Cool Startups – Tetrate and Buoyant Launch Service Mesh Products


The service mesh market welcomes two new startups, Tetrate and Buoyant. After raising a fresh round of funding, both startups have set their sights on taking on Google Istio, the giant of the small but growing service mesh market.

Service mesh is a network orchestration service that helps developers manage service to service communications in a microservices environment. In complex microservices deployments, especially those that are multi-cloud and hybrid cloud, service mesh is becoming a requirement.

Linkerd and Istio

Linkerd and Istio are two independent open source service mesh projects that have gained significant traction in the global community. Linkerd was developed in 2016 by two ex-Twitter infrastructure engineers, who have gone on to start Buoyant. Linkerd calls itself a transparent service mesh that provides instrumentation, service discovery, failure handling, load balancing, and routing between services.

Google, IBM, and Lyft launched Istio in 2017. Istio is like Linkerd but comes with a lot more features. Istio helps manage microservices traffic flow, enforce policies, and aggregate telemetry. Service mesh is an abstraction layer that separates the network from the application to help simplify management, monitoring, scalability, etc.

Google has incorporated Istio into its cloud platform and is offering it as a service to GCP customers. However, there have been complaints that Istio is complex, hence, Tetrate and Buoyant offer a more simplified product that is easier to deploy and manage.

Buoyant and Tetrate

Buoyant offers support for Linkerd in the form of a subscription. The support is called Runbook Subscription, which is a 20+ page book of best practices that the founders have come up with while running Linkerd in production for the last few years.

Tetrate has built an offering around Istio and Envoy. Envoy is the service proxy that operates at the data plane layer, managing services such as service discovery, health checking, load balancing, and so on. Istio works at the control plane layer handling more complex functions. Tetrate “augments” Istio and Envoy with “ecosystem adapters”, which is another way of saying consulting, implementation services, and development work.

Buoyant Profile

  • Company: Buoyant, Inc.
  • Started: 2015
  • HQ: San Francisco
  • # of Employees: 25+
  • Raised: $24M
  • Investors: Benchmark, Google Ventures, SVAngel, Fuel Capital, and a few others
  • Founders: William Morgan (CEO) and Oliver Gould (CTO)
  • Product: Support for Linkerd

Tetrate Profile

  • Company: Inc.
  • Started: 2018
  • HQ:  San Francisco
  • # of Employees: 17+
  • Raised: $12.5M
  • Investors: Dell, Intel, Samsung, and a few others
  • Founders: Varum Talwar (CEO)
  • Product: Consulting and implementation services
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