Service Mesh Comparison: Istio vs Linkerd - DZone Microservices

Service Mesh Comparison: Istio vs Linkerd - DZone Microservices

In this blog post, we will learn about Istio and Linkerd architecture, moving parts, and compare their offerings.

From the latest CNCF annual survey, it is pretty clear that a lot of people are showing high interest in service mesh in their project and many are already using in Production. Nearly 69% are evaluating Istio, and 64% are evaluating Linkerd. You might not know that Linkerd was the first service mesh in the market but Istio made the service meshes more popular. Both projects are cutting edge and very competitive, makes a tough choice to select one. In this blog post, we will learn about Istio and Linkerd architecture, their moving parts, and compare their offerings to help you make an informed decision.

Introduction To Service Mesh

Over the past few years, Microservices architecture has become a more popular style in designing software applications. In this architecture, we breakdown the application into independently deployable services. The services are usually lightweight, polyglot in nature, and often managed by various functional teams. This architecture style works well until a certain point when the number of these services becomes higher, difficult to manage and they are not simple anymore. This leads to challenges in managing various aspects like security, network traffic control, and observability. A *service mesh *helps address these challenges.

The term *service mesh *is used to describe the network of microservices that make up such applications and the interactions between them. As the number of services grows in size and complexity, it becomes harder to scale and manage. A service typically offers service discovery, load balancing, failure recovery, metrics, and monitoring. A service mesh also often has more complex operational requirements, like A/B testing, canary rollouts, rate limiting, access control, and end-to-end authentication. A service mesh provides an easy way to create a network of services with load balancing, service-to-service authentication, monitoring, and more, with few or no code changes in service code.

Let's go through the architecture of Istio and Linkerd. Note that both projects are evolving fast and this article is based on Istio version 1.6 and Linkerd version 2.7.


Istio is an open-source platform that provides a complete solution as service mesh providing a uniform way to secure, connect, and monitor microservices. It is backed by industry leaders like IBM, Google, and Lyft. Istio is one of the most popular and complete solutions with advanced offerings suitable for all sizes of enterprises. It is a first-class citizen of Kubernetes and designed as a modular platform-independent system. For a quick demo of Istio, please refer to our previous post.

microservices kubernetes istio service mesh linkerd

Bootstrap 5 Complete Course with Examples

Bootstrap 5 Tutorial - Bootstrap 5 Crash Course for Beginners

Nest.JS Tutorial for Beginners

Hello Vue 3: A First Look at Vue 3 and the Composition API

Building a simple Applications with Vue 3

Deno Crash Course: Explore Deno and Create a full REST API with Deno

How to Build a Real-time Chat App with Deno and WebSockets

Convert HTML to Markdown Online

HTML entity encoder decoder Online

50+ Useful Kubernetes Tools for 2020 - Part 2

Our original Kubernetes tool list was so popular that we've curated another great list of tools to help you improve your functionality with the platform.

The Service Mesh in the Microservices World - DZone Microservices

In this article, take a look at the service mesh in the microservices world. The software industry has come a long journey and throughout this journey, Software Architecture has evolved a lot. Starting with 1-tier (Single-node), 2-tier (Client/ Server), 3-tier, and Distributed are some of the Software Architectural patterns we saw in this journey.

Deploy a Microservice into Istio service mesh

Reading Time: 3 minutes Service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer for handling service to service communication. Basically, it's a way to control how different micro services deployed on kubernetes will manage secure communication and traffic between them with lot's of cross-cutting concerns like logging, security, etc.

From Service Mess to Service Mesh

For teams to monitor, support, and to maintain these services is becoming a challenge so most enterprises have invested in some kind of microservices management tool.

Service Mesh in Kubernetes - Pictorially

As part of my learning in devops space, I started exploring service mesh and recently did a podcast. Here is the blog version which I think will be useful for others to get the big picture. This post assumes you are aware of how kubernetes works at a high level