HCP Consul is a fully managed Service Mesh as a Service (SMaaS) version of Consul brought to you by HashiCorp. HCP Consul reduces your time to value for Consul by offloading the installation and configuration of the Consul control plane to the HashiCorp Cloud Platform. This allows you to start using Consul for service discovery and service mesh capabilities with less setup time.
The core use cases of Consul are:
- Multi-cloud service mesh which provides:
- Application networking and security with identity-based authorization
- L7 traffic management
- Service-to-service encryption
- Service discovery with Consul DNS
- Health checking to automatically remove services that fail health checks
To learn more about Consul's use cases and core features, review our Get Started collection.
»Managed Consul with HCP
You can leverage HCP Consul to provision HashiCorp-managed Consul servers directly through the HCP portal, enabling you to quickly take advantage of Consul’s capabilities within Amazon EKS, ECS, and EC2 application environments.
To learn more about HCP Consul features, pricing, and frequency asked questions, check out our HCP Pricing and FAQ page.
Consul agents can run in one of two modes: server or client. The set of server agents are what constitute the control plane. Consul servers are critical to datacenter operations. The servers are responsible for storing state and responding to requests. The data that is stored on the servers includes the service registrations for Consul DNS, key-value data, and authorization information for services in the mesh.
A client agent is a light-weight process that exists on every node where services are deployed. The set of client agents is what is referred to as the data plane. While using HCP Consul, you are still responsible for deploying Consul clients and connecting them to your managed-HCP Consul servers.
A Consul datacenter includes the HCP Consul cluster and all the connected Consul clients.
When you initiate a push-button deployment of HCP Consul, you end up with a set of fully managed Consul servers called a HCP Consul cluster. They are pre-configured to be highly-available and ready for production.
Below is a diagram of HCP Consul servers connected to Consul clients running in an Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) cluster.
Continue learning about HCP Consul in development with this introduction series, or visit this deployment collection to learn how to deploy a production-ready Consul datacenter with clients and managed-HCP Consul servers.
Or, you can get hands-on experience with one of the other Get Started tutorials for Consul on the other supported platforms.