Sidecars, eBPF and the Future of Service Mesh

Controversy over the future of service meshes and their architectures is swirling. This is a vital discussion as enterprise migration to microservice and Kubernetes-based architectures continue. This talk incorporates the latest community developments to explore what the future looks like.

A lot of dust has been kicked up recently around the roles of sidecars, Envoy proxy, and eBPF in the future of service meshes. Envoy proxy is the de-facto proxy for service mesh implementations today, and it delivers excellent support for Layer 7 capabilities that most users need. There is no question that eBPF and the OS Kernel can be used to improve the execution of the network at Layer 3/4 (short circuiting for optimal paths, offloading TLS/mTLS, observability collection, etc). But complex application networking features (retries, timeouts, TLS, HTTP2 protocol, etc) must remain in the user space at L7.

eBPF offers a great complement to the sidecar proxy, but is it a replacement? Can the two co-exist?

How can we optimize proxy placement?

In this talk, we explore the challenges of service mesh today, along with the latest developments in what the service mesh community is doing to improve its implementations. Both slides and a live demo will be presented.


Jim Barton

Field Engineer @Solo

Jim Barton is a Field Engineer for whose enterprise software career spans 30 years. He has enjoyed roles as a project engineer, sales and consulting engineer, product development manager, and executive leader of tech startups. Prior to Solo, he spent a decade architecting, building and operating systems based on enterprise open-source technologies, at the likes of Red Hat, Amazon, and Zappos. After two years of COVID-driven, Zoom-encrusted isolation, Jim especially enjoys sharing with and learning from three-dimensional people at technical conferences around the world.


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Friday Dec 2 / 12:30PM PST ( 50 minutes )


Application Programming Interface Modern APIs Sidecars eBPF Service Mesh Microservices Kubernetes DevOps


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