Mutual TLS (mTLS), which provides trusted communication between both a client and a server, is a primary motivation for using Red Hat Openshift Service Mesh. With a simple configuration all communication between services in a mesh can communicate with mTLS but if your organization has a requirement to implement Multicluster Service Meshes, you can still utilize mTLS for cross-cluster communication provided that both Service Mesh Control Planes (SMCPs) are configured to use the same root certificate authority (CA) when signing workload certificates. Additionally, mTLS can be performed directly from a sidecar to another control plane's ingress gateway. The result is federated trust between SMCPs.



This example differs from Istio's Replicated control planes Multicluster Installation example in that we aren't configuring DNS since, as of this writing, the istiocoredns feature is not currently supported with Red Hat Openshift Service Mesh (though it is on the roadmap - see the slides on whats-new). For this reason, we need to manually create ServiceEntries because services are not auto-discovered between SMCPs without this feature.

We deploy the bookinfo application into a control plane and configure the ratings-v2 application to communicate to a mongo instance in a different control plane via an ingress gateway. A ServiceEntry and DestinationRule is used to instruct the sidecar to originate mTLS using the generated workload certificates from Citadel. The Gateway defined for the mongo ingress gateway within the other control plane is also configured to present its own generated workload certificates for mTLS.

A single OCP cluster is used to demonstrate this configuration, but since communication is performed via the exposed Openshift Route between control planes one could deploy the mongodb control plane and application in a different Openshift cluster with the same result.


This code is hosted in this GitHub repository.

#Service Mesh A
oc new-project istio-system
oc new-project bookinfo
oc new-project cert-manager

#Service Mesh B
oc new-project istio-system2
oc new-project mongodb

Deploy cert-manager (skip if already present in the cluster)

#Service Mesh A
oc apply --validate=false -f

Deploy local root CA to both control planes

#Service Mesh A
helm upgrade -i cert-manager -n istio-system helm/cert-manager

export tls_crt=$(oc get secret rootca -n istio-system -o jsonpath='{.data.tls\.crt}')
export tls_key=$(oc get secret rootca -n istio-system -o jsonpath='{.data.tls\.key}')

helm upgrade -i rootca helm/install-cacerts -n istio-system \
--set rootca.tls_crt=${tls_crt} \
--set rootca.tls_key=${tls_key}

#Service Mesh B
helm upgrade -i rootca helm/install-cacerts -n istio-system2 \
--set rootca.tls_crt=${tls_crt} \
--set rootca.tls_key=${tls_key}

Install control planes using common root cacerts

Note: with the below configuration defined in the SMCP, Citadel will use the cacerts secret (created in both control planes from previous commands) as the root certificate instead of its own self-signed certificate.

kind: ServiceMeshControlPlane
name: basic-install
selfSigned: false
#Service Mesh A
helm upgrade -i istio-system-control-plane -n istio-system helm/istio-system-control-plane
#Service Mesh B
helm upgrade -i istio-system2-control-plane -n istio-system2 helm/istio-system2-control-plane

Install mongodb in istio-system2

#Service Mesh B
helm upgrade -i mongodb helm/mongodb -n mongodb --set$(oc get route mongo -n istio-system2 -o jsonpath={})

Create user and add ratings data to mongodb

#Service Mesh B
oc exec deploy/mongodb-v1 -c mongodb -n mongodb -i -t -- /bin/bash -c "cat <<EOF | mongo -u admin -p redhat --authenticationDatabase admin
use test
user: \"bookinfo\",
pwd: \"redhat\",
roles: [ \"read\"]
[{rating: 1},
{rating: 1}]

Install bookinfo in istio-system

Note: Service entries for TCP traffic should have CIDR addresses defined. The bookinfo ratings v2 application will use the mongodb ServiceEntry.

#Service Mesh B
export IP_ADDRESSES=$(echo "{$(echