Using Istio with Kubernetes

In this adventure, we’ll add Istio to the Kubernetes cluster running our core game services, to see what it does and how it works. So we don’t make a mess of our configration with, and without, Istio, we’ll be using automatic sidecar injection.


  • A cluster configured and working with GO!, per Running with Kubernetes

    $ eval $(./ env)  # set script aliases
  • A kubernetes cluster that supports Automatic sidecar injection.

    • For minikube that means version v0.25.0 or later, and a few more parameters at startup:

      minikube start \
        --extra-config=controller-manager.ClusterSigningCertFile="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.crt" \
        --extra-config=controller-manager.ClusterSigningKeyFile="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.key" \
        --extra-config=apiserver.Admission.PluginNames=NamespaceLifecycle,LimitRanger,ServiceAccount,PersistentVolumeLabel,DefaultStorageClass,DefaultTolerationSeconds,MutatingAdmissionWebhook,ValidatingAdmissionWebhook,ResourceQuota \
        --kubernetes-version=v1.9.0 \
        --memory 8192

Download and install the latest Istio release

Please follow the instructions, Istio Quick Start, to get Istio mesh installed on Kubernetes.

The TL;DR version of installing the latest Istio release:

$ curl -L | sh -
$ cd istio-0.5.1              # Adjust as needed
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH  # add istioctl to path

Add Istio to the Kubernetes cluster

The following commands assume you’re in the directory created when you installed istio (e.g. istio-0.0.1 as shown above).

  1. Make sure our services are stopped:

    $ go-run down
  2. Install Istio’s core components to the cluster

    $ kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/istio.yaml

    Note: We are not enabling mutual TLS authentication between sidecars in this walkthrough.

    If you are using minikube and encounter errors like the following, wait a few moments, and try the above command again.

    unable to recognize ".../install/kubernetes/istio.yaml": no matches for, Kind=attributemanifest
    unable to recognize ".../install/kubernetes/istio.yaml": no matches for, Kind=stdio
    unable to recognize ".../install/kubernetes/istio.yaml": no matches for, Kind=logentry
    unable to recognize ".../install/kubernetes/istio.yaml": no matches for, Kind=rule
    unable to recognize ".../install/kubernetes/istio.yaml": no matches for, Kind=metric
  3. The Webhooks used for automatic sidecar injection require a signed cert/key pair. For istio versions 0.5.0 and 0.5.1, we have to download the scripts first.

    # Only necessary for istio versions 0.5.0 and 0.5.1
    $ curl > install/kubernetes/
    $ curl > install/kubernetes/
    $ chmod +x install/kubernetes/webhook-*.sh
    1. Generate a cert/key pair signed by the Kubernetes’ CA. The resulting cert/key file is stored as a Kubernetes secret.

      $ ./install/kubernetes/ \
          --service istio-sidecar-injector \
          --namespace istio-system \
          --secret sidecar-injector-certs
    2. Install the sidecar injection configmap

      $ kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/istio-sidecar-injector-configmap-release.yaml
    3. Set the caBundle in the webhook install YAML that the Kubernetes api-server uses to invoke the webhook.

      $ cat install/kubernetes/istio-sidecar-injector.yaml | \
           ./install/kubernetes/ > \
    4. Install the sidecar injector webhook.

      $ kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/istio-sidecar-injector-with-ca-bundle.yaml
    5. The sidecar injector webhook should now be running. Let’s check.

      $ kubectl -n istio-system get deployment -listio=sidecar-injector

      We should see something like:

      NAME                     DESIRED   CURRENT   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
      istio-sidecar-injector   1         1         1            1           1d
  4. Ensure the following Kubernetes services are deployed: istio-pilot, istio-mixer, istio-ingress.

