Enable Istio with IBM Cloud Private

Istio is an open platform that you can use to connect, secure, control, and observe microservices. With Istio, you can create a network of deployed services that include load balancing, service-to-service authentication, monitoring, and more, without changing the service code.

Limitation: Istio does not support Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). For more information, see FIPS 140-2 encryption using Istio Opens in a new tab. Istio is disabled by default in the Cloud Foundry Enterprise Environment installer.

To add Istio support to services, you must deploy a special sidecar proxy throughout your environment, which intercepts all network communication between microservices, configured and managed, by using the control plane functionality provided in Istio.

IBM Cloud Private version 3.2.1 supports two methods to enable Istio. You can choose to enable Istio during cluster installation or install Istio chart from the Catalog after cluster installation. Istio fully supports Linux®, Linux® on Power® (ppc64le), and Linux® on IBM® Z and LinuxONE platforms.

Enabling Istio during cluster installation

Note: You must have a minimum of 8 cores on your management node.

To enable Istio, change the value of the istio parameter to enabled in the list of management services in the config.yaml file. You might set the parameter as it is displayed in the following example:

management_services:
  istio: enabled
  vulnerability-advisor: disabled
  storage-glusterfs: disabled
  storage-minio: disabled

You can install IBM Cloud Private. Istio is installed during your IBM Cloud Private cluster installation.

Note: If you enabled selinux for IBM Cloud Private nodes, you need to enable privileged permission for Istio sidecar by adding the following section to the config.yaml:

istio:
  global:
    proxy:
      privileged: true

Enabling Istio Kiali, Grafana, and Prometheus during cluster installation

To enable Kiali, Grafana and Prometheus, first, enable Istio. Then, add the following code to the config.yaml file:

istio:
  kiali:
    enabled: true
  grafana:
    enabled: true
  prometheus:
    enabled: true

Installing Istio for an existing cluster

Note: IBM Cloud Private 3.2.1 cluster supports the ibm-istio chart version 1.0.x, 1.1.x and 1.2.x. The ibm-istio 1.2.x charts are now available in the ibm-charts repository: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/IBM/charts/master/repo/stable/.

You can deploy Istio if you already have an IBM Cloud Private 3.2.1 cluster installed. To install from the IBM Cloud Private management console, click Catalog and search for the ibm-istio chart.

  1. If you are enabling Grafana with security mode, create the secret first by following the procedure:

    1. Encode the username by running the following command, you can change the username:

      echo -n 'admin' | base64
      YWRtaW4=
      
    2. Encode the passphrase by running the following command, you can change the passphrase:

      echo -n 'admin' | base64
      YWRtaW4=
      
    3. Set the namespace to where Istio is installed by running the following command:

      NAMESPACE=istio-system
      
    4. Create a secret for Grafana by running the following command:

      cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
      apiVersion: v1
      kind: Secret
      metadata:
       name: grafana
       namespace: $NAMESPACE
       labels:
         app: grafana
      type: Opaque
      data:
       username: YWRtaW4=
       passphrase: YWRtaW4=
      EOF
      
  2. If you are enabling kiali, you also need to create the secret that contains the username and passphrase for the Kiali dashboard. Run the following commands:

    echo -n 'admin' | base64
    YWRtaW4=
    
    echo -n 'admin' | base64
    YWRtaW4=
    
    NAMESPACE=istio-system
    cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    metadata:
      name: kiali
      namespace: $NAMESPACE
      labels:
        app: kiali
    type: Opaque
    data:
      username: YWRtaW4=
      passphrase: YWRtaW4=
    EOF
    
  3. Log in to the IBM Cloud Private management console. To install from the IBM Cloud Private management console, click Menu > Catalog.

  4. You can search for Istio in the Search bar. You can also find Istio from the Filter or from Categories (Operation category). After the search is complete, the ibm-istio chart is displayed.

Note: The ibm-istio chart is hosted in multiple Helm repositories, depending on the version you're installing. If you want to install the ibm-istio 1.0.x or 1.1.x chart, it's only available in the ibm-charts repository. However, if you want to deploy the ibm-istio 1.2.x chart, you can select it from the ibm-charts or mgmt-charts Helm repositories.

  1. Click the ibm-istio chart. A readme file displays information about installing, uninstalling, configuring, and other chart details for Istio.

  2. Click Configure to navigate to the configuration page.

  3. Name your Helm release, select the istio-system as the target namespace and local-cluster as the target cluster from the menu. The name must consist of lowercase alphanumeric characters or dash characters (-), and must start and end with an alphanumeric character.

  4. Be sure to read and agree to the license agreement.

  5. Optional: Customize the All parameters fields to your preference.

  6. Click Install to deploy the Istio chart and create an Istio release.

Enabling Istio CNI for an existing cluster

For application pods in the Istio service mesh, all traffic to and from the pods needs to be intercepted by the sidecar proxies. This Istio CNI plug-in sets up networking for the pods to fulfill this requirement in place of the current NET_ADMIN privileged initContainers container, istio-init, which is injected in the pods along with istio-proxy sidecars. The plug-in removes the need for a privileged NET_ADMIN container in the Istio users' application pods.

Note: Currently, the Istio CNI only supports IPv4.

To enable Istio CNI in your existing cluster, follow the steps:

  1. Install Helm CLI. For more information, see Installing the Helm CLI (helm).

  2. Get the existing values from the values.yaml file by using the following command:

    helm get values istio --tls > istio-old-values.yaml
    
  3. Upgrade the istio chart by using the following command:

    helm upgrade istio <path-to-the-istio-chart> --namespace istio-system --force -f istio-old-values.yaml --set istiocni.enabled=true --tls
    

Enabling tracing for an existing cluster

To enable tracing in your existing cluster, run the following commands:

  1. Install Helm CLI. For more information, see Installing the Helm CLI (helm).

  2. Get the existing values from the values.yaml file.

    helm get values istio --tls > istio-old-values.yaml
    
  3. Upgrade the istio chart.

    helm upgrade istio <path-to-the-istio-chart> --namespace istio-system --force -f istio-old-values.yaml --set tracing.enabled=true --tls
    

Verifying the installation

After installation completes, verify that all the components you enabled for the Istio control plane are created and running:

  1. Ensure that the services are deployed by running the following command to get a list of services:

    kubectl -n istio-system get svc
    

    Note: The following Kubernetes services are mandatory: istio-pilot, istio-ingressgateway, istio-egressgateway, istio-policy, istio-telemetry, istio-citadel, istio-galley, and, optionally, istio-sidecar-injector, prometheus, grafana, jaeger-*, kiali*, tracing, zipkin.

    The output might resemble the following content:

    NAME                       TYPE           CLUSTER-IP   EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)                                                                                                     AGE
    grafana                    ClusterIP      10.0.0.135   <none>        3000/TCP                                                                                                    37m
    istio-citadel              ClusterIP      10.0.0.167   <none>        8060/TCP,9093/TCP                                                                                           37m
    istio-egressgateway        ClusterIP      10.0.0.79    <none>        80/TCP,443/TCP                                                                                              37m
    istio-galley               ClusterIP      10.0.0.70    <none>        443/TCP,9093/TCP                                                                                            37m
    istio-ingressgateway       LoadBalancer   10.0.0.233   <pending>     80:31380/TCP,443:31390/TCP,31400:31400/TCP,15011:30692/TCP,8060:32603/TCP,15030:31295/TCP,15031:31856/TCP   37m
    istio-pilot                ClusterIP      10.0.0.148   <none>        15010/TCP,15011/TCP,8080/TCP,9093/TCP                                                                       37m
    istio-policy               ClusterIP      10.0.0.89    <none>        9091/TCP,15004/TCP,9093/TCP                                                                                 37m
    istio-sidecar-injector     ClusterIP      10.0.0.199   <none>        443/TCP                                                                                                     37m
    istio-telemetry            ClusterIP      10.0.0.140   <none>        9091/TCP,15004/TCP,9093/TCP,42422/TCP                                                                       37m
    jaeger-agent               ClusterIP      None         <none>        5775/UDP,6831/UDP,6832/UDP                                                                                  37m
    jaeger-collector           ClusterIP      10.0.0.102   <none>        14267/TCP,14268/TCP                                                                                         37m
    jaeger-query               ClusterIP      10.0.0.118   <none>        16686/TCP                                                                                                   37m
    kiali                      ClusterIP      10.0.0.177   <none>        20001/TCP                                                                                                   37m
    kiali-jaeger               NodePort       10.0.0.65    <none>        20002:32439/TCP                                                                                             37m
    prometheus                 ClusterIP      10.0.0.200   <none>        9090/TCP                                                                                                    37m
    tracing                    ClusterIP      10.0.0.99    <none>        16686/TCP                                                                                                   37m
    zipkin                     ClusterIP      10.0.0.134   <none>        9411/TCP
    
  2. Ensure that the corresponding Kubernetes pods are deployed and all containers are up. Run the following command:

    kubectl -n istio-system get pods
    

    Note: The following pods are mandatory: istio-pilot-*, istio-ingressgateway-*, istio-egressgateway-*, istio-policy-*, istio-telemetry-*, istio-citadel-*, istio-galley-*, and, optionally, istio-sidecar-injector-*, prometheus-*, grafana-*, istio-tracing-*, kiali*.

    The output might resemble the following content:

    NAME                                        READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    grafana-75f4f8dcf7-2p92z                    1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-citadel-5d5d5bcd5-tmv2w               1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-egressgateway-6669b4888d-t8fqs        1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-galley-d6d995d66-d6tb8                1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-ingressgateway-57bf47dc7c-ntz8h       1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-pilot-745899bb46-kf4z4                2/2       Running   0          37m
    istio-policy-57567ff748-96vvb               2/2       Running   0          37m
    istio-sidecar-injector-76fc499f9c-r57bw     1/1       Running   0          37m
    istio-telemetry-6fc9f55c4f-4229b            2/2       Running   0          37m
    istio-tracing-66f4676d88-wjgzr              1/1       Running   0          37m
    kiali-7bdd48bd7d-b6vwd                      1/1       Running   0          37m
    prometheus-b8446f488-fpprf                  1/1       Running   0          37m
    

Upgrading Istio for an existing cluster

  1. Install Helm CLI. For more information, see Installing the Helm CLI (helm).

  2. Add the IBM Cloud Private building mgmt-charts Helm repository by the following command:

    $ helm repo add mgmt-charts https://<cluster_CA_domain>:8443/mgmt-repo/charts --ca-file ${HELM_HOME}/ca.pem
    
  3. Fetch the ibm-istio chart and decompress it to the local file system by the following command:

    $ helm fetch mgmt-charts/ibm-istio --untar
    
  4. Apply all the Istio Custom Resource Definitions(CRD) for current version before upgrading: Note: There is a known issue that crd-install hook doesn't work during the upgrade.

  5. Get the external values for the old chart release and write them to a local file that is named values-old.yaml:

    helm get values istio --tls > values-old.yaml
    
  6. Create a new values file that is named values-override.yaml that contains all the customized fields for the new chart release. For example, if you want to deploy all Istio components to the management node and enable kiali, then execute the following commands:

    cat > values-override.yaml <<EOF
    global:
     defaultTolerations:
       - key: "dedicated"
         operator: "Exists"
         effect: "NoSchedule"
       - key: "CriticalAddonsOnly"
         operator: "Exists"
     defaultNodeSelector:
       management: "true"
    kiali:
     enabled: true
    EOF
    
  7. Upgrade the Istio chart with the --force flag by using the following command:

    helm upgrade istio ibm-istio --namespace istio-system --force -f values-old.yaml -f values-override.yaml --tls
    

Note: Add --dry-run and --debug flags to helm upgrade before you upgrade the istio chart to help address troubleshooting issues.

  helm upgrade istio ibm-istio --namespace istio-system --force -f values-old.yaml -f values-override.yaml --tls --dry-run --debug

If there are no errors in the output, you can remove the --dry-run and --debug flags.

Note: Helm manages all the resources in the chart templates based on each chart release, so if the upgrade or installation fails, you need to delete the chart release and clean all the relevant resources before proceeding to the next Helm upgrade or installation. For the Istio chart, use the following commands to completely clean the chart release and resources:

  helm delete istio --purge --no-hooks --tls
  kubectl delete clusterrole $(kubectl get clusterrole | grep istio | awk '{print $1}')
  kubectl delete clusterrolebinding $(kubectl get clusterrolebinding | grep istio | awk '{print $1}')
  kubectl delete crd $(kubectl get crds | grep istio.io | awk '{print $1}')

Note: From Istio 1.1.x, policy checks is turned off by default to improve performance for most customer scenarios. If you are upgrading istio from 1.0.x and you didn't use policy check function, it is recommended to disable policy check during upgrade by adding the following parameter to helm upgrade command --set mixer.policy.enabled=false.

Deploying the applications

After the Istio control plane is successfully deployed, you can start deploying your applications.

  1. Creating ClusterRoleBinding to grant privileged permissions.

    If you are deploying applications in default namespace, you can skip this step. If you are deploying applications with Istio injection to non-default namespaces, you must create extra ClusterRoleBinding to grant privileged permissions to service accounts in that namespace.

