Quick Start

Quick start instructions to install and configure Istio in a Kubernetes cluster.


The following instructions recommend you have access to a Kubernetes 1.9 or newer cluster with RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) enabled. You will also need kubectl 1.9 or newer installed.

If you wish to enable automatic sidecar injection or server-side configuration validation, you must use Kubernetes version 1.9 or greater.

If you installed Istio 0.2.x, uninstall it completely before installing the newer version (including the Istio sidecar for all Istio enabled application pods).

  • Install or upgrade the Kubernetes CLI kubectl to match the version supported by your cluster (version 1.9 or later for CRD support).


To install Istio locally, install the latest version of Minikube (version 0.25.0 or later).

For kubernetes 1.9

$ minikube start \
    --extra-config=controller-manager.ClusterSigningCertFile="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.crt" \
    --extra-config=controller-manager.ClusterSigningKeyFile="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.key" \
    --extra-config=apiserver.Admission.PluginNames=NamespaceLifecycle,LimitRanger,ServiceAccount,PersistentVolumeLabel,DefaultStorageClass,DefaultTolerationSeconds,MutatingAdmissionWebhook,ValidatingAdmissionWebhook,ResourceQuota \

For kubernetes 1.10

$ minikube start \
    --extra-config=controller-manager.cluster-signing-cert-file="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.crt" \
    --extra-config=controller-manager.cluster-signing-key-file="/var/lib/localkube/certs/ca.key" \
    --extra-config=apiserver.admission-control="NamespaceLifecycle,LimitRanger,ServiceAccount,PersistentVolumeLabel,DefaultStorageClass,DefaultTolerationSeconds,MutatingAdmissionWebhook,ValidatingAdmissionWebhook,ResourceQuota" \

Google Kubernetes Engine

Create a new cluster.

$ gcloud container clusters create <cluster-name> \
    --cluster-version=1.9.7-gke.1 \
    --zone <zone> \
    --project <project-name>

Retrieve your credentials for kubectl.

$ gcloud container clusters get-credentials <cluster-name> \
    --zone <zone> \
    --project <project-name>

Grant cluster admin permissions to the current user (admin permissions are required to create the necessary RBAC rules for Istio).

$ kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-binding \
    --clusterrole=cluster-admin \
    --user=$(gcloud config get-value core/account)

IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS)

Create a new lite cluster.

$ bx cs cluster-create --name <cluster-name> --kube-version 1.9.7

Or create a new paid cluster:

$ bx cs cluster-create --location location --machine-type u2c.2x4 --name <cluster-name> --kube-version 1.9.7

Retrieve your credentials for kubectl (replace <cluster-name> with the name of the cluster you want to use):

$(bx cs cluster-config <cluster-name>|grep "export KUBECONFIG")

IBM Cloud Private

Configure kubectl CLI based on steps here for how to access the IBM Cloud Private Cluster.

OpenShift Origin

OpenShift by default does not allow containers running with UID 0. Enable containers running with UID 0 for Istio's service accounts:

$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-ingress-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z default -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z prometheus -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-egressgateway-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-citadel-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-ingressgateway-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-cleanup-old-ca-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-mixer-post-install-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-mixer-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-pilot-service-account -n istio-system
$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid -z istio-sidecar-injector-service-account -n istio-system

The list above covers the default Istio service accounts. If you enabled other Istio services (e.g. Grafana) you will need to cover its service account in a similar command.

Service account that runs application pods need privileged security context constraints as part of sidecar injection.

$ oc adm policy add-scc-to-user privileged -z default -n <target-namespace>

Check for SELINUX in this discussion with respect to Istio in case you see issues bringing up the Envoy.

AWS (w/Kops)

When you install a new cluster with Kubernetes version 1.9, prerequisite for admissionregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1 enabled is covered.

Nevertheless the list of admission controllers needs to be updated.

