Open Service Mesh — Microsoft’s SMI based Open Source Service Mesh Implementation

Open Service Mesh — Microsoft’s SMI based Open Source Service Mesh Implementation

Microsoft’s Open Service Mesh is an SMI-compliant, lightweight service mesh being run as an open source project. Backed by service-mesh…

Microsoft’s Open Service Mesh is an SMI-compliant, lightweight service mesh being run as an open source project. Backed by service-mesh partners including HashiCorp, Solo.io, and Buoyant, Microsoft introduced the Service Mesh Interface last year with the goal of helping end users and software vendors work with the myriad choices presented by service mesh technology by providing a set of specification standards. OSM can be considered as a reference implementation of SMI, one that builds on existing service mesh components and concepts.

Open Service Mesh data plane is architecturally based on the Envoy proxy and implements the go-control-plane xDS v3 API. However, despite the fact that Envoy comes with OSM by default, using standard interfaces allows it to be integrated with other reverse proxies (compatible with xDS).

SMI follows in the footsteps of existing Kubernetes resources, like Ingress and Network Policy, which also do not provide an implementation where required interfaces to interact with Kubernetes are facilitated for providers to plug their products. The SMI specification instead defines a set of common APIs that allow mesh providers to deliver their own implementations. This means mesh providers can either use SMI APIs directly or build operators to translate SMI to native APIs.

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SMI Implementation

With OSM, users can use SMI and Envoy on Kubernetes and get a simplified service-mesh implementation. The SMI ecosystem already has multiple providers like Istio, Linkerd, Consul Connect, now Open Service Mesh etc. some of them have implemented SMI compatibility using adaptors (Istio, Consul Connect) and others (OSM, Linkerd etc.) consume the SMI APIs directly.

OSM implementation is very similar to Linkerd which also directly consumes SMI APIs without any need for an adaptor like Istio, but one key difference is that OSM uses Envoy for its proxy and communication bus, whereas Linkerd uses linkerd2-proxy (rust based — lighter than Envoy).

Architecture & Components

OSM control plane comprise four core components. All these four components are implemented as a single controller entity (Kubernetes pod/deployment), this is much lighter in weight when compared with older versions of Istio where there are 4 control plane components (Istio-1.6 introduced istiod which unifies all the control plane components into one binary).

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OSM Architecture — Components

OSM Data Plane — Uses Envoy as reverse-proxy by default — similar to most other Service Mesh providers (Linkerd is unique in this case which uses ultralight transparent proxy written in Rust). While by default OSM ships with Envoy, the design utilizes interfaces (An interface type in Go is kind of definition. It defines and describes the exact methods that some other type must have), which enable integrations with any xDS compatible reverse-proxy. The dynamic configuration of all the proxies is handled by OSM controller using Envoy xDS go-control-plane.

service-mesh istio-service-mesh kubernetes azure microsoft

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