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Docker and Kubernetes both immediately made sense to me when I found them. They both obviously addressed pain points I've had before and were easily recognizable to me. (Docker lets me share server applications with their environment, and Kubernetes makes sure I always have N replicas of that Docker image running on my hosts.) What are the short and sweet issues that service meshes and control planes each solve? I see a bunch of things listed on Kuma's page, but I thought those were what service meshes did.

If you have one service trying to communicate with another service but you want to have reporting, it seems to me that something like Kuma sits in between the services and feeds information back to a central place to see how much communication is happening, without each service needing to build in its own reporting. Ex. Is my website and my redis service communicating and how much?

The short and sweet issue is that they improve connectivity between applications and all connectivity oriented issues (tracing, versioning, load balancing, etc) without having us—the developers—write any code for it.

I get that control planes and service meshes both have something to do with these issues, but I'm confused about which one does what exactly.

The control plane is an API server that distributes configurations to lightweight proxies (Envoy, in this case), also known as the data plane.

If you think about it Kubernetes concepts, the control plane is the API server and the data plane are all of the "kubelet", or worker, nodes

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