Running Istio Service Mesh on OpenShift

In the Kubernetes/OpenShift community everyone is talking about Istio service mesh, so I wanted to share my experience about the installation and running a sample microservice application with Istio on OpenShift 3.11 and 4.0. Service mesh on OpenShift is still at least a few month away from being available generally to run in production but this gives you the possibility to start testing and exploring Istio. I have found good documentation about installing Istio on OCP and OKD have a look for more information.

To install Istio on OpenShift 3.11 you need to apply the node and master prerequisites you see below; for OpenShift 4.0 and above you can skip these steps and go directly to the istio-operator installation:

sudo bash -c 'cat << EOF > /etc/origin/master/master-config.patch
        kubeConfigFile: /dev/null
        kind: WebhookAdmission
        kubeConfigFile: /dev/null
        kind: WebhookAdmission
sudo cp -p /etc/origin/master/master-config.yaml /etc/origin/master/master-config.yaml.prepatch
sudo bash -c 'oc ex config patch /etc/origin/master/master-config.yaml.prepatch -p "$(cat /etc/origin/master/master-config.patch)" > /etc/origin/master/master-config.yaml'
sudo su -
master-restart api
master-restart controllers

sudo bash -c 'cat << EOF > /etc/sysctl.d/99-elasticsearch.conf 
vm.max_map_count = 262144

sudo sysctl vm.max_map_count=262144

The Istio installation is straight forward by starting first to install the istio-operator:

oc new-project istio-operator
oc new-app -f --param=OPENSHIFT_ISTIO_MASTER_PUBLIC_URL=<-master-public-hostname->

Verify the operator deployment:

oc logs -n istio-operator $(oc -n istio-operator get pods -l name=istio-operator --output=jsonpath={})

Once the operator is running we can start deploying Istio components by creating a custom resource:

cat << EOF >  ./istio-installation.yaml
apiVersion: ""
kind: "Installation"
  name: "istio-installation"
  namespace: istio-operator

oc create -n istio-operator -f ./istio-installation.yaml

Check and watch the Istio installation progress which might take a while to complete:

oc get pods -n istio-system -w

# The installation of the core components is finished when you see:
openshift-ansible-istio-installer-job-cnw72   0/1       Completed   0         4m

Afterwards, to finish off the Istio installation, we need to install the Kiali web console:

bash <(curl -L
oc get route -n istio-system -l app=kiali

Verifying that all Istio components are running:

$ oc get pods -n istio-system
NAME                                          READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
elasticsearch-0                               1/1       Running     0          9m
grafana-74b5796d94-4ll5d                      1/1       Running     0          9m
istio-citadel-db879c7f8-kfxfk                 1/1       Running     0          11m
istio-egressgateway-6d78858d89-58lsd          1/1       Running     0          11m
istio-galley-6ff54d9586-8r7cl                 1/1       Running     0          11m
istio-ingressgateway-5dcf9fdf4b-4fjj5         1/1       Running     0          11m
istio-pilot-7ccf64f659-ghh7d                  2/2       Running     0          11m
istio-policy-6c86656499-v45zr                 2/2       Running     3          11m
istio-sidecar-injector-6f696b8495-8qqjt       1/1       Running     0          11m
istio-telemetry-686f78b66b-v7ljf              2/2       Running     3          11m
jaeger-agent-k4tpz                            1/1       Running     0          9m
jaeger-collector-64bc5678dd-wlknc             1/1       Running     0          9m
jaeger-query-776d4d754b-8z47d                 1/1       Running     0          9m
kiali-5fd946b855-7lw2h                        1/1       Running     0          2m
openshift-ansible-istio-installer-job-cnw72   0/1       Completed   0          13m
prometheus-75b849445c-l7rlr                   1/1       Running     0          11m

Let’s start to deploy the microservice application example by using the Google Hipster Shop, it contains multiple microservices which is great to test with Istio:

# Create new project
oc new-project hipster-shop

# Set permissions to allow Istio to deploy the Envoy-Proxy side-car container
oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z default -n hipster-shop
oc adm policy add-scc-to-user privileged -z default -n hipster-shop

