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What is Consul? The simple explanation you desire

by Maciej Osuch
December 12. 2018

Not so long time ago, a company called HashiCorp had introduced an advanced distributed network called Consul. Just like a consul in real life, this technology allows for connecting, securing and servicing websites (analogously to citizens spending their time abroad) on any executive platform, public or private (foreign country).

It's a fully open environment with an active and continually growing community, concentrated around Consul.

Are you looking for a safe place with the basic information you need? You're in the right place, friend!

 

I'm sure you're going to love Consul. Why? First, it's insane how nice and easy managing the platform is. No surprise as the interface itself is both simple and clearIt also provides a ledger of all running nodes and services, including their current "health state". What does it mean? You can monitor them in the real time.

Thank these features you, the platform operator, can understand the environment, applications, and tools necessary to automation. This way you have a chance to interact with the dynamic infrastructure using web interface. How cool is that?

 


 

 

 

Consul allows for the automatic service detection using a built-in internal DNS server. With this badass tool, you can easily integrate existing applications. How? Almost every application accepts DNS usage for resolving an IP address. When you replace DNS with a static IP, you can scale the services mentioned earlier.

 

What about TLS certificates? Consul can generate them to set mutual TLS connections. You can use intentions to define what services can communicate. The services or their parts can be easily managed with intentions, which you can change in the real time, instead of using complicated network topology and static rules of fire barrage.

 

As I mentioned before, Consul makes a web interface available to manage the distributed network efficiently. Now prepare for something awesome! Through Consul, you can send requests to the service ledger for nodes and services to get the information about their condition. The web interface also blocks requests or long-polls in case of any changes on the network.

Thanks to this feature, automatization tools react when you register a new service or existing ones change their state. The final effect? Consul can modify configurations in the real time.

 

Consul is available for all the leading platforms and operating systems. You can download it from the producer's website. The active Consul community develops many helpful tools, from Java services support to service registry bridges. HashiCorp created a list of both their tools and the ones made by the users. Fossick for your favorite plugin here.

 

 

What’s next?

Stay tuned, next time you’re going to inspect basic and advanced Consul architecture as well as essential configuration. No bull, all the possible knowledge!

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