    $ kubectl get svc -n istio-system

    You should see something like the following:

    NAME            CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP       PORT(S)                       AGE
    istio-ingress     80:32730/TCP,443:30574/TCP    5h
    istio-pilot   <none>            8080/TCP,8081/TCP             5h
    istio-mixer   <none>            9091/TCP,9094/TCP,42422/TCP   5h

    If your cluster is running in an environment that does not support an external load balancer (e.g., minikube), the EXTERNAL-IP of istio-ingress says <pending>.

  5. Ensure the corresponding Kubernetes pods are deployed and all containers are up and running: istio-pilot-, istio-mixer-, istio-ingress-, istio-ca-, and istio-sidecar-injector-*.

    $ kubectl get pods -n istio-system

    You should see something like the following:

    istio-ca-3657790228-j21b9                1/1       Running   0          5h
    istio-ingress-1842462111-j3vcs           1/1       Running   0          5h
    istio-sidecar-injector-184129454-zdgf5   1/1       Running   0          5h
    istio-pilot-2275554717-93c43             1/1       Running   0          5h
    istio-mixer-2104784889-20rm8             2/2       Running   0          5h

Bring up Game On! with injected sidecars

  1. Install Game On! into the cluster. The namespace we create has a specific label: istio-injection=enabled. (If you look around line 80 in k8s-functions, you can verify this will be true).

    $ go-run setup
    $ go-run up
  2. Verify the gameon-system namespace is istio enabled

    $ kubectl get namespace -L istio-injection

    You should see something like the following:

    NAME            STATUS    AGE       ISTIO-INJECTION
    default         Active    2h
    gameon-system   Active    25s       enabled
    istio-system    Active    2h
    kube-public     Active    2h
    kube-system     Active    2h
  3. Every running pod will now have an Envoy sidecar alongside

    $ kubectl -n gameon-system get pod

    You should see something like the following:

    NAME                        READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    auth-6ff7cb5d64-5gqnz       2/2       Running   0          5m
    couchdb-5bff8bbf86-vq4qs    2/2       Running   0          5m
    kafka-75f85f7b8b-nx7q4      2/2       Running   0          5m
    map-76f67598c8-2fmbh        2/2       Running   0          5m
    mediator-55d99f4f99-s52dz   2/2       Running   0          5m
    player-6cf9f569f8-k2mlt     2/2       Running   0          5m
    room-5785cb49c-lbq59        2/2       Running   0          5m
    swagger-5f55bbb7b-4xhk2     2/2       Running   0          5m
    webapp-7457645659-j2tkl     2/2       Running   0          5m
  4. Turn it off and back on again: Sidecar injection occurs at pod creation time.

    1. Let’s kill the running pod and verify a new pod is created without the injected sidecar.

      $ kubectl label namespace gameon-system istio-injection-
      $ kubectl -n gameon-system delete pod <choose from list of pods>
      $ kubectl -n gameon-system get pod
    2. Within a few seconds, you should see something like the following (I chose webapp-7457645659-j2tkl from my previous list of pods)

      NAME                        READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
      auth-6ff7cb5d64-5gqnz       2/2       Running   0          16m
      couchdb-5bff8bbf86-vq4qs    2/2       Running   0          16m
      kafka-75f85f7b8b-nx7q4      2/2       Running   0          16m
      map-76f67598c8-2fmbh        2/2       Running   0          16m
      mediator-55d99f4f99-s52dz   2/2       Running   0          16m
      player-6cf9f569f8-k2mlt     2/2       Running   0          16m
      room-5785cb49c-lbq59        2/2       Running   0          16m
      swagger-5f55bbb7b-4xhk2     2/2       Running   0          16m
      webapp-7457645659-h7mb5     1/1       Running   0          1m

      Notice that when webapp restarted, it was not restarted with a sidecar, hence its 1/1 READY status.

    3. Re-enable Istio sidecar injection

      $ kubectl label namespace gameon-system istio-injection=enabled
      $ kubectl -n gameon-system delete pod <pod without sidecar>
      $ kubectl -n gameon-system get pod

      Once all pods are back to 2/2 READY state, it’s time to move on to the [next adventure with Istio].

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