1.8 is the last version of Istio to be released in 2020 and it has the following major updates: WorkloadGroup is a new API object. It is intended to be used with non-Kubernetes workloads like Virtual Machines and is meant to mimic the existing sidecar injection and deployment specification model used for Kubernetes workloads to bootstrap Istio proxies. Istio starts to officially support the use of Helm v3 for installations and upgrades.
The way to install the add-on has changed: 1.7 istioctl is no longer recommended and has been removed in 1.8, to help solve the problem of add-on lagging upstream and to make it easier to maintain.
Istio 1.7 made progress to support virtual machines and Istio 1.8 adds a smart DNS proxy, which is an Istio sidecar agent written in Go.