Configure managed Anthos Service Mesh with `asmcli`

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Overview

Managed Anthos Service Mesh with asmcli is a managed control plane and an optional managed data plane that you simply configure. Google handles their reliability, upgrades, scaling and security for you in a backward-compatible manner. This guide explains how to set up or migrate applications to managed Anthos Service Mesh in a single or multi-cluster configuration with asmcli.

To learn about the supported features and limitations of managed Anthos Service Mesh, see Managed Anthos Service Mesh supported features.

Prerequisites

As a starting point, this guide assumes that you have:

Requirements

  • One or more clusters with a supported version of GKE, in one of the supported regions.
  • Ensure that the client machine that you install managed Anthos Service Mesh from has network connectivity to the API server.
  • Your clusters must be registered to a fleet. This step can be done separately prior to the installation or as part of the installation by passing the --enable-registration and --fleet-id flags.
  • Your project must have the Service Mesh fleet feature enabled. You could enable it as part of the installation by passing --enable-gcp-components, or by running the following command:

    gcloud container fleet mesh enable --project=FLEET_PROJECT_ID
    

    where FLEET_PROJECT_ID is the project-id of the fleet host project.

  • GKE Autopilot is only supported with GKE version 1.21.3+. CNI will be installed and managed by Google.

  • Managed Anthos Service Mesh can use multiple GKE clusters in a single-project single-network environment or a multi-project single-network environment.

    • If you join clusters that are not in the same project, they must be registered to the same fleet host project, and the clusters must be in a shared VPC configuration together on the same network.
    • In addition, we recommend that you have one project to host the shared VPC, and separate service projects for creating clusters. For more information, see Setting up clusters with Shared VPC.
    • If your organization uses VPC Service Controls, then you must use the additional --use-vpcsc flag when applying the managed control plane. Otherwise, the installation will fail security controls. Support for the VPC Service Controls feature is available in the Regular and Rapid channels.

Limitations

We recommend that you review the list of managed Anthos Service Mesh supported features and limitations. In particular, note the following:

  • The IstioOperator API isn't supported since its main purpose is to control in-cluster components.

  • If you previously deployed the managed control plane, and you want to deploy the managed data plane, you must rerun the installation tool as described in Apply the managed control plane.

  • For GKE Autopilot clusters, cross-project setup is only supported with GKE 1.23+. In order to adapt to the GKE Autopilot resource limit, the default proxy resource requests and limits are set to 500m CPU and 512 Mb memory.

  • The actual features available to managed Anthos Service Mesh depend on the release channel. For more information, review the full list of managed Anthos Service Mesh supported features and limitations.

  • During the provisioning process for a managed control plane, Istio CRDs corresponding to the selected channel are installed in the specified cluster. If there are existing Istio CRDs in the cluster, they will be overwritten.

Before you begin

Configure gcloud

Do the following steps even if you are using Cloud Shell.

  1. Authenticate with the Google Cloud CLI:

    gcloud auth login --project PROJECT_ID
    
  2. Update the components:

    gcloud components update
    
  3. Configure kubectl to point to the cluster.

    gcloud container clusters get-credentials CLUSTER_NAME \
         --zone CLUSTER_LOCATION \
         --project PROJECT_ID
    

Download the installation tool

  1. Download the latest version of the tool to the current working directory:

    curl https://storage.googleapis.com/csm-artifacts/asm/asmcli > asmcli
    
  2. Make the tool executable:

    chmod +x asmcli
    

Configure each cluster

Use the following steps to configure managed Anthos Service Mesh for each cluster in your mesh.

Apply the managed control plane

Before you apply the managed control plane, you must select a release channel.

Run the installation tool for each cluster that will use managed Anthos Service Mesh. We recommend that you include both of the following options:

  • --enable-registration --fleet_id FLEET_PROJECT_ID These two flags register the cluster to a fleet, where the FLEET_ID is the project-id of the fleet host project. If using a single-project, the FLEET_PROJECT_ID is the same as PROJECT_ID, the fleet host project and the cluster project are the same. In more complex configurations like multi-project, we recommend using a separate fleet host project.

  • --enable-all. This flag enables both required components and registration.

If your organization enforces VPC Service Controls for your project, you must configure an additional flag: --use-vpcsc. Otherwise the installation will fail security controls. Support for the VPC Service Controls feature is available in the Regular and Rapid channels.

The asmcli tool configures the managed control plane directly using tools and logic inside of the CLI tool. Use the set of instructions below depending on your preferred CA.

