Playgrounds Cloud

Consul Datacenter 3-node Playground

Get access to the Consul Datacenter 3-node playground with one click

Welcome to the Consul DataCenter 3-node playground.

This is the perfect place to experiment with Consul without having to worry about setting up complicated software.

What is Consul?

HashiCorp has several infrastructure management products. Consul is one of them. It is a tool for providing service discovery, securing network communication, and health checking for microservices in a distributed system. 

An application built using the microservices architectural pattern consists of small, independent services that each perform a specific, narrowly defined function. For example, an e-commerce application might have a microservice for managing the product catalog, another for handling user accounts and authentication, and another for managing the shopping cart and checkout process.

In the context of Consul, a distributed system refers to a network of interconnected services, deployed across multiple nodes. 

A good analogy for Consul is a phone directory or directory assistance service. Just as you would use a phone directory to look up the phone number of a person or business, you can use Consul to look up the address and other details of a service on your network. Consul also provides other features, such as health checking and secure networking, which are similar to the additional services that directory assistance might offer (e.g. verifying that a phone number is still in service, or verifying your identity before giving sensitive information like unlisted members).

Consul Control Plane

Consul provides a control plane that allows you to register, query and secure the services that make up your application. You add services to the Consul catalog, which is a central registry that lets services automatically discover each other.

The control plane contains one or more datacenters. A datacenter, also referred to as a cluster, is the smallest unit of Consul infrastructure that can perform basic Consul operations. A datacenter contains at least one Consul server agent and several Consul client agents

Consul server agents store all state information, including service and node IP addresses, health checks, and configuration. Consul client agents manage communication between service instances, their sidecar proxies, and the servers. They also report node and service health status to the Consul datacenter.

Consul Features

Some of the key features of Consul include:

  • Service discovery: Consul makes it easy for services to register themselves with the cluster and for other services to discover and communicate with them. This allows services to find each other and work together without needing to hardcode addresses or other configuration details.
  • Health checking: Consul can perform regular health checks on services to verify that they are functioning correctly. If a service becomes unhealthy, Consul can alert you and take action (e.g. by routing traffic away from it).
  • Key-value storage: Consul provides a key-value store that can be used to store and retrieve configuration data or other information that needs to be shared across your network. This is useful for storing things like database connection strings, API keys, or other sensitive data.

Playground Features

This playground comes with a three-node setup: one Consul server agent and two Consul client agents. To list the nodes that are members of the Consul cluster, run the command consul members.

Playground Notes

Please note that you can use the playground for 1 hour. If required, you can extend the usage by 15 minutes by clicking on the icon next to the timer icon. 

So dive in and see what Consul can do for you. Have fun!


Interested in expanding your Consul skills? Take a look at the following course: