Getting Started

This guide lets you quickly evaluate Istio’s ambient mode. You’ll need a Kubernetes cluster to proceed. If you don’t have a cluster, you can use kind or any other supported Kubernetes platform.

These steps require you to have a cluster running a supported version of Kubernetes (1.27, 1.28, 1.29, 1.30).

Download the Istio CLI

Istio is configured using a command line tool called istioctl. Download it, and the Istio sample applications:

$ curl -L https://istio.io/downloadIstio | sh -
$ cd istio-1.23.0
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH

Check that you are able to run istioctl by printing the version of the command. At this point, Istio is not installed in your cluster, so you will see that there are no pods ready.

$ istioctl version
no ready Istio pods in "istio-system"
1.23.0

Install Istio on to your cluster

istioctl supports a number of configuration profiles that include different default options, and can be customized for your production needs. Support for ambient mode is included in the ambient profile. Install Istio with the following command:

$ istioctl install --set profile=ambient --skip-confirmation

It might take a minute for the Istio components to be installed. Once the installation completes, you’ll get the following output that indicates all components have been installed successfully.

✔ Istio core installed
✔ Istiod installed
✔ CNI installed
✔ Ztunnel installed
✔ Installation complete

Install the Kubernetes Gateway API CRDs

You need to install the Kubernetes Gateway API CRDs, which don’t come installed by default on most Kubernetes clusters:

$ kubectl get crd gateways.gateway.networking.k8s.io &> /dev/null || \
  { kubectl kustomize "github.com/kubernetes-sigs/gateway-api/config/crd/experimental?ref=v1.1.0" | kubectl apply -f -; }

You will use the Kubernetes Gateway API to configure traffic routing.

Next steps

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed Istio with support for ambient mode. Continue to the next step to install the demo application and add it to the ambient mesh.