“We learned through the evolution of OpenStack and appliance repair center Kubernetes that there is a good mechanism of handling the design of a distributed system,” explained Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, Red Hat’s very accurately nicknamed principal product manager for his company’s Service Mesh platform, based around Istio. “Which is to say, there is a control plane and there is a data plane.”
Software-defined networking (SDN) brought forth the architectural principle of separating traffic related to the user application from traffic involving control and management of the system, into two planes as Redbeard described. Originally, this was to protect the control functions of the network from being disrupted by erroneous or even malicious functionality in the userspace. But in a distributed network where applications are containerized (using the highly portable virtualization system first made popular by Docker), whose connectivity is enhanced with a service mesh, this plane separation makes feasible a new concept: a containerized function that does not need a map of the network it inhabited, or even to query something else for information from such a map, to behave as part of the network.
“Historically with service mesh, part of the purpose was to glue the intercommunications between services together,” continued Red Hat’s Redbeard, “handling the discovery and rerouting of traffic. With Istio, we are able to achieve that same goal.”