UPDATED 14:30 EDT / APRIL 27 2018


Solo.io aims to fill the gaps of enterprise microservices with open source

The trend toward microservices and serverless systems is quickly proving to be the next wave of digital transformation in the enterprise. As an increasing number of businesses identify the need for a greater focus on serverless systems, new organizations with a foundation in the virtual world are emerging, ready to take advantage of the potential for significant shifts in cloud computing.

“Sometimes you slow down because of a big organization, and I feel that we can do things much faster outside,” said Idit Levine (pictured), founder and chief executive officer of Solo.io Inc. “That’s why we started Solo.”

An innovative technologist with a history at companies like Dell EMC, Levine is leveraging her experience and vision to work toward streamlining the stack and simplifying cloud technology in the enterprise with Solo.io. She spoke with Stu Miniman (@stu), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Boston. (* Disclosure below.)

This week, theCUBE spotlights Idit Levine in its weekly Women in Tech feature.

Going Solo

Levine built Solo primarily to address the challenges faced by enterprises looking to implement microservices and migrate existing monolithic applications to serverless systems. Having worked at large companies with deeply ingrained processes, Levine went “solo” in the pursuit of a faster, more agile approach to cloud migration.

The company’s initial product, Gloo, was designed out of sheer necessity when Levine could not find an API gateway sturdy enough to process enterprise workloads. Named for its ability to “glue” together traditional and cloud-native apps, the tool streamlines the transformation of legacy applications to new infrastructures and enables management from a single system.

“A lot of technology just didn’t exist back then, so we … built one,” Levine said. “We didn’t plan to make it a product.”

A similar impetus led to the development of another Solo service, Squash. The first official project of Solo.io, Squash is a debugging tool designed for the development of distributed applications and complex microservices apps. The tool is open source and created with expandable architecture to enable ease of support for additional debuggers and platforms throughout the community.

This do-it-yourself approach seems to characterize the Solo mission. “Basically, what we’re doing is taking all these ecosystems, cutting everything to function, and then reassembling or moving them,” Levine said. “That’s something they didn’t give us, so we had to build it.”

The challenges of application modernization

Global public cloud services and infrastructure spend is expected to reach $160 billion this year, an increase of 23.2 percent over 2017, and the market is forecast to total $277 billion by 2021. As infrastructure needs scale, many organizations are turning to microservices as a solution to the issues of unwieldy application processes.

With its promise of more streamlined functionality, the serverless alternative is also presenting its own set of challenges for the enterprise. A recent survey found businesses struggling with organization, monitoring, management and a lack of resources as they transitioned into the serverless world.

These obstacles are exactly those Levine intends to mitigate with Solo. The company’s initiatives cover the spectrum of emerging cloud trends, but its ethos also advises a slow, deliberate approach to virtualization for enterprises rooted in legacy processes. “Take this monolithic application — it’s working, don’t touch it,” she said. “Extend it first on the new functionality going to serverless. You need to rewrite them. We’re giving them freedom to do that in their spare time.”

Another prominent element of the Solo ethos is its commitment to customized user experiences. Just last week, the company announced the extension of Gloo’s plugin library to support native integrations in Cloud Foundry environments, leveraging the tool’s native routing and service discovery. The integration is in line with both Solo.io’s and Cloud Foundry’s goals of assisting developers in scaling and managing operations.

“Everybody has this problem … trying to move to containers,” she said. “The beauty of what we build is basically a platform on top of Envoy, so we can actually create a customized offer.”

Working toward a serverless future

Solo.io currently works completely open source, a choice key to its flexible offerings. As the company expands, that may not always be possible, but Levine remains committed to sharing as much as possible with the community at large.

“There will be features that … make sense for the enterprise [and] will not be open source, but … we want to share with the community,” she said.

Currently working in stealth mode, Solo.io has already received funding from True Ventures, Haystack and Wave Ventures. True Ventures noted Levine’s expertise and vision as the deciding factor in its investment.

Levine is looking to expand the company’s current team of five but remains conservative even as the company is poised for rapid growth. “I’m getting a lot of resumes right now and actually pushing them back because it’s really important to me to scale on the right side,” she said.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of The Cloud Foundry Summit.  (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Cloud Foundry Summit. Neither the Cloud Foundry Foundation, the event sponsor, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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