Buoyant Reveals Linkerd Enterprise, The First-Ever Commercial Distribution Of The Open-Source Service Mesh

By Amit Chowdhry • Oct 17, 2023

Buoyant – the creator of Linkerd – has announced Linkerd Enterprise, the first commercial distribution of Linkerd designed to meet the unique demands of today’s enterprise adopters. Linkerd Enterprise extends the popular open-source Linkerd project with more enterprise-only capabilities, including zero trust and FIPS 140-2 compliance, which is a powerful new cost-aware load balancer, lifecycle automation, etc.

Buoyant was launched by William Morgan and Oliver Gould in 2015. And they pioneered the service mesh category with Linkerd, the open source, open governance service mesh. Buoyant’s software powers critical production infrastructure for leading organizations around the world. And Linkerd is an open-source, ultralight/ultra-simple service mesh for Kubernetes. Launched in 2016, Linkerd was the first service mesh project and the one to introduce the term “service mesh” to the industry lexicon, and it is a graduated project of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Linkerd Enterprise is already being utilized at Mezmo, TrueLayer, and many organizations that deliver reliable and secure products to their customers. And for existing Linkerd adopters, Linkerd Enterprise is a drop-in upgrade for Linkerd. The new capabilities and features of Enterprise Linkerd include:

1.) Cloud spend reduction through advanced load balancing

One of Linkerd Enterprise’s most notable new features is a sophisticated zone-aware load balancer that could dramatically reduce cloud spend in multi-zone environments. And cross-zone traffic costs could be a significant component of cloud spend for some customers in the millions of dollars.

The load balancer in Linkerd Enterprise dynamically routes traffic to the lowest-cost regions during normal conditions and just sends traffic to higher-cost regions if the system goes under stress. In contrast to Kubernetes’s native topology-aware routing, Linkerd’s request-balancing approach offers both high availability and cost reduction and supports both single-cluster and cross-cluster traffic, enabling even enterprises with complex application topologies to reduce cloud spend.

2.) Lifecycle automation

Linkerd’s unique Rust-based micro-proxy approach delivers lightning-fast performance without the security vulnerabilities of common C++ proxies and also provides a fundamentally simpler operational model without the complexity found in other service meshes such as Istio.

Plus, Linkerd Enterprise further improves this simplicity with powerful lifecycle automation capabilities that allow Linkerd to be installed, upgraded (including across both control and data planes), and rolled back in a fully automated fashion, further reducing the total cost of ownership and allowing DevOps and platform teams to focus on business priorities rather than system maintenance tasks.

3.) Zero trust security policy management

Linkerd provides a compelling and flexible set of network security policies that extend far beyond Kubernetes’s native capabilities and allow any organization to adopt a true zero-trust approach to network security, including encryption of all communication by default, authorization based on workload identity rather than insecure network identity; ultra-granular, per-pod security boundaries; and adherence to the zero trust principles of authorize everywhere, every time.

Along with these secure foundations, Linkerd Enterprise also adds a robust layer of management capabilities that enable enterprises to adopt and manage these policies at scale and in a way that suits the complexities of enterprise engineering organizations.

4.) FIPS-140-2 support, software bills-of-material (SBOMs), hardened images, and more

Linkerd Enterprise also includes FIPS-140-2 compliance, software bills-of-material (SBOMs); continually-scanned and enterprise-hardened images tested in customer-specific environments, SLAs around vulnerability remediations, etc.

You can learn more about Linkerd Enterprise at one of the company’s live Q&A sessions on Wednesday, October 25, 9 a.m. ET, or Tuesday, November 14, at 3 pm ET. Linkerd will be at Booth D10 KubeCon North America, November 6-9, 2023, in Chicago, IL.


“Linkerd is a big part of the mission-critical security and reliability we deliver to our customers today. Linkerd Enterprise adds additional capabilities and guarantees that give us the confidence we need to deliver world-class security and reliability at scale.”

— Rich Prillinger, Senior Director, Platform Engineering at Mezmo

“Over the past 18 months, adoption of Linkerd in enterprise environments has skyrocketed, with companies like Adidas, Microsoft, Plaid, and DB Schenker all publishing case studies and talks about how they delivered security and reliability with Linkerd. We built Linkerd Enterprise in response to that surge in demand, to give the enterprise adopters the best of both worlds: all the features and capabilities of the world’s most advanced service mesh combined with the packaging, support, expertise, and unique features that are critical for running Linkerd in enterprise environments.”

— William Morgan, Buoyant CEO and one of the creators of Linkerd