Certificate Authorities

Select a Certificate Authority to use for your mesh.

Mesh CA

Run the following command to install the control plane with default features and Mesh CA. Enter your values in the provided placeholders. Replace RELEASE_CHANNEL with the appropriate channel: regular, stable, or rapid.

  ./asmcli install \
      -p PROJECT_ID \
      -l LOCATION \
      -n CLUSTER_NAME \
      --fleet_id FLEET_PROJECT_ID \
      --managed \
      --verbose \
      --output_dir CLUSTER_NAME \
      --enable-all \
      --channel RELEASE_CHANNEL

CA Service

  1. Follow the steps in Configure Certificate Authority Service.
  2. Run the following command to install the control plane with default features and Certificate Authority Service. Enter your values in the provided placeholders. Replace RELEASE_CHANNEL with the appropriate channel: regular, stable, or rapid.
  ./asmcli install \
      -p PROJECT_ID \
      -l LOCATION \
      -n CLUSTER_NAME \
      --fleet_id FLEET_PROJECT_ID \
      --managed \
      --verbose \
      --output_dir CLUSTER_NAME \
      --enable-all \
      --channel RELEASE_CHANNEL \
      --ca gcp_cas \
      --ca_pool pool_name

The tool downloads all the files for configuring the managed control plane to the specified --output_dir, installing the istioctl tool and sample applications. The steps in this guide assume that you run istioctl from the --output_dir location you specified when running asmcli install, with istioctl present in its <Istio release dir>/bin subdirectory.

If you rerun asmcli on the same cluster, it overwrites the existing control plane configuration. Be sure to specify the same options and flags if you want the same configuration.

Verify the control plane has been provisioned

The asmcli tool creates a ControlPlaneRevision custom resource in the cluster. This resource's status is updated when the managed control plane is provisioned or fails provisioning.

Inspect the status of the resource. Replace NAME with the value corresponding to each channel: asm-managed, asm-managed-stable, or asm-managed-rapid.

kubectl describe controlplanerevision NAME -n istio-system

The output is similar to:

    Name:         asm-managed

    …

    Status:
      Conditions:
        Last Transition Time:  2021-08-05T18:56:32Z
        Message:               The provisioning process has completed successfully
        Reason:                Provisioned
        Status:                True
        Type:                  Reconciled
        Last Transition Time:  2021-08-05T18:56:32Z
        Message:               Provisioning has finished
        Reason:                ProvisioningFinished
        Status:                True
        Type:                  ProvisioningFinished
        Last Transition Time:  2021-08-05T18:56:32Z
        Message:               Provisioning has not stalled
        Reason:                NotStalled
        Status:                False
        Type:                  Stalled

The Reconciled condition determines whether the managed control plane is running correctly. If true, the control plane is running successfully. Stalled determines whether the managed control plane provisioning process has encountered an error. If Stalled, the Message field contains more information about the specific error. See Stalled codes for more information about possible errors.

Zero-touch upgrades

Once the managed control plane is installed, Google will automatically upgrade it when new releases or patches become available.

It is not mandatory to upgrade the data plane every time a control plane upgrade happens. The control plane continues to work with all the proxies in the support window, but it is recommended for getting access to the latest data plane features, fixes, and performance improvements. To upgrade to the latest published proxy image in your channel, you can perform either a rolling restart, when convenient, or apply the managed data plane which will do it automatically for you.

Apply the managed data plane (optional)

If you want Google to fully manage upgrades of the proxies, enable the managed data plane.

If enabled, the sidecar proxies and injected gateways are automatically updated in conjunction with the managed control plane by restarting workloads to re-inject new versions of the proxy. If disabled, proxy management is driven by the natural lifecycle of the Pods in the cluster and must be manually triggered by the user to control the update rate.

The managed data plane upgrades proxies by evicting Pods that are running older versions of the proxy. The evictions are done gradually, honoring the Pod disruption budget and controlling the rate of change.

Note that the managed data plane requires the Istio Container Network Interface (CNI) plugin, which is enabled by default when you deploy the managed control plane.

The managed data plane doesn't manage the following:

  • Uninjected pods
  • Manually injected pods
  • Jobs
  • StatefulSets
  • DaemonSets

The managed data plane is available on both the Rapid and Regular release channels.