# Create Hipster Shop deployments and Istio services
oc create -f
oc create -f

# Wait and check that all pods are running before creating the load generator
oc get pods -n hipster-shop -w

# Create load generator deployment
oc create -f

As you see below each pod has a sidecar container with the Istio Envoy proxy which handles pod traffic:

[[email protected] ~]$ oc get pods
NAME                                     READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
adservice-7894dbfd8c-g4m9v               2/2       Running   0          49m
cartservice-758d66c648-79fj4             2/2       Running   4          49m
checkoutservice-7b9dc8b755-h2b2v         2/2       Running   0          49m
currencyservice-7b5c5f48fc-gtm9x         2/2       Running   0          49m
emailservice-79578566bb-jvwbw            2/2       Running   0          49m
frontend-6497c5f748-5fc4f                2/2       Running   0          49m
loadgenerator-764c5547fc-sw6mg           2/2       Running   0          40m
paymentservice-6b989d657c-klp4d          2/2       Running   0          49m
productcatalogservice-5bfbf4c77c-cw676   2/2       Running   0          49m
recommendationservice-c947d84b5-svbk8    2/2       Running   0          49m
redis-cart-79d84748cf-cvg86              2/2       Running   0          49m
shippingservice-6ccb7d8ff7-66v8m         2/2       Running   0          49m
[[email protected] ~]$

The Kiali web console answers the question about what microservices are part of the service mesh and how are they connected which gives you a great level of detail about the traffic flows:

Detailed traffic flow view:

The Isito installation comes with Jaeger which is an open source tracing tool to monitor and troubleshoot transactions:

Enough about this, lets connect to our cool Hipster Shop and happy shopping:

Additionally there is another example, the Istio Bookinfo if you want to try something smaller and less complex:

oc new-project myproject

oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z default -n myproject
oc adm policy add-scc-to-user privileged -z default -n myproject

oc apply -n myproject -f
oc apply -n myproject -f
export GATEWAY_URL=$(oc get route -n istio-system istio-ingressgateway -o jsonpath='{}')
curl -o /dev/null -s -w "%{http_code}\n" http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage

curl -o destination-rule-all.yaml
oc apply -f destination-rule-all.yaml

curl -o destination-rule-all-mtls.yaml
oc apply -f destination-rule-all-mtls.yaml

oc get destinationrules -o yaml

I hope this is a useful article for getting started with Istio service mesh on OpenShift.

Getting started with OpenShift 4.0 Container Platform

I had a first look at OpenShift 4.0 and I wanted to share some information from what I have seen so far. The installation of the cluster is super easy and RedHat did a lot to improve the overall experience of the installation process to the previous OpenShift v3.x Ansible based installation and moving towards ephemeral cluster deployments.

There are a many changes under the hood and it’s not as obvious as Bootkube for the self-hosted/healing control-plane, MachineSets and the many internal operators to install and manage the OpenShift components ( api serverscheduler, controller manager, cluster-autoscalercluster-monitoringweb-consolednsingressnetworkingnode-tuning, and authentication ).

For the OpenShift 4.0 developer preview you need an RedHat account because you require a pull-secret for the cluster installation. For more information please visit:

First we need to download the openshift-installer binary:

mv openshift-install-linux-amd64 openshift-install
chmod +x openshift-install

Then we create the install-configuration, it is required that you already have AWS account credentials and an Route53 DNS domain set-up:

$ ./openshift-install create install-config
INFO Platform aws
INFO AWS Access Key ID *********
INFO AWS Secret Access Key [? for help] *********
INFO Writing AWS credentials to "/home/centos/.aws/credentials" (
INFO Region eu-west-1
INFO Base Domain
INFO Cluster Name cluster1
INFO Pull Secret [? for help] *********

Let’s look at the install-config.yaml

apiVersion: v1beta4
- name: worker
  platform: {}
  replicas: 3
  name: master
  platform: {}
  replicas: 3
  creationTimestamp: null
  name: ew1
  - cidr:
    hostPrefix: 23
  networkType: OpenShiftSDN
    region: eu-west-1
pullSecret: '{"auths":{...}'

Now we can continue to create the OpenShift v4 cluster which takes around 30mins to complete. At the end of the openshift-installer you see the auto-generate credentials to connect to the cluster:

