Top 5 things to know about service mesh

Service mesh helps balance your app infrastructure while still maintaining proper encryption and authentication. Tom Merritt discusses five things you need to know about service mesh.

Top 5 things to know about service mesh

You've containerized everything to the point you don't even know where your app infrastructure is anymore. How do you balance a load in that situation, much less ensure proper encryption, authentication, and more? If you don't know already, a service mesh is your friend for this and more. Here are five things to know about service mesh. 

  1. The centerpiece is often a proxy instance called a sidecar: Sidecars handle anything that can be abstracted from the individual services, like communications, monitoring, and some security concerns.
  2. Istio is the best known service mesh architecture: The open source project is backed by Google, IBM, and Lyft. 
  3. Microsoft: The tech giant is leading a consortium called Service Mesh Interface (SMI) to let developers try service mesh without locking themselves into one architecture. It sits between the service mesh systems and your app's tooling and ecosystem. This would let you try Linkerd instead of Istio, without being stuck with no choice. 
  4. Get to know the data plane: This is the part of your service that manages the network traffic between instances. You'll use a control plane to generate and deploy the configuration that controls the data plane. 
  5. It helps you find problems: A service mesh captures service-to-service communications including performance metrics--this can help you create more efficient and reliable service requests.

Yes, microservices can do a lot of things service meshes can, but not at scale. A service mesh will let you focus on adding value to your apps rather than chasing after connecting services.

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Image: iStockphoto/KrulUA

By Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...