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By Nikolay Nikolaev

You may know that the Network Service Mesh (NSM) project is a sandbox project within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). But the significance of the NSM project’s acceptance goes far beyond mere recognition and provides us opportunities to follow in the footsteps of graduated CNCF sandbox 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. As such, it provides greater capabilities and offers a new approach to solving complicated Kubernetes use cases that pose significant challenges within the Kubernetes Network Model.

Our status as a CNCF sandbox project is a wonderful validation of the hard work that the NSM project team has been putting in and of NSM’s value as a new approach to networking. Perhaps most importantly, with CNCF’s support and guidance, NSM is now growing independently in whatever way the larger community finds valuable. So, even if some of the vendors who currently support the project want to move on, the project will continue to thrive.

The change in governance is particularly important because major telcos are showing a significant rise in interest in cloud native. 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, the telco industry has 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 experience was forming around NSM. Under CNCF governance, we are building up an even larger, more inclusive and impactful group.

Being an official CNCF sandbox project has 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 and access to mentors it brings. But just as important is the confidence we gain from knowing that the CNCF believes that our project represents an innovation in networking and is thus worth supporting.

Now, of course, we have to live up to that expectation. This is just phase one of our mission; 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 prove our ideas and work on the project’s development or you 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.

Stay tuned to the Open Source Blog for more on network service mesh and related open source solutions, and be sure to follow us on social media as well (@vmwopensource).