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HashiCorp recently announced the release of a new version of its distributed service mesh, Consul 1.2.  This release supports a new feature known as Connect, which automatically changes any existing Consul cluster into a service mesh solution. It works on any platform such as physical machines, cloud, containers, schedulers, and more.

HashiCorp is San Francisco based organization that helps businesses resolve development, operations, and security challenges in infrastructure, for them to focus on other business-critical tasks. Consul is one such HashiCorp’s product; it is a distributed service mesh for connecting, securing, and configuring services across any runtime platform or any public or private cloud platform.

The Connect feature within the Consul 1.2, enables secure service-to-service communication with automatic TLS encryption and identity-based authorization. HashiCorp further stated the Connect feature to be free and open source.

New functionalities in the Consul 1.2

Encrypted Traffic while in transit

All traffic is established with Connect through a mutual TLS. It ensures traffic to be encrypted in transit and allows services to be safely deployed in low-trust environment.

Connection Authorization

It will allow or deny service communication by creating a service access graph with intentions. Connect uses the logical name of the service, unlike a firewall which uses IP addresses. This means rules are scale independent; it doesn’t matter if there is one web server or 100. Intentions can be configured using the UI, CLI, API, or HashiCorp Terraform.

Proxy Sidecars

Applications are allowed to use a lightweight proxy sidecar process to automatically establish inbound and outbound TLS connections. With this, existing applications can work with Connect without any modification. Consul ships with a built-in proxy that doesn’t require external dependencies, along with third-party proxies such as Envoy.

Native Integration

Performance sensitive applications can natively integrate with the Consul Connect APIs to establish and accept connections without a proxy for optimal performance and security.

Certificate Management

Consul creates and distributes certificates using a certificate authority (CA) provider. Consul has a built-in CA system that requires no external dependencies. This CA system integrates with HashiCorp Vault, and can also be extended to support any other PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) system.

Network and Cloud Independent

Connect uses standard TLS over TCP/IP, which allows Connect to work on any network configuration. However, the IP advertised by the destination service should be reachable by the underlying operating system. Further, services can communicate cross-cloud without complex overlays.

Know more about these functionalities in detail, by visiting HashiCorp Consul 1.2 official blog post

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