Service Mesh the easy way with AWS App Mesh and SuperGloo

Christian Posta | June 16, 2019

In March 2019, AWS announced general availability of AWS App Mesh which is a service mesh implementation that can be run across AWS services such as Fargate, ECS, EKS and EC2. Organizations now have multiple options for service mesh available in AWS including the AWS App Mesh service, other service meshes directly in EC2 (Linkerd, Istio, etc), or a combination of them both. This post will cover AWS App Mesh.

App Mesh gets the “good parts” of service mesh right without burdening the end user with operations and maintenance of the control plane components. App Mesh has a fully-managed control plane that gets scaled, patched, secured, and stores data on behalf of the end user, while implementing Envoy’s xDS APIs for management of the data plane. With App Mesh, the end user can bring their own Envoy proxy or use the out of the box Envoy in AWS.

With the data plane in place, App Mesh can be used to control the routing of traffic between services in your cluster. When workloads within the mesh communicate with each other, they do so by addressing a service’s VirtualService address. This logical name lines up with the name of the service in a service-discovery registry, for example in Kubernetes it would line up with the FQDN of the Kubernetes service. When addressing a VirtualService in App Mesh, the call will resolve to a backend workload, represented by a VirtualNode, or it will resolve to a VirtualRouter which can abstract away the specific backend workloads (and their versions) and apply matching logic to determine to which backend VirtualNode to route.

In the above example, the Advertisements workload is calling out to two different services: recommendations.cluster.corp.com and locations.cluster.corp.com. Each deployment of the respective services are represented by VirtualNodes but for locations.cluster.corp.com an App Mesh VirtualRouter can be used to control the traffic to the different versions of the Locations service.

As an end user of AWS App Mesh, you have to create and apply the correct VirtualNode/VirtualRouter/VirtualService definitions for the mesh capabilities you want (just like other meshes). With Solo.io SuperGloo, an open-source project helping to lower the bar to adopting and managing service mesh, you can automate a lot of these steps and leverage tooling to improve your App Mesh experience. Let’s take a quick look.

SuperGloo simplifies Service Mesh experience

SuperGloo is a tool to lower the complexity and cognitive load when adopting and managing service mesh technologies. At its heart, SuperGloo leverages a simplified and unifying API that abstracts specific service mesh implementations and layers a consistent set of management capabilities like traffic routing, integrating with other components in your organization and even federating multiple meshes and making them appear as one. SuperGloo can manage multiple clusters of service mesh — whether that be the same mesh or different meshes like Istio in EC2 or App Mesh.

SuperGloo can be used to improve the experience around running service meshes in AWS. For example, to create a new App Mesh, we can run the supergloo register appmesh -i command which will start an interactive prompt to complete your service mesh registration. If we pass — auto-inject true we can also get automatic sidecar proxy (Envoy) injection into the namespaces we specify. The auto-injector which will automatically create the VirtualNode resources for us as well.

Once we register our mesh, we should see a Mesh resource that documents the capabilities of this particular service mesh. This is particularly useful information to have when managing multiple meshes or discovering meshes that already exist.

SuperGloo also uses the Gloo service-discovery mechanisms which means we can discover services running on EC2, EKS or Consul on AWS and also automatically form subsets/groups of a particular service based on labels. This is very useful when splitting traffic between different versions of a deployment for a service.

To perform traffic shifting, we can use the SuperGloo API (implemented as a couple CRDs on Kubernetes for example) or the SuperGloo CLI. For example, routing traffic can be expressed like this:

We could also use the CLI:

Behind the scenes, these routing declarations will create the necessary AWS App Mesh VirtualNode, VirtualService, and VirtualRouter configurations so you can focus on driving the service mesh to do what you need. SuperGloo keeps the same abstractions for any of the other mesh technologies it supports.

To see the full example in action, take a look at this video:

Get Started

Give AWS App Mesh and SuperGloo a try today. AWS App Mesh is general available and free to use on AWS properties like EC2, EKS, Fargate, ECS, etc. SuperGloo offers a nice experience for users of AWS App Mesh and takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting of creating/managing VirtualServices, VirtualNodes, and VirtualRouters so you can get the most value out of App Mesh with minimal friction.

SuperGloo is an open-source project sponsored by Solo.io.

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