As on the ground microservice practitioners quickly realize, the majority of operational problems that arise when moving to a distributed architecture are ultimately grounded in two areas: networking and observability. It is simply an orders of magnitude larger problem to network and debug a set of intertwined distributed services versus a single monolithic application.
Originally built at Lyft, Envoy is a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for single services and applications, as well as a communication bus and “universal data plane” designed for large microservice “service mesh” architectures. Built on the learnings of solutions such as NGINX, HAProxy, hardware load balancers, and cloud load balancers, Envoy runs alongside every application and abstracts the network by providing common features in a platform-agnostic manner. When all service traffic in an infrastructure flows via an Envoy mesh, it becomes easy to visualize problem areas via consistent observability, tune overall performance, and add substrate features in a single place.