Turbine Labs is shutting down and our team is joining Slack

Friday, October 19ᵗʰ, 2018

Today is a bittersweet day for Turbine Labs; we are shutting down our product, Houston, and most of our team is joining Slack.

Glen and I started Turbine Labs a little over three years ago, to fundamentally change how developers worked with each other at scale. We helped Twitter move from a monolith to microservices, and we saw how important it became for teams to be able to fully own and operate their services. We started Turbine Labs to help unlock this superpower for everyone.

What we didn’t realize nearly four years ago is just how much everybody else agreed with us. Service mesh has taken off in a way that neither of us expected, and we’ve worked with some of the highest-traffic websites in the world to help them roll our better SLO management, traffic shifting, and security to teams of hundreds of developers. There is clearly a need for better operational tooling for teams with all architectures, from monolith-first to monoliths with supporting services to fully distributed microservices.

There is a TON going on in the service mesh space right now. Envoy and Istio are fantastic projects, with Consul, Heptio, and more building integrations into orchestrators like Kubernetes to help weave them into a coherent product. Infrastructure engineers have their hands full just sorting out which stack to use, and everybody has their own definition of a service mesh.

At its core, this is where we got bogged down. We never wanted to create tools just for the infrastructure team. Service meshes should be useful to every engineer. The UIs and API to make changes should be both powerful and approachable. With constantly shifting definitions of what technologies constituted a service mesh, we found it impossible to build a product that worked for everybody, much less a sustainable business.

To be clear, Slack isn’t acquiring Turbine Labs; we’re simply going to work for them. We know and trust many people across their organization, and we’ve been consistently impressed with their work. In particular, their thoughtful approach to scaling and developer tooling has been crucial to their growth. We found that they have invested deeply in their infrastructure, and their culture—from empathy for coworkers, to customer focus, to technical vision—matched ours to a degree that we never imagined. We literally built our company on Slack, and we’re excited to join them.

We’d like to thank our customers, our investors, and everybody in the Envoy community for joining us on this journey. We know there’s a bright future for Envoy, Istio, and all the other service mesh projects in open source. To the communities around these projects, we’ll be contributing back much of what we created to help you, and we hope we can find a way to continue working with you in the future.

We’d also like to thank our friends and families for their unending support over the past three years.

Feel free to email us at hello@turbinelabs.io about anything.

Thank you!

Mark McBride
CEO, Turbine Labs