    For example, to deploy an application to the non-default namespace, istio-lab, edit your YAML file. Your YAML file content might resemble the following code:

    export APPLICATION_NAMESPACE=istio-lab
    cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
    apiVersion: rbac.authorization.k8s.io/v1
    kind: ClusterRoleBinding
    metadata:
     name: ibm-istio-privileged-clusterrolebinding
    roleRef:
     apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io
     kind: ClusterRole
     name: ibm-privileged-clusterrole
    subjects:
     - apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io
       kind: Group
       name: system:serviceaccounts:${APPLICATION_NAMESPACE}
    EOF
    
  2. Creating imagePullSecrets for the IBM Cloud Private Docker private registry.

You must create imagePullSecrets for the IBM Cloud Private Docker private registry in the namespace where your applications are deployed. Your applications can then pull the sidecar images from the Docker private registry. The syntax of the Docker private registry name is <cluster_hostname>:<registry_port>, the default value of which is mycluster.icp:8500.

  1. Create a secret that is named infra-registry-key in the IBM Cloud Private Docker registry that holds your authorization token.

    kubectl -n <application_namespace> create secret docker-registry infra-registry-key \
     --docker-server=<cluster_hostname>:<registry_port> --docker-username=<your-name> \
     --docker-password=<your-password> --docker-email=<your-email>
    
  2. Patch your secret to the ServiceAccount that is associated with your applications.

    kubectl -n <application_namespace> get serviceaccount <your-service-account-name> -o yaml | grep -w infra-registry-key || kubectl -n <application_namespace> patch serviceaccount <your-service-account-name> -p '{"imagePullSecrets": [{"name": "infra-registry-key"}]}'
    
  3. If you enabled the automatic sidecar injection, the istio-sidecar-injector automatically injects Envoy containers into your application pods that run in namespaces that are labeled with istio-injection=enabled.

    To automatically inject Envoy containers, complete the following steps:

    1. Label your namespace as istio-injection=enabled. Run the following command:

      kubectl label namespace <application_namespace> istio-injection=enabled
      
    2. Run the following command to create your namespace in your .yaml file:

      kubectl create -n <application_namespace> -f <your-app-spec>.yaml
      
  1. If you did not enable automatic sidecar injection, you can manually inject Envoy containers.

    To manually enable the sidecar injection you must use istioctl. Deploy your applications with your sidecar injection manually. Run the following command:

    kubectl create -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f <your-app-spec>.yaml)
    

Collecting and visualizing

Collecting trace spans by using Jaeger

By default, Istio enables Jaeger with a service type of ClusterIP. During installation, you can change the default service type to NodePort so that you can access Jaeger from an external environment.

To view other service types of NodePort that have access to Jaeger, run the following commands:

kubectl expose service jaeger-query --type=NodePort --name=<jaeger-query-svc> --namespace istio-system
export JAEGER_URL=$(kubectl get po -l app=jaeger -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.items[0].status.hostIP}'):$(kubectl get svc <jaeger-query-svc> -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.spec.ports[0].nodePort}')
echo http://${JAEGER_URL}/

You can access http://${JAEGER_URL}/ from your browser to view trace spans.

Collecting metrics by using Prometheus

Similar to the Collecting trace spans by using Jaeger section, if you install Istio with prometheus enabled, there is a prometheus service with a type of ClusterIP by default. You can change the default service type to NodePort.

To view other service types of NodePort that has access to prometheus from an external environment, run the following commands:

kubectl expose service prometheus --type=NodePort --name=<prometheus-svc> --namespace istio-system
export PROMETHEUS_URL=$(kubectl get po -l app=prometheus -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.items[0].status.hostIP}'):$(kubectl get svc <prometheus-svc> -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.spec.ports[0].nodePort}')
echo http://${PROMETHEUS_URL}

You can access http://${PROMETHEUS_URL}/ from your browser to verify that metrics are being collected into Prometheus.

Visualizing metrics with Grafana

Similar to Jaeger and Prometheus service, if you install Istio with grafana enabled, there is a grafana service with a type of ClusterIP by default. You can change the default service type to NodePort.

To view other service types of NodePort that has access to grafana from an external environment, run the following commands:

kubectl expose service grafana --type=NodePort --name=<grafana-svc> --namespace istio-system
export GRAFANA_URL=$(kubectl get po -l app=grafana -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.items[0].status.hostIP}'):$(kubectl get svc <grafana-svc> -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.spec.ports[0].nodePort}')
echo http://${GRAFANA_URL}/

You can access http://${GRAFANA_URL}/ from your browser to view the Grafana web page.

Observe microservices with Kiali

Like Jaeger, Prometheus, and Grafana service, if you install Istio with kiali enabled, there is a kiali service with a type of ClusterIP by default. You can change the default service type to NodePort.

To view other service types of NodePort that have access to kiali from an external environment, run the following command:

kubectl expose service kiali --type=NodePort --name=<kiali-svc> --namespace istio-system
export KIALI_URL=$(kubectl get po -l app=kiali -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.items[0].status.hostIP}'):$(kubectl get svc <kiali-svc> -n istio-system -o 'jsonpath={.spec.ports[0].nodePort}')
echo http://${KIALI_URL}/

You can access http://${KIALI_URL}/ from your browser to view the Kiali dashboard.

