Service mesh FAQ

What is a service mesh?

Service mesh is a software layer used for handling all communications between services. It is independent of each service’s code so that it can work with multiple service management systems and across network boundaries without a problem. Its new features connect and manage connections between services effortlessly.

What problem does a service mesh solve?

By enabling independence between applications and infrastructure, containers facilitated a shift in architectures from monolithic to microservice. This came with a multitude of challenges. Container orchestration tools solved deploy issues and microservices build, but many runtime challenges were left unaddressed. A service mesh offers solutions for these runtime issues by providing a bundling of capabilities like security, policy configuration, ingress and egress control, load balancing, distributed tracing, traffic shaping, or metrics collection.

Can I use my existing Istio deployment with Service Mesh Manager?

Yes, if you are already using the Cisco Istio operator. If not, we can help you migrate to Service Mesh Manager from existing Istio installations. It is a manual process, where the mesh configuration needs to be migrated to match the Istio operator’s custom resources.

Are you using upstream Istio?

Our Istio distribution is very close to upstream Istio, but contains a few stability fixes and enhancements, especially around multi-cluster topologies and telemetry. For a detailed list of changes compared to upstream Istio, see Istio distribution.

Do I have to change my applications to use Istio?

In most cases you don’t need to change anything. But we have experience with putting a lot of different applications in Istio, and know that sometimes there are special cases when an application doesn’t handle having a sidecar well. It could be some special HTTP headers, or mTLS configuration that conflicts with an Envoy sidecar. In these cases there could be some slight changes involved and we can help you solve these kind of issues.

Do Service Mesh Manager and Streaming Data Manager use the same mesh?

Currently Service Mesh Manager and Streaming Data Manager use separate service meshes with separate control planes. The Streaming Data Manager service mesh is used only for the Apache Kafka brokers and the control-plane services of Streaming Data Manager. They are tied together in the sense that they are managed by the same Istio operator and use the same version of Istio.

Note that currently you cannot manage the Streaming Data Manager service mesh from the Service Mesh Manager UI, only from the command line.