Traffic Management Best Practices
This section provides specific deployment or configuration guidelines to avoid networking or traffic management issues.
Set default routes for services
Although the default Istio behavior conveniently sends traffic from any
source to all versions of a destination service without any rules being set,
VirtualService with a default route for every service,
right from the start, is generally considered a best practice in Istio.
Even if you initially have only one version of a service, as soon as you decide to deploy a second version, you need to have a routing rule in place before the new version is started, to prevent it from immediately receiving traffic in an uncontrolled way.
Another potential issue when relying on Istio’s default round-robin routing is due to a subtlety in Istio’s destination rule evaluation algorithm. When routing a request, Envoy first evaluates route rules in virtual services to determine if a particular subset is being routed to. If so, only then will it activate any destination rule policies corresponding to the subset. Consequently, Istio only applies the policies you define for specific subsets if you explicitly routed traffic to the corresponding subset.
For example, consider the following destination rule as the one and only configuration defined for the
reviews service, that is, there are no route rules in a corresponding
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: DestinationRule metadata: name: reviews spec: host: reviews subsets: - name: v1 labels: version: v1 trafficPolicy: connectionPool: tcp: maxConnections: 100
Even if Istio’s default round-robin routing calls “v1” instances on occasion, maybe even always if “v1” is the only running version, the above traffic policy will never be invoked.
You can fix the above example in one of two ways. You can either move the
traffic policy up a level in the
DestinationRule to make it apply to any version:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: DestinationRule metadata: name: reviews spec: host: reviews trafficPolicy: connectionPool: tcp: maxConnections: 100 subsets: - name: v1 labels: version: v1
Or, better yet, define a proper route rule for the service in the
For example, add a simple route rule for “reviews:v1”:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: reviews spec: hosts: - reviews http: - route: - destination: host: reviews subset: v1
Control configuration sharing across namespaces
You can define virtual services, destination rules, or service entries
in one namespace and then reuse them in other namespaces, if they are exported
to those namespaces.
Istio exports all traffic management resources to all namespaces by default,
but you can override the visibility with the
For example, only clients in the same namespace can use the following virtual service:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: myservice spec: hosts: - myservice.com exportTo: - "." http: - route: - destination: host: myservice
Setting the visibility of destination rules in a particular namespace doesn’t guarantee the rule is used. Exporting a destination rule to other namespaces enables you to use it in those namespaces, but to actually be applied during a request the namespace also needs to be on the destination rule lookup path:
- client namespace
- service namespace
- Istio configuration root (
For example, consider the following destination rule:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: DestinationRule metadata: name: myservice spec: host: myservice.default.svc.cluster.local trafficPolicy: connectionPool: tcp: maxConnections: 100
Let’s assume you create this destination rule in namespace
If you send a request to the
myservice service from a client in
ns1, the destination
rule would be applied, because it is in the first namespace on the lookup path, that is,
in the client namespace.
If you now send the request from a different namespace, for example
the client is no longer in the same namespace as the destination rule,
Because the corresponding service,
myservice.default.svc.cluster.local, is also not in
but rather in the
default namespace, the destination rule will also not be found in
the second namespace of the lookup path, the service namespace.
Even if the
myservice service is exported to all namespaces and therefore visible
ns2 and the destination rule is also exported to all namespaces, including
it will not be applied during the request from
ns2 because it’s not in any
of the namespaces on the lookup path.
You can avoid this problem by creating the destination rule in the same namespace as
the corresponding service,
default in this example. It would then get applied to requests
from clients in any namespace.
You can also move the destination rule to the
istio-system namespace, the third namespace on
the lookup path, although this isn’t recommended unless the destination rule is really a global
configuration that is applicable in all namespaces, and it would require administrator authority.
Istio uses this restricted destination rule lookup path for two reasons:
- Prevent destination rules from being defined that can override the behavior of services in completely unrelated namespaces.
- Have a clear lookup order in case there is more than one destination rule for the same host.
Split large virtual services and destination rules into multiple resources
In situations where it is inconvenient to define the complete set of route rules or policies for a particular
host in a single
DestinationRule resource, it may be preferable to incrementally specify
the configuration for the host in multiple resources.
