Re-imagining service mesh

Linkerd 2.0 promises to change the way we manage service-to-service communication

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
© Shutterstock / Karapan

With its 2.0 release, Linkerd introduces the ‘service sidecar’ while keeping all the service mesh handy characteristics of running across an entire cluster to provide platform-wide telemetry, security, and reliability. Let’s take a closer look at the latest release and what’s in it for us!

For those of you who are managing cloud-native applications and are using a service mesh, I have great news for you! Linkerd 2.0 is out.

Linkerd was the first to popularize the term ‘service mesh’ and it’s here, once again, to change the way we manage service-to-service communication.

Let’s dive into the 2.0 release and all the new features!

Meet the ‘service sidecar’

The newest Linkerd release comes with two big changes and a bunch of other features designed to make your life easier, including fixes to some major issues. Let’s take a closer look:

Built from the bottom up – Linkerd 2.0 is completely rewritten to be significantly faster and smaller than Linkerd 1.x.

From service mesh to service sidecar – Linkerd 2.0 at its core is a ‘service sidecar’, running on a single service without requiring cluster-wide installation. Meaning that if you don’t have access to the whole Kubernetes cluster, you can run Linkerd on your service and get tons of goodies including:

  • Instant Grafana dashboards of your service’s success rates, latencies, and throughput
  • A topology graph of incoming and outgoing dependencies
  • A live view of requests being made to your service
  • Improved, latency-aware load balancing

Zero configuration – Installing Linkerd 2.0 on your service requires no configuration or code changes.

SEE ALSO: Istio 101: “The future of the service mesh is one which operates in symbiosis with technologies like Knative and Apache Whisk”

Sidecar to the rescue – The service sidecar design addresses two major problems with the traditional service mesh model: the all-or-nothing proposition that add a significant layer of complexity to your stack and underserving the needs of service owners. Linkerd 2.0 allows platform owners to build out a service mesh incrementally, one service at a time, as a low-risk path to get the uniform, platform-wide layer of telemetry, security, and reliability that a full-service mesh provides. It also addresses the needs of service owners directly.

Getting started

You can try Linkerd 2.0 out on a Kubernetes 1.9+ cluster in a minute by running:

curl | sh

You can find more information in the Getting Started Guide and on Github.


Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou was the editor for Coming from an academic background in East Asian Studies, she decided that it was time to go back to her high-school hobby that was computer science and she dived into the development world. Other hobbies include esports and League of Legends, although she never managed to escape elo hell (yet), and she is a guest writer/analyst for competitive LoL at TGH.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments