By Nikolay Nikolaev

As one of the Network Service Mesh (NSM) project’s three core maintainers, I’m very pleased to note that NSM has been officially accepted as a sandbox project within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). This means that the project is now under CNCF governance and has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of its graduated projects, such as Envoy, Prometheus and Kubernetes.

If you don’t know it, Network Service Mesh maps the concept of a service mesh to lower level (L2/L3) networking payloads and offers a new approach to solving complicated Kubernetes use cases that are hard to tackle within the Kubernetes Network Model.

Being accepted into the CNCF is a wonderful validation of the hard work that the NSM team has been putting into the project, and of its potential value as a new approach to networking. Perhaps most importantly, with CNCF’s support and guidance, NSM can grow independently in whatever way the larger community finds valuable. So, even if some of the vendors who have been supportive of the project to date want to move on, the project can continue to thrive.

The change in governance is particularly well timed because we’re seeing a significant rise in interest in cloud native among the major telcos. For a long time, they were happy to leave this space to technology companies like Google and Facebook. But as their interest in cloud native has grown, they’ve started to get more involved. Because NSM specifically tackles networking issues at the lower network levels, it’s well positioned to help bring cloud native to the telcos and to bring them into the cloud native community. Even before NSM joined the CNCF, a rich community of people with networking and telco backgrounds was forming around NSM. Under CNCF governance, we hope to build up an even larger, more inclusive and impactful group.

Being an official CNCF sandbox project will have some obvious practical benefits for the NSM team, like increased visibility at the Linux Foundation and at CNCF events like KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, as well as the increased credibility it brings. But just as important is the confidence we gain from knowing that the CNCF believes that our project is worth supporting and wants to see it grow.

Now, of course, we have to live up to that expectation. This is the start of the journey; we still have many discussions to hold, a lot of ideas to clear and tons of code to write. If you’re interested in helping us as we continue to develop and prove our ideas or just want to learn more about Network Service Mesh, I encourage you to find us on GitHub, join our communication channels or participate in some of our weekly work group calls.