Gloo Mesh Enterprise is a multicluster and multimesh management plane that is based on hardened, open-source projects like Envoy and Istio. With Gloo Mesh, you can unify the configuration, operation, and visibility of service-to-service connectivity across your distributed applications. These apps can run in different virtual machines (VMs) or Kubernetes clusters on premises or in various cloud providers, and even in different service meshes.

You can follow this guide to quickly get started with Gloo Mesh Enterprise. To learn more about the benefits and architecture, see About. To customize your installation with Helm instead, see the advanced installation guide.

The following figure depicts the multi-mesh architecture created by this quick-start guide.

Figure of a three-cluster Gloo Mesh quick-start architecture.

Before you begin

  1. Install the following command-line (CLI) tools.

    • kubectl, the Kubernetes command line tool. Download the kubectl version that is within one minor version of the Kubernetes clusters you plan to use.
    • meshctl, the Solo command line tool.
        curl -sL https://run.solo.io/meshctl/install | GLOO_MESH_VERSION=v2.4.15 sh -
      export PATH=$HOME/.gloo-mesh/bin:$PATH
        
  2. Create or use at least two existing Kubernetes clusters. The instructions in this guide assume one management cluster and two workload clusters.

  3. Set the names of your clusters from your infrastructure provider. If your clusters have different names, specify those names instead.

      export MGMT_CLUSTER=mgmt
    export REMOTE_CLUSTER1=cluster1
    export REMOTE_CLUSTER2=cluster2
      
  4. Save the kubeconfig contexts for your clusters. Run kubectl config get-contexts, look for your cluster in the CLUSTER column, and get the context name in the NAME column. Note: Do not use context names with underscores. The generated certificate that connects workload clusters to the management cluster uses the context name as a SAN specification, and underscores in SAN are not FQDN compliant. You can rename a context by running kubectl config rename-context "<oldcontext>" <newcontext>.
      export MGMT_CONTEXT=<management-cluster-context>
    export REMOTE_CONTEXT1=<remote-cluster1-context>
    export REMOTE_CONTEXT2=<remote-cluster2-context>
      
  5. Set your Gloo Mesh Enterprise license key as an environment variable. If you do not have one, contact an account representative. If you prefer to specify license keys in a secret instead, see Licensing. To check your license’s validity, you can run meshctl license check --key $(echo ${GLOO_MESH_LICENSE_KEY} | base64 -w0).

      export GLOO_MESH_LICENSE_KEY=<license_key>
      

Install the Gloo management plane

Deploy the Gloo management plane into a dedicated management cluster.

  1. Install the Gloo management plane in your management cluster. This command uses a basic profile to create a gloo-mesh namespace and install the management plane components, such as the management server and Prometheus server, in your management cluster.

  2. Verify that the management plane pods have a status of Running.

      kubectl get pods -n gloo-mesh --context $MGMT_CONTEXT
      

    Example output:

      NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-56c495796b-cx687    1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-mesh-redis-8455d49c86-f8qhw          1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-mesh-ui-65b6b6df5f-bf4vp             3/3     Running   0          30s
    gloo-telemetry-collector-agent-7rzfb      1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-telemetry-gateway-6547f479d5-r4zm6   1/1     Running   0          30s
    prometheus-server-57cd8c74d4-2bc7f        2/2     Running   0          30s
      
  3. Save the external address and port that your cloud provider assigned to the Gloo OpenTelemetry (OTel) gateway service. The OTel collector agents in each workload cluster send metrics to this address.

  4. Create a workspace that selects all clusters and namespaces by default, and workspace settings that enable communication across clusters. Gloo workspaces let you organize team resources across Kubernetes namespaces and clusters. In this example, you create a global workspace that imports and exports all resources and namespaces, and a workspace settings resource in the gloo-mesh-config namespace. Later, as your teams grow, you can create a workspace for each team, to enforce service isolation, set up federation, and even share resources by importing and exporting.

      kubectl apply --context $MGMT_CONTEXT -f- <<EOF
    apiVersion: admin.gloo.solo.io/v2
    kind: Workspace
    metadata:
      name: $MGMT_CLUSTER
      namespace: gloo-mesh
    spec:
      workloadClusters:
        - name: '*'
          namespaces:
            - name: '*'
    ---
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Namespace
    metadata:
      name: gloo-mesh-config
    ---
    apiVersion: admin.gloo.solo.io/v2
    kind: WorkspaceSettings
    metadata:
      name: $MGMT_CLUSTER
      namespace: gloo-mesh-config
    spec:
      options:
        serviceIsolation:
          enabled: false
        federation:
          enabled: false
          serviceSelector:
          - {}
        eastWestGateways:
        - selector:
            labels:
              istio: eastwestgateway
    EOF
      

Install the Gloo data plane

Register each workload cluster with the Gloo management plane by deploying Gloo data plane components. A deployment named gloo-mesh-agent runs the Gloo agent in each workload cluster.

