Salt Security is tackling the security challenges of today’s API-dependent applications. API requests can represent tens of thousands of opportunities per second for attacks or PII exposure. To combat these risks, Salt runs AI and ML against its customers’ API metadata to stop threats. With traffic constantly ingested, platform effectiveness stands or falls on engineers’ ability to minimize downtime. 

Rapid growth triggers backward-compatibility issues

When Salt Security began growing rapidly, the nature of messages between services started to change, triggering backward-compatibility issues. To ensure changes to API calls wouldn’t cause system problems, the Salt platform team adopted gRPC, a CNCF-hosted RPC framework. However, a problem remained: gRPC requests use HTTP/2, which the native TPC load balancing of Kubernetes — on which Salt’s microserves are built — cannot effectively balance. Salt’s microservices are replicated for load balancing and high availability; distributing cross-service communication between replicas was critical. 

Salt adopts Linkerd for load balancing, unpacks multiple benefits

The team researched solutions, and gravitated towards Linkerd — a fast, lightweight service mesh, and another CNCF project. They were wowed by its easy implementation, deploying it in their dev environment within hours of finding it online. In just three days, it was running in production. They then began migrating their services to gRPC and adding them to the service mesh. 

From this point, Salt realized multiple happy side effects of Linkerd besides gRPC load balancing. For example, Linkerd ensures all service-to service messages are encrypted, providing stronger security for clusters.  It also provides real-time insights into the traffic layer, so the team can stay a step ahead of potential issues. Plus, Linkerd’s latest gRPC retry feature ensures breif network errors don’t look like hard failures, preventing needless, time-consuming investigations. 

In fact, the team found that Linkerd is not just a tool for production. Featuring the same monitoring and visibility capabilities as logging, metrics and, tracing platforms, it is now a tool in Salt’s development stack to prevent in-production issues.

Linkered proved its value recently when Salt increased traffic by 10x with no issues. Initially adopted to solve a single problem, Linkerd has boosted efficiency, reliability, performance, and security within Salt. 

“After only one week of work, we experienced tangible results.” – Omri Zamir, Senior Software Engineer at Salt 

Read more in the case study!