How to make the case for service mesh: 5 benefits

How to make the case for service mesh: 5 benefits

If you’re using a growing number of microservices, service mesh tools can help you automate as you scale. Here’s how to explain the benefits and make your case for service mesh

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July 08, 2019
service mesh explained

3. Teams can test and deploy faster

Let’s recap the what of service meshes – as in, what they do – in someone else’s terms.

“Service mesh provides cost- and resource-effective methods of service discovery, load balancing, observability (monitoring and tracing), and resiliency (circuit breakers and retires), authentication, and authorization,” says Prasad Dronmaraju, solution architect at OpsRamp.

Translating that into benefits is simply a matter of considering what happens if you have to address each of those needs manually and repeatedly when you deploy or retire services. (Hint: It takes more time.) As a result, service mesh can help pay off on one of the overarching promises of microservices, according to Dronmaraju: Faster and more frequent deployments.

4. Organizations can simplify some cloud migrations

Microservices also hold broad appeal for hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Dronmaraju notes that service meshes can help teams get to the cloud by addressing key requirements. (Again, this is most applicable when you’re building a microservices application or refactoring a traditional app.)

“Service meshes make cloud migration easier and more seamless,” Dronmaraju says, adding that service mesh can help translate traditional legacy data center application models to hybrid cloud models.

5. You address myriad other technical needs

Service mesh definitions often center around service-to-service communication, but you get a lot of other “stuff” with that.

Dronmaraju points to faster failure troubleshooting as an example, “as service mesh stores all transaction data for real-time analysis.”

Enlin Xu, director of advanced engineering at Turbonomic, shares three other examples of technical needs that can be addressed with a service mesh as a means of breaking down the overall use case into more specifics:

  • Visibility: “End-to-end traffic details with service monitoring, logging, and tracing.”
  • Security: “Things like mutual TLS authentication for communication between services without code change.”
  • Policy: “Things like label-based routing makes routing decision more dynamic and flexible. For example, you can have a routing decision made in real time based on which application server gives better performance.”

One final thing to keep in mind as you explore service mesh technology: It’s still in its early days. Expect plenty of change ahead.

“Service mesh technology is still relatively new, and the tools to manage them are still maturing,” Garvey says.

[ Want to learn more about building cloud-native apps and containers? Get the free download: Principles of container-based application design. ]

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