  1. Register both workload clusters with the management server. These commands use basic profiles to install the Gloo agent, rate limit server, and external auth server in each workload cluster.

  2. Verify that the Gloo data plane components in each workload cluster are healthy. If not, try debugging the agent.

      meshctl check --kubecontext $REMOTE_CONTEXT1
    meshctl check --kubecontext $REMOTE_CONTEXT2
      

    Example output:

      🟢 Gloo deployment status
    
    Namespace | Name                           | Ready | Status
    gloo-mesh | ext-auth-service               | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-mesh-agent                | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-telemetry-collector-agent | 3/3   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | rate-limiter                   | 1/1   | Healthy
      
  3. Verify that your Gloo Mesh Enterprise setup is correctly installed. If not, try debugging the relay connection. Note that this check might take a few seconds to verify that:

    • Your Gloo product licenses are valid and current.
    • The Gloo CRDs are installed at the correct version.
    • The management plane pods in the management cluster are running and healthy.
    • The agents in the workload clusters are successfully identified by the management server.
      meshctl check --kubecontext $MGMT_CONTEXT
      

    Example output:

      🟢 License status
    
    INFO  gloo-mesh enterprise license expiration is 25 Aug 24 10:38 CDT
    INFO  No GraphQL license module found for any product
    
    🟢 CRD version check
    
    🟢 Gloo deployment status
    
    Namespace | Name                           | Ready | Status
    gloo-mesh | gloo-mesh-mgmt-server          | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-mesh-redis                | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-mesh-ui                   | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-telemetry-collector-agent | 3/3   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | gloo-telemetry-gateway         | 1/1   | Healthy
    gloo-mesh | prometheus-server              | 1/1   | Healthy
    
    🟢 Mgmt server connectivity to workload agents
    
    Cluster  | Registered | Connected Pod                                   
    cluster1 | true       | gloo-mesh/gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-65bd557b95-v8qq6
    cluster2 | true       | gloo-mesh/gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-65bd557b95-v8qq6
    
    Connected Pod                                    | Clusters
    gloo-mesh/gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-65bd557b95-v8qq6 | 2  
      

Deploy managed Istio

Use Gloo Mesh Enterprise to quickly install and manage service meshes in each workload cluster for you.

  1. Create the istiod control planes in your workload clusters.

  2. To allow multicluster routing, create a GatewayLifecycleManager resource to deploy and manage an east-west gateway.

      kubectl apply --context $MGMT_CONTEXT -f- <<EOF
    apiVersion: admin.gloo.solo.io/v2
    kind: GatewayLifecycleManager
    metadata:
      name: istio-eastwestgateway
      namespace: gloo-mesh
    spec:
      installations:
      - clusters:
        - activeGateway: true
          name: $REMOTE_CLUSTER1
        - activeGateway: true
          name: $REMOTE_CLUSTER2
        gatewayRevision: auto
        istioOperatorSpec:
          components:
            ingressGateways:
            - enabled: true
              k8s:
                service:
                  ports:
                    - port: 15021
                      targetPort: 15021
                      name: status-port
                    - port: 15443
                      targetPort: 15443
                      name: tls
                  selector:
                    istio: eastwestgateway
                  type: LoadBalancer
              label:
                istio: eastwestgateway
                app: istio-eastwestgateway
              name: istio-eastwestgateway
              namespace: gloo-mesh-gateways
          namespace: istio-system
          profile: empty
    EOF
      
  3. Optional: If you want to allow traffic from outside the cluster to enter your mesh, create another GatewayLifecycleManager resource to deploy and manage an ingress gateway. The ingress gateway allows you to specify basic routing rules for how to match and forward incoming traffic to a workload in the mesh. However, to also apply policies, such as rate limits, external authentication, or a Web Application Firewall to the gateway, you must have a Gloo Mesh Gateway license. For more information about Gloo Mesh Gateway, see the docs. If you want a service mesh-only environment without ingress, you can skip this step.

