An Overview of HashiCorp Consul

Learn about Consul's core use cases.


  • Jake Lundberg
    Jake LundbergField CTO, HashiCorp


Hi, I'm Jake Lundberg from the solutions engineering group at HashiCorp. One question we often get is, what is Consul? I'm going to talk through what Consul is and how to think about it within your environment.

The core use cases for Consul are typically service registry and health monitoring, networking, and middleware automation, as well as zero trust networking and service mesh capabilities.

It’s important to realize that Consul is system and platform agnostic, which means that it easily integrates with any of your existing toolsets. If you're running anywhere from your mainframe systems to bare metal, VMs, containers—or even into serverless networks—Consul will work for you. It easily integrates with the existing application scheduling platforms like HashiCorp Nomad, and Kubernetes.

Consul’s broad ecosystem

Like all of HashiCorp tools, Consul follows the concept of workflows, not technology, which means that it integrates very easily with any of the platforms that you run your applications on.

So be it anywhere from a mainframe to advanced container scheduling platforms such as HashiCorp Nomad or Kubernetes, Consul allows you to do any of its core use cases within any of those platforms.

Consul’s architecture

At its core or Consul is designed to be highly secure, highly scalable, and fault-tolerant. It can support client counts up to tens of thousands of nodes and is tested at around 50,000 nodes by some very large Web-scale customers.

A unified networking solution

It works within your LAN environments. If you have localized LAN environments in which you have all of your applications running, it works very well there but it can also extend into WAN environments.

WAN Federation

As a brief overview of some of the technology analogs that we have for Consul, we'll discuss some of its various capabilities and other likenesses. Consul fills the space for similar technologies and concepts like DNS, load balancers, firewalls, routers—specifically at Layer 4 and Layer 7—some proxies and high-value key-value stores.

Lastly, it can be used as a distributed lock manager in applications that need distributed locking external to the application frameworks themselves. Overall, Consul is a great choice for people looking for a unified networking solution for increasingly complex application delivery systems.

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