What Is AWS App Mesh? - AWS App Mesh

What Is AWS App Mesh?

AWS App Mesh is a service mesh that makes it easy to monitor and control services. A service mesh is an infrastructure layer dedicated to handling service-to-service communication, usually through an array of lightweight network proxies deployed alongside the application code. App Mesh standardizes how your services communicate, giving you end-to-end visibility and helping to ensure high availability for your applications. App Mesh gives you consistent visibility and network traffic controls for every service in an application.

Adding App Mesh to an example application

Consider the following simple example application that doesn’t use App Mesh. The two services can be running on AWS Fargate, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Kubernetes on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, or on Amazon EC2 instances with Docker.

In this illustration, both serviceA and serviceB are discoverable through the apps.local namespace. Let's say, for example, you decide to deploy a new version of serviceb.apps.local named servicebv2.apps.local. Next, you want to direct a percentage of the traffic from servicea.apps.local to serviceb.apps.local and a percentage to servicebv2.apps.local. When you're sure that servicebv2 is performing well, you want to send 100 percent of the traffic to it.

App Mesh can help you do this without changing any application code or registered service names. If you use App Mesh with this example application, then your mesh might look like the following illustration.

In this configuration, the services no longer communicate with each other directly. Instead, they communicate with each other through a proxy. The proxy deployed with the servicea.apps.local service reads the App Mesh configuration and sends traffic to serviceb.apps.local or servicebv2.apps.local based on the configuration.

Components of App Mesh

App Mesh is made up of the following components, illustrated in the previous example:

  • Service mesh – A service mesh is a logical boundary for network traffic between the services that reside within it. In the example, the mesh is named apps, and it contains all other resources for the mesh. For more information, see Service Meshes.

  • Virtual services – A virtual service is an abstraction of an actual service that is provided by a virtual node, directly or indirectly, by means of a virtual router. In the illustration, two virtual services represent the two actual services. The names of the virtual services are the discoverable names of the actual services. When a virtual service and an actual service have the same name, multiple services can communicate with each other using the same names that they used before App Mesh was implemented. For more information, see Virtual services.

  • Virtual nodes – A virtual node acts as a logical pointer to a discoverable service, such as an Amazon ECS or Kubernetes service. For each virtual service, you will have at least one virtual node. In the illustration, the servicea.apps.local virtual service gets configuration information for the virtual node named serviceA. The serviceA virtual node is configured with the servicea.apps.local name for service discovery. The serviceb.apps.local virtual service is configured to route traffic to the serviceB and serviceBv2 virtual nodes through a virtual router named serviceB. For more information, see Virtual nodes.

  • Virtual routers and routes – Virtual routers handle traffic for one or more virtual services within your mesh. A route is associated to a virtual router. The route is used to match requests for the virtual router and to distribute traffic to its associated virtual nodes. In the previous illustration, the serviceB virtual router has a route that directs a percentage of traffic to the serviceB virtual node, and a percentage of traffic to the serviceBv2 virtual node. You can set the percentage of traffic routed to a particular virtual node and change it over time. You can route traffic based on criteria such as HTTP headers, URL paths, or gRPC service and method names. You can configure retry policies to retry a connection if there is an error in the response. For example, in the illustration, the retry policy for the route can specify that a connection to serviceb.apps.local is retried five times, with ten seconds between retry attempts, if serviceb.apps.local returns specific types of errors. For more information, see Virtual routers and Routes.

  • Proxy – You configure your services to use the proxy after you create your mesh and its resources. The proxy reads the App Mesh configuration and directs traffic appropriately. In the illustration, all communication from servicea.apps.local to serviceb.apps.local goes through the proxy deployed with each service. The services communicate with each other using the same service discovery names that they used before introducing App Mesh. Because the proxy reads the App Mesh configuration, you can control how the two services communicate with each other. When you want change the App Mesh configuration, you don’t need to change or redeploy the services themselves or the proxies. For more information, see Envoy image.

How to get started

To use App Mesh you must have an existing service running on AWS Fargate, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, Kubernetes on Amazon EC2, or Amazon EC2 with Docker.

To get started with App Mesh, see one of the following guides:

Accessing App Mesh

You can work with App Mesh in the following ways:

AWS Management Console

The console is a browser-based interface that you can use to manage App Mesh resources. You can open the App Mesh console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/appmesh/.


Provides commands for a broad set of AWS products, and is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux. To get started, see AWS Command Line Interface User Guide. For more information about the commands for App Mesh, see appmesh in the AWS CLI Command Reference.

AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell

Provides commands for a broad set of AWS products for those who script in the PowerShell environment. To get started, see the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell User Guide. For more information about the cmdlets for App Mesh, see App Mesh in the AWS Tools for PowerShell Cmdlet Reference.

AWS CloudFormation

Enables you to create a template that describes all of the AWS resources that you want. Using the template, AWS CloudFormation provisions and configures the resources for you. To get started, see AWS CloudFormation User Guide. For more information about the App Mesh resource types, see App Mesh Resource Type Reference in the AWS CloudFormation Template Reference.


We also provide SDKs that enable you to access App Mesh from a variety of programming languages. The SDKs automatically take care of tasks such as:

  • Cryptographically signing your service requests

  • Retrying requests

  • Handling error responses

For more information about available SDKs, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.

For more information about the App Mesh APIs, see the AWS App Mesh API Reference.