To enable the managed data plane:

  1. Enable data plane management for the entire cluster:

    kubectl annotate --overwrite controlplanerevision -n istio-system \
    REVISION_LABEL \
    mesh.cloud.google.com/proxy='{"managed":"true"}'
    

    Alternatively, you can enable the managed data plane selectively for a specific control plane revision, namespace, or Pod by annotating it with the same annotation. If you control individual components selectively, then the order of precedence is control plane revision, then namespace, then Pod.

    It could take up to ten minutes for the service to be ready to manage the proxies in the cluster. Run the following command to check the status:

    gcloud container fleet mesh describe --project FLEET_PROJECT_ID
    

    Expected output

     membershipStates:
       projects/PROJECT_NUMBER/locations/global/memberships/CLUSTER_NAME:
         servicemesh:
           dataPlaneManagement:
             details:
             - code: OK
               details: Service is running.
             state: ACTIVE
         state:
           code: OK
           description: 'Revision(s) ready for use: asm-managed-rapid.'
     ```
    

If the service does not become ready within ten minutes, see Managed data plane status for next steps.

If you want to disable the managed data plane and revert back to managing the sidecar proxies yourself, change the annotation:

kubectl annotate --overwrite controlplanerevision -n istio-system \
REVISION_LABEL \
  mesh.cloud.google.com/proxy='{"managed":"false"}'

To disable the managed dataplane for a namespaces:

kubectl annotate --overwrite namespace NAMESPACE \
  mesh.cloud.google.com/proxy='{"managed":"false"}'

Alternatively, you can disable the managed data plane for a specific Pod by annotating it with the same annotation.

Enable maintenance notifications

You can request to be notified about upcoming maintenance up to week before maintenance is scheduled. Maintenance notifications are not sent by default. You must also Configure a GKE maintenance window before you can receive notifications.

To opt in to maintenance notifications:

  1. Go to the Communication page.

    Go to the Communication page

  2. In the Anthos Service Mesh Upgrade row, under the Email column, select the radio button to turn maintenance notifications ON.

Each user that wants to receive notifications must opt in separately. If you want to set an email filter for these notifications, the subject line is:

Upcoming upgrade for your Anthos Service Mesh cluster "CLUSTER_LOCATION/CLUSTER_NAME".

Configure endpoint discovery (only for multi-cluster installations)

Before you continue, you should have already configured managed Anthos Service Mesh on each cluster as described in the previous steps. There is no need to indicate that a cluster is a primary cluster, this is the default behavior.

Additionally, ensure you have downloaded asmcli (only if you wish to verify your configuration with the sample application) and set the project and cluster variables.

Public clusters

Configure endpoint discovery between public clusters

If you are operating on public clusters (non-private clusters), you can either Configure endpoint discovery between public clusters or more simply Enable endpoint discovery between public clusters.

Private clusters

Configure endpoint discovery between private clusters

When using GKE private clusters, you must configure the cluster control plane endpoint to be the public endpoint instead of the private endpoint. Please refer to Configure endpoint discovery between private clusters.

For an example application with two clusters, see HelloWorld service example.

Deploy applications

To deploy applications, use either the label corresponding to the channel you configured during installation or istio-injection=enabled if you are using default injection labels.

Default injection label

kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE istio-injection=enabled istio.io/rev- --overwrite

Revision label

Before you deploy applications, remove any previous istio-injection labels from their namespaces and set the istio.io/rev=REVISION_LABEL label instead.

To change it to a specific revision label, click REVISION_LABEL, and replace it with the applicable label: asm-managed-rapid for Rapid, asm-managed for Regular, or asm-managed-stable for Stable.

The revision label corresponds to a release channel:

Revision label Channel
asm-managed Regular
asm-managed-rapid Rapid
asm-managed-stable Stable
kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE istio-injection- istio.io/rev=REVISION_LABEL --overwrite

At this point, you have successfully configured Anthos Service Mesh managed control plane. If you have any existing workloads in labeled namespaces, then restart them so they get proxies injected.

You are now ready to deploy your applications, or you can deploy the Bookinfo sample application.

If you deploy an application in a multi-cluster setup, replicate the Kubernetes and control plane configuration in all clusters, unless you plan to limit that particular config to a subset of clusters. The configuration applied to a particular cluster is the source of truth for that cluster.

Verify control plane metrics

You can view the version of the control plane and data plane in Metrics Explorer.