$ kops edit cluster $YOURCLUSTER

Add the following in the configuration file:

    - NamespaceLifecycle
    - LimitRanger
    - ServiceAccount
    - PersistentVolumeLabel
    - DefaultStorageClass
    - DefaultTolerationSeconds
    - MutatingAdmissionWebhook
    - ValidatingAdmissionWebhook
    - ResourceQuota
    - NodeRestriction
    - Priority

Perform the update

$ kops update cluster
$ kops update cluster --yes

Launch the rolling update

$ kops rolling-update cluster
$ kops rolling-update cluster --yes

Validate with kubectl client on kube-api pod, you should see new admission controller:

$ for i in `kubectl get pods -nkube-system | grep api | awk '{print $1}'` ; do  kubectl describe pods -nkube-system $i | grep "/usr/local/bin/kube-apiserver"  ; done

Output should be:

[...] --admission-control=NamespaceLifecycle,LimitRanger,ServiceAccount,PersistentVolumeLabel,DefaultStorageClass,DefaultTolerationSeconds,MutatingAdmissionWebhook,ValidatingAdmissionWebhook,ResourceQuota,NodeRestriction,Priority [...]


You need to use ACS-Engine to deploy you cluster. After following these instructions to get and install the acs-engine binary, use the following command to download Istio api model definition:

$ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/acs-engine/master/examples/service-mesh/istio.json

Use the following command to deploy your cluster using the istio.json template. You can find references to the parameters in the official docs.

Parameter Expected value
subscription_id Azure Subscription Id
dns_prefix Cluster DNS Prefix
location Cluster Location
$ acs-engine deploy --subscription-id <subscription_id> --dns-prefix <dns_prefix> --location <location> --auto-suffix --api-model istio.json

After a few minutes you should find your cluster on your Azure subscription in a resource group called <dns_prefix>-<id>. Let's say my dns-prefix is myclustername, a valid resource group and unique cluster id would be mycluster-5adfba82. Using this <dns_prefix>-<id> cluster id you can copy your kubeconfig file to your machine from the _output folder generated by acs-engine:

$ cp _output/<dns_prefix>-<id>/kubeconfig/kubeconfig.<location>.json ~/.kube/config

For example:

$ cp _output/mycluster-5adfba82/kubeconfig/kubeconfig.westus2.json ~/.kube/config

To check if the right Istio flags were deployed, use:

$ kubectl describe pod --namespace kube-system $(kubectl get pods --namespace kube-system | grep api | cut -d ' ' -f 1) | grep admission-control

You should see MutatingAdmissionWebhook and ValidatingAdmissionWebhook flags:


Download and prepare for the installation

Starting with the 0.2 release, Istio is installed in its own istio-system namespace, and can manage services from all other namespaces.

  1. Go to the Istio release page to download the installation file corresponding to your OS. If you are using a MacOS or Linux system, you can also run the following command to download and extract the latest release automatically:

    $ curl -L https://git.io/getLatestIstio | sh -
  2. Extract the installation file and change the directory to the file location. The installation directory contains:

    • Installation .yaml files for Kubernetes in install/
    • Sample applications in samples/
    • The istioctl client binary in the bin/ directory. istioctl is used when manually injecting Envoy as a sidecar proxy and for creating routing rules and policies.
    • The istio.VERSION configuration file
  3. Change directory to the istio package. For example, if the package is istio-0.8.0:

    $ cd istio-0.8.0
  4. Add the istioctl client to your PATH. For example, run the following command on a MacOS or Linux system:

    $ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH

Installation steps

Install Istio's core components. Choose one of the four mutually exclusive options below for quick installation. However, we recommend you to install with the Helm Chart for production installations of Istio to leverage all the options to configure and customize Istio to your needs.

  • Install Istio without enabling mutual TLS authentication between sidecars. Choose this option for clusters with existing applications, applications where services with an Istio sidecar need to be able to communicate with other non-Istio Kubernetes services, and applications that use liveness and readiness probes, headless services, or StatefulSets.
$ kubectl apply -f @install/kubernetes/istio-demo.yaml@


  • Install Istio and enforce mutual TLS authentication between sidecars by default. Use this option only on a fresh kubernetes cluster where newly deployed workloads are guaranteed to have Istio sidecars installed.
$ kubectl apply -f @install/kubernetes/istio-demo-auth.yaml@



Verifying the installation

  1. Ensure the following Kubernetes services are deployed: istio-pilot, istio-ingressgateway, istio-policy, istio-telemetry, prometheus and, optionally, istio-sidecar-injector.