For more information about Istio, see Istio Docs Opens in a new tab.

Restrictions

Istio on Linux® on Power® (ppc64le)

With Istio, you can create your own filters, one type of which are HTTP filters. When you run Istio on Linux® on Power® (ppc64le), the HTTP Lua filters are not supported. The filters use the LuaJIT compiler, which has no 64-bit little-endian support for Linux® on Power® (ppc64le). Currently, there is no HTTP Lua filter support for Linux® on Power® (ppc64le).

For more information about creating your own filters by using Lua or other extensions, see the Envoy documentation Opens in a new tab for your specific release.

Extending self-signed certificate lifetime

Istio self-signed certificates have a default lifetime of one year. If you are using Istio self-signed certificates, you must schedule regular root transitions before the certificates expire. An expiration of a root certificate might lead to an unexpected cluster-wide outage.

Complete the following steps to do the root transition.

Note: The Envoy instances are hot restarted to reload the new root certificates, which might impact long-lived connections.

If you are currently not using the mutual TLS feature in Istio and do not plan to use it in the future, you do not need to complete the steps in the Root transition section.

If you are currently using the mutual TLS feature or might use it in the future with Istio self-signed certificates, you must complete the steps in the Root transition section to rotate the Istio self-signed certificates.

Root transition

  1. Check the root certificate expiration date by downloading and executing the root transition script on a machine that has kubectl access to the cluster. For more information about installing kubectl, see Installing the Kubernetes CLI (kubectl).

    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/istio/tools/release-1.4/bin/root-transition.sh
    chmod +x root-transition.sh
    ./root-transition.sh check-root
    

    Following is a sample output:

    Fetching root cert from istio-system namespace...
    Your Root Cert will expire after
    ...
    =====YOU HAVE 3649 DAYS BEFORE THE ROOT CERT EXPIRES!=====
    
  2. Execute a root certificate transition.

    ./root-transition.sh root-transition
    

    Following is a sample output:

    Create new ca cert, with trust domain as k8s.cluster.local
    Mon Feb 17 01:42:58 PST 2020 delete old CA secret
    secret "istio-ca-secret" deleted
    Mon Feb 17 01:42:58 PST 2020 create new CA secret
    secret/istio-ca-secret created
    Mon Feb 17 01:42:58 PST 2020 Restarting Citadel ...
    pod "istio-citadel-68998bc9f7-xlw2k" deleted
    Mon Feb 17 01:43:02 PST 2020 restarted Citadel, checking status
    NAME                             READY     STATUS              RESTARTS   AGE
    istio-citadel-68998bc9f7-j6fjt   0/1       ContainerCreating   0          4s
    New root certificate:
    Certificate:
       Data:
           Version: 3 (0x2)
           Serial Number: 9926940133297523651 (0x89c39374bfc48bc3)
       Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption
           Issuer: O=k8s.cluster.local
           Validity
               Not Before: Feb 17 09:42:58 2020 GMT
               Not After : Feb 14 09:42:58 2030 GMT
    ...
    Your old certificate is stored as old-ca-cert.pem, and your private key is stored as ca-key.pem
    Please save them safely and privately.
    
  3. Verify that the new workload certificates are generated.

    ./root-transition.sh verify-certs
    

    Following is a sample output:

    This script checks the current root CA certificate is propagated to all the Istio-managed workload secrets in the cluster.
    Root cert MD5 is 1cc473f89c4342e38fffa6761e4c9e83
    Checking namespace: cert-manager
     Secret cert-manager.istio.default matches current root.
    Checking namespace: default
     Secret default.istio.default matches current root.
    ...
    =====All Istio mutual TLS keys and certificates match the current root!=====
    

    Note: If the command fails, wait for a minute and run the command again. It takes some time for Citadel to propagate the certificates.

  4. Verify that the new workload certificates are loaded by Envoy.

    kubectl -n <APP_NAMESPACE> exec <APP_POD> -c istio-proxy -- curl http://localhost:15000/certs | head -c 1000
    

    Following is a sample output:

    {
    "certificates": [
     {
      "ca_cert": [
       {
        "valid_from": "2020-02-17T09:42:58Z",
        "expiration_time": "2030-02-14T09:42:58Z"
        ...
    

    Note: Check the expiration_time value of the ca_cert. If it matches the Not After value in the new certificate as shown in Step 2, your Envoy successfully loaded the new root certificate.