Setting Request Timeouts

This task uses the new v1alpha3 traffic management API. The old API has been deprecated and will be removed in the next Istio release. If you need to use the old version, follow the docs here.

This task shows you how to setup request timeouts in Envoy using Istio.

Before you begin

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

  • Deploy the Bookinfo sample application.

  • Initialize the application version routing by running the following command:

    $ istioctl create -f @samples/bookinfo/routing/route-rule-all-v1.yaml@
    

Request timeouts

A timeout for http requests can be specified using the httpReqTimeout field of a routing rule. By default, the timeout is 15 seconds, but in this task we’ll override the reviews service timeout to 1 second. To see its effect, however, we’ll also introduce an artificial 2 second delay in calls to the ratings service.

  1. Route requests to v2 of the reviews service, i.e., a version that calls the ratings service

        cat <<EOF | istioctl replace -f -
        apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
        kind: VirtualService
        metadata:
          name: reviews
        spec:
          hosts:
            - reviews
          http:
          - route:
            - destination:
                host: reviews
                subset: v2
        EOF
    
  2. Add a 2 second delay to calls to the ratings service:

        cat <<EOF | istioctl replace -f -
        apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
        kind: VirtualService
        metadata:
          name: ratings
        spec:
          hosts:
          - ratings
          http:
          - fault:
              delay:
                percent: 100
                fixedDelay: 2s
            route:
            - destination:
                host: ratings
                subset: v1
        EOF
    
  3. Open the Bookinfo URL (http://$GATEWAY_URL/productpage) in your browser

    You should see the Bookinfo application working normally (with ratings stars displayed), but there is a 2 second delay whenever you refresh the page.

  4. Now add a 1 second request timeout for calls to the reviews service

        cat <<EOF | istioctl replace -f -
        apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3
        kind: VirtualService
        metadata:
          name: reviews
        spec:
          hosts:
          - reviews
          http:
          - route:
            - destination:
                host: reviews
                subset: v2
            timeout: 1s
        EOF
    
  5. Refresh the Bookinfo web page

    You should now see that it returns in 1 second (instead of 2), but the reviews are unavailable.

Understanding what happened

In this task, you used Istio to set the request timeout for calls to the reviews microservice to 1 second (instead of the default 15 seconds). Since the reviews service subsequently calls the ratings service when handling requests, you used Istio to inject a 2 second delay in calls to ratings, so that you would cause the reviews service to take longer than 1 second to complete and consequently you could see the timeout in action.

You observed that the Bookinfo productpage (which calls the reviews service to populate the page), instead of displaying reviews, displayed the message: Sorry, product reviews are currently unavailable for this book. This was the result of it receiving the timeout error from the reviews service.

If you check out the fault injection task, you’ll find out that the productpage microservice also has its own application-level timeout (3 seconds) for calls to the reviews microservice. Notice that in this task we used an Istio route rule to set the timeout to 1 second. Had you instead set the timeout to something greater than 3 seconds (e.g., 4 seconds) the timeout would have had no effect since the more restrictive of the two will take precedence. More details can be found here.

One more thing to note about timeouts in Istio is that in addition to overriding them in route rules, as you did in this task, they can also be overridden on a per-request basis if the application adds an “x-envoy-upstream-rq-timeout-ms” header on outbound requests. In the header the timeout is specified in millisecond (instead of second) units.

Cleanup

  • Remove the application routing rules.

    $ istioctl delete -f @samples/bookinfo/routing/route-rule-all-v1.yaml@
    
  • If you are not planning to explore any follow-on tasks, refer to the Bookinfo cleanup instructions to shutdown the application.

What’s next