Tetrate nets $12.5 million to bring microservices to the corporate masses

Tetrate — a company bringing commercial services and support to the open-source projects Istio and Envoy, providing network management functions for the microservices that make up modern mobile applications — has launched with $12.5 million in new financing.

The company, founded by top engineers at Google who started the Istio project, raised its initial financing from a slew of institutions and big names in enterprise software, including Pankaj Patel, former chief development officer at Cisco; Guido Appenzeller, former CTO Cloud & Networking at VMware; BV Jagadeesh, founder and CEO of NetScaler and Shiva Rajaraman, chief product officer of WeWork.

On the institutional investment side, Dell Technologies Capital led the financing, which also included Intel Capital, Samsung NEXT, 8VC and Rain Capital.

Tetrate was able to bring this motley band of investors together to back its foray into professionalizing services and support around a toolkit that’s helping to redefine application development.

The company is supporting open-source projects Istio and Envoy, which developers use to create what’s called a “service mesh” that orchestrates how microservices on a distributed data center platform communicate with one another and work together as part of an application.

Its corollary in the old software world that I initially wrote about would be the middleware layer in a client-server architecture. (Much of this was foreign to me before I read this excellent primer from ZDNet, which spelled out a lot of what’s going on).

One of the key things that microservices address, and that Tetrate will provide support for, is to support the management of different microservices at scale.

Think of the service mesh as the toolkit that keeps microservices communicating with each other and enabling applications at the level of executable code. So tools like Istio are used to manage the network without impacting the services that are running on top of it.

Tetrate was actually founded by some of the architects behind the development of Istio. “I was at Google for the last 10 years, most recently working as a product manager in Google Cloud,” says Tetrate co-founder and chief executive Varun Talwar. Indeed, Google was where Talwar and his colleagues developed the Istio toolkit.

Talwar says that the Istio toolkit was born out of the needs of the developers in the Kubernetes community. “It decouples the operations from the development,” Talwar says of the Istio service. “You can apply policy management.”

Talwar and his colleagues took the covers off the Istio project in May of 2017 at Glucon and brought in big names to support its use, including IBM and Red Hat (now IBHat? RedBM?). A little less than one year later, Talwar left Google to start Tetrate.

Now, with the new financing from its backers, Tetrate is going to bring enterprise-grade extensibility, scalability and performance to the open-source tools that its founders helped develop, according to a statement.

“Customers are going through a journey of modernization and public cloud adoption,” said Talwar, in a statement. “Tetrate’s mission is to create the tools and technologies that help customers with availability and manageability of their applications as they undergo this transformation.”

The company is releasing a set of certified builds of envoy proxy and other open-source tools to speed the adoption of microservices development in businesses. The company is also partnering with Google and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation for operating hybrid computing environments with Istio.

“Open source should be an integral part of any company’s software and operations strategy today,” said Envoy founder and Lyft engineer Matt Klein, in a statement. “Interoperability will be the key factor in the next phase of cloud adoption, so having deep roots within the open source community gives Tetrate instant credibility among cloud-first companies.”