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Envoy vs linkerd: What are the differences?


This Markdown code provides a comparison between Envoy and Linkerd, highlighting the key differences between the two technologies. Envoy and Linkerd are both popular service meshes used for managing and securing microservices architectures. Understanding the differences between them can help in making an informed decision regarding which service mesh to use for specific requirements.

  1. Performance and Scalability: Envoy has been designed to handle high-performance scenarios with a focus on scalability. It is implemented in C++ and uses a highly efficient asynchronous programming model, making it capable of handling significant traffic loads with low latency. On the other hand, Linkerd, written in Scala, provides a simpler and more lightweight solution, which is better suited for smaller or less performance-driven deployments.

  2. Configuration Flexibility: Envoy provides a highly flexible and extensible configuration model. It supports a variety of configuration options, including dynamic configuration updates, allowing for more granular control over the behavior of the service mesh. Linkerd, while also providing some configuration options, aims for simplicity and ease of use, making it more suitable for developers who prefer a simpler configuration model.

  3. Protocol Support: Envoy offers support for a wide range of protocols, including HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2, gRPC, and TCP. This makes Envoy a more versatile option for environments where multiple protocols need to be supported. Linkerd primarily focuses on HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2, making it a suitable choice for applications that primarily rely on these protocols.

  4. Ecosystem and Community: Envoy has a larger ecosystem and community support compared to Linkerd. Being one of the key components of the Istio service mesh, Envoy benefits from the extensive adoption and contributions from various organizations. Linkerd, while also having an active community, may have a smaller ecosystem and fewer integrations compared to Envoy.

  5. Health Checking and Load Balancing: Envoy incorporates advanced health checking and load balancing algorithms to ensure the availability and optimal distribution of requests among services. It supports various load balancing methods like round-robin, least-connection, and more. Linkerd also provides health checking and load balancing capabilities but may not have the same level of advanced features as Envoy.

  6. Service Discovery: Envoy includes native service discovery capabilities that integrate with popular discovery services like Kubernetes, Consul, and Eureka. It can automatically discover services and configure routing accordingly. Linkerd also provides service discovery mechanisms, but may not have the same level of integration and support for different discovery services as Envoy.

In summary, Envoy and Linkerd have key differences in terms of performance, configuration flexibility, protocol support, ecosystem/community, health checking/load balancing, and service discovery capabilities. Choosing between Envoy and Linkerd depends on specific requirements, such as scalability needs, protocol support, and preference for a comprehensive ecosystem or simplicity.

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Pros of Envoy
Pros of linkerd
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    CNCF Project
  • 1
    Service Mesh
  • 1
    Fast Integration
  • 1
    Pre-check permissions
  • 1
    Light Weight

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What is Envoy?

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.

What is linkerd?

linkerd is an out-of-process network stack for microservices. It functions as a transparent RPC proxy, handling everything needed to make inter-service RPC safe and sane--including load-balancing, service discovery, instrumentation, and routing.

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What companies use Envoy?
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Blog Posts

May 6 2020 at 6:34AM


What are some alternatives to Envoy and linkerd?
Istio is an open platform for providing a uniform way to integrate microservices, manage traffic flow across microservices, enforce policies and aggregate telemetry data. Istio's control plane provides an abstraction layer over the underlying cluster management platform, such as Kubernetes, Mesos, etc.
nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 30.46% of the top million busiest sites in Jan 2018.
Trailblazer is a thin layer on top of Rails. It gently enforces encapsulation, an intuitive code structure and gives you an object-oriented architecture. In a nutshell: Trailblazer makes you write logicless models that purely act as data objects, don't contain callbacks, nested attributes, validations or domain logic. It removes bulky controllers and strong_parameters by supplying additional layers to hold that code and completely replaces helpers.
HAProxy (High Availability Proxy) is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications.
A modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes deploying microservices easy. Traefik integrates with your existing infrastructure components and configures itself automatically and dynamically.
See all alternatives