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OpenShift and Service Mesh

Gineesh Gineesh Follow · 3 mins read
OpenShift and Service Mesh
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What is Service Mesh and why we need it?

Source :

The term service mesh is used to describe the network of microservices that make up such applications and the interactions between them.

Istio Details

An Istio service mesh is logically split into a data plane and a control plane.

The data plane is composed of a set of intelligent proxies (Envoy) deployed as sidecars. These proxies mediate and control all network communication between microservices along with Mixer, a general-purpose policy and telemetry hub.

The control plane manages and configures the proxies to route traffic. Additionally, the control plane configures Mixers to enforce policies and collect telemetry.

The following diagram shows the different components that make up each plane:

Istio Architecture

Istio Components


Envoy is a high-performance proxy developed in C++ to mediate all inbound and outbound traffic for all services in the service mesh. Istio leverages Envoy’s many built-in features, for example:

  • Dynamic service discovery
  • Load balancing
  • TLS termination
  • HTTP/2 and gRPC proxies
  • Circuit breakers
  • Health checks
  • Staged rollouts with %-based traffic split
  • Fault injection
  • Rich metrics Envoy is deployed as a sidecar to the relevant service in the same Kubernetes pod. This deployment allows Istio to extract a wealth of signals about traffic behavior as attributes. Istio can, in turn, use these attributes in Mixer to enforce policy decisions, and send them to monitoring systems to provide information about the behavior of the entire mesh.


Mixer is a platform-independent component. Mixer enforces access control and usage policies across the service mesh, and collects telemetry data from the Envoy proxy and other services. The proxy extracts request level attributes, and sends them to Mixer for evaluation.

Mixer includes a flexible plugin model. This model enables Istio to interface with a variety of host environments and infrastructure backends. Thus, Istio abstracts the Envoy proxy and Istio-managed services from these details.


Pilot provides service discovery for the Envoy sidecars, traffic management capabilities for intelligent routing (e.g., A/B tests, canary deployments, etc.), and resiliency (timeouts, retries, circuit breakers, etc.).

Pilot converts high level routing rules that control traffic behavior into Envoy-specific configurations, and propagates them to the sidecars at runtime. Pilot abstracts platform-specific service discovery mechanisms and synthesizes them into a standard format that any sidecar conforming with the Envoy data plane APIs can consume. This loose coupling allows Istio to run on multiple environments such as Kubernetes, Consul, or Nomad, while maintaining the same operator interface for traffic management.


Citadel provides strong service-to-service and end-user authentication with built-in identity and credential management. You can use Citadel to upgrade unencrypted traffic in the service mesh. Using Citadel, operators can enforce policies based on service identity rather than on network controls.

Istio installation

Login to cluster and extract istio package

oc login -u system:admin
tar -xvzf istio-1.0.5-linux.tar.gz

Istio uses Custom Resources like VirtualServices and DestinationRules. To allow OpenShift/Kubernetes to understand those values, we first need to install the ‘CustomResourceDefinitions’ file using the command

oc apply -f istio-1.0.5/install/kubernetes/helm/istio/templates/crds.yaml

Install istio

oc apply -f istio-1.0.5/install/kubernetes/istio-demo.yaml
oc get pods -n istio-system

Create External Routes

Let’s create routes to external services like Grafana, Prometheus, Tracing, etc using the following command:

oc expose svc istio-ingressgateway -n istio-system; \
oc expose svc servicegraph -n istio-system; \
oc expose svc grafana -n istio-system; \
oc expose svc prometheus -n istio-system; \
oc expose svc tracing -n istio-system

Add Istio to the path

Now we need to add istioctl to the path.


export PATH=$PATH:/root/installation/istio-1.0.5/bin/

And check version of istioctl.

$istioctl version
Version: 1.0.5
GitRevision: c1707e45e71c75d74bf3a5dec8c7086f32f32fad
User: root@6f6ea1061f2b
GolangVersion: go1.10.4
BuildStatus: Clean
Written by Gineesh Follow
Backpacker, Foodie, Techie

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