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How Service Mesh Enables DevOps

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I spend most of my day talking to large companies about how they are transforming their businesses to compete in an increasingly disruptive environment. This isn’t anything new, anyone who has read Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma understands this. What’s most interesting to me is how companies are addressing disruption. Of course, they are creating new products to remain competitive with the disruptors, but they are also taking a page out of their smaller, more nimble competitors’ playbook and focusing on being more efficient.

Companies are transforming internal organizations and product architectures along a new axis of performance. They are finding more value in iterations, efficiency and incremental scaling which is forcing them to adopt DevOps methodologies. This focus on time-to-market is driving some of the most cutting-edge infrastructure technology that we have ever seen. Technologies like containers and Kubernetes; and a focus on stable, consistent and open APIs allow small teams to make amazing progress and move at the speeds they require. These technologies have reduced the friction and time to market and the result is the quickest adoption of a new technology that anyone has ever seen.

The adoption of these technologies isn’t perfect, and as companies deploy them at scale they realize that they have inadvertently increased complexity and de-centralized ownership and control. In many cases, it can be impossible to understand the entire system and everyone needs to be an expert in compliance and business needs. Ultimately this means that when everyone is responsible, no-one is accountable.

A service mesh enables DevOps by helping you to manage this complexity. It provides autonomy and freedom for development teams while simultaneously providing a place for teams of experts to enforce company standards for policy and security. It does this by providing a layer between your teams’ applications and the platform they are running on that allows platform operators a place to insert network services, enforce policy and collect telemetry and tracing data.

This empowers your development teams to make choices based on the problem they are solving rather than being concerned with the underlying infrastructure. Dev teams now have the freedom to deploy code without the fear of violating compliance or regulatory guidelines. Secure communication is handled outside of the application reducing complexity and risk. A service mesh also provides tools that developers can use to deploy new code and debug or troubleshoot problems when they come up.

For the platform operator, whose primary objective is to provide a stable, secure and scalable service to run applications, a service mesh provides uniformity through a standardization of visibility and tracing. Policy and authentication between services can be introduced outside of the application at runtime ensuring that applications are adhering to any regulatory requirements the business may have. Deploying Aspen Mesh provides a robust experiments workflow to enable development teams to test new services using real production traffic. Our platform also provides tools that reduce mean-time-to-detection (MTTD) and mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) with advanced analytics that are part of our SaaS portal.

DevOps represents two teams, Development and Operations, coming together to deliver better products more rapidly. Service mesh is a glue that helps unite these teams and provides one place in the stack that you can manage microservices at runtime without changes to the application or cluster.

The result is a platform that empowers application developers to focus on their code, and allows operators to more easily provide developers with a resilient, scalable and secure environment.

(Originally published on the Aspen Mesh blog)

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