Change Notes

Traffic Management

  • Added VirtualService delegation. This allows mesh routing configurations to be specified in multiple composable VirtualServices.
  • Added the new Workload Entry resource. This allows easier configuration for non-Kubernetes workloads to join the mesh.
  • Added configuration for gateway topology. This addresses providing correct X-Forwarded-For headers and X-Forwarded-Client-Cert headers based on gateway deployment topology .
  • Added experimental support for the Kubernetes Service APIs.
  • Added support for using appProtocol to select the protocol for a port introduced in Kubernetes 1.18.
  • Changed Gateway SDS to be enabled by default. File mounted gateway continues to be available to help users to transition to secure gateway SDS.
  • Added support for reading certificates from Secrets, pathType, and IngressClass, which provides better support for Kubernetes ingress.
  • Added a new annotation to override proxy configuration per pod.
  • Removed most configuration flags and environment variables for the proxy. These now read directly from the mesh configuration.
  • Changed the proxy readiness probe to port 15021.
  • Fixed a bug, which blocked external HTTPS/TCP traffic in some cases.


  • Added JSON Web Token (JWT) caching to the Istio-agent, which provides better Istio Agent SDS performance.
  • Fixed the Istio Agent certificate provisioning grace period calculation.
  • Removed Security alpha API. Security beta API, which was introduced in Istio 1.5, is the only supported security API in Istio 1.6.


  • Added experimental support for request classification filters. This enables operators to configure new attributes for use in telemetry, based on request information. A primary use case for this feature is labeling of traffic by API method.
  • Added an experimental mesh-wide tracing configuration API. This API provides control of trace sampling rates, the maximum tag lengths for URL tags, and custom tags extraction for all traces within the mesh.
  • Added standard Prometheus scrape annotations to proxies and the control plane workloads, which improves the Prometheus integration experience. This removes the need for specialized configuration to discover and consume Istio metrics. More details are available in the operations guide for Prometheus.
  • Added the ability for mesh operators to add and remove labels used in Istio metrics, based on expressions over the set of available request and response attributes. This improves Istio’s support for customizing v2 metrics generation.
  • Updated default telemetry v2 configuration to avoid using host header to extract destination service name at the gateway. This prevents unbound cardinality due to an untrusted host header, and implies that destination service labels are going to be omitted for requests that hit blackhole and passthrough at the gateway.
  • Added automated publishing of Grafana dashboards to as part of the Istio release process. Please see the Istio org page for more information.
  • Updated Grafana dashboards to adapt to the new Istiod deployment model.


  • Added support for Istio canary upgrades. See the Upgrade guide for more information.
  • Removed the legacy Helm charts. For migration from them please see the Upgrade guide.
  • Added the ability for users to add a custom hostname for istiod.
  • Changed gateway readiness port used from 15020 to 15021. If you check health on your Istio ingressgateway from your Kubernetes network load balancer you will need to update the port.
  • Added functionality to save installation state in a CustomResource in the cluster.
  • Changed the Istio installation to no longer manage the installation namespace, allowing more flexibility.
  • Removed the separate Citadel, Sidecar Injector, and Galley deployments. These were disabled by default in 1.5, and all functionality has moved into Istiod.
  • Removed the legacy istio-pilot configurations, such as Service.
  • Removed ports 15029-15032 from the default ingressgateway. It is recommended to expose telemetry addons by host routing instead.
  • Removed built in Istio configurations from the installation, including the Gateway, VirtualServices, and mTLS settings.
  • Added a new profile, called preview, allowing users to try out new experimental features that include WASM enabled telemetry v2.
  • Added istioctl install command as a replacement for istioctl manifest apply.
  • Added istiod-remote chart to allow users to experiment with a central Istiod managing a remote data plane.


  • Added better display characteristics for the istioctl command.
  • Added support for key:value list selection when using –set flag paths.
  • Added support for deletes and setting non-scalar values when using the Kubernetes overlays patching mechanism.

Documentation changes

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