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Kong Summit 2021: Kong Unveils Plug-and-Play Cloud Connectivity Solutions

Kong Inc. has unveiled new plug-and-play products and capabilities for managing, connecting and securing APIs and microservices, to help make customers’ core infrastructure as invisible and as easily consumable as electricity. With upgrades to all major product lines, Kong’s technology now covers a broader array of platforms, stacks and communities, and is driving greater automation across workflows for everyone involved in the software development lifecycle. The Kong Konnect service connectivity platform enables organizations to eliminate API and microservices connectivity concerns from their developers’ responsibilities to free them up to focus on strategic work. 

Checkr, the leading provider of background check technology for tens of thousands of customers worldwide, will present on stage during the Kong Summit opening keynote how they use Kong’s automated API platform. Ivan Rylach, senior staff software engineer, said, “Checkr provides more than 2.5 million background checks per month, and we needed an API platform that could automate all our connectivity needs, manage peak traffic routing and enforce security requirements – all while ensuring we achieve aggressive service quality guarantees to our customers. Kong is a kindred spirit to Checkr and a great partner. Kong Gateway’s pre-built API integrations are plug-and-play and got us started quickly, and its automated workflows mean we are not stuck doing manual coding and low-level task work. Kong keeps Checkr’s platform resilient, moving at warp speed and running 24/7.” 

With the general availability of Kong’s Istio Gateway solution, Kong is providing even more flexibility and customization capabilities for builders and operators creating cloud native architectures. This powerful solution allows customers to use all of Kong’s policies for security, identity, observability and more to manage traffic going into Istio meshes. Kong announced Kong Mesh 1.5, a major release of the universal service mesh solution that now provides support for Windows, an industry first for mesh technology. Additionally, Kong Gateway 2.6 makes it easier to build real-time applications with enhanced Apache Kafka support. Kong’s also announced a technology preview of a WASMx integration, which will allow developers to create policies in a broad array of programming languages to even better align with their specific application’s stack. 

“Today, we’re delivering on our vision to make cloud connectivity as elegant and simple as plugging in a device or appliance into an outlet and turning it on, from API gateway to service mesh,” said Marco Palladino, CTO and co-founder of Kong Inc. “With the new Istio Gateway, Kong customers can govern traffic entering their Istio deployments so they no longer have to do the dreaded task of writing and maintaining policies for user governance and tiering, building catalogs and developer portals, and overall API management. Kong Mesh 1.5 enables official support for Windows with RBAC that spans zones across 13 different distributions, which dramatically extends the value and reach for service meshes. It’s been my dream to provide developers and operators with the ‘plug and power outlet’ experience so when they build new APIs and microservices, they don’t have to worry about how they will be deployed and have the confidence to know they will just work.” 

Many studies have shown that developers on average spend less than half of their time working on actual code and the other half on maintenance and operations work. This reality is untenable in our digital-first world, in which business is increasingly dependent on engaging and high-performance digital services. Developers need to harness their energies and effort where it matters most: on new innovations to address emerging needs and product improvements that enhance the customer experience. In addition, much of the operations work that developers perform is done in a manual, non-standardized and non-governed way, creating a vicious circle in which developers are both moving slower and increasing the risk of issues and likely creating more maintenance work in the future.  

Kong uses APIOps to overcome this vicious circle. APIOps applies the proven principles of DevOps and GitOps to the API and microservices lifecycle. Kong’s service connectivity platform equips every user–developers, architects and operators–with self-serve and automated tools that ensure the quality of the specs and APIs that are being built at every step of the lifecycle. This approach delivers end-to-end automation and tooling to support consistent, continuous delivery of all connectivity services, regardless of who’s building them, the tools they use and the target deployment environment. 

“For people like me who have been working in the API management space for many years, it’s truly exciting that APIOps workflows are becoming the new normal,” said Reza Shafii, VP of product at Kong Inc. “The technology, tools and planned capabilities announced today are all designed to help organizations to evolve their infrastructure for scale and enable game-changing productivity for their developers. We’re making Kong’s integrations more seamless and driving greater automation across each customer’s unique stack of technologies.” 

Kong Flips the Switch on Cloud Connectivity With New Plug-and-Play Capabilities 

Below are highlights of Kong’s fall product releases, with the common thread of extending automation, and liberating developers and hands-on operators from tedious and frustrating connectivity burdens from their day-to-day responsibilities. 

  • Kong Istio Gateway: This new capability enables organizations to use Kong Gateway to expose Istio services in a secure and governable way. Customers can leverage all of Kong’s plugins for security, identity, traffic control, observability and more to manage traffic and consumers going into Istio service meshes. Natively integrated with Istio, the gateway helps eliminate the need for custom coding and other manual work by bringing critical features missing in the default Istio ingress. The Gateway also brings full lifecycle API management capabilities to every Istio cluster, including developer portals, API catalogs and API analytics  
  • Kong Mesh 1.5: The latest announcement of Kong Mesh – built on top of CNCF’s Kuma and Envoy – allows service meshes to support Windows, an industry-first and a major milestone for the mesh landscape. Kong Mesh will massively increase the surface area that meshes can cover as well as remove the current bottlenecks that exist for many customers to run service meshes due to their environments. The new release – shipping in October 2021– will also provide role-based access control (RBAC) to simplify and automate the process of onboarding new users and improve governance over how the mesh is operated across the organization, the policies in place and the overall experience for developers.  
  • Kong Gateway 2.6: New features for Kong Gateway enhance support for Apache Kafka so organizations can more easily deploy, manage and consume synchronous (event-based) APIs and microservices, and streamline the development of real-time applications. New jq support offers better mapping and manipulation of underlying data structures.  
  • Kong Ingress Controller 2.0: The newest version of Kong Ingress Controller provides a backbone that enables faster innovation and supports more diverse use cases. Enhancements include support for user-data protocol (UDP), the ability to watch multiple Kubernetes namespaces to better focus on how product workloads are performing, and support for Prometheus metrics to more easily fit into each customer’s unique stack and gain a cohesive view of performance and health metrics that ensure uptime. 

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