Straighten Up Your Namespace
Earlier this year, at HashiCorp’s annual user conference in Seattle, HashiCorp CEO Dave McJannet shared with us his perspective on maintaining cloud native operations. We’ve gone beyond our reliance on Internet Protocol numbers as the ultimate identifier, at least within distributed systems, he argued. With the age of automation and programmable infrastructure, there was no way each individual service could be assigned a single IP, as it would drift from cluster to cluster, sometimes within seconds. Should a Domain Name Service (DNS) track an ephemeral container’s IP when it would only be up for 30 seconds? Not very bloody likely. Instead, what the emerging cloud native world needed was some sort of central registry to keep track of all the services as they dynamically move around across different nodes. And the registry would keep track of the service names, which would be their core identifiers.
The company’s Consul services networking router was built with this philosophy in mind. And a surprising number of Fortune 500 companies and other large enterprises have adopted Consul. And their success with the product has brought a number of new challenges — one of which is keeping track of all the service names. Each development team may create what they think are unique names for their services, though other teams may have already used those names, leading to confusion when some other service tries to find one particular service with that name. You could have one central office administer the assignment of names, but this can be time consuming, and would slow down developer productivity.
Now Consul 1.7 has taken the next step is service name management, by offering unified namespace management. This is a self-service feature that allows an organization to split up its global namespace into separate domains, such as “development” or “legal,” allowing each team to manage their own namespace, while maintaining an organization-wide coherent registry of service names.
It’s exciting to see HashiCorp take its vision to the next level, allowing all its customers to enjoy its hard work.