This is the second post in Seven Major Cloud Native Trends for 2020 Series
In 2019, the complete service mesh solution gradually came to be the only choice in the industry. Whether a solution is well-received by the industry depends on whether the technical team behind it has a profound understanding of the complexity of distributed application governance and whether they can build a de facto standard that is adopted by all cloud vendors. For service mesh customers, a de facto standard means that distributed applications can be easily deployed in multiple clouds and hybrid clouds as needed. As we enter the new decade, we think the service mesh field will undergo the following changes in 2020:
In 2019, the Popularity of Service Mesh Continued to Rise, and Its Implementation Problems Will Be Solved in 2020
In 2019, service mesh was implemented on a large scale in certain companies, such as Ant Financial. Its popularity throughout the industry continued to rise, greatly increasing the confidence of Chinese companies in service mesh. Currently, all but the smallest Internet companies have begun to implement service mesh, including Meituan, Toutiao, and Baidu.
Of course, various problems were encountered during service mesh implementation in 2019, including the large-scale sidecar O&M problem. Although SidecarSets, represented by OpenKruise and Kruise, are already working hard to address this issue, the pod upgrade process is still very complicated. These problems are hopefully to be solved in 2020.
Istio Will Mature and Better Suit the Implementation of Large-Scale Clusters
In 2020, Istio will play a key role in the service mesh field as a technology implementation of the control plane. Istio has received a great deal of attention in the industry because it is backed by Google’s internal engineering practices and has re-developed and refined engineering practices. In the past year, Istio has improved its functions, enhanced its stability, and ensured the availability of small-scale production. With Alibaba’s adoption of this technology for large-scale implementation in 2020, Istio will see a real large-scale application scenario. This will greatly improve Istio’s ability to support large clusters in the next year.
In addition, with continued exploration, Istio’s operability and the rationality of its architecture will improve in 2020, and its deployment and O&M complexity and other problems will be solved. The Envoy open source project adopted by Istio will retain its leading position as the de facto standard of the service mesh data plane in the new year. Due to the close collaboration between Istio and Envoy, both open source communities have done a good job promoting the evolution of service mesh.
The Popularity of Service Mesh on EdgeService Is Promoting Service Mesh and IoT
In 2019, the popularity of Service Mesh on Edge gradually increased. Edge nodes essentially need to provide faster responses to improve the experience. To solve the performance, resource consumption, security, and high availability issues (such as kernel bypassing, Sidecar as Node + WASM, SmartNic hardware-software integration, IoT Identity integration, secret protection, low output costs, and unreliable network environments), service mesh is being moved from the “comfortable” cloud to edge nodes. Although this looks very challenging, we still expect a partial solution to these problems in 2020.
More Than Service Mesh
As a key technology for decoupling applications and infrastructure, more products will be integrated with service mesh in 2020 to achieve BaaS. Not only will this reduce unnecessary and repetitive construction, but it will also accelerate the evolution of cloud products by removing application-independent content and sinking it into part of the infrastructure. As a result, cloud product users will enjoy a better software development and maintenance experience, accelerating business exploration efficiency and reducing exploration costs.
We can see that Envoy also provides protocol support for MySQL, Redis, MongoDB, and DynamoDB and supports common observability features such as request parsing, request-level statistics, and failure statistics. In the future, service mesh will continue to develop and become an infrastructure at the overall network level and control all the inbound and outbound traffic at the application layer.
Looking forward to 2020, service mesh will become an essential component for solving heterogeneous system communication and hybrid cloud architecture issues. In scenarios that involve hybrid clouds or both new and old architectures, the combination of service mesh and the original infrastructure, such as support for virtual machine scenarios and traditional service registries, will become the key to the implementation of service mesh. We believe that more companies will better appreciate the value of service mesh through practices and accelerate the popularization of this technology by creating more customer success stories. Probably, 2020 will be the year service mesh achieves widespread use.
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