Red Hat Launches OpenShift Service Mesh for hybrid cloud developers

To coordinate applications and services in Kubernetes-based hybrid clouds, you need a service mesh network, and Red Hat has blended together several technologies to provide one.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

With Kubernetes becoming a hybrid cloud's foundation, we need a way to manage the network connections between the containerized applications and decentralized services. That's where Red Hat's just-released Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh comes in. With it, you can connect, observe, and simplify Kubernetes applications service-to-service communication on Red Hat OpenShift 4.

A service mesh is the underlying networking architecture for Kubernetes containerized programs and microservices. It's responsible for traffic management, policy enforcement, and service identity and security.

Red Hat's take, OpenShift Service Mesh, is built on the Istio, Kiali, and Jaeger projects and enhanced with Kubernetes Operators. Istio provides the service mesh itself, while Kiali gives Istio an observability console and Jaeger enables you to monitor and troubleshoot transactions in complex distributed systems. Put it all together, and developers get an efficient way to deploy and manage microservices-based application architectures, without the blood, sweat, and tears of implementing networking services from scratch. 

Service meshes are vital for building complex Kubernetes-based applications on hybrid clouds. As Larry Carvahlo, an IDC research director explained in a statement:

"Service mesh is the next big area of disruption for containers in the enterprise because of the complexity and scale of managing interactions with interconnected microservices."

By integrating service mesh natively into the OpenShift Kubernetes platform, Red Hat is claiming:

"Developers can improve their implementation of microservice architectures. Platform operations teams can benefit from the ability to enforce IT policies for service security and communication. Users can benefit from normalized environments across datacenters and the cloud through the use of software defined infrastructure built on open source software."

Specifically, OpenShift Service Mesh brings the following features to the Kubernetes-based hybrid cloud table:

  • An end-to-end developer-focused experience through unified and optimized underlying technologies. Istio and Kiali are used to create and manage a service mesh with Jaeger for OpenTracing visibility. This lets developers focus on application services.
  • Tracing and measurement via Jaeger, enabling developers to track a request between services with insight into the request process from start to finish.
  • Visualization and observability from Kiali, offering an easier way to view the topology of the service mesh and to observe how the services interact.  
  • An integrated OpenShift Service Mesh API Gateway is deployed with Red Hat 3scale to simplify North-South traffic flow between application endpoints and the service backend.
  • "One-click" Service Mesh installation and configuration via the Service Mesh Operator and an Operator Lifecycle Management framework, giving developers the ability to deploy applications into a service mesh more easily. A Service Mesh Operator deploys Istio, Jaeger, and Kiali together along with the configuration logic via a single package. This helps to minimize management burdens and automates common tasks such as installation, service maintenance, and lifecycle management. 

Put it all together, and developers will find building Kubernetes-based services much easier. 

As Ashesh Badani, Red Hat's senior VP of Cloud Platforms, said in a statement:

"The addition of Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh allows us to further enable developers to be more productive on the industry's most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform by helping to remove the burdens of network connectivity and management from their jobs and allowing them to focus on building the next-generation of business applications."

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