Over the past year, service mesh technologies have gained significant interest. The goal of a service mesh is to provide service-to-service communication along with some higher-level features like observability, policy enforcement, retries, backoff, and security. Most service meshes have two components: a control plane and a data plane. The control plane is responsible for making decisions about where to send the traffic and to configure the data plane. The data plane provides the ability to forward requests from the applications. Consul provides service discovery, health checking, load balancing, and a globally distributed key-value store. These features make Consul ideal as a control plane for a service mesh.
The architecture of Consul ensures it is highly available and supports multi-data center topologies. One of the primary goals of Consul is providing service discovery, which is a critical data source for a control plane in a service mesh. Additionally, applications can use Consul’s key-value store to store retries, timeouts, and circuit breaking settings and request them when needed. Consul can provide service discovery and health checking information via an API that configures the data plane.
Anubhav Mishra explains what it takes to create a service mesh control plane and discusses options for a data mesh, such as Envoy, Linkerd, NGINX, HAProxy, Traefik, and Fabio. Anubhav also leads a live demo showing how Consul can be used as a control plane to connect applications across a data center.
Anubhav Mishra is a developer advocate at HashiCorp. He created Atlantis—an open source project that helps teams collaborate on infrastructure using Terraform. Previously, he worked at Hootsuite, where he built distributed systems and a microservice delivery platform. Anubhav loves open source software and is continuously finding ways to contribute to projects that excite him and helping developers and operators do better. That has led him to contribute to Virtual Kubelet and Helm (Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) projects). In his free time, he DJs, makes music, and plays football. He’s a huge Manchester United supporter.
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