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A service mesh standard to unite everyone else: that is the ambition of the Service Mesh Interface that Microsoft is launching together with various partners at KubeCon 2019.

A side effect of an open source ecosystem is that new ideas and solutions are often developed alongside each other, resulting in a multitude of standards. Service mesh is a good example of this. Service mesh technology was developed in response to the multitude of containers and microservices that make up a modern cloud application today. The technology decentralizes intelligence and makes the network smarter.

Faster and safer

This means, for example, that if a microservice wants to request something, the service mesh provides a direct connection. Furthermore, the network will be much more intelligent, which will enable the implementation of policies as well as the detailed management of network traffic without all traffic having to pass through a central node. Such direct and smart connections between components and services provide a more secure application with less latency.

Currently, there are numerous options for those who want to implement a service mesh within their cloud native application environment. Think of Istio, Linkerd, and Consul Connect. Choosing is often losing, and the Service Mesh Interface (SMI) must put an end to this.

Standard for everyone

The SMI is not an implementation in itself, but a set of API standards that service mesh developers can either implement directly, or from which they can translate differently. For example, SMI’s ambition is to facilitate interoperability between the various Service Mesh projects.

The standard initially focuses on three domains: Traffic policy for managing and encrypting traffic between applications and services, traffic telemetry so you can keep an eye on what’s happening, and traffic management to keep your environment in balance. The intention is to further develop the set of standard APIs, and to respond flexibly to new functionalities.


For the open source project, Microsoft has partnered with Linkerd, HashiCorp, Solo, Kinvolk, and Weaveworks. SMI is also supported by Aspen Mesh, Canonical, Docker, Pivotal, Rancher, Red Hat and VMware. Anyone who launches a new standard to unite several other standards risks contributing to the pool of available opportunities instead of consolidating them. However, the approach and broad support suggest that this project will standardize the service mesh language of the future.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.