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Open-source connectivity, security and monitoring service Istio is now fully managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Istio joins a suite of world-changing technologies managed by the CNCF, including Kubernetes.

Istio is an open-source mesh service that allows organizations to transparently connect, secure and monitor microservices in cloud-based applications. The technology manages the mutual data traffic between microservices. Ultimately, Istio makes cloud-based applications more manageable and scaleable.

Istio’s arrival to the CNCF should guarantee the future neutrality of the service. This is especially important for Istio’s ecosystem, as it’s seen as a foundational technology for various modern software platforms.

Before the transfer, Istio was managed by Google, a court-appointed contributor. The service was co-developed by the tech giant with IBM and Lyft in 2016. Since then, many cloud companies have contributed to the open-source project.

Notable participants include Red Hat, VMware, Cisco, Intel, Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba. Tertate, Solo.io and several others develop commercial versions of Istio.

Transfer process

Google announced its intention to transfer Istio to the CNCF years ago. The tech giant backtracked in 2020 and planned to transfer the rights to a self-created management organization. This decision was met with criticism from partners, including IBM. Some feared that the tech giant wanted to maintain control over the future of the service.

Despite its initial plans, Google decided to hand over the baton to the CNCF in April 2022. The decision was likely made due to the increasing popularity of Istio. With the formal transfer now concluded, everything is settled. Istio became a part of the same management organization as important cloud solutions and services like Kubernetes, Knative, Envoy, gRPC, Prometheus and SPIFF.


The CNCF, which falls under the Linux Foundation, says that the service’s arrival creates opportunities for its entire ecosystem. Google indicated that the transfer will not change the contributions it makes to the project.

Tip: Ambient Mesh makes service meshes more accessible