Destination Rules

You specify the path for traffic with routing rules, and then you use destination rules to configure the set of policies that Envoy proxies apply to a request at a specific destination. Destination rules are applied after the routing rules are evaluated.

Configurations you set in destination rules apply to traffic that you route through your platform’s basic connectivity. You can use wildcard prefixes in a destination rule to specify a single rule for multiple services.

You can use destination rules to specify service subsets, that is, to group all the instances of your service with a particular version together. You then configure routing rules that route traffic to your subsets to send certain traffic to particular service versions.

You specify explicit routing rules to service subsets. This model allows you to:

  • Cleanly refer to a specific service version across different virtual services.

  • Simplify the stats that the Istio proxies emit.

  • Encode subsets in Server Name Indication (SNI) headers.

Load balancing 3 subsets

The following example destination rule configures three different subsets with different load balancing policies for the my-svc destination service:

kind: DestinationRule
  name: my-destination-rule
  host: my-svc
      simple: RANDOM
  - name: v1
      version: v1
  - name: v2
      version: v2
        simple: ROUND_ROBIN
  - name: v3
      version: v3

As shown above, you can specify multiple policies in a single destination rule. In this example, the default policy is defined above the subsets: field. The v2 specific policy is defined in the corresponding subset’s field. The following diagram shows how the different configurations in the my-destination-rule destination rule and in the routing rules in my-vtl-svc virtual service would apply to the traffic to and from the my-svc service:

Configurable route examples defined in the destination rule
Configurable route examples defined in the destination rule

Visit our destination rules reference documentation to review all the enabled keys and values.

Service subsets

Service subsets subdivide and label the instances of a service. To define the divisions and labels, use the subsets: section in destination rules. For example, you can use subsets to configure the following traffic routing scenarios:

You use service subsets in the routing rules of virtual services, gateways and service entries to control the traffic to your services.

Understanding service subsets in Istio allows you to configure the communication to services with multiple versions within your mesh and configure the following common use cases:

To learn how you can use service subsets to configure failure handling use cases, visit our Network resilience and testing concept.