To verify that your configuration works correctly:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, view the control plane metrics:

    Go to Metrics Explorer

  2. Choose your workspace and add a custom query using the following parameters:

    • Resource type: Kubernetes Container
    • Metric: Proxy Clients
    • Filter: container_name="cr-REVISION_LABEL"
    • Group By: revision label and proxy_version label
    • Aggregator sum
    • Period: 1 minute

    When you run Anthos Service Mesh with both a Google-managed and an in-cluster control plane, you can tell the metrics apart by their container name. For example, managed metrics have container_name="cr-asm-managed", while unmanaged metrics have container_name="discovery". To display metrics from both, remove the Filter on container_name="cr-asm-managed".

  3. Verify the control plane version and proxy version by inspecting the following fields in Metrics Explorer:

    • The revision field indicates the control plane version.
    • The proxy_version field indicates the proxy_version.
    • The value field indicates the number of connected proxies.

    For the current channel to Anthos Service Mesh version mapping, see Anthos Service Mesh versions per channel.

Migrate applications to managed Anthos Service Mesh

Prepare for migration

To prepare to migrate applications from in-cluster Anthos Service Mesh to managed Anthos Service Mesh, perform the following steps:

  1. Run the tool as indicated in the Apply the Google-managed control plane section.

  2. (Optional) If you want to use the Google-managed data plane, enable data plane management:

      kubectl annotate --overwrite controlplanerevision REVISION_TAG \
      mesh.cloud.google.com/proxy='{"managed":"true"}'
    

Migrate applications

To migrate applications from in-cluster Anthos Service Mesh to managed Anthos Service Mesh, perform the following steps:

  1. Replace the current namespace label. The steps required depend on whether you wish to use default injection labels (for example, istio-injection enabled) or the revision label.

    Default injection label

    1. Run the following command to move the default tag to the managed revision:

      istioctl tag set default --revision REVISION_LABEL
      
    2. Run the following command to label the namespace using istio-injection=enabled, if it wasn't already:

      kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE istio-injection=enabled istio.io/rev- \
      --overwrite
      

    Revision label

    If you used the istio.io/rev=REVISION_LABEL label, then run the following command:

    kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE istio-injection- istio.io/rev=REVISION_LABEL \
        --overwrite
    
  2. Perform a rolling upgrade of deployments in the namespace:

    kubectl rollout restart deployment -n NAMESPACE
    
  3. Test your application to verify that the workloads function correctly.

  4. If you have workloads in other namespaces, repeat the previous steps for each namespace.

  5. If you deployed the application in a multi-cluster setup, replicate the Kubernetes and Istio configuration in all clusters, unless there is a desire to limit that configuration to a subset of clusters only. The configuration applied to a particular cluster is the source of truth for that cluster.

  6. Check that the metrics appear as expected by following the steps in Verify control plane metrics.

If you are satisfied that your application works as expected, you can remove the in-cluster istiod after you switch all namespaces to the managed control plane, or keep them as a backup - istiod will automatically scale down to use fewer resources. To remove, skip to Delete old control plane.

If you encounter problems, you can identify and resolve them by using the information in Resolving managed control plane issues and if necessary, roll back to the previous version.

Delete old control plane

After you install and confirm that all namespaces use the Google-managed control plane, you can delete the old control plane.

kubectl delete Service,Deployment,HorizontalPodAutoscaler,PodDisruptionBudget istiod -n istio-system --ignore-not-found=true

If you used istioctl kube-inject instead of automatic injection, or if you installed additional gateways, check the metrics for the control plane, and verify that the number of connected endpoints is zero.

Roll back

Perform the following steps if you need to roll back to the previous control plane version:

  1. Update workloads to be injected with the previous version of the control plane. In the following command, the revision value asm-191-1 is used only as an example. Replace the example value with the revision label of your previous control plane.

    kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE istio-injection- istio.io/rev=asm-191-1 --overwrite
    
  2. Restart the Pods to trigger re-injection so the proxies have the previous version:

    kubectl rollout restart deployment -n NAMESPACE
    

The managed control plane will automatically scale to zero and not use any resource when not in use. The mutating webhooks and provisioning will remain and do not affect cluster behavior.

The gateway is now set to the asm-managed revision. To roll back, re-run the Anthos Service Mesh install command, which will re-deploy gateway pointing back to your in-cluster control plane:

kubectl -n istio-system rollout undo deploy istio-ingressgateway

Expect this output on success:

deployment.apps/istio-ingressgateway rolled back

Uninstall

Managed control plane auto-scales to zero when no namespaces are using it. For detailed steps, see Uninstall Anthos Service Mesh.

Troubleshooting

To identify and resolve problems when using managed control plane, see Resolving managed control plane issues.

What's next?