Pilot will merge such destination rules
and merge such virtual services if they are bound to a gateway.
Consider the case of a
VirtualService bound to an ingress gateway exposing an application host which uses
path-based delegation to several implementation services, something like this:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: myapp spec: hosts: - myapp.com gateways: - myapp-gateway http: - match: - uri: prefix: /service1 route: - destination: host: service1.default.svc.cluster.local - match: - uri: prefix: /service2 route: - destination: host: service2.default.svc.cluster.local - match: ...
The downside of this kind of configuration is that other configuration (e.g., route rules) for any of the underlying microservices, will need to also be included in this single configuration file, instead of in separate resources associated with, and potentially owned by, the individual service teams. See Route rules have no effect on ingress gateway requests for details.
To avoid this problem, it may be preferable to break up the configuration of
myapp.com into several
VirtualService fragments, one per backend service. For example:
apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: myapp-service1 spec: hosts: - myapp.com gateways: - myapp-gateway http: - match: - uri: prefix: /service1 route: - destination: host: service1.default.svc.cluster.local --- apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: myapp-service2 spec: hosts: - myapp.com gateways: - myapp-gateway http: - match: - uri: prefix: /service2 route: - destination: host: service2.default.svc.cluster.local --- apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: myapp-...
When a second and subsequent
VirtualService for an existing host is applied,
istio-pilot will merge
the additional route rules into the existing configuration of the host. There are, however, several
caveats with this feature that must be considered carefully when using it.
- Although the order of evaluation for rules in any given source
VirtualServicewill be retained, the cross-resource order is UNDEFINED. In other words, there is no guaranteed order of evaluation for rules across the fragment configurations, so it will only have predictable behavior if there are no conflicting rules or order dependency between rules across fragments.
- There should only be one “catch-all” rule (i.e., a rule that matches any request path or header) in the fragments. All such “catch-all” rules will be moved to the end of the list in the merged configuration, but since they catch all requests, whichever is applied first will essentially override and disable any others.
VirtualServicecan only be fragmented this way if it is bound to a gateway. Host merging is not supported in sidecars.
DestinationRule can also be fragmented with similar merge semantic and restrictions.
- There should only be one definition of any given subset across multiple destination rules for the same host. If there is more than one with the same name, the first definition is used and any following duplicates are discarded. No merging of subset content is supported.
- There should only be one top-level
trafficPolicyfor the same host. When top-level traffic policies are defined in multiple destination rules, the first one will be used. Any following top-level
trafficPolicyconfiguration is discarded.
- Unlike virtual service merging, destination rule merging works in both sidecars and gateways.
Avoid 503 errors while reconfiguring service routes
When setting route rules to direct traffic to specific versions (subsets) of a service, care must be taken to ensure that the subsets are available before they are used in the routes. Otherwise, calls to the service may return 503 errors during a reconfiguration period.
Creating both the
DestinationRules that define the corresponding subsets using a single
kubectl apply -f myVirtualServiceAndDestinationRule.yaml is not sufficient because the
resources propagate (from the configuration server, i.e., Kubernetes API server) to the Pilot instances in an eventually consistent manner. If the
VirtualService using the subsets arrives before the
DestinationRule where the subsets are defined, the Envoy configuration generated by Pilot would refer to non-existent upstream pools. This results in HTTP 503 errors until all configuration objects are available to Pilot.
To make sure services will have zero down-time when configuring routes with subsets, follow a “make-before-break” process as described below:
When adding new subsets:
DestinationRulesto add a new subset first, before updating any
VirtualServicesthat use it. Apply the rule using
kubectlor any platform-specific tooling.
Wait a few seconds for the
DestinationRuleconfiguration to propagate to the Envoy sidecars
VirtualServiceto refer to the newly added subsets.
When removing subsets:
VirtualServicesto remove any references to a subset, before removing the subset from a
Wait a few seconds for the
VirtualServiceconfiguration to propagate to the Envoy sidecars.
DestinationRuleto remove the unused subsets.