Kubernetes Gateway API

This task describes how to configure Istio to expose a service outside the service mesh cluster using the Kubernetes Gateway API. These APIs are an actively developed evolution of the Kubernetes Service and Ingress APIs.


  1. The Gateway APIs do not come installed by default on most Kubernetes clusters. Install the Gateway API CRDs if they are not present:

    $ kubectl get crd gateways.gateway.networking.k8s.io || { kubectl kustomize "github.com/kubernetes-sigs/gateway-api/config/crd?ref=v0.4.0" | kubectl apply -f -; }

Differences from Istio APIs

The Gateway APIs share a lot of similarities to the Istio APIs such as Gateway and VirtualService. The main resource shares the same name, Gateway, and the resources serve similar goals.

The new Gateway APIs aim to take the learnings from various Kubernetes ingress implementations, including Istio, to build a standardized vendor neutral API. These APIs generally serve the same purposes as Istio Gateway and VirtualService, with a few key differences:

  • In Istio APIs, a Gateway configures an existing gateway Deployment/Service that has been deployed. In the Gateway APIs, the Gateway resource both configures and deploys a gateway. See Deployment Methods for more information.
  • In the Istio VirtualService, all protocols are configured within a single resource. In the Gateway APIs, each protocol type has its own resource, such as HTTPRoute and TCPRoute.
  • While the Gateway APIs offer a lot of rich routing functionality, it does not yet cover 100% of Istio’s feature set. Work is ongoing to extend the API to cover these use cases, as well as utilizing the APIs extensibility to better expose Istio functionality.

Configuring a Gateway

See the Gateway API documentation for information about the APIs.

In this example, we will deploy a simple application and expose it externally using a Gateway.

  1. First, deploy a test application:

    $ kubectl apply -f @samples/httpbin/httpbin.yaml@
  2. Deploy the Gateway API configuration:

    $ kubectl create namespace istio-ingress
    $ kubectl apply -f - <<EOF
    apiVersion: gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2
    kind: Gateway
      name: gateway
      namespace: istio-ingress
      gatewayClassName: istio
      - name: default
        hostname: "*.example.com"
        port: 80
        protocol: HTTP
            from: All
    apiVersion: gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2
    kind: HTTPRoute
      name: http
      namespace: default
      - name: gateway
        namespace: istio-ingress
      hostnames: ["httpbin.example.com"]
      - matches:
        - path:
            type: PathPrefix
            value: /get
        - type: RequestHeaderModifier
            - name: my-added-header
              value: added-value
        - name: httpbin
          port: 8000
  3. Set the Ingress Host

    $ kubectl wait -n istio-ingress --for=condition=ready gateways.gateway.networking.k8s.io gateway
    $ export INGRESS_HOST=$(kubectl get gateways.gateway.networking.k8s.io gateway -n istio-ingress -ojsonpath='{.status.addresses[*].value}')
  4. Access the httpbin service using curl:

    $ curl -s -I -HHost:httpbin.example.com "http://$INGRESS_HOST/get"
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    server: istio-envoy

    Note the use of the -H flag to set the Host HTTP header to “httpbin.example.com”. This is needed because the HTTPRoute is configured to handle “httpbin.example.com”, but in your test environment you have no DNS binding for that host and are simply sending your request to the ingress IP.

  5. Access any other URL that has not been explicitly exposed. You should see an HTTP 404 error:

    $ curl -s -I -HHost:httpbin.example.com "http://$INGRESS_HOST/headers"
    HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found

Deployment methods

In the example above, you did not need to install an ingress gateway Deployment prior to configuring a Gateway. In the default configuration, a gateway Deployment and Service is automatically provisioned based on the Gateway configuration. For advanced use cases, manual deployment is still allowed.

Automated Deployment

By default, each Gateway will automatically provision a Service and Deployment of the same name. These configurations will be updated automatically if the Gateway changes (for example, if a new port is added).

These resources can be customized in a few ways:

  • Annotations and labels on the Gateway will be copied to the Service and Deployment. This allows configuring things such as Internal load balancers that read from these fields.
  • Istio offers an additional annotation to configure the generated resources:

    networking.istio.io/service-typeControls the Service.spec.type field. For example, set to ClusterIP to not expose the service externally. The default is LoadBalancer.
  • The Service.spec.loadBalancerIP field can be explicit set by configuring the addresses field:

    apiVersion: gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2
    kind: Gateway
      name: gateway
      - value:
        type: IPAddress

Note: only one address may be specified.

Manual Deployment

If you do not want to have an automated deployment, a Deployment and Service can be configured manually.

When this option is done, you will need to manually link the Gateway to the Service, as well as keep their port configuration in sync.

To link a Gateway to a Service, configure the addresses field to point to a single Hostname.

apiVersion: gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2
kind: Gateway
  name: gateway
  - value: ingress.istio-gateways.svc.cluster.local
    type: Hostname

Mesh Traffic

The Gateway API can also be used to configure mesh traffic. This is done by configuring the parentRef, to point to the istio Mesh. This resource does not actually exist in the cluster and is only used to signal that the Istio mesh should be used.

For example, to redirect calls to example.com to an in-cluster Service named example:

apiVersion: gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2
kind: HTTPRoute
  name: mesh
  - kind: Mesh
    name: istio
  hostnames: ["example.com"]
  - backendRefs:
    - name: example
      port: 80
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