operator utilizes a single custom resource, IstioHelmInstall, to configure the Istio control plane (istiod), using Istio's Helm artifact values for customization.
  • Focused management: The operator solely manages Istio and does not handle complementary projects such as Kiali, Prometheus, Grafana, Jaeger, or Elasticsearch. Independent operators will continue to support these integrations.
  • Upstream Istio: Instead of the Maistra.io distribution, the operator leverages a clean copy of upstream Istio. This allows for regular rebasing with Istio's main branch, enabling access to the latest Istio features.

Please note that the Sail Operator is still under active development and is not suitable for production applications. It is intended for experimentation and prototyping purposes. Your early feedback is valuable as we continue to refine and improve this operator.

Transitioning from Maistra.io to Istio

Previously, OpenShift Service Mesh was based on the Maistra.io project, which provided additional enterprise features and compatibility with OpenShift's user base. However, as Istio has progressed, we recognize the benefits of aligning our service mesh directly with the upstream Istio project.

Benefits of the transition to OpenShift Service Mesh 3 include:

  • Convergence with upstream Istio: By reducing differences between OpenShift Service Mesh and Istio, we provide a smoother learning path for users transitioning from community Istio to OpenShift Service Mesh.
  • Up-to-date releases: With productized community Istio, we can align our release cadence with the OpenShift Container Platform, ensuring timely access to the latest Istio features.
  • Common configuration with Istio: The ServiceMeshControlPlane resource will be replaced by Istio's community-supported Helm configuration. This convergence streamlines the user experience and enables better support for Istio's ecosystem components.
  • Greater support for upstream Istio features: By eliminating differences between OpenShift Service Mesh and Istio, we can more effectively support features like multi-cluster topologies and Istio on virtual machines outside of Kubernetes.
  • Easier migration from community Istio: Consistency in configuration and features facilitates seamless transitions between community Istio and OpenShift Service Mesh, enabling users to move their prototypes to a supported service mesh product.

We are committed to working closely with the Istio community to improve Istio's configuration management and provide better support for all Istio users.

The Sail Operator is a preview of what's to come in OpenShift Service Mesh 3. While its development is ongoing, we encourage you to try it out and provide us with valuable feedback. Members of the community can create issues in the maistra/istio-operator repository. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to refine and enhance this exciting addition to Red Hat OpenShift.

Additional resources

For more details and frequently asked questions, visit this FAQ.

To learn more about Istio Service Mesh, check out the e-book Introducing Istio Service Mesh for Microservices: Build and Deploy Resilient, Fault-Tolerant Cloud Native Applications or visit our service mesh topic page.

Interested in trying OpenShift? Activate a no-cost OpenShift trial.

Last updated: September 19, 2023