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Cloud-native (application) networking in 2024

8.3.2024 | 2 minutes of reading time

It's 2024 and Software is still eating the world. Whether it's powering an e-commerce platform, driving AI applications, or supporting critical business processes within organizations, there's a high likelihood that these applications are running in some form of cloud-native environment. Central to the success of these applications is networking, the pathway that ultimately leads users to engage with your app. In the realm of cloud-native application networking, there's a flurry of rapid development, a trend that has been ongoing and continues to shape the landscape in 2024. In this blog post, we'll provide a high-level overview of some of these key topics before delving deeper into it in separate blog posts later on.

Gateway API

Undoubtedly, Gateway API stands out as one of the most talked-about topics in Ingress Management within the Kubernetes ecosystem. With its General Availability (GA) release in late October last year, the momentum around this topic skyrocketed. The adoption of the Kubernetes Gateway API is witnessing rapid growth within the open-source community, leading to an expanding ecosystem of projects supporting its functionalities.

Cloud-native API Gateway solutions such as Traefik, Kong, and others stand to benefit significantly from the adoption of the Kubernetes Gateway API. This adoption trend fosters a collaborative environment, where each new project embracing the Kubernetes Gateway API standard adds value to the ecosystem.


Another technology making waves is Cilium. Cilium serves as a Container Network Interface (CNI) plugin, providing essential networking capabilities for containerized environments. Leveraging eBPF (extended Berkeley Packet Filter) technology, Cilium delivers efficient and scalable networking solutions tailored to modern cloud-native applications, particularly in handling East-west traffic.

With the acquisition of Isovalent, the main contributor to Cilium, in December last year, there has been even more traction. Being eBPF-based, Cilium is sometimes referred to as a "sidecar-less Service Mesh," a concept we'll explore in detail in a later post.

Istio (Ambient)

Istio has been a prominent topic since its release in July 2018, undergoing significant evolution in both its inner workings and usage patterns. A notable development is the introduction of Ambient mode in September 2022, offering a new dataplane mode for Istio without sidecars. While currently labeled Alpha, Ambient mode is on its way to graduating to Beta, potentially revolutionizing how Istio is deployed and used, opening up new possibilities through its altered architecture.


This post touches upon three major topics in cloud-native application networking. Subsequent blog posts will delve deeper into each, including:

  • A hands-on example with Gateway API
  • Differentiation between Cilium and Istio Ambient
  • Hands-on guides with Cilium and Istio Ambient

If you have questions on specific topics or suggestions for additional topics, please feel free to reach out.

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