Guest post originally published on Istio’s blog by Faseela Kundattil

The open source and cloud native community gathered from 18th to 21st April in Amsterdam for the first KubeCon of 2023. The four-day conference, organized by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, was special for Istio, as we evolved from a participant at ServiceMeshCon to hosting our first official project co-located event.

Istio Day Europe welcome banner
Istio Day Europe 2023, Welcome

Istio Day kicked off with an opening keynote from the Program Committee chairs, Mitch Connors and Faseela K. The event was packed with great content, ranging from new features to end user talks, and the hall was always jam-packed. The opening keynote was an ice-breaker with some Istio fun in the form of a pop quiz, and recognition for the day-to-day efforts of our contributors, maintainers, release managers, and users.

Mitch Connors and Faseela K taking selfie with the participants in the event hall
Istio Day Europe 2023, Opening Keynote

This was followed by a 2023 roadmap update session from TOC members Lin Sun and Louis Ryan. We had our much awaited session on the security posture of Ambient Mesh, from Christian Posta and John Howard, which stirred some interesting discussions in the community. After this we stepped into our first end user talk from John Keates from Wehkamp, a local Dutch company, followed by speakers from Bloomberg, Alexa Griffith and Zhenni Fu, on how they secure their highly privileged financial information using Istio. Istio Day witnessed more focus on security, which became even more prominent when Zack Butcher talked about using Istio for Controls Compliance. We also had lightning talks covering faster Istio development environmentsguide for Istio resource isolation and securing hybrid cloud deployments from Mitch Connors, Zhonghu Xu and Matt Turner respectively.

Participants sitting in Istio Day Europe event hall
Istio Day Europe 2023, Jam packed sessions

A number of our ecosystem members had Istio-related announcements at the event. Microsoft announced Istio as a managed add-on for Azure Kubernetes Service, and support for Istio is now generally available in D2iQ Kubernetes Platform.

Tetrate announced Tetrate Service Express, an Istio-based service connectivity, security and resilience automation solution for Amazon EKS, and announced Gloo Fabric, with Istio-based application networking capabilities expanded to VM-based, container, and serverless applications across cloud environments.

Istio’s presence at the conference did not end with Istio Day. The second day keynote started with a project update video from Lin Sun. It was also a proud moment for us, when our steering committee member Craig Box was recognized as a CNCF mentor in the keynote. The maintainer track for Istio presented by TOC member Neeraj Poddar grabbed great attention as he talked about the current ongoing efforts and future roadmap of Istio. The talk, and the size of the audience, underlined why Istio continues to be the most popular service mesh in the industry.

Some of the participants raising their hands in the event hall
KubeCon Europe 2023, Question: How many of you use Istio in production?

The following sessions at KubeCon were based on Istio and almost all of them had a huge crowd in attendance:

Istio had a full time kiosk in the KubeCon project pavilion, with the majority of questions asked being on the status of our CNCF graduation. We are so excited to know that our users are eagerly waiting for news of our graduation, and we promise we are actively working towards it!

KubeCon Europe 2023, Istio Kiosk

Many of our TOC members and maintainers also offered support at the booth, where a lot of interesting discussions happened around Istio Ambient Mesh as well.

KubeCon Europe, More support at Istio Kiosk

Another highlight was Istio TOC and steering members and authors Lin Sun and Christian Posta signing copies of the “Istio Ambient Explained” book.

KubeCon Europe 2023, Ambient Mesh book signing by authors

Last, but not least, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our platinum sponsors Tetrate, for supporting Istio Day!

2023 is going to be really big for Istio, with more events planned for the coming months! Stay tuned for updates on IstioCon 2023 and Istio’s presence at KubeCon in China and North America.