Control Egress Traffic

This task uses the new v1alpha3 traffic management API. The old API has been deprecated and will be removed in the next Istio release. If you need to use the old version, follow the docs here.

By default, Istio-enabled services are unable to access URLs outside of the cluster because iptables is used in the pod to transparently redirect all outbound traffic to the sidecar proxy, which only handles intra-cluster destinations.

This task describes how to configure Istio to expose external services to Istio-enabled clients. You’ll learn how to enable access to external services by defining ServiceEntry configurations, or alternatively, to simply bypass the Istio proxy for a specific range of IPs.

Before you begin

  • Setup Istio by following the instructions in the Installation guide.

  • Start the sleep sample which will be used as a test source for external calls.

    $ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml)
    

    Note that any pod that you can exec and curl from would do.

Configuring Istio external services

Using Istio ServiceEntry configurations, you can access any publicly accessible service from within your Istio cluster. In this task we will use httpbin.org and www.google.com as examples.

Configuring the external services

  1. Create an ServiceEntry to allow access to an external HTTP service:

    ```bash cat <<EOF | istioctl create -f - apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: ServiceEntry metadata: name: httpbin-ext spec: hosts:

    • httpbin.org ports:
    • number: 80 name: http protocol: HTTP EOF ```
  2. Create an ServiceEntry to allow access to an external HTTPS service:

    ```bash cat <<EOF | istioctl create -f - apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: ServiceEntry metadata: name: google-ext spec: hosts:

    • www.google.com ports:
    • number: 443 name: https protocol: HTTP — apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: DestinationRule metadata: name: google-ext spec: host: www.google.com trafficPolicy: tls: mode: SIMPLE # initiates HTTPS when talking to www.google.com EOF ```

Notice that we also create a corresponding DestinationRule to initiate TLS for connections to the HTTPS service. Callers must access this service using HTTP on port 443 and Istio will upgrade the connection to HTTPS.

Make requests to the external services

  1. Exec into the pod being used as the test source. For example, if you are using the sleep service, run the following commands:

    $ export SOURCE_POD=$(kubectl get pod -l app=sleep -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name})
    $ kubectl exec -it $SOURCE_POD -c sleep bash
    
  2. Make a request to the external HTTP service:

    $ curl http://httpbin.org/headers
    
  3. Make a request to the external HTTPS service. External services of type HTTPS must be accessed over HTTP with the port specified in the request:

    $ curl http://www.google.com:443
    

Setting route rules on an external service

Similar to inter-cluster requests, Istio routing rules can also be set for external services that are accessed using ServiceEntry configurations. To illustrate we will use istioctl to set a timeout rule on calls to the httpbin.org service.

  1. From inside the pod being used as the test source, invoke the /delay endpoint of the httpbin.org external service:

    $ kubectl exec -it $SOURCE_POD -c sleep bash
    $ time curl -o /dev/null -s -w "%{http_code}\n" http://httpbin.org/delay/5
    200
    
    real    0m5.024s
    user    0m0.003s
    sys     0m0.003s
    

    The request should return 200 (OK) in approximately 5 seconds.

  2. Exit the source pod and use istioctl to set a 3s timeout on calls to the httpbin.org external service:

    ```bash cat <<EOF | istioctl create -f - apiVersion: networking.istio.io/v1alpha3 kind: VirtualService metadata: name: httpbin-ext spec: hosts: - httpbin.org http:

    • timeout: 3s route:
      • destination: host: httpbin.org weight: 100 EOF ```
  3. Wait a few seconds, then issue the curl request again:

    $ kubectl exec -it $SOURCE_POD -c sleep bash
    $ time curl -o /dev/null -s -w "%{http_code}\n" http://httpbin.org/delay/5
    504
    
    real    0m3.149s
    user    0m0.004s
    sys     0m0.004s
    

    This time a 504 (Gateway Timeout) appears after 3 seconds. Although httpbin.org was waiting 5 seconds, Istio cut off the request at 3 seconds.

Calling external services directly

If you want to completely bypass Istio for a specific IP range, you can configure the source service’s Envoy sidecar to prevent it from intercepting the external requests. This can be done using the --includeIPRanges option of istioctl kube-inject when starting the service.

The simplest way to use the --includeIPRanges option is to pass it the IP range(s) used for internal cluster services, thereby excluding external IPs from being redirected to the sidecar proxy. The values used for internal IP range(s), however, depends on where your cluster is running. For example, with Minikube the range is 10.0.0.124, so you would start the sleep service like this:

$ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml --includeIPRanges=10.0.0.1/24)

On IBM Cloud Private, use:

  1. Get your service_cluster_ip_range from IBM Cloud Private configuration file under cluster/config.yaml.

    $ cat cluster/config.yaml | grep service_cluster_ip_range
    

    A sample output is as following:

    service_cluster_ip_range: 10.0.0.1/24
    
  2. Inject the service_cluster_ip_range to your application profile via --includeIPRanges to limit Istio’s traffic interception to the service cluster IP range.

    $ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml --includeIPRanges=10.0.0.1/24)
    

On IBM Cloud Container Service, use:

$ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml --includeIPRanges=172.30.0.0/16,172.20.0.0/16,10.10.10.0/24)

On Google Container Engine (GKE) the ranges are not fixed, so you will need to run the gcloud container clusters describe command to determine the ranges to use. For example:

$ gcloud container clusters describe XXXXXXX --zone=XXXXXX | grep -e clusterIpv4Cidr -e servicesIpv4Cidr
clusterIpv4Cidr: 10.4.0.0/14
servicesIpv4Cidr: 10.7.240.0/20
$ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml --includeIPRanges=10.4.0.0/14,10.7.240.0/20)

On Azure Container Service(ACS), use:

$ kubectl apply -f <(istioctl kube-inject -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml --includeIPRanges=10.244.0.0/16,10.240.0.0/16)

After starting your service this way, the Istio sidecar will only intercept and manage internal requests within the cluster. Any external request will simply bypass the sidecar and go straight to its intended destination.

$ export SOURCE_POD=$(kubectl get pod -l app=sleep -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name})
$ kubectl exec -it $SOURCE_POD -c sleep curl http://httpbin.org/headers

Understanding what happened

In this task we looked at two ways to call external services from an Istio mesh:

  1. Using a ServiceEntry (recommended)

  2. Configuring the Istio sidecar to exclude external IPs from its remapped IP table

The first approach (ServiceEntry) allows you to use all of the same Istio service mesh features for calls to services within or outside of the cluster. We demonstrated this by setting a timeout rule for calls to an external service.

The second approach bypasses the Istio sidecar proxy, giving your services direct access to any external URL. However, configuring the proxy this way does require cloud provider specific knowledge and configuration.

Cleanup

  1. Remove the rules.

    $ istioctl delete serviceentry httpbin-ext google-ext
    $ istioctl delete destinationrule google-ext
    $ istioctl delete virtualservice httpbin-ext
    
  2. Shutdown the sleep service.

    $ kubectl delete -f samples/sleep/sleep.yaml
    

What’s next