Difficulty: beginner
Estimated Time: 5 minutes

One of the most common questions when getting started with Linkerd is: what exactly is a service mesh? Why is a service mesh a critical component of cloud native apps, when environments like Kubernetes provide primitives like service objects and load balancers?

A service mesh is a layer that manages the communication between apps (or between parts of the same app, e.g. microservices). In traditional apps, this logic is built directly into the application itself: retries and timeouts, monitoring/visibility, tracing, service discovery, etc. are all hard-coded into each application.

In this guide, we'll walk through a quick example of how to install Linkerd on Kubernetes to automatically capture aggregated, top-line service success rates without requiring application changes.

That’s all! With just three simple commands we were able to install Linkerd on our Kubernetes cluster, install an app, and use Linkerd to gain visibility into the health of the app’s services. Of course, Linkerd is providing much more than visibility: under the hood, we’ve enabled latency-aware load balancing, automatic retries and circuit breaking, distributed tracing, and more.

For help with this or anything else about Linkerd, feel free to stop by our Linkerd community Slack, or post a topic on Linkerd discourse!

Don’t stop now! The next scenario will only take about 10 minutes to complete.

Intro to Linkerd

Step 1 of 4

Step 1 - Setup the cluster

Start the cluster via. minikube

minikube start