Funamentally, I look at Envoy + Istio, or what Azure provides inside Service Fabric, and I don’t see the ability to achieve the majority of those features through serverless platforms in AWS, Azure, or GCP. I can build a service myself (using serverless architecture) to provide those features, but what I want is the serverless platform (for me, AWS) to provide the service mesh (discovery, incremental rollouts, circuit breaking, etc.), and at lower levels than needing an API Gateway per microservice.

Just to be clear, using an API Gateway per microservice does not provide the features of a service mesh today anyway, and I also don’t want API Gateway to be the focus of such features.

There are two reasons I don’t want to use an API Gateway in front of every microservice. The first is performance: it introduces latency without providing much inherent benefit. The reason there is little inherent benefit is the second reason: that within my application, everything understands AWS resources anyway, so the benefit of an HTTP API is reduced. It’d be great to have a way to communicate the expected input format for a Lambda, but for internal invocations that’s more documentation than anything else.

I’ve already accepted a large amount of vendor lock-in by virtue of building a serverless application dependent on the FaaS and SaaS services in the platform — and, as I’ve argued, this lock-in should not be seen as troublesome. But the lock-in means that inside the system, I don’t need to abstract over the details of the platform.

API Gateways, to me, are useful exactly as gateways: entry points for external clients to access the system, whether that’s an IoT device, a mobile app, a web client, or a 3rd party application. And for those clients, I want to present a single endpoint to access. If every microservice is fronted by its own API Gateway, that means putting another API Gateway in front of those, adding additional latency.

Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at @iRobot

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