Google Research

The Monolith Strikes Back: Why Istio Migrated from Microservices to a Monolithic Architecture

  • Nabor C. Mendonça
  • Craig Box
  • Costin Manolache
  • Louis Ryan
IEEE Software, vol. 38 (2021), pp. 17-22


Early evidence on the gains and pains of microservices has started to emerge in academic publications and industry forums. However, there are still relatively few industrial reports on microservice projects in which the pains outweigh the gains. This article reports on the design decisions, tradeoffs, and lessons learned from one such project—the Istio open-source service mesh—that adopted microservices early on and recently migrated to a monolithic architecture.

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