Rise of Cloud Native 2.0, service mesh, and open source in 2023

Businesses continue to accelerate digital transformation efforts despite inflationary pressures, with Gartner forecasting that IT spending is only going up. As organisations look to cloud and data to become more resilient, service mesh and microservices are emerging as the catalysts to help them drive digitisation.

A recent Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) survey found that 60% of organisations globally are already running a service mesh. This is helping organisations achieve their digital transformation goals while delivering consistency and reliability of services, security, and observability.

As we gear up for another exciting year of technology, here are the 2023 key trends and predictions in the service mesh and microservices sector to watch out for.

  1. Microservices will catalyse a new wave of digital transformation
    While many businesses have accelerated transformation out of necessity during the pandemic, established brands are now pushing back on disruptive startups as the economy stabilises. Key learnings over the last three years have helped organisations expand and evolve their digital transformation efforts, but enterprises that are still on the fence regarding transformation will struggle to catch up with those that are well on their way.

    Organisations that have successfully transformed adopt a digital-first methodology, with systems and processes supporting each other efficiently. A recent Solo.io survey found that 85% of organisations are transforming their applications to a microservices architecture, and such rapid growth and adoption will aid in helping microservices go mainstream.

    New possibilities for app development are created through concepts such as service-oriented architecture, containerisation, and DevOps. Consequently, microservices will become an inseparable factor for more enterprises to take a transformative leap.
  2. Emergence of Cloud Native 2.0 as Kubernetes and microservices mature
    Familiarity with Kubernetes and microservices will result in more freedom in application development for the business which, in turn, leads to more clusters. As businesses attempt to manage that sprawl, they will realise the inherent value of advanced service mesh capabilities.

    API gateways and service meshes often overlap in functionality, and in a cloud-native world, it would be ideal to have these capabilities integrated. This would result in a rethinking of an integrated architecture which includes having a control plane, a data plane, and a modular architecture.

    Managing observability will continue to evolve in both Layer 4 and Layer 7, especially in distributed environments, and this will remain a high priority for business executives this year.
  3. Kubernetes will be the top platform to build other platforms
    Kubernetes adoption will continue to be on the rise. According to Solo.io’s Service Mesh Adoption Survey, 64% of organisations surveyed are already using Kubernetes in production, and it will continue to be the preferred platform for building other platforms.
  4. Service meshes will play a key role in securing enterprise networks and apps
    As service meshes increase in importance in an enterprise’s cloud-native stack, it will take centre-stage in helping to boost enterprise security. We expect government agencies and commercial organisations to acknowledge the role of the technology in strengthening zero-trust technology infrastructures.

    Looking at today’s competitive environment, any security holes, missed patches, or infrastructure misconfigurations is an invitation to be attacked. Security needs to go beyond securing the perimeter and the enterprise network, and consider the expanded attack surface from gaps in multiple connections between microservice containers.

    Service mesh combines security and operations into a single infrastructure layer. This convergence of zero-trust and service mesh technology can seize service impersonation, unauthorised access, and exfiltration attacks. At the same time, the service mesh can aid the business in managing encryption, authentication, authorization, policy control, and configuration. Additionally, service mesh applies zero-trust in role-based access control, a true embrace of the philosophy of ‘trust no one, authenticate everyone’.
  5. 2023 will be the year of the service mesh
    The growth and adoption of cloud-native and microservices will push the innovation in service mesh. With security becoming an increasing priority, capabilities such as observability, security management, and zero trust will be sought after, making service mesh technology even more desirable since no changes to code are required.

    As businesses simplify their technology processes and run faster application development, they will look to service mesh as a solution. The technology’s alignment with Kubernetes and ability to boost application reliability and security will make it the preferred choice for enterprises, especially businesses running virtual machines or bare metal architectures.
  6. Open source will return to its roots and principles
    We expect commercial friction to cause open source to turnabout and return to its roots. Open source has never been this enterprise mainstream, and hence we would expect the open-source community to take a greater stand this year against stifling innovation, participation restrictions, vendor lock-ins, and other closed approaches.