September 29, 2021
7 min read

Kong Summit Day 1: 10 Exciting Announcements & More!

Josh Molina

We are now deep into our most anticipated event of the year, Kong Summit 2021 (there's still time to register for Day 2!). More than 4,000 people have registered from 87 countries for the virtual event. After a full day of knowledge and surprises, we are excited to recap the most memorable moments from today.

Opening Keynote: Developing the Connected World

We transformed our San Francisco headquarters into a state-of-the-art broadcast studio. Kong co-founder and CEO Augusto Marietti kicked things off with an action-packed keynote, including several guests and some major announcements. Here are some of the highlights.

A Year of Hyper-Growth

We had a lot to celebrate this year as our company doubled in size, from 170 employees to 340 employees. We also increased our investor funding to $170 Million.

More importantly, as of today, we have 400 enterprise customers, with 100 of those part of the Global 2000. And the Kong community spans even further, with 100K+ members, 300M+ downloads, and 50K+ GitHub stars.

ANNOUNCEMENT #1: Kong Academy

In gratitude to our large and growing community, Augusto announced the launch of Kong Academy. It includes instructor-led training available both virtually and in person for Kong Gateway and Kong Mesh operations.

"Let's celebrate how far we have come, but we are not in a sprint - this is a marathon. So, now let's talk about the future of our industry and how KONG is positioned to help you develop your connected world."

Community and Customer Adoption

Augusto handed the mic off to Kong's CTO and Co-Founder Marco Palladino, who took the stage and walked us through how much things have evolved since 2015.

"It feels like yesterday, but it was more than half a decade ago. Our world got rocked by new technologies like Docker and Kubernetes and a new way of doing things."

No API gateway technology back then was able to run in these new environments because as you know, they were built for a different world. Marco says that's why he and Augusto created Kong. In the last 12 months alone, the adoption rate of Kong Gateway increased more than the previous five years combined.

With over 2.7M instances of Kong running worldwide, we better understand our users' needs. In the last 12 months alone, we have shipped more than 100+ product releases across the board.

Kong started as an API Gateway, but today it is much more than that.

In the past 12 months, we have supported you with over 4,500 requests for training, educational content and general support. Our customer success team grew 4x in the past 12 months worldwide.

"As a founder, I don't think of Kong just as a technology, and I am very proud of how you are using these products to enable real-life use cases across the real world that change people's lives."

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: Kong Istio Gateway

Marco also announced a major new integration. Kong Gateway now supports Istio Gateway integration, which means youcan now expose Istio services with the Kong Gateway to provide full API lifecycle management. Starting today, you can leverage the full libraryof Kong plugins and features to expose Istio services running in Kubernetes to external API consumers..

Seamless API Connectivity

Reza Shafii, VP of product at Kong, then took the stage to share three core activities that we see our most successful customers excel at in enabling connectivity within their enterprise. Reza shared the stories of a number of customers leveraging Kong's products for three core activities (build, run and catalogue). Along the way, Reza also made some exciting product announcements.

ANNOUNCEMENT #3: Insomnia Projects

Reza announced that starting today, a new feature is available in Insomnia, called Projects. Projects enable developers to share their Insomnia API collections, allowing teams to share notes and best practices, which enables better collaboration across teams.

ANNOUNCEMENT #4: Kong Gateway 2.6

Reza also introduced the 2.6 version of Kong Gateway. This release comes with many exciting new capabilities in both the open source and enterprise product versions of our gateway, including significant performance enhancements.

With Kong Gateway 2.6, our preliminary results show that we have cut the gateway's latency by over 30% while increasing the throughput by 12%. Considering Kong is already the world's fastest API Gateway, these results are huge!

ANNOUNCEMENT #5: jq Plugin

Along with Kong Gateway 2.6, Reza introduced the jq plugin which enables you to to slice, filter, map and transform API request and response messages.

jq has over 100 functions and a huge library of existing programs on Stack Overflow and GitHub that you can use out of the box. The jq plugin is slated to launch as a feature of our enterprise gateway in version 2.6.


Last but not least of the highlights from our 2.6 release are the enhancements to our existing Kafka support. The Kong Gateway Kafka support allows you to publish requests and meta-data no matter what the protocol:

  • LDAP AuthN
  • SASL AuthZ
  • mTLS protected broker

ANNOUNCEMENT #7: Kong Ingress Controller 2.0

Today, we are happy to announce a major milestone with the planned general availability of the Kong Ingress Controller 2.0. As many of you know, Kong Gateway can be deployed as a native Kubernetes Ingress, which we call the Kong Ingress Controller (KIC). KIC allows you to expose your Kubernetes services using all the capabilities of the Kong Gateway and to handle configuration via native Kubernetes interfaces such as kubectl .

