» L7 Traffic Management (beta)

Layer 7 traffic management allows operators to divide L7 traffic between different subsets of service instances when using Connect.

There are many ways you may wish to carve up a single datacenter's pool of services beyond simply returning all healthy instances for load balancing. Canary testing, A/B tests, blue/green deploys, and soft multi-tenancy (prod/qa/staging sharing compute resources) all require some mechanism of carving out portions of the Consul catalog smaller than the level of a single service and configuring when that subset should receive traffic.

» Stages

Connect proxy upstreams are discovered using a series of stages: routing, splitting, and resolution. These stages represent different ways of managing L7 traffic.

diagram showing l7 traffic discovery stages: routing to splitting to resolution

Each stage of this discovery process can be dynamically reconfigured via various configuration entries. When a configuration entry is missing, that stage will fall back on reasonable default behavior.

» Routing

A service-router config entry kind is the first configurable stage.

A router config entry allows for a user to intercept traffic using L7 criteria such as path prefixes or http headers, and change behavior such as by sending traffic to a different service or service subset.

These config entries may only reference service-splitter or service-resolver entries.

Examples can be found in the service-router documentation.

» Splitting

A service-splitter config entry kind is the next stage after routing.

A splitter config entry allows for a user to choose to split incoming requests across different subsets of a single service (like during staged canary rollouts), or perhaps across different services (like during a v2 rewrite or other type of codebase migration).

These config entries may only reference service-splitter or service-resolver entries.

If one splitter references another splitter the overall effects are flattened into one effective splitter config entry which reflects the multiplicative union. For instance:

splitter[A]:           A_v1=50%, A_v2=50%
splitter[B]:           A=50%,    B=50%
---------------------
splitter[effective_B]: A_v1=25%, A_v2=25%, B=50%

Examples can be found in the service-splitter documentation.

» Resolution

A service-resolver config entry kind is the last stage.

A resolver config entry allows for a user to define which instances of a service should satisfy discovery requests for the provided name.

Examples of things you can do with resolver config entries:

  • Control where to send traffic if all instances of api in the current datacenter are unhealthy.

  • Configure service subsets based on Service.Meta.version values.

  • Send all traffic for web that does not specify a service subset to the version1 subset.

  • Send all traffic for api to new-api.

  • Send all traffic for api in all datacenters to instances of api in dc2.

  • Create a "virtual service" api-dc2 that sends traffic to instances of api in dc2. This can be referenced in upstreams or in other config entries.

If no resolver config is defined for a service it is assumed 100% of traffic flows to the healthy instances of a service with the same name in the current datacenter/namespace and discovery terminates.

This should feel similar in spirit to various uses of Prepared Queries, but is not intended to be a drop-in replacement currently.

These config entries may only reference other service-resolver entries.

Examples can be found in the service-resolver documentation.