      kubectl apply --context $MGMT_CONTEXT -f- <<EOF
    apiVersion: admin.gloo.solo.io/v2
    kind: GatewayLifecycleManager
    metadata:
      name: istio-ingressgateway
      namespace: gloo-mesh
    spec:
      installations:
      - clusters:
        - activeGateway: true
          name: $REMOTE_CLUSTER1
        - activeGateway: true
          name: $REMOTE_CLUSTER2
        gatewayRevision: auto
        istioOperatorSpec:
          components:
            ingressGateways:
            - enabled: true
              k8s:
                service:
                  ports:
                  - name: status-port
                    port: 15021
                    targetPort: 15021
                  - name: http2
                    port: 80
                    targetPort: 8080
                  - name: https
                    port: 443
                    targetPort: 8443
                  - name: tls
                    port: 15443
                    targetPort: 15443
                  selector:
                    istio: ingressgateway
                  type: LoadBalancer
                #serviceAnnotations:
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-backend-protocol: ssl
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-cross-zone-load-balancing-enabled: "true"
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-nlb-target-type: instance
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-scheme: internet-facing
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-ssl-cert: "arn:aws:acm:<cert>"
                #  service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-type: external
              label:
                istio: ingressgateway
                app: istio-ingressgateway
              name: istio-ingressgateway
              namespace: gloo-mesh-gateways
          namespace: istio-system
          profile: empty
    EOF
      
  4. Verify that the namespaces for your Istio installations are created in each workload cluster.

      kubectl get ns --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1
    kubectl get ns --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT2
      

    For example, the gm-iop-1-18, gloo-mesh-gateways, and istio-system namespaces are created:

      NAME                 STATUS   AGE
    default              Active   56m
    gloo-mesh            Active   36m
    gm-iop-1-18          Active   91s
    gloo-mesh-gateways   Active   90s
    istio-system         Active   91s
    ...
      
  5. Verify that Gloo Mesh successfully discovered the Istio service meshes. Gloo creates internal mesh resources to represent the state of the Istio service mesh.

      kubectl get mesh -n gloo-mesh --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1
    kubectl get mesh -n gloo-mesh --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT2
      

Next

Deploy sample apps to try out the routing capabilities and traffic policies in Gloo Mesh.

Understand what happened

Find out more information about the Gloo Mesh environment that you set up in this guide.

Gloo Mesh installation: This quick start guide used meshctl to install a minimum deployment of Gloo Mesh Enterprise for testing purposes, and some optional components are not installed. For example, self-signed certificates are used to secure communication between the management and workload clusters. To learn more about production-level installation options, including advanced configuration options available in the Gloo Mesh Enterprise Helm chart, see the Setup guide.

Relay architecture: When you installed the Gloo Mesh management plane in the management cluster, a deployment named gloo-mesh-mgmt-server was created to translate and implement your Gloo configurations and act as the relay server. When you registered the workload clusters to be managed by the management plane, a deployment named gloo-mesh-agent was created on each workload cluster to run a relay agent. All communication is outbound from the relay agents on the workload clusters to the relay server on the management cluster. For more information about server-agent communication, see the relay architecture page. Additionally, default, self-signed certificates were used to secure communication between the control and data planes. For more information about the certificate architecture, see Default Gloo Mesh-managed certificates.

Workload cluster registration: Cluster registration creates a KubernetesCluster custom resource on the management cluster to represent the workload cluster and store relevant data, such as the workload cluster’s local domain (“cluster.local”). To learn more about cluster registration and how to register clusters with Helm rather than meshctl, review the cluster registration guide.

Istio installation: The Istio profiles in this getting started guide were provided with IstioLifecycleManager and GatewayLifecycleManager custom resources. However, Gloo Mesh can discover Istio service meshes regardless of their installation options. For more information about service mesh lifecycle management with Gloo, check out Service mesh lifecycle and Solo distributions of Istio.

Gloo workspace: Gloo workspaces let you organize team resources across Kubernetes namespaces and clusters. In this example, a single workspace is created for everything. Later, as your teams grow, you can create a workspace for each team, to enforce service isolation, set up federation, and even share resources by importing and exporting. You can also change the default workspace by following the Workspace setup guide.