$ ./openshift-install create cluster
INFO Consuming "Install Config" from target directory
INFO Creating infrastructure resources...
INFO Waiting up to 30m0s for the Kubernetes API at
INFO API v1.12.4+0ba401e up
INFO Waiting up to 30m0s for the bootstrap-complete event...
INFO Destroying the bootstrap resources...
INFO Waiting up to 30m0s for the cluster at to initialize...
INFO Waiting up to 10m0s for the openshift-console route to be created...
INFO Install complete!
INFO Run 'export KUBECONFIG=/home/centos/auth/kubeconfig' to manage the cluster with 'oc', the OpenShift CLI.
INFO The cluster is ready when 'oc login -u kubeadmin -p jMTSJ-F6KYy-mVVZ4-QVNPP' succeeds (wait a few minutes).
INFO Access the OpenShift web-console here:
INFO Login to the console with user: kubeadmin, password: jMTSJ-F6KYy-mVVZ4-QVNPP

The web-console has a very clean new design which I really like in addition to all the great improvements.

Under administration -> cluster settings you can explore the new auto-upgrade functionality of OpenShift 4.0:

You choose the new version to upgrade and everything else happens in the background which is a massive improvement to OpenShift v3.x where you had to run the ansible installer for this.

In the background the cluster operator upgrades the different platform components one by one.

Slowly you will see that the components move to the new build version.

Finished cluster upgrade:

You can only upgrade from one version 4.0.0-0.9 to the next version 4.0.0-0.10. It is not possible to upgrade and go straight from x-0.9 to x-0.11.

But let’s deploy the Google Hipster Shop example and expose the frontend-external service for some more testing:

oc login -u kubeadmin -p jMTSJ-F6KYy-mVVZ4-QVNPP --insecure-skip-tls-verify=true
oc new-project myproject
oc create -f
oc expose svc frontend-external

Getting the hostname for the exposed service:

$ oc get route
NAME                HOST/PORT                                                   PATH      SERVICES            PORT      TERMINATION   WILDCARD
frontend-external             frontend-external   http                    None

Use the browser to connect to our Hipster Shop:

It’s also very easy to destroy the cluster as it is to create it, as you seen previously:

$ ./openshift-install destroy cluster
INFO Disassociated                                 arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:route-table/rtb-083e2da5d1183efa7" id=rtbassoc-01d27db162fa45402
INFO Disassociated                                 arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:route-table/rtb-083e2da5d1183efa7" id=rtbassoc-057f593640067efc0
INFO Disassociated                                 arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:route-table/rtb-083e2da5d1183efa7" id=rtbassoc-05e821b451bead18f
INFO Disassociated                                 IAM instance profile="arn:aws:iam::552276840222:instance-profile/ocp4-bgx4c-worker-profile" arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:instance/i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff" id=i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff name=ocp4-bgx4c-worker-profile role=ocp4-bgx4c-worker-role
INFO Deleted                                       IAM instance profile="arn:aws:iam::552276840222:instance-profile/ocp4-bgx4c-worker-profile" arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:instance/i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff" id=i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff name=0xc00090f9a8
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:instance/i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff" id=i-0f64a911b1ffa3eff
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:instance/i-00b5eedc186ba26a7" id=i-00b5eedc186ba26a7
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:security-group/sg-016d4c7d435a1c97f" id=sg-016d4c7d435a1c97f
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:subnet/subnet-076348368858e9a82" id=subnet-076348368858e9a82
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:vpc/vpc-00c611ae1b9b8e10a" id=vpc-00c611ae1b9b8e10a
INFO Deleted                                       arn="arn:aws:ec2:eu-west-1:552276840222:dhcp-options/dopt-0ce8b6a1c31e0ceac" id=dopt-0ce8b6a1c31e0ceac

The install experience is great for OpenShift 4.0 which makes it very easy for everyone to create and get started quickly with an enterprise container platform. From the operational perspective I still need to see how to run the new platform because all the operators are great and makes it an easy to use cluster but what happens when one of the operators goes rogue and debugging this I am most interested in.

Over the coming weeks I will look into more detail around OpenShift 4.0 and the different new features, I am especially interested in Service Mesh.