Service Mesh can Reduce The Cost of Running Modern Applications

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Written By Ishika Chauhan

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You're probably familiar with microservices and their benefits for release schedules. Microservices communicate through the network, which is inherently unstable and unreliable. Monoliths are able to use fast, secure function calls. This communication layer must be visible and managed with new capabilities.

The service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer that ensures service-to-service communication is reliable, secure, and transparent. Service mesh allows engineering teams to manage communication at the platform level without having to involve developers in every issue. It has been a crucial infrastructure component of any Kubernetes installation.

Service Mesh Adoption is on the Rise

Service mesh adoption has risen dramatically in the past two years. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF 2022 Service Mesh Report estimates that 70% of cloud-native organizations have a service mesh in development or production, and another 19% are evaluating it. This number has almost doubled since the 2020 report in which only 42% of the 2020 report found that a mesh was being evaluated or run.

This is due to the high value that early adopters get from using a service mesh. Digital transformations and IT modernizations can be costly. This is especially true when there are complex Kubernetes installations in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Engineering teams can reduce costs using service meshes because they take advantage of the mesh’s reliability, observability, and security capabilities.

Cost Reduction with A Service Mesh

It is important to remember that service meshes provide Important features to your application. Security, reliability, and observation are essential features for any production application. If your infrastructure does not provide these features, your developers must build and maintain them. It is much more cost-effective for your developers to focus on the business needs and not on what infrastructure can offer.
Next, remember that Kubernetes at large is not easy to understand and service meshes can help you navigate their complexity. This creates a need to provide high-quality educational programs that are free of marketing BS. These programs will accelerate adoption and save you unnecessary trial-and-error costs.

Open source software comes with a price. It takes engineering time to implement and manage it. For those who are looking to save more or have limited bandwidth, a managed service mesh may be the best option.

Developer Productivity

If properly managed, cloud-native tools such as service meshes can dramatically improve developer productivity and reduce the amount of work required. If you don't use a service mesh for observability, your developer must manually add custom health checks, metrics endpoints, and debugging hooks to each microservice.

This method is expensive, slow, and error-prone. It is impossible to cover all services with the same hooks and metrics. Instead, let a service mesh manage observability. This allows you to instantly get uniform coverage without asking your developers. A mesh can also manage encryption, retries, and the four golden metrics.

If a service mesh is able to do this uniformly across all services at a platform level, why should you put that burden on your development team? Your developers can focus more on solving business problems and creating real customer value instead of worrying about these features.

Service meshes allow developers to automatically and reliably diagnose service traffic issues across multiple applications. This allows developers to focus more on business problems, instead of spending time developing them. Microsoft's Xbox Cloud saw a $40,000 monthly savings by switching from their observability software to the Linkerd service grid. This is a major operational win for large companies with complex infrastructures. They can scale their services infinitely while decreasing costs and giving engineers valuable hours to work on tasks that create value for them.

Secure Network Communication

Service meshes are a great way to reduce security costs by turning each Kubernetes cluster in to a secure network. Service meshes encrypt traffic using Mutual Transport Layer Security (MLS), and upgrade all connections to the most recent TLS standard. This can protect communication, while also potentially improving HTTP communications performance. These critical capabilities are easily implemented without the need for additional configuration or operator overhead.

This is one way that a service mesh allows developers to concentrate on security business problems. Security can be difficult to achieve: even minor errors can make your services vulnerable to subtle attacks. This critical component of microservices can be integrated into the infrastructure to provide better protection than relying upon every developer.

Zero-config + Productivity = Win-Win

Service meshes can be a boon to those who work with microservices architectures or Kubernetes. They increase developer productivity and efficiency while lowering operational costs. Without a service mesh, engineering teams have to spend more time coding, applications take longer to build, and traffic network management can be more difficult without automating triage or issue resolutions.

Service meshes are critical for organizations undergoing digital transformation or modernization. They provide crucial observability, reliability, and security capabilities. You'll enjoy these benefits without having to write additional configurations. Engineers and business leaders in today's highly competitive market know that companies must streamline their operational processes so they can focus on what is most important -- creating great features that customers love.

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