A service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer for handling service-to-service communication. It’s responsible for the reliable delivery of requests through the complex topology of services that comprise a modern, cloud native application.
Service mesh solutions have two distinct components that behave somewhat differently: 1) a data plane, and 2) a control plane. The following diagram illustrates the basic architecture.
The data plane is composed of a set of intelligent proxies (Envoy) deployed as sidecars. These proxies mediate and control all network communication between microservices along with Mixer, a general-purpose policy and telemetry hub.
The control plane manages and configures the proxies to route traffic. Additionally, the control plane configures Mixers to enforce policies and collect telemetry.