Service mesh: the answer to cloud complexity?

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Predictions are this new technology will help tackle cloud infrastructure complexity

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14 February 2019 | 0

For organisations that need to run a complex infrastructure to support demanding applications and unify traffic flow management, the current trend appears to be towards service mesh infrastructure.

Described as dynamically linked server-side applications collectively forming an application, these infrastructures are aimed at providing for a high volume of network‑based inter-process communication among infrastructure services leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs).

“For organisations running large-scale, complex applications and who reach the limitations of extending their microservices applications, a service mesh promises a solution.”

For the likes of containerised infrastructure, it provides secure, reliable and fast communication between critical elements, as well as service discovery, load balancing, observability, traceability, authentication and authorisation, and encryption.

It is expected these technologies will gain popularity as more organisations look for a way to manage complexity while having a shared management console.

According to Owen Garrett, senior director of product management at web server vendor NGINX, “For organisations running large-scale, complex applications and who reach the limitations of extending their microservices applications, a service mesh promises a solution.”

That said there is still plenty of room for innovation, and uncertainty, around the technology.

“Time then will tell how it will develop as there is plenty of space for innovation,” Garrett says. “Perhaps it will commoditise rapidly, and become a default, omnipresent feature of all major container runtime platforms.”

“Perhaps new approaches, more efficient than the developing ‘sidecar proxy’ pattern, will emerge, offering better performance and lower resource usage. At this stage, there is no certainty as to how the technology will stabilise and who will be the leading providers,” said Garrett.

The likes of Forrester have been talking up the idea of an integrated enterprise application network for years now, but the vendors themselves now seem to be buying into the idea.

“Salesforce, Workday, SAP, Oracle, and other app leaders are opening up their platforms and adding new development tooling, integrations, and deployment options, with an eye to which specific industries they can target to accelerate adoption. SaaS apps are becoming development platforms, and that shift will start to bear fruit in 2019,” wrote Dave Bartoletti, analyst, Forrester writes, building upon a previous prediction.

Devang Sachdev, director of product marketing and solutions at SaaS vendor Twilio agrees. “Application platforms will usher in an entirely new way for developers to consume and customise enterprise software,” said Sachdev.

“Application platforms deploy like a SaaS application, integrate like an on-premises-based solution and iterate at the pace of API-based platforms. With application platforms, developers benefit from the low cost and scalability of the cloud are no longer limited like they are with SaaS which cannot be customised for specific business needs.”

To assess the impact of these meeting cloud technologies, as well as the opportunity for Irish organisations, TechLive Future Channel will host a cloud computing panel discussing service mesh and other emerging cloud trends such as serverless computing and data fabrics.

Taking place in Croke Park on 21 February, TechLive is a free event but registration is required.

See techlive.ie

TechCentral Reporters and IDG News Service

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