Building a Service Mesh with Consul

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Load balancers aren’t efficient in a dynamic environment where we scale services up or down. Consul uses a registry to keep a real-time list of services, their location, and their health. Services query the registry to discover the location of upstream services and then connect directly. This allows services to scale up/down and gracefully handle failure

Installation

To Install Consul on Ubuntu

apt-get update
cd /usr/local/bin
wget https://releases.hashicorp.com/consul/1.2.2/consul_1.2.2_linux_amd64.zip
wget https://releases.hashicorp.com/consul/1.2.2/consul_1.2.2_SHA256SUMS
sha256sum consul_1.2.2_linux_amd64.zip
grep "consul_1.2.2_linux_amd64.zip" consul_1.2.2_SHA256SUMS
rm consul_1.2.2_SHA256SUMS
unzip *.zip
rm *.zip

# Refer to https://www.consul.io/docs/agent/options.html#ports for required ports and optional
ufw allow 8300
ufw allow 8301
ufw allow 8302
ufw allow 8400
ufw allow 8500
ufw allow 8600

mkdir /tmp/consul_services
mkdir /tmp/consul

Run Consul for Development

Create a system service for consul nano /etc/systemd/system/consul.service

[Unit]
Description=Consul
Documentation=https://www.consul.io/

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/consul agent -dev -ui -client $CLIENT_SERVER_IP_HOST
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
LimitNOFILE=65536

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start consul.service

Run Consul Leader

Create a system service for consul nano /etc/systemd/system/consul.service

[Unit]
Description=Consul
Documentation=https://www.consul.io/

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/consul agent -server -bootstrap -data-dir /tmp/consul -bind $LEADER_SERVER_IP_HOST -config-dir /tmp/consul_services -enable-script-checks -datacenter US
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
LimitNOFILE=65536

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start consul.service

Run Consul Web Client

Create a system service for consul nano /etc/systemd/system/consul.service

[Unit]
Description=Consul
Documentation=https://www.consul.io/

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/consul agent -data-dir /tmp/consul -ui -client $CLIENT_SERVER_IP_HOST -join $LEADER_SERVER_IP_HOST -enable-script-checks -datacenter US
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
LimitNOFILE=65536

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start consul.service

Run Consul Client

You need to create a system service for consul nano /etc/systemd/system/consul.service

[Unit]
Description=Consul
Documentation=https://www.consul.io/

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/consul agent -server -data-dir /tmp/consul -bind $NORMAL_SERVER_IP_HOST -join $LEADER_SERVER_IP_HOST -config-dir /tmp/consul_services -enable-script-checks -datacenter US
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
LimitNOFILE=65536

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start consul.service

Service Definition

Just create a web services definition web.json on /tmp/consul_services directory

{
   "services":[
      {
         "name":"serviceA",
         "port":5000,
         "check":{
            "args":[
               "curl",
               "localhost:5000"
            ],
            "interval":"3s"
         }
      },
      {
         "name":"serviceB",
         "port":8000,
         "check":{
            "args":[
               "curl",
               "localhost:8000"
            ],
            "interval":"3s"
         }
      }
   ]
}

Working With Consul Cluster

Services should interact on realtime with consul cluster to register, unregister itself and enable & disable maintenance mode. So if we have microservice Mocha running on server x.x.x.x on port 5000 and Consul already running on that server. Service can simply do the following to join the cluster and also to leave on failure.

# Register A Service (Mocha) 
curl -X PUT \
    -d '{
        "ID": "mocha",
        "Name": "Mocha",
        "Port": 5000,
        "Address": "x.x.x.x",
        "Tags": 
            [
                "primary",
                "v1"
            ],
        "Check": {
            "Args": [
                "curl",
                "http://localhost:5000"
            ],
            "Interval": "10s"
        }
    }' "http://localhost:8500/v1/agent/service/register"

# Enable Maintenance Mode
curl -X PUT \
    -d '' "http://localhost:8500/v1/agent/service/maintenance/mocha?enable=true&reason=Something+goes+wrong!"

# Disable Maintenance Mode
curl -X PUT \
     -d '' "http://localhost:8500/v1/agent/service/maintenance/mocha?enable=false&reason=I+am+back!"

# Unregister A Service (Mocha)
curl -X PUT \
    -d '' "http://localhost:8500/v1/agent/service/deregister/mocha"

Health Endpoints

For a complete guide, go here but for the important stuff, check the following:

# Get All Healthy Services on Consul Cluster
curl -X GET \
    http://localhost:8500/v1/health/state/passing | python -m json.tool


# List Healthy Checks for a Service (Mocha)
curl -X GET \
    http://localhost:8500/v1/health/checks/mocha | python -m json.tool


# Get Healthy Services with nodes data, This can be used for dynamic load balancing
curl -X GET \
    http://localhost:8500/v1/health/service/mocha?passing=true | python -m json.tool
[
    {
        "Checks": [

        ],
        "Node": {

        },
        "Service": {
            "Address": "x.x.x.x",
            "Connect": {
                "Native": false,
                "Proxy": null
            },
            "CreateIndex": 3121,
            "EnableTagOverride": false,
            "ID": "mocha",
            "Meta": null,
            "ModifyIndex": 3121,
            "Port": 5000,
            "ProxyDestination": "",
            "Service": "Mocha",
            "Tags": [
                "primary",
                "v1"
            ]
        }
    },
    {
        "Checks": [

        ],
        "Node": {
 
        },
        "Service": {
            "Address": "y.y.y.y",
            "Connect": {
                "Native": false,
                "Proxy": null
            },
            "CreateIndex": 3318,
            "EnableTagOverride": false,
            "ID": "mocha",
            "Meta": null,
            "ModifyIndex": 3318,
            "Port": 5000,
            "ProxyDestination": "",
            "Service": "Mocha",
            "Tags": [
                "secondary",
                "v1"
            ]
        }
    }
]

KV Store Endpoints

# Create & Update Item
curl -X PUT \
    -d '2days' http://localhost:8500/v1/kv/mocha_flush


# Get Item
curl -X GET \
     http://localhost:8500/v1/kv/mocha_flush | python -m json.tool
[
    {
        "CreateIndex": 3827,
        "Flags": 0,
        "Key": "mocha_flush",
        "LockIndex": 0,
        "ModifyIndex": 3827, # base64-encoded blob
        "Value": "MjNkYXlz"
    }
]

# Delete Item
curl -X DELETE \
    http://localhost:8500/v1/kv/mocha_flush

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