Circuit Breaking

This task shows you how to configure circuit breaking for connections, requests, and outlier detection.

Circuit breaking is an important pattern for creating resilient microservice applications. Circuit breaking allows you to write applications that limit the impact of failures, latency spikes, and other undesirable effects of network peculiarities.

In this task, you will configure circuit breaking rules and then test the configuration by intentionally “tripping” the circuit breaker.

Before you begin

  • Setup Istio by following the instructions in the Installation guide.

  • Add the httpbin sample to the mesh:

    If you have enabled automatic sidecar injection, run this command:

    $ kubectl apply -f @samples/httpbin/httpbin.yaml@

    otherwise, manually inject the sidecar before deploying the httpbin application:

    $ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f @samples/httpbin/httpbin.yaml@)

    The httpbin application serves as the backend service for this task.

Configuring the circuit breaker

  1. Create a destination rule to apply circuit breaking settings when calling the httpbin service:

    cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
    apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
    kind: DestinationRule
    metadata:
      name: httpbin
    spec:
      host: httpbin
      trafficPolicy:
        connectionPool:
          tcp:
            maxConnections: 1
          http:
            http1MaxPendingRequests: 1
            maxRequestsPerConnection: 1
        outlierDetection:
          consecutiveErrors: 1
          interval: 1s
          baseEjectionTime: 3m
          maxEjectionPercent: 100
    EOF
  2. Verify the destination rule was created correctly:

    $ kubectl get destinationrule httpbin -o yaml
    apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
    kind: DestinationRule
    metadata:
      name: httpbin
      ...
    spec:
      host: httpbin
      trafficPolicy:
        connectionPool:
          http:
            http1MaxPendingRequests: 1
            maxRequestsPerConnection: 1
          tcp:
            maxConnections: 1
        outlierDetection:
          baseEjectionTime: 180.000s
          consecutiveErrors: 1
          interval: 1.000s
          maxEjectionPercent: 100

Adding a client

Create a client to send traffic to the httpbin service. The client is a simple load-testing client called fortio. Fortio lets you control the number of connections, concurrency, and delays for outgoing HTTP calls. You will use this client to “trip” the circuit breaker policies you set in the DestinationRule

  1. Inject the client with the Istio sidecar proxy so network interactions are governed by Istio:

    $ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f @samples/httpbin/sample-client/fortio-deploy.yaml@)
  2. Log in to the client pod and use the fortio tool to call httpbin. Pass in -curl to indicate that you just want to make one call:

    $ FORTIO_POD=$(kubectl get pod | grep fortio | awk '{ print $1 }')
    $ kubectl exec -it $FORTIO_POD  -c fortio /usr/local/bin/fortio -- load -curl  http://httpbin:8000/get
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    server: envoy
    date: Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:47:00 GMT
    content-type: application/json
    access-control-allow-origin: *
    access-control-allow-credentials: true
    content-length: 445
    x-envoy-upstream-service-time: 36
    
    {
      "args": {},
      "headers": {
        "Content-Length": "0",
        "Host": "httpbin:8000",
        "User-Agent": "istio/fortio-0.6.2",
        "X-B3-Sampled": "1",
        "X-B3-Spanid": "824fbd828d809bf4",
        "X-B3-Traceid": "824fbd828d809bf4",
        "X-Ot-Span-Context": "824fbd828d809bf4;824fbd828d809bf4;0000000000000000",
        "X-Request-Id": "1ad2de20-806e-9622-949a-bd1d9735a3f4"
      },
      "origin": "127.0.0.1",
      "url": "http://httpbin:8000/get"
    }

You can see the request succeeded! Now, it’s time to break something.

Tripping the circuit breaker

In the DestinationRule settings, you specified maxConnections: 1 and http1MaxPendingRequests: 1. These rules indicate that if you exceed more than one connection and request concurrently, you should see some failures when the istio-proxy opens the circuit for further requests and connections.

  1. Call the service with two concurrent connections (-c 2) and send 20 requests (-n 20):

    $ kubectl exec -it $FORTIO_POD  -c fortio /usr/local/bin/fortio -- load -c 2 -qps 0 -n 20 -loglevel Warning http://httpbin:8000/get
    Fortio 0.6.2 running at 0 queries per second, 2->2 procs, for 5s: http://httpbin:8000/get
    Starting at max qps with 2 thread(s) [gomax 2] for exactly 20 calls (10 per thread + 0)
    23:51:10 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    Ended after 106.474079ms : 20 calls. qps=187.84
    Aggregated Function Time : count 20 avg 0.010215375 +/- 0.003604 min 0.005172024 max 0.019434859 sum 0.204307492
    # range, mid point, percentile, count
    >= 0.00517202 <= 0.006 , 0.00558601 , 5.00, 1
    > 0.006 <= 0.007 , 0.0065 , 20.00, 3
    > 0.007 <= 0.008 , 0.0075 , 30.00, 2
    > 0.008 <= 0.009 , 0.0085 , 40.00, 2
    > 0.009 <= 0.01 , 0.0095 , 60.00, 4
    > 0.01 <= 0.011 , 0.0105 , 70.00, 2
    > 0.011 <= 0.012 , 0.0115 , 75.00, 1
    > 0.012 <= 0.014 , 0.013 , 90.00, 3
    > 0.016 <= 0.018 , 0.017 , 95.00, 1
    > 0.018 <= 0.0194349 , 0.0187174 , 100.00, 1
    # target 50% 0.0095
    # target 75% 0.012
    # target 99% 0.0191479
    # target 99.9% 0.0194062
    Code 200 : 19 (95.0 %)
    Code 503 : 1 (5.0 %)
    Response Header Sizes : count 20 avg 218.85 +/- 50.21 min 0 max 231 sum 4377
    Response Body/Total Sizes : count 20 avg 652.45 +/- 99.9 min 217 max 676 sum 13049
    All done 20 calls (plus 0 warmup) 10.215 ms avg, 187.8 qps

