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Isovalent Launches Breakthrough New Approach to Cloud-Native Networking With $29 Million Series A Led by Andreessen Horowitz and Google

Today Isovalent, the cloud-native networking company, formally launched to help enterprises connect, observe and secure modern applications with Cilium. Cilium's fundamentally new approach frees modern cloud-native applications from outdated, legacy techniques that place unnecessary limits on the agility that is driving enterprises to adopt Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies. Cilium's superior approach has already won the support of open source and commercial adopters, with a diverse community of hundreds of active contributors to the open source project and thousands of users.

Google recently selected Cilium as the next-generation dataplane for its GKE offering calling Cilium "the most mature eBPF implementation for Kubernetes out there" in its "New GKE Dataplane V2 increases security and visibility for containers" blog: https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/containers-kubernetes/bringing-ebpf-and-cilium-to-google-kubernetes-engine.

As a 15-year veteran of Linux kernel development, Isovalent co-founder and CTO Thomas Graf immediately saw how eBPF would revolutionize networking, particularly for Kubernetes environments, and co-created the Cilium open source project. Graf and Isovalent co-founder and CEO Dan Wendlandt, who has deep experience with Open vSwitch at Nicira/VMware, saw that, with Cilium, enterprises could finally realize the full promise of using software to connect, observe and secure the application data flows for their most important workloads, and they founded Isovalent.

"Cloud-native techniques enable agility, flexibility and responsiveness at a scale that enterprises find compelling, particularly as they strive to meet the demands of modern customers but legacy approaches to networking, observability and security aren't able to keep up. Cilium completely avoids these problems with its eBPF-based approach. Because eBPF sits at the Linux kernel level, Cilium can leverage the programmability of eBPF to make the Linux operating system Kubernetes-aware and provide a true cloud-native implementation instead of relying on outdated technology such as iptables or other IP/port-based approaches," said Thomas Graf, co-founder and CTO of Isovalent and the creator of Cilium. 

With cloud-native applications, systems constantly change in response to changing demands. At cloud scale, thousands of systems are starting, working or closing down, all the time. Services appear, connect and disappear in seconds. Traditional approaches to network security, connectivity and monitoring are completely overwhelmed, and overcoming these obstacles is far from trivial.

With Cilium, enterprises can keep watch over these dynamic applications, carefully ensuring that important systems stay online even if major issues arise. Security teams can have confidence that system-wide policies will be applied correctly to workloads that may only exist for a few seconds. Application developers can use the cloud-native techniques that provide huge benefits for flexibility and responsiveness without breaking enterprise audit and security rules that might compromise the organization. Instead of sacrificing performance, flexibility or security, enterprises can fully embrace the potential of Kubernetes to transform their organization.

"As enterprises move past the initial stand-up of Kubernetes and start transitioning critical workloads onto the platform, they are faced with difficult trade-offs between optimizing for a truly cloud-native platform and achieving traditional enterprise goals like security and compliance. Cilium is cloud-native networking without the compromise: platforms teams get a developer-friendly, scalable and multi-cloud platform while giving SecOps teams the efficient and powerful security visibility and controls they need," said Dan Wendlandt, co-founder and CEO of Isovalent. 

Cilium's approach combines three key functions of cloud-native networking:

  • Connect - Cilium provides highly scalable service connectivity with minimal overhead, even across clusters. Cilium supports the dynamic, flexible and heavily automated approaches required by the most demanding modern workloads. There are no side-car proxies or other complicating elements found in legacy approaches.
  • Observe - Cilium enables deep insight into services at a flow level, application level or entire infrastructure level without performance penalties thanks to the power of eBPF. Teams can fully instrument their environments in ways not possible with other tools, safely gathering the metrics they need for troubleshooting or incident investigation without slowing down critical production applications.
  • Secure - Cilium ensures service connectivity for critical workloads scales without compromising on security. Cilium supports advanced network policy, transparent encryption and integration with standard security tools for validation, audit and investigation, all without slowing down application data flows.
Cilium brings eBPF superpowers within reach of every enterprise willing to embrace the future. 

Isovalent Raises $29 Million in Series A Funding
Today Isovalent also announced that it has raised $29 million in Series A funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz and Google with participation from Cisco Investments. 

Martin Casado, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, board member of Isovalent and the founder of Nicira, the company that popularized software defined networking that was acquired to create VMware's NSX product line, said: "I have spent my entire career in this space, and the North Star has always been to go beyond IPs + ports and build networking visibility and security at a layer that is aligned with how developers, operations and security think about their applications and data. Until just recently, the technology did not exist. All of that changed with Kubernetes and eBPF. Dan and Thomas have put together the best team in the industry and given the traction around Cilium, they are well on their way to upending the world of networking yet again." 

Published Tuesday, November 10, 2020 11:01 AM by David Marshall
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