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How does a Service Mesh stack up against Kubernetes?

The architecture of cloud-native apps is frequently a complicated network of dispersed microservices that run in containers. Kubernetes, the de facto standard for container orchestration, is used for running these apps in containers.

Many businesses that use microservices encounter the problem of microservice sprawl. The issue of standardised routing between various services, versions, authorisation, authentication, encryption, and load balancing controlled by a Kubernetes cluster are all exacerbated by the rapid expansion of microservices.

Service Mesh: What is it?
You can configure a layer for a microservices application called a service mesh. The mesh offers flexible, dependable, and quick microservice discovery, load balancing, encryption, authentication, and authorization.

A sidecar, or proxy instance, is often provided for each service instance in a service mesh implementation. Any task that may be abstracted away from the individual services, such as inter-service communications, monitoring, and security-related concerns, is handled by sidecars. In this way, operations can look after the service mesh and run the app while developers concentrate on creating, supporting, and maintaining the application code in the services.

You can separate the application’s business logic from observability and network and security policies via a service mesh. You can connect, secure, and monitor your microservices with the Service Mesh.

Connect: A service mesh gives services a mechanism to find and communicate with one another. It enables more efficient traffic management and API call management between services/endpoints.

Secure: a Service Mesh gives you dependable service-to-service connectivity. A Service Mesh can be used to enforce rules that permit or prohibit the connection. For instance, you can set up a system to prevent client services operating in development environments from accessing production services.

Watch: A service mesh makes your microservices system visible.

Service Mesh is compatible with pre-installed monitoring programmes like Prometheus and Jaeger.
A complicated cloud-native application’s network of distributed microservices can be fully controlled by these essential features.

How Kubrerenetes and a Service Mesh Interact
The following problems will arise if you merely install a base Kubernetes cluster without a Service Mesh:

  • Between services, there is no security.
  • It is quite difficult to identify a service latency issue.
  • There are limits to load balancing.

As you can see, a Service Mesh adds a layer that Kubernetes currently lacks. So a service mesh is complementary to Kubernetes.

Building Service Mesh Solutions: Who are they?
The top three Service Mesh vendors are:

  • Consul
  • Istio
  • Linkerd

Let’s go over each in greater depth.


A complete service management framework, Consul. Consul was initially developed as a mechanism to manage Nomad-based services, but it has since expanded to include numerous other data centres and container management systems, including Kubernetes.


A Kubernetes-specific solution is Istio. Lyft built Istio, which is currently backed and supported by Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Istio uses a sidecar-loaded proxy to divide its data and control planes. In order to avoid returning to the control plane after each call, the sidecar stores information. In order to handle the control planes as pods, a Kubernetes cluster is used. If a single pod fails in any area of the service mesh, this approach provides improved resilience.


Due to its rewriting in v2, Linkerd, another well-known Service Mesh running on top of Kubernetes, has an architecture that is quite similar to Istio’s. The distinction is that Linkerd emphasises simplicity.

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