ANNOUNCEMENT #8: Kong Mesh 1.5

Reza also announced Kong Mesh 1.5. This includes Windows support for the control plane and data plane proxies, hybrid discovery between mixed platform zones and cross-zone connectivity across mixed platform zones.

Kong Mesh 1.5 will also support multi-cloud and multi-cluster RBAC for service owners and DevOps, OIDC integration (standalone and multi-zone) enforced in Kubernetes, CLI and HTTP API.

ANNOUNCEMENT #9: Konnect Okta Support

Lastly, Reza announced Okta support for Konnect Cloud users. This includes single sign-on, custom role-mapping and one-click integration with Okta.

During these announcements we also heard some impressive Kong customer stories, including Yoni Ryabinski, chief enterprise architect at The Vanguard Group. From Comcast, we heard from John McCann, VP of Connected Living Technology, and Harman Dhillon, executive director of platform infrastructure and tools. Finally, we heard from Jason Walker, director of technology at American Airlines, and Ivan Rylach, senior staff software engineer at Checkr.

Watch the full keynote presentation here.


As per tradition, Aghi came back on stage to announce one more thing: The power of WebAssembly standard is now available to Kong users. WasmX support is now available as a technical preview for customers. It's an incredible innovation for making Kong Gateway even more extensible. With WasmX you can create custom plugins to extend the gateway's capabilities in the programming language of your choice; you can even re-use Envoy filters.

And as soon as we made the announcement, we received lots of love over the internet, including this tweet from Kelsey Hightower, Principal Engineer at Google working on Google’s Cloud Platform.

This is extra dope!

— Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower) September 28, 2021


Our first break brought us our first surprise at the event. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we invited Mariachi San Francisco to perform live at Kong HQ!

— #KongSummit21 Live Today! (@thekonginc) September 28, 2021

Throughout the day, we had a number of other great surprises introduced by our awesome live emcees, Viktor Gamov and Christie James. The day's surprises included a live improvised rap by Larry Dorsey, Jr, as well as a live artist making a custom Kong Summit painting, and workouts from a live fitness instructor.

Kong Summit Sessions

We had the pleasure of hearing from a number of customers, partners and other Kong experts for the remainder of the day in two tracks. They covered so much, there is not enough room here to break it all down, but we have another full day of sessions tomorrow, so make sure to log in for that.

Cloud Connectivity Innovator Award Winners Announced

We ended Day 1 announcing the winners of our inaugural Cloud Connectivity Innovator Awards. The awards recognize individuals and teams who have accelerated digital transformation using Kong products during the past five years, including Kong Konnect, Kong Enterprise, Kong Gateway, Kuma or Insomnia.

The Cloud honorees included:

  • Australia Post (Top Overall Enterprise Innovator): Kong Konnect powers government agency's self-service API-first platform, offering developers autonomy and future-proof scalability
  • Standard Chartered Bank (Top Financial Innovator): Kong Gateway deployed as a service accelerates global bank through its application transformation journey across 50 markets.
  • Koyeb (Top Open Source Innovator): Open source Kuma powers a startup's ‘zero-config' serverless platform that gets users up and running instantaneously
  • Angelo Ovidi at Kore Labs (Innovator of the Year): Kong Gateway ‘USB hub' deployment offers complete modularity and the ultimate in customer control.

Read more about the winners in this press release.

Still Time to Register

Day 1 may be over, but we still have much more in store for Kong Summit. Tomorrow, we have a full day of valuable sessions lined up for our attendees. Sessions include speakers from companies like Comcast, First Abu Dhabi Bank and more. Plus, we will announce the winners of our inaugural Hackathon.

If you have already registered, then we will see you first thing in the morning. If you haven't registered yet, there is still time. Register for the Kong Summit here. (Registration closes Sept. 30, 11am PST.)

Bonus: Kong Gateway Fundamentals

Don't forget! On Thursday, we will hold our in-depth Kong Gateway Fundamentals training. The half-day course will enable participants to deploy and manage simple API services, test APIs based on OpenAPI using Insomnia and inso and deploy API specifications to Kong Gateway using decK.

So we will see you tomorrow morning at 8am PST, kicking off with Viktor and Christie, and our disk jockey, DJ Sharp, the official DJ of the Golden State Warriors.