- End-to-end encryption was cited by 65% of KubeCon EU respondents, who are experts in DevOps, development, and IT design, as the primary driver of service mesh adoption.
- Another major discovery showed that complexity is a significant barrier to adoption, even causing users to switch service meshes.
The recent State of Service Mesh research report from Buoyant identifies essential market trends in the service mesh market. The most important takeaway is that security continues to be a major adoption driver.
The report seeks to answer three crucial questions: What motivates service mesh deployment? What stage of the adoption process are teams in? And what is preventing them? The results are from a survey of 100 attendees at the recent KubeCon Cloud Native Con Europe conference in Valencia, Spain. Of these, 55% were DevOps professionals, 21% were architects, and 9% were developers. The results are displayed alongside those from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) recent Service Mesh Micro Survey to highlight the state of the industry at the moment and the direction it is expected to take.
Insights from the Survey
KubeCon EU respondents, who are experts in DevOps, development, and IT design, disclosed that end-to-end encryption was the major driver of service mesh adoption, cited by 65% of the survey respondents. In the CNCF survey, 79% of respondents voted for security.
Observability was the second most significant driver, with 41% of the vote from KubeCon respondents and 78% from CNCF respondents. This was followed by traffic management (62%) and gRPC load balancing (40%).
Only 33% of Buoyant’s KubeCon poll’s respondents said that they have deployed a service mesh in production or are on their way to doing so, with 62% actively exploring options. However, 60% of the CNCF survey respondents noted that they have been running a service mesh in production, and 19% are still evaluating it.
KubeCon attendees running a service mesh in production voted for Linkerd and Istio to be the frontrunners. Sixty-three percent of KubeCon respondents said they used or considered each service mesh. Whereas 73% used Linkerd and 34% used Istio as per the CNCF survey.
Another major discovery showed that complexity is a significant barrier to adoption, even causing users to switch service meshes. Sixty percent of KubeCon respondents said that adoption is being hampered by complexity and 41% of CNCF respondents stated that complexity was an actual challenge. Complexity was cited by more than half (52%) of those who switched service meshes.
When asked about the main non-technical challenges, the CNCF survey identified engineering expertise and skill shortage (47%), technical and architectural complexity (41%), and lack of blueprints, guidelines, or best practices (36%).
The use of service mesh is increasing, even among enterprises that are less “cloud-native mature,” but this paper breaks down some contrasts between the two audiences to highlight this.