July 16, 2020 By Ram Vennam 3 min read

We’re excited to announce that Istio version 1.6 is now available for the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service managed Istio add-on.

Istio 1.6

This release of Istio comes with simplifications to the control plane with istiod, added debug tools with istioctlWorkloadEntry for joining VM workloads to the mesh, Secure Gateway (SDS), and more. For a more thorough list of new features and changes, check out the release announcement blog and version 1.6 change notes.

Istio add-on customization

After you install the Istio add-on, you can customize a set of Istio configuration options via a config map. These options include extra control over monitoring, logging, and networking in your control plane and service mesh. Use these options to enable envoy access logs, set the outbound traffic policy, enable monitoring dashboards (Prometheus, Grafana, Jaeger, and Kiali), and configure private and HA gateways (beta). For a full list of options, see the documentation.

TLS with ingress traffic

The combination of IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service NLB DNS capabilities and Istio Secure Gateways greatly simplifies the configuration and management of Istio ingress gateway TLS certificates for SSL termination of single and multiple hosts.

IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service provides DNS domain names and matching TLS certificates for clusters. These certificates are stored in a Kubernetes secret in your desired namespace, and IBM keeps them up to date. With Istio Secure Gateway with SDS, Gateway resources can now specify the location of the Kubernetes secret that holds the TLS certs. 

For example, to create a new NLB DNS subdomain and secret with the certificates, run the following command:

ibmcloud ks nlb-dns create classic \
    --ip $GATEWAY_IP \
    --cluster $CLUSTER_NAME \
    --secret-namespace istio-system

Next, configure the Istio Gateway resource to use the certificate:

apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
kind: Gateway
  name: my-gateway
    istio: ingressgateway
  - port:
      number: 443
      name: https
      protocol: HTTPS
      mode: SIMPLE
      credentialName: SECRET_NAME # replace with secret name
    - "*"

That’s it! No need to manually update the certs, rename or move secrets, or restart anything. To configure an additional host, you can create NLB DNS subdomain, matching secret, and a new Gateway resource.


IBM Cloud Monitoring with Sysdig is a managed monitoring service that provides operational visibility into the performance and health of applications, services, and infrastructure. For your IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service clusters, it provides out-of-the-box dashboards and alerts for nodes, namespaces, services, deployments, pods, and more. It also integrates with the Istio add-on by automatically scraping merged user application and Istio metrics. Check out the built-in Istio Overview and Service Dashboards:

More information

Check out our documentation to get started with Istio on the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service

If you have any questions or have any feedback to share, please engage our team via Slack by registering here and join the discussion in the #general or #managed_istio_knative channels on our public IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service Slack.

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