I was recently in Silicon Valley for Cloud Field Day 6, and one of the companies we met with with HashiCorp. HashiCorp is known mostly for two key products in cloud automation–Terraform and Vault which enable cloud automation, and secrets management respectively. Both of these are open source projects, which have support and premium feature offerings for companies and are free to get started with for individuals. Both of these products are considered best of class, and are widely used by many organizations.
We had the honor of hearing from the founder and CTO of HashiCorp, Mitchell Hashimoto, who spoke to us about Consul, a service based networking tool for dynamic infrastructure (this means things like containers, Kubernetes, and serverless cloud services). Mitchell explained that companies are trying to apply on-premises networking paradigms to cloud infrastructure doesn’t really work.
Consul steps in, how can make this simpler.
- Service Registry & Health Monitoring
- Network Middleware Automation
- Zero trust network with service mesh
The goal of the product is easier adoption, crawl, walk, run, earlier adoption. It lets you ID what’s deployed in every single platform–registry does that. Consult provides a unified view for both DNS, and API and provides active health monitoring. It also builds catalog of your entire network. Consul launched in 2014, 50,000+ agents, most widely deployed service discovery tool on AWS. Servers form a cluster and do leader election. All membership is via gossip. Consult requires one server cluster per data center. Separate gossip pool, the open source edition requires fully connected network, while the enterprise edition allows for hub and spoke topologies.
Consul also provides a number of other services like traffic splitting, which allows you do rolling deployment of application code, while sending a small percentage of traffic to the newly released version of your app, in order to check for errors.
Consul is unique tool–networking in containers and serverless is very challenging, and this product brings it together with old school technology like mainframes and physical servers. Also, given HashiCorp’s record with their other products, I expect this one to be really successful.