Set up Gloo Mesh and Istio

Start with setting up Gloo Mesh Enterprise in one cluster.

The instructions in this guide assume that you want to install Gloo Mesh in the same cluster that runs your workloads. If you want to install Gloo Mesh in a dedicated cluster, and use other clusters for your service mesh workloads, see the Multicluster setup instead.

Before you begin

  1. Add your Gloo Mesh Enterprise license that you got from your Solo account representative. Or, you might have a trial license key instead for a trial installation. If you do not have one, contact an account representative. If you prefer to specify license keys in a secret instead, see Prepare to install.

    export GLOO_MESH_LICENSE_KEY=<gloo-mesh-or-trial-license-key>
  2. Install the following CLI tools:

    • meshctl, the Gloo command line tool for bootstrapping Gloo Platform, registering clusters, describing configured resources, and more.
    • kubectl, the Kubernetes command line tool. Download the kubectl version that is within one minor version of the Kubernetes cluster you plan to use.
    • Openshift only: oc, the OpenShift command line tool. Download the oc version that is the same minor version of the OpenShift cluster you plan to use.
  3. Create or use an existing Kubernetes or OpenShift cluster. Note: The cluster name cannot contain underscores (_).

  4. Save the Kubernetes context for your cluster as an environment variable, and switch to that context. To find the context, run kubectl config get-contexts, look for your cluster in the CLUSTER column, and get the context name in the NAME column.

    export MGMT_CONTEXT=<cluster_context>
    kubectl config use-context $MGMT_CONTEXT 
  5. Save the name of the cluster as an environment variable.

    export CLUSTER_NAME=<cluster_name>

Set up Gloo Mesh

  1. Save the following information in environment variables. This information is required for deploying managed Istio installations in workload clusters.

    • $REPO: A Gloo Istio repo key that you can get by logging in to the Support Center and reviewing the Istio images built by support article.
    • $ISTIO_IMAGE: The Istio version, such as 1.16.2-solo.
    • $REVISION: Take the Istio major and minor version numbers and replace the period with a hyphen, such as 1-16.
    export REPO=<repo-key>
    export ISTIO_IMAGE=1.16.2-solo
    export REVISION=1-16
  2. Download the sample Helm values file from GitHub to your local workstation.

    curl -0L > gs-single.yaml
    curl -0L > gs-single.yaml

  3. Update the gs-single.yaml file with the environment variables that you previously set. Save the updated file as gs-single-values.yaml.

    • Tip: Instead of updating the file manually, try running a terminal command to substitute values, such as the following command.
      envsubst < gs-single.yaml > gs-single-values.yaml
  4. Openshift only: Elevate the permissions of the following service accounts that will be created. These permissions allow the Istio sidecars to make use of a user ID that is normally restricted by OpenShift.

    oc adm policy add-scc-to-group anyuid system:serviceaccounts:istio-system
    oc adm policy add-scc-to-group anyuid system:serviceaccounts:gm-iop-1-16
    oc adm policy add-scc-to-group anyuid system:serviceaccounts:gloo-mesh-gateways
  5. Install Gloo Mesh and Istio in your cluster. This command installs the Gloo Platform components, such as the Gloo management server, agent, and Prometheus server, and the managed Istio components, such as the istiod control plane, in your cluster.

    meshctl install --namespace gloo-mesh \
    --license $GLOO_MESH_LICENSE_KEY \
    --chart-values-file gs-single-values.yaml
  6. Verify that the Gloo components have a status of Running.

    kubectl get pods -n gloo-mesh

    Example output:

    NAME                                    READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    gloo-mesh-agent-5b87576f79-njsxf        1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-7cdcbcbd4-4s8wp   1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-mesh-redis-794d79b7df-r2rtp        1/1     Running   0          30s
    gloo-mesh-ui-748fd66f5c-lftcx           3/3     Running   0          30s
    prometheus-server-647b488bb-vg7t5       2/2     Running   0          30s
  7. Verify that the management plane is correctly installed. This check might take a few seconds to ensure that the Gloo pods are running and that the workload agent is running and connected to the management server.

    meshctl check

    Example output:

    Checking Gloo Mesh Management Cluster Installation
    🟢 Gloo Mgmt Server Deployment Status
    🟢 Gloo Mgmt Server Connectivity to Agents
    | CLUSTER  | REGISTERED |                  CONNECTED POD                   |
    | cluster1 | true       | gloo-mesh/gloo-mesh-mgmt-server-676f4b9945-2pngd |
  8. Verify that the Istio pods have a status of Running.

    kubectl get pods -n istio-system

    Example output:

    NAME                                  READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    istiod-1-16-b65676555-g2vmr   1/1     Running   0          8m57s
  9. Verify that Gloo successfully discovered the Istio service mesh. Gloo creates internal mesh resources to represent the state of the Istio service mesh.

    kubectl get mesh -n gloo-mesh
  10. Optional: Check out the workspace and workspace settings that were created for you. Workspaces help to organize team resources in your cluster, and to isolate Kubernetes and Gloo Gateway resources. Because the default workspace is used for demonstration purposes, it does not isolate any resources, and instead allows all Kubernetes and Gloo Gateway resources in the workspace.

kubectl get workspace $CLUSTER_NAME -n gloo-mesh -o yaml
kubectl get workspacesettings default -n gloo-mesh -o yaml

Next steps

Now that you have Gloo Mesh Enterprise up and running, check out some of the following resources to learn more about Gloo Mesh or try other Gloo Mesh features.


If you no longer need this quick-start Gloo Mesh environment, you can deregister the cluster, uninstall management components, and uninstall Istio resources by following the steps in Uninstalling Gloo Mesh and Istio.

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. To learn more about production-level installation options, including advanced configuration options available in the Gloo Mesh Enterprise Helm chart, see the Setup guide.

Management server: When you installed Gloo Mesh Enterprise in the management cluster, a deployment named gloo-mesh-mgmt-server was created to run the relay server. As you create service mesh configurations, the management components translate your Gloo Mesh configurations into Istio resources that are implemented in the service mesh. The management plane also aggregates all of the discovered Istio service mesh components into simplified, internal Gloo Mesh custom resources.

Relay agent: Because you included the registerMgmtPlane: true setting in the installation values file, the cluster was also registered to be managed by Gloo. The deployment named gloo-mesh-agent was created to run the workload (relay) agent. To learn more about cluster registration and how to register clusters manually, review the cluster registration guide for meshctl or Helm.

Relay architecture: In a multicluster setup, the Gloo agent discovers Gloo and Kubernetes resources, such as deployments and services, and sends snapshots of them to the management server for translation into Istio resources. However, in a single cluster setup, your resources are written directly to the cluster without relay. For more information about relay server-agent communication, see the relay architecture page.

Istio installation: The Istio profiles in this getting started guide were provided within the Gloo installation Helm chart for simplicity. However, Gloo Mesh can discover and manage Istio deployments regardless of their installation options. For more information, see the Gloo Istio setup guides. Additionally, note that although an ingress gateway was deployed, you must have a Gloo Gateway license to route north-south (ingress) traffic to workloads in your Gloo environment.

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.