HCP Consul Central overview
This topic provides an overview for using HCP Consul Central, the hosted management plane service available through HCP Consul. HCP Consul Central is an interface that centralizes global management operations across all Consul clusters. It provides global visibility and control for both HashiCorp-managed and self-managed Consul clusters, even when you deploy services in multiple cloud environments and regions.
For an explanation of what HCP Consul Central is and the benefits it provides, refer to HCP Consul Central.
To link self-managed Consul clusters to HCP Consul Central, your clusters must run Consul v1.14.3 or later. Refer to Upgrade clusters on HCP Consul if the cluster you want to use runs an older version of Consul.
Some HCP Consul Central features have additional version requirements. Refer to the following table for details.
|HCP Consul Central feature||Required Consul versions|
|Observability dashboard||Consul v1.15.3+|
|Service metrics||Consul v1.15.5 or v1.16.1+|
|Cluster peering management||Consul v1.14+|
Some HCP Consul Central features are not available for clusters running the community edition of Consul. Refer to trial account for more information about accessing these features for a 90 day trial.
To get started with HCP Consul Central, sign in to the HCP portal. Then, select Consul.
HCP displays HCP Consul Central's Consul overview as the landing page when you enter an organization's HCP Consul environment. For more information about the contents of this page, as well as the other views and workflows that HCP Consul Central provides, refer to Global network views.
When you use HCP Consul to create HashiCorp-managed clusters, they automatically connect to HCP Consul Central. You can create HashiCorp-managed clusters with Terraform, or you can create them manually using the UI workflow. Refer to Create a HashiCorp-managed cluster for more information.
For step-by-step instructions on deploying HashiCorp-managed clusters, refer to the deploy HCP Consul tutorial.
HCP Consul Central also supports self-managed Consul clusters that you install, configure, and manage yourself. Linking self-managed clusters to HCP Consul can help you streamline network operations while maintaining control over your clusters.
You can use HCP Consul to create new self-managed clusters on VMs or Kubernetes that link automatically, or you can link an existing cluster that is already deployed to a cloud or on-prem environment. For more information, refer to Link self-managed clusters with HCP Consul overview.
By default, the code you copy from HCP includes a
-demo flag. This flag deploys the HashiCups application so that you can view HCP Consul Central features in action immediately. If you prefer not to install the sample app, remove the
-demo flag before you run the command.
To access the HashiCups app on Kubernetes, run the following command to make it accessible in a browser at
$ kubectl port-forward service/nginx 8080:80
To remove the demo app after installation without uninstalling Consul on Kubernetes, run the following CLI command:
$ helm delete consul-demo -n consul
You can use HCP Consul Central to view information about both HashiCorp-managed and self-managed clusters, including their current health and registered services. In addition, HCP Consul Central provides simplified workflows for creating and managing cluster peering connections, as well as updating the version of HashiCorp-managed clusters.
For more information about the information provided by HCP Consul Central, refer to global network views.
For clusters running Consul v1.16 or later, HCP Consul Central provides an observability dashboard. This dashboard visualizes server and proxy metrics for both HashiCorp-managed and self-managed clusters to provide insights into Consul’s operations when monitoring or debugging your network’s performance.
The observability dashboard requires the deployment of an automated telemetry collector that gathers server and proxy metrics. Refer to Deploy the Consul telemetry collector for more information about how and when to deploy the collector manually.
For more information about the observability dashboard, including examples of the visualizations it provides and the specific telemetry metrics used to generate the dashboard, refer to Consul observability.