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What is Istio? Explaining the Kubernetes service mesh

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

Many problems are solved by microservice architecture, but then again, others are introduced. With the division of an application into individual services comes simplicity in scaling, updating, and development. However, there are still many moving parts you still need to connect and secure. The management of network services from authorization to authentication and even load balancing can, at this point, become complex.


In your Kubernetes clusters, the network space between your services is known as a service mesh, and the best way to better manage your service mesh clusters and complexity is with Istio. Before going any further, we need a better understanding of a service mesh.


What is a service mesh?

Even though service mesh technology has been around long before Kubernetes, the popular use of microservices-based on Kubernetes has led to the growing awareness of service mesh solutions. One thing we need to understand about microservices is that they rely heavily on network use.


The network traffic between services is managed by a service mesh, which helps keep the flow of these services flowing better as this would have required a lot of manual input, operational burdens and would still be filled with numerous errors that would not help long-term sustenance.


This simply means that with a service mesh available on Kubernetes services, communication would be better managed with good results. It means that you can easily connect, secure, and monitor your microservices without any stress. These three functions help you to easily observe and control network behavior without any stress.





How Istio comes into the picture

Istio is a Kubernetes solution used by most of the major technology companies out there today, being the service mesh of choice. Formerly released by Lyft, Istio services big companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM, making it one of the best out there.

Another thing that differentiates Istio from the rest of the crowd is extra and important features like deep-dive analytics, which is something developers have wanted for a long time now.


The control panel and data planes on Istio are separated using a sidecar loaded proxy, which caches information, making it easy to handle information without the need to go back to the control plane for every call. Control planes are pods that run in the Kubernetes environment allowing for better flexibility if there is a failure in any service mesh.


Even with how productive Istio is, they are not looking to stop there as a fully managed service of Istio for hybrid environments is still cooking. You can learn more about Istio, the product information, and other architectural diagrams on istio.io.

Istio is one of the best service mesh solutions out there with a high productivity level and looking to improve and move forward regularly.

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