Installing the Sidecar

Injection

In order to take advantage of all of Istio’s features, pods in the mesh must be running an Istio sidecar proxy.

The following sections describe two ways of injecting the Istio sidecar into a pod: manually using the istioctl command or by enabling automatic Istio sidecar injection in the pod’s namespace.

Manual injection directly modifies configuration, like deployments, and injects the proxy configuration into it.

When enabled in a pod’s namespace, automatic injection injects the proxy configuration at pod creation time using an admission controller.

If you are not sure which one to use, automatic injection is recommended.

Manual sidecar injection

To manually inject a deployment, use istioctl kube-inject:

Zip
$ istioctl kube-inject -f @samples/sleep/sleep.yaml@ | kubectl apply -f -
serviceaccount/sleep created
service/sleep created
deployment.apps/sleep created

By default, this will use the in-cluster configuration. Alternatively, injection can be done using local copies of the configuration.

$ kubectl -n istio-system get configmap istio-sidecar-injector -o=jsonpath='{.data.config}' > inject-config.yaml
$ kubectl -n istio-system get configmap istio-sidecar-injector -o=jsonpath='{.data.values}' > inject-values.yaml
$ kubectl -n istio-system get configmap istio -o=jsonpath='{.data.mesh}' > mesh-config.yaml

Run kube-inject over the input file and deploy.

Zip
$ istioctl kube-inject \
    --injectConfigFile inject-config.yaml \
    --meshConfigFile mesh-config.yaml \
    --valuesFile inject-values.yaml \
    --filename @samples/sleep/sleep.yaml@ \
    | kubectl apply -f -
serviceaccount/sleep created
service/sleep created
deployment.apps/sleep created

Verify that the sidecar has been injected into the sleep pod with 2/2 under the READY column.

$ kubectl get pod  -l app=sleep
NAME                     READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
sleep-64c6f57bc8-f5n4x   2/2     Running   0          24s

Automatic sidecar injection

Sidecars can be automatically added to applicable Kubernetes pods using a mutating webhook admission controller provided by Istio.

When you set the istio-injection=enabled label on a namespace and the injection webhook is enabled, any new pods that are created in that namespace will automatically have a sidecar added to them.

Note that unlike manual injection, automatic injection occurs at the pod-level. You won’t see any change to the deployment itself. Instead you’ll want to check individual pods (via kubectl describe) to see the injected proxy.

Deploying an app

Deploy sleep app. Verify both deployment and pod have a single container.

Zip
$ kubectl apply -f @samples/sleep/sleep.yaml@
$ kubectl get deployment -o wide
NAME    READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE   CONTAINERS   IMAGES                    SELECTOR
sleep   1/1     1            1           12s   sleep        curlimages/curl           app=sleep
$ kubectl get pod
NAME                    READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
sleep-8f795f47d-hdcgs   1/1     Running   0          42s

Label the default namespace with istio-injection=enabled

$ kubectl label namespace default istio-injection=enabled --overwrite
$ kubectl get namespace -L istio-injection
NAME                 STATUS   AGE     ISTIO-INJECTION
default              Active   5m9s    enabled
istio-system         Active   4m58s   disabled
kube-node-lease      Active   5m10s
kube-public          Active   5m10s
kube-system          Active   5m10s
local-path-storage   Active   5m7s

Injection occurs at pod creation time. Kill the running pod and verify a new pod is created with the injected sidecar. The original pod has 1/1 READY containers, and the pod with injected sidecar has 2/2 READY containers.

$ kubectl delete pod -l app=sleep
$ kubectl get pod -l app=sleep
pod "sleep-776b7bcdcd-7hpnk" deleted
NAME                     READY     STATUS        RESTARTS   AGE
sleep-776b7bcdcd-7hpnk   1/1       Terminating   0          1m
sleep-776b7bcdcd-bhn9m   2/2       Running       0          7s

View detailed state of the injected pod. You should see the injected istio-proxy container and corresponding volumes.

$ kubectl describe pod -l app=sleep
...
Events:
  Type    Reason     Age   From               Message
  ----    ------     ----  ----               -------
  ...
  Normal  Created    11s   kubelet            Created container istio-init
  Normal  Started    11s   kubelet            Started container istio-init
  ...
  Normal  Created    10s   kubelet            Created container sleep
  Normal  Started    10s   kubelet            Started container sleep
  ...
  Normal  Created    9s    kubelet            Created container istio-proxy
  Normal  Started    8s    kubelet            Started container istio-proxy

Disable injection for the default namespace and verify new pods are created without the sidecar.

$ kubectl label namespace default istio-injection-
$ kubectl delete pod -l app=sleep
$ kubectl get pod
namespace/default labeled
pod "sleep-776b7bcdcd-bhn9m" deleted
NAME                     READY     STATUS        RESTARTS   AGE
sleep-776b7bcdcd-bhn9m   2/2       Terminating   0          2m
sleep-776b7bcdcd-gmvnr   1/1       Running       0          2s

Controlling the injection policy

In the above examples, you enabled and disabled injection at the namespace level. Injection can also be controlled on a per-pod basis, by configuring the sidecar.istio.io/inject label on a pod:

ResourceLabelEnabled valueDisabled value
Namespaceistio-injectionenableddisabled
Podsidecar.istio.io/inject"true""false"

The injector is configured with the following logic:

  1. If either label is disabled, the pod is not injected
  2. If either label is enabled, the pod is injected
  3. If neither label is set, the pod is injected if .values.sidecarInjectorWebhook.enableNamespacesByDefault is enabled. This is not enabled by default, so generally this means the pod is not injected.

Customizing injection

Generally, pod are injected based on the sidecar injection template, configured in the istio-sidecar-injector configmap. Per-pod configuration is available to override these options on individual pods. This is done by adding an istio-proxy container to your pod. The sidecar injection will treat any configuration defined here as an override to the default injection template.

Care should be taken when customizing these settings, as this allows complete customization of the resulting Pod, including making changes that cause the sidecar container to not function properly.

For example, the following configuration customizes a variety of settings, including lowering the CPU requests, adding a volume mount, and adding a preStop hook:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: example
spec:
  containers:
  - name: hello
    image: alpine
  - name: istio-proxy
    image: auto
    resources:
      requests:
        cpu: "100m"
    volumeMounts:
    - mountPath: /etc/certs
      name: certs
    lifecycle:
      preStop:
        exec:
          command: ["sleep", "10"]
  volumes:
  - name: certs
    secret:
      secretName: istio-certs

In general, any field in a pod can be set. However, care must be taken for certain fields:

  • Kubernetes requires the image field to be set before the injection has run. While you can set a specific image to override the default one, it is recommended to set the image to auto which will cause the sidecar injector to automatically select the image to use.
  • Some fields in Pod are dependent on related settings. For example, CPU request must be less than CPU limit. If both fields are not configured together, the pod may fail to start.

Additionally, certain fields are configurable by annotations on the pod, although it is recommend to use the above approach to customizing settings.

Custom templates [experimental]

Completely custom templates can also be defined at installation time. For example, to define a custom template that injects the GREETING environment variable into the istio-proxy container:

apiVersion: operator.istio.io/v1alpha1
kind: IstioOperator
metadata:
  name: istio
spec:
  values:
    sidecarInjectorWebhook:
      templates:
        custom: |
          spec:
            containers:
            - name: istio-proxy
              env:
              - name: GREETING
                value: hello-world

Pods will, by default, use the sidecar injection template, which is automatically created. This can be overridden by the inject.istio.io/templates annotation. For example, to apply the default template and our customization, you can set inject.istio.io/templates=sidecar,custom.