Introducing pod-based pricing for Buoyant Enterprise for Linkerd

Introducing pod-based pricing for Buoyant Enterprise for Linkerd

William Morgan

Apr 18, 2024

Today we're happy to announce pod-based pricing for Buoyant Enterprise for Linkerd (BEL). This new pricing is designed to give our Linkerd adopters a clear and transparent picture of the cost of BEL, to be fair and commensurate with Linkerd's value, and to avoid penalizing specific architectural and technical decisions that are independent of how Linkerd is used.

Public pricing like this is a first for a service mesh—yet another first in a long line of firsts for Linkerd—but we believe it is necessary to fulfill our commitment to transparency to the community. This pricing is the result of many weeks of collaborative work with Linkerd adopters and Buoyant customers around the globe, and we're very excited to finally roll it out live.

You can see this new pricing on our Plans and Pricing page.

A new model for stable releases; a new new model for pricing

Earlier this year, we announced that as of Linkerd 2.15, Buoyant would only be creating new stable release artifacts for BEL and would no longer ship open source stable release artifacts. This move was necessary to secure the long-term future of Linkerd—a project we created almost a decade ago, and believe can survive for another century—by ensuring that the tens of thousands of companies that are building successful businesses on top of Linkerd today have a clear way to fund the continued growth and improvement of the project.

Of course, while this was a change in release artifact process, it was not a change in the open source nature of Linkerd. Linkerd remains a fully open source, graduated CNCF project, and Buoyant continues to maintain and advance Linkerd just as it always has, including by delivering open source edge release artifacts with the latest features, bugfixes, and security patches. Our commitment to a truly open source project has never wavered.

Months in, this change has already had a profoundly positive impact. It has allowed us to significantly increase the pace of development in Linkerd, to roll out a new and incredibly powerful build and test pipeline, and ship features such as high-availability zonal load balancing in BEL. The Linkerd community has been incredibly supportive throughout this, and we are profoundly grateful to those who have been so willing to work with us to refine this approach.

One piece of consistent feedback from our original announcement was that the cluster-based pricing we announced for BEL didn't work for many Linkerd adopters. While it was simple and understandable, it failed to scale gracefully for Linkerd adopters whose deployments included large numbers of small clusters. We knew this was something we had to fix as rapidly as possible.

For the past 6 weeks, we've been working with our Linkerd adopter community to fix this and to provide pricing that is public, realistic, and reflective of Linkerd's value. We soft-launched this pricing several weeks ago and today, we're happy to formally announce it.

Introducing Buoyant Enterprise for Linkerd Pricing

First, BEL is always free to use for companies with fewer than 50 employees. Buoyant is a product of startup ecosystem innovation ourselves, and we know just how stressful and complex this stage of a company can be. We want to encourage this innovation and avoid introducing any friction.

For organizations with 50 or more employees, BEL is available under three plans: standard, premium, and enterprise.

Standard. This plan is for companies for whom Linkerd provides baseline critical features such as mutual TLS, observability, and reliability, but who are otherwise not making use of Linkerd's advanced features. It includes lifecycle automation and all of Linkerd's great reliability and observability features. The monthly Standard Plan cost for BEL is USD 300 for the first 100 meshed pods and USD 50 for each additional block of 100 meshed pods.

Premium. This plan is for companies who are using advanced Linkerd features such as secure, transparent multi-cluster communication, VM support, and zero-trust authorization policies. The monthly Premium Plan cost for BEL is USD 500 for the first 100 meshed pods and USD 75 for each additional block of 100 meshed pods.

Enterprise. This plan is designed for companies that truly want to partner with Buoyant and make full use of our hands-on expertise of almost a decade of deploying and operating service meshes in production—more than any other company in the world. This plan is very flexible and tailored to your needs, so this plan is always a discussion.

You can see a summary and the full feature matrix on our Plans and Pricing page.

Organizations who are eligible for these plans can sign up today and get started—billing only starts on May 21st. But you should talk to us if:

  • You have a very large number of meshed pods (more than 2,500);
  • Your organization has already fixed its budget for the year and it does not reset for a long time; or
  • You are a non-profit or otherwise have unique needs.

We're happy to work with you, and I promise we'll be flexible and accommodating. BEL is the future of Linkerd and we want everyone onboard with that.

So what's next?

The shift to BEL stable releases has already been a profoundly positive change for team Linkerd and has unlocked our ability to invest in the project. Over the past few weeks, we've rolled out compatibility testing for all BEL releases against specific Kubernetes versions, distributions, and architectures. We've shipped Linkerd 2.15.2, which adds our High Availability Zonal Load Balancer to the proxy, a new load balancer that cuts expensive cross-zone traffic yet preserves availability in situations where Topology-Aware Routing falls apart. And over the next few weeks we'll be announcing even more major updates to Linkerd, including support for IPv6 and improved mesh expansion ergonomics.

None of this would be possible without the support and encouragement of our Linkerd community. We're profoundly grateful to everyone who has given us feedback and helped us refine this model. And, most of all, we're grateful to our customers who have taken this critical step with us in Linkerd's evolution to a project that will truly stand the test of time. After all, Linkerd has been with us for almost a decade already—we believe it can live for another century.

Anyone can download BEL and get started today. Give it a spin and let us know what you think! As always, we're listening.

Further reading
Further reading
Further reading