What is Istio?

Istio is a service mesh—a modernized service networking layer that provides a transparent and language-independent way to flexibly and easily automate application network functions. It is a popular solution for managing the different microservices that make up a cloud-native application. Istio service mesh also supports how those microservices communicate and share data with one another.

As organizations accelerate their moves to the cloud, they are, by necessity, modernizing their applications as well. But shifting from monolithic legacy apps to cloud-native ones can raise challenges for DevOps teams.

Developers must learn to assemble apps using loosely coupled microservices to ensure portability in the cloud. At the same time, ops teams must manage the new cloud-native apps within increasingly large hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Istio allows them to do this.

Istio defined

Istio is an open source service mesh that helps organizations run distributed, microservices-based apps anywhere. Why use Istio? Istio enables organizations to secure, connect, and monitor microservices, so they can modernize their enterprise apps more swiftly and securely.

Istio manages traffic flows between services, enforces access policies, and aggregates telemetry data, all without requiring changes to application code. Istio eases deployment complexity by transparently layering onto existing distributed applications.

What are Istio service mesh benefits?

Achieve consistent service networking Your networking operators can consistently manage networking for all of their services without adding developer overhead.

Secure your services with Istio benefits Your security operators can easily implement service-to-service security including authentication, authorization, and encryption.

Improve your application performance Implement best practices, like canary rollouts, and get deep visibility into your applications to identify where to focus your efforts to improve performance.

How to install Istio on a Kubernetes cluster

Please follow the below mentioned steps to install the Istio on a Kubernetes cluster.

  1. Download the Istio release from the Istio website: https://istio.io/latest/docs/setup/install/standard/#download

  2. Extract the Istio files from the downloaded archive:

tar xvzf istio-1.16.1-linux-amd64.tar.gz
cd istio-1.16.1
  1. Install Istio using the Istio operator:

kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/operator/operator.yaml
  1. Wait for the operator to start up and create the necessary resources:

kubectl rollout status deployment/istio-operator -n istio-operator
  1. Install the Istio control plane:

kubectl apply -f install/kubernetes/istio-controlplane.yaml
  1. Verify that the Istio control plane has been installed successfully:

kubectl get pods -n istio-system

You should see several Istio-related pods running in the istio-system namespace.

  1. Install the Istio sidecar injection:

kubectl label namespace <your-namespace> istio-injection=enabled

Replace <your-namespace> with the name of the namespace where you want to enable Istio sidecar injection.

That’s it! You now have Istio installed in your Kubernetes cluster.