    $ kubectl get svc -n istio-system
    NAME                       TYPE           CLUSTER-IP   EXTERNAL-IP     PORT(S)                                                               AGE
    istio-citadel              ClusterIP   <none>          8060/TCP,9093/TCP                                                     7h
    istio-egressgateway        ClusterIP    <none>          80/TCP,443/TCP                                                        7h
    istio-ingressgateway       LoadBalancer   80:31380/TCP,443:31390/TCP,31400:31400/TCP                            7h
    istio-pilot                ClusterIP   <none>          15003/TCP,15005/TCP,15007/TCP,15010/TCP,15011/TCP,8080/TCP,9093/TCP   7h
    istio-policy               ClusterIP   <none>          9091/TCP,15004/TCP,9093/TCP                                           7h
    istio-statsd-prom-bridge   ClusterIP   <none>          9102/TCP,9125/UDP                                                     7h
    istio-telemetry            ClusterIP   <none>          9091/TCP,15004/TCP,9093/TCP,42422/TCP                                 7h
    prometheus                 ClusterIP   <none>          9090/TCP                                                              7h

    If your cluster is running in an environment that does not support an external load balancer (e.g., minikube), the EXTERNAL-IP of istio-ingressgateway will say <pending>. You will need to access it using the service NodePort, or use port-forwarding instead.

  2. Ensure the corresponding Kubernetes pods are deployed and all containers are up and running: istio-pilot-*, istio-ingressgateway-*, istio-egressgateway-*, istio-policy-*, istio-telemtry-*, istio-citadel-*, prometheus-* and, optionally, istio-sidecar-injector-*.

    $ kubectl get pods -n istio-system
    NAME                                       READY     STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
    istio-citadel-dcb7955f6-vdcjk              1/1       Running     0          11h
    istio-egressgateway-56b7758b44-l5fm5       1/1       Running     0          11h
    istio-ingressgateway-56cfddbd5b-xbdcx      1/1       Running     0          11h
    istio-pilot-cbd6bfd97-wgw9b                2/2       Running     0          11h
    istio-policy-699fbb45cf-bc44r              2/2       Running     0          11h
    istio-statsd-prom-bridge-949999c4c-nws5j   1/1       Running     0          11h
    istio-telemetry-55b675d8c-kfvvj            2/2       Running     0          11h
    prometheus-86cb6dd77c-5j48h                1/1       Running     0          11h

Deploy your application

You can now deploy your own application or one of the sample applications provided with the installation like Bookinfo. Note: the application must use HTTP/1.1 or HTTP/2.0 protocol for all its HTTP traffic because HTTP/1.0 is not supported.

If you started the Istio-sidecar-injector, as shown above, you can deploy the application directly using kubectl create.

The Istio-Sidecar-injector will automatically inject Envoy containers into your application pods assuming running in namespaces labeled with istio-injection=enabled

$ kubectl label namespace <namespace> istio-injection=enabled
$ kubectl create -n <namespace> -f <your-app-spec>.yaml

If you do not have the Istio-sidecar-injector installed, you must use [istioctl kube-inject](/docs/reference/commands/istioctl/#istioctl kube-inject) to manually inject Envoy containers in your application pods before deploying them:

$ kubectl create -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f <your-app-spec>.yaml)


  • Uninstall Istio core components. For this release, the uninstall deletes the RBAC permissions, the istio-system namespace, and hierarchically all resources under it. It is safe to ignore errors for non-existent resources because they may have been deleted hierarchically.

If you installed Istio with istio-demo.yaml:

$ kubectl delete -f @install/kubernetes/istio-demo.yaml@

otherwise uninstall Istio with Helm.

What's next