What is a service mesh?
In a network, a service mesh controls service-to-service communication. It allows different components of an application to communicate with each other. Cloud-based applications, containers, and microservices are typically used with service meshes.
Service meshes control how services are delivered across an application. Among the features offered by Service Mesh are service discovery, load balancing, encryption, and failure recovery. Also common is the use of APIs to control software instead of hardware to provide high availability. Communication between service meshes can be fast, reliable, and secure.
An organization may choose an API Gateway, which handles protocol transactions, rather than a service mesh. The API Gateway must be updated every time a microservice is added or removed. Service Mesh typically provides network management scalability and flexibility that exceeds the capabilities of traditional API gateways.
How does it work?
A service mesh does not introduce new functionality to an app’s running environment; all apps need rules to specify how requests are routed from point A to point B. In contrast to individual services, Service Mesh abstracts the logic governing service-to-service communication into a single layer of infrastructure.
Arrays of network proxies are used to create a service mesh as part of an app. Proxies are familiar concepts in enterprise IT — if you’re accessing this webpage from a work computer, you probably just used:
1. Your company’s web proxy first received your request for this page as soon as it went out…
2. It was sent to the server hosting this page after passing the proxy’s security measure…
3. Then, the proxy checked the page again for security issues…
4. Finally, it was sent to you by the proxy.
Why do I need a service mesh?
Linkerd provides observability, reliability, and security features with a big advantage: the application does not have to implement these features or even be aware that it exists!
It aligns responsibilities with ownership, which is a great thing for platform teams. Furthermore, it frees developers from features that don’t pertain to business logic.
The story becomes a little murkier if you aren’t using Kubernetes. Kubernetes’ pod model and networking infrastructure make it very easy to implement service meshes with the minimal operational burden. Without these underlying features from Kubernetes, the cost of adopting service mesh starts to skyrocket quickly. (Linkerd, for example, requires no configuration to install, even for mutual TLS!) The cost-benefit ratio of cross-platform service meshes is very different, and care must be taken not to end up managing thousands of proxies manually.
Key features of a service mesh
Typically, service mesh frameworks provide many capabilities that make containerized and microservices communications more reliable, secure, and observable.
Reliability:- Through sidecar proxies and the control plane, service requests, policies, and configurations are managed efficiently and reliably. This includes load balancing and fault injection capabilities.
Observability:- A service mesh framework can provide insight into the health and behavior of services. Using telemetry data collected from component interactions, the control plane can monitor service health, such as traffic and latency, distributed tracing and access logs. Monitoring and visualization can be further enhanced through integration with tools such as Prometheus, Elasticsearch, and Grafana.
Security:- It can distribute security policies, including authentication and authorization, from the network to the application and individual microservices by automatically encrypting communications. By centrally managing security policies through the control plane and sidecar proxies, distributed applications are able to maintain increasingly complex connections between themselves.
What is an automation mesh?
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform includes an automation mesh component that provides a simple and reliable framework for scaling automation. A flexible, multi-directional communication layer enables automation mesh to enhance an organization’s global operations. Due to its reduced sensitivity to latency and disruption of connections, as well as its native peering capabilities, this automation platform is more reliable than any other on the market today. With security features such as TLS authentication and encryption, and additional access controls, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can expand the possibilities for your entire enterprise IT estate.
The Future of Service Mesh
“I think service meshes will eventually be in most applications,” says Petrocelli, the technology analyst. “It is impossible for a bank to implement a cluster-based architecture without implementing a service mesh. That would be crazy. “Not only for routing but also for encryption and observability in the network layer.”
As service meshes become more common, companies will have to address issues like how to upgrade, manage multiple meshes across multiple deployments, and address the learning curve issue, such as the fact that successful implementation requires more collaboration between network engineers and developers than is usual at most companies.
Talwar says there is still a lot of work to be done in the service mesh. “Most people are talking about value and clearly buying into it, which is good, but there are still challenges to overcome.”