    It’s interesting to see that almost all requests made it through! The istio-proxy does allow for some leeway.

    Code 200 : 19 (95.0 %)
    Code 503 : 1 (5.0 %)
  2. Bring the number of concurrent connections up to 3:

    $ kubectl exec -it $FORTIO_POD  -c fortio /usr/local/bin/fortio -- load -c 3 -qps 0 -n 20 -loglevel Warning http://httpbin:8000/get
    Fortio 0.6.2 running at 0 queries per second, 2->2 procs, for 5s: http://httpbin:8000/get
    Starting at max qps with 3 thread(s) [gomax 2] for exactly 30 calls (10 per thread + 0)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    23:51:51 W http.go:617> Parsed non ok code 503 (HTTP/1.1 503)
    Ended after 71.05365ms : 30 calls. qps=422.22
    Aggregated Function Time : count 30 avg 0.0053360199 +/- 0.004219 min 0.000487853 max 0.018906468 sum 0.160080597
    # range, mid point, percentile, count
    >= 0.000487853 <= 0.001 , 0.000743926 , 10.00, 3
    > 0.001 <= 0.002 , 0.0015 , 30.00, 6
    > 0.002 <= 0.003 , 0.0025 , 33.33, 1
    > 0.003 <= 0.004 , 0.0035 , 40.00, 2
    > 0.004 <= 0.005 , 0.0045 , 46.67, 2
    > 0.005 <= 0.006 , 0.0055 , 60.00, 4
    > 0.006 <= 0.007 , 0.0065 , 73.33, 4
    > 0.007 <= 0.008 , 0.0075 , 80.00, 2
    > 0.008 <= 0.009 , 0.0085 , 86.67, 2
    > 0.009 <= 0.01 , 0.0095 , 93.33, 2
    > 0.014 <= 0.016 , 0.015 , 96.67, 1
    > 0.018 <= 0.0189065 , 0.0184532 , 100.00, 1
    # target 50% 0.00525
    # target 75% 0.00725
    # target 99% 0.0186345
    # target 99.9% 0.0188793
    Code 200 : 19 (63.3 %)
    Code 503 : 11 (36.7 %)
    Response Header Sizes : count 30 avg 145.73333 +/- 110.9 min 0 max 231 sum 4372
    Response Body/Total Sizes : count 30 avg 507.13333 +/- 220.8 min 217 max 676 sum 15214
    All done 30 calls (plus 0 warmup) 5.336 ms avg, 422.2 qps

    Now you start to see the expected circuit breaking behavior. Only 63.3% of the requests succeeded and the rest were trapped by circuit breaking:

    Code 200 : 19 (63.3 %)
    Code 503 : 11 (36.7 %)
  3. Query the istio-proxy stats to see more:

    $ kubectl exec -it $FORTIO_POD  -c istio-proxy  -- sh -c 'curl localhost:15000/stats' | grep httpbin | grep pending
    cluster.outbound|80||httpbin.springistio.svc.cluster.local.upstream_rq_pending_active: 0
    cluster.outbound|80||httpbin.springistio.svc.cluster.local.upstream_rq_pending_failure_eject: 0
    cluster.outbound|80||httpbin.springistio.svc.cluster.local.upstream_rq_pending_overflow: 12
    cluster.outbound|80||httpbin.springistio.svc.cluster.local.upstream_rq_pending_total: 39

    You can see 12 for the upstream_rq_pending_overflow value which means 12 calls so far have been flagged for circuit breaking.

Cleaning up

  1. Remove the rules:

    $ kubectl delete destinationrule httpbin
  2. Shutdown the httpbin service and client:

    $ kubectl delete deploy httpbin fortio-deploy
    $ kubectl delete svc httpbin
  3. If you are not planning to explore any follow-on tasks, refer to the Bookinfo cleanup instructions to shutdown the application.

See also

Introduction, motivation and design principles for the Istio v1alpha3 routing API.

Describes how to configure Istio ingress with a network load balancer on AWS.

An introduction to safer, lower-risk deployments and release to production.

Describes a simple scenario based on Istio's Bookinfo example.

Describes a simple scenario based on Istio's Bookinfo example.

Using Istio to create autoscaled canary deployments.