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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Kubernetes / Service Mesh

How a Service Mesh Amplifies Business Value

Shawn Wormke and Tracy Miranda discuss how service meshes help DevOps manage complex cloud native, legacy environments which translate into cost savings.
Aug 12th, 2020 2:13pm by and
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Aspen Mesh sponsored this podcast as part of a series of interviews that discuss how service meshes help DevOps. Listen to the previous stories about the gateway to cloud migration and how Istio is built to boost engineering efficiency.

A key function that service meshes should increasingly offer is helping DevOps teams have better observability into what events are causing application deployment and management problems. They should also help determine which team can take appropriate action.

In this final episode of The New Stack Makers three-part podcast series featuring Aspen Mesh, Alex Williams, founder and publisher of The New Stack, and TNS Correspondent B. Cameron Gain, discuss with invitees how service meshes help DevOps stave off the pain of managing complex cloud native as well as legacy environments and how they can be translated into cost savings. With featured guests Shawn Wormke, vice president and general manager at Aspen Mesh, and Tracy Miranda, director of open source community, CloudBees, they also cover what service meshes can — and cannot — do to help meet business goals and what to expect in the future.

How a Service Mesh Amplifies Business Value

“What we’ve seen with our customers is they want to move [the maintenance work] down underneath the application, and let the application owners really focus on business-value code,” said Wormke. “They also want to let the operations team that is the ‘Ops’ part of DevOps really work on providing them the tooling and the common infrastructure it takes to run those things in production in a large enterprise environment.”

The case has been made that the use of service meshes is a necessary requirement for the adoption of microservices and containerized environments. A service mesh, for example, can certainly serve as a critical tool when shifting operations from a legacy on-premises environment to a cloud native infrastructure. However, service meshes do not necessarily help all organizations making the shift to a containerized environment.

“I think there is a threshold where [service meshes] make sense depending on the number of services,” said Miranda. “If you start off with a very kind of simple architecture, and you’re not trying to orchestrate too many things, perhaps service meshes add a level of complexity that you don’t need. But it doesn’t take long before you can have a significant system where you want to take advantage of the different capabilities.”

While Kubernetes’ infrastructures are increasingly supported and standardized, the developer experience can still pose challenges for upstream development for cloud native deployments. Supporting the developer experience, in this way, represents another useful function service meshes can offer.

“Most developers are mired in the code and are focused on producing the highest-quality piece of software they can — but that doesn’t always translate into a good sort of end-user experience and not always into a good manageable product oftentimes,” said Wormke. “And so a big part of what we do is try to represent our enterprise and service provider customers in that environment and make sure they’re trying to make at least sane choices. We also help customers avoid putting these large deployments in a place they can’t recover from.”

Opportunities thus exist for “companies like Aspen Mesh,” said Wormke. “A large part of what we do is focus on how to make enterprises successful using  [software tools] and dealing with the lifecycle management of the Istio pieces itself and how this piece of technology works within large organizations.”

In this way, service meshes offer user organizations many powerful capabilities that they can expect to exploit once they get past the learning curve.

“I think once people start to appreciate the benefits you get for what seems like a complexity cost at the beginning, and, as the tooling becomes easier to use, I think it will start to become a no brainer that you want to have this in your systems,” he said.

Service mesh is also a relatively new technology — which is something many new and potential adopters may not realize — while they have already demonstrated how they are often worth the investment.

“We just need an easy way to get [service meshes] into folks’ hands and help them steer clear of the pitfalls so that they can get to all the real magic that you can start to do once you’ve got this orchestration and all these things connected,” said Miranda. “You can start to do pretty clever things.”

For this podcast, Aspen Mesh declined to comment on Google’s plans to transfer the Istio trademark to the Open User Commons.

CloudBees is a sponsor of The New Stack.

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