Consul Connect provides service-to-service connection authorization and encryption using mutual Transport Layer Security (TLS). Applications can use sidecar proxies in a service mesh configuration to establish TLS connections for inbound and outbound connections without being aware of Connect at all. Applications may also natively integrate with Connect for optimal performance and security. Connect can help you secure your services and provide data about service-to-service communications.
Review the video below to learn more about Consul Connect from HashiCorp's co-founder Armon.
Connect enables secure deployment best-practices with automatic service-to-service encryption, and identity-based authorization. Connect uses the registered service identity (rather than IP addresses) to enforce access control with intentions. This makes it easier to reason about access control and enables services to be rescheduled by orchestrators including Kubernetes and Nomad. Intention enforcement is network agnostic, so Connect works with physical networks, cloud networks, software-defined networks, cross-cloud, and more.
One of the key benefits of Consul Connect is the uniform and consistent view it can provide of all the services on your network, irrespective of their different programming languages and frameworks. When you configure Consul Connect to use sidecar proxies, those proxies "see" all service-to-service traffic and can collect data about it. Consul Connect can configure Envoy proxies to collect layer 7 metrics and export them to tools like Prometheus. Correctly instrumented applications can also send open tracing data through Envoy.
»Getting Started With Connect
There are several ways to try Connect in different environments.
The Getting Started with Consul Service Mesh collection walks you through installing Consul as service mesh for Kubernetes using the Helm chart, deploying services in the service mesh, and using intentions to secure service communications.
The Secure Service-to-Service Communication tutorial is a simple walk through of connecting two services on your local machine using Consul Connect's built-in proxy and configuring your first intention. The guide also includes an introduction to using Envoy as the Connect sidecar proxy.
The Kubernetes tutorial walks you through configuring Consul Connect in Kubernetes using the Helm chart, and using intentions. You can run the guide on Minikube or an existing Kubernetes cluster.
The observability tutorial shows how to deploy a basic metrics collection and visualization pipeline on a Minikube or Kubernetes cluster using the official Helm charts for Consul, Prometheus, and Grafana.