Microsoft turns to Linkerd cluster management for delivery of Xbox Cloud Gaming services

Microsoft turns to Linkerd cluster management for delivery of Xbox Cloud Gaming services

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Microsoft recently disclosed that 10 million users had given Xbox Game Pass a try. What those cloud gaming customers may not have realized is that they used a light, fast service mesh to check out the new technology.

The services powering Xbox Cloud Gaming are massive, with nearly 30 Kubernetes clusters spread across multiple Azure regions. That adds up to 22,000 pods, and every one of them is secured using Linkerd, an open-source service mesh that allows applications to communicate with each other. This has allowed Microsoft to manage the often difficult process of certificate deployment to support network security.

“With Linkerd, it’s nice because we aren’t having to worry about how this certificate is being inserted in the right node,” said Christoper Voss (pictured), senior software engineer at Microsoft. “When we spin up our clusters, we get the route certificate and everything packaged up, passed along to Linkerd on installation, and there’s not much we have to do after that.”

Voss spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Keith Townsend and Enrico Sogonretti at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed how Microsoft is using Linkerd and unexpected benefits from the open-source tool. (* Disclosure below.)

Surge of interest

As organizations continue to increase Kubernetes adoption, there are signs that Linkerd is taking the lead in service mesh market share. A recent Cloud Native Computing Foundation survey found that Linkerd had surged in front of Istio in the prime geographic markets of North America, Europe and Asia.

Microsoft was looking for a solution that would lessen the burden on developers to administrate the certificate process, according to Voss.

“Previously, we had our own solution for managing TLS certificates, and we found it to be pretty painful pretty quickly,” Voss said. “We wanted something that was a little bit more abstracted away from the developer, things that allowed us to move quickly. Linkerd just perfectly fit exactly what we needed.”

Kubernetes uses requests and limits to control resources in a cluster, such as CPU and memory. Voss’ team also found that the open-source service mesh provided an additional benefit in overall Kubernetes management.

“I found that we were saving time off of requests,” Voss noted. “It makes sense; there’s the availability zone routing that Linkerd supports. It adds up after 10-20 calls down the line. It’s pretty light touch once it’s up and running.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe event:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe event. Neither the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the sponsor of this segment, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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