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Kubernetes / Networking / Service Mesh

Don’t Force Containers and Disrupt Workflows

A conversation with Rob Barnes about how HashiCorp builds intent into Consul so users may use containers or virtual machines in their workflows.
May 25th, 2023 3:10pm by
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How do you allow people to use their technologies in their workflows? The first thing you do is not force people to use containers, says Rob Barnes, a senior developer advocate at HashiCorp, in this episode of The New Stack Makers.

Barnes came by The New Stack booth at KubeCon Europe in Amsterdam to discuss how HashiCorp builds intent into Consul so users may use containers or virtual machines in their workflows.

Consul from HashiCorp is one of the early implementations of service mesh technology, writes Jankiran MSV in The New Stack. “It comes with a full-featured control plane with service discovery, configuration, and segmentation functionality. The best thing about Consul is the support for various environments including traditional applications, VMs, containers, and orchestration engines such as Nomad and Kubernetes.”

Consul is, at heart, a networking service that provides identity, for example, in Kubernetes. A service mesh knows about all services across the stack. In Kubernetes, Helm charts get configured to register the services to Consul automatically. That’s a form of intent. Trust is critical to that intent in Kubernetes.

“We can then assign identity — so in a kind of unofficial way, Consul has almost become an identity provider for services,” Barnes said.

In Consul, identity helps provide more granular routing to services, Barnes said. Consul can dictate what services can talk to each other. The intent gets established. A rules-based system, for instance, may dictate what services can talk to each other and which can’t.

“I think that’s an opportunity that HashiCorp has taken advantage of,” Barnes said. “We can do a lot more here to make people’s lives easier and more secure.”

So what’s the evolution of service mesh?

“There’s a lot of misconceptions with service mesh,” Barnes said. “As I say, I think people feel that if you’re using service meshes, that means you’re using containers, right? Whereas, like, I can speak for Consul specifically, that’s not the case. Right? I think the idea is that if more service meshes out, they make themselves a bit more flexible and meet people where they are. I think the adoption of the service mesh, and all the good stuff that comes with it, is only going to grow.”

“So I think what’s next for service mesh isn’t necessarily the service mesh itself. I think it’s people understanding how it fits into the bigger picture. And I think it’s an educational piece and where there are gaps, maybe we as vendors need to make some advances.”

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma, The New Stack.
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