Overview

The service mesh is a dedicated network infrastructure layer to handle service-to-service communication in a fast, safe and reliable way. A more practical definition says that the service mesh groups common networking features in a separate layer by offering application developers and infrastructure engineers a common control plane to manage traffic routing, observability, network security and policies with no code change required.

In a Kubernetes environment, the service mesh is typically implemented as lightweight sidecar network proxies alongside application containers. With the concept of sidecars, all network traffic can flow through these proxies without the application needing to be aware. The service mesh is especially useful in the cloud native world, where service topologies can become extremely complex.

Service mesh in Pipeline

Banzai Cloud Pipeline helps you on your service mesh journey in two different layers:

  • It operates your service mesh infrastructure by maintaining Istio on your clusters and if needed, connecting them in a multi-cluster environment.
  • It offers you a dedicated component — called Backyards — to manage and debug your service mesh.

Deploying and maintaining Istio on a Kubernetes cluster can be difficult to accomplish, and it becomes exponentially more challenging when you want to connect multiple clusters within the mesh. Pipeline is using our own open source Istio operator to overcome these challenges, but offers an easy-to-use UI and CLI on top to avoid touching yamls.

The challenges with the service mesh don’t stop by installing it. Navigating through the configuration of Istio with its many custom resources, or debugging connection errors can be daunting tasks. That’s where Backyards comes in — its intuitive CLI and UI dashboard provides an easy way to manage network traffic and to track errors in the mesh while giving you auditing and security capabilities.

Next steps

To get started with installing a service mesh on your cluster, follow this guide.

You already have a service mesh? Head to the Backyards getting started guide.