By: Shankar
May 12 2019

Service Mesh: Solution to Microservices Ecosystem

There can be obstacles when applications are revamped and modernised. The more you update these applications, the more intricacy it may lead to. To make applications run on a container platform and get them to talk to each other and connect is significant for a flexible microservices architecture. Flexibility of microservices can also result in convolutions. This is where the need of service mesh arises.

black and brown cyclone fence


By providing a centralised control plane and enabling agile, cloud-based application development, services meshes prove to be a remarkable solution. Service mesh provides authentication, authorisation, security and performance services and offers a central point for applying them.

Beginnings

The New Stack states that the history of service mesh takes us back to 2010 when the three-tiered model of application architecture was on the rise that helped superabundance of applications on the web. But this model begins to break down under heavy load. Big organisations like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter started breaking the monolith into independently running systems; thus, the rise of microservices. Subsequently, the rise of cloud-native world took shape.  Eventually, the rise of the service mesh started taking place in order to bring sanity to runtime operations.

Uncloaking service mesh

A service mesh is an approach which calls for operating microservices architecture safely, quickly, and reliably. NGINX states that “a service mesh is a configurable, low‑latency infrastructure layer designed to handle a high volume of network‑based interprocess communication among application infrastructure services using application programming interfaces (APIs).” It makes it easier to adopt microservices at scale. It provides discovery, safety, tracing, monitoring and failure handling. It offers these cross-functional features without having to share assets such as an API gateway or baking libraries into every other service.

"A service mesh is a configurable, low‑latency infrastructure layer designed to handle a high volume of network‑based interprocess communication among application infrastructure services using application programming interfaces (APIs)"

Service mesh is platform independent and supports cross-cloud capability. It enhances reliability and visibility through intelligent traffic routing that automatically recovers from network failures. Moreover, it secures inter-service communications and standardises the profile of microservices based applications. The two most popular service mesh tools are Linkerd and Istio.

What lies ahead

The adoption of service mesh in the cloud native ecosystem is growing quickly. The requirements for serverless computing fit perfectly into the service mesh’s model of naming and linking. Service mesh is also touted to play a vital role in the areas of service identity and access policy in cloud-native environments.

Conclusion

Service mesh is an important component of the cloud native stack. Major reports by Gartner, IDC, and 451 on microservices point towards service mesh becoming a mandatory option by 2020 for all the organisations running microservices in production. With a service mesh, digital firms can focus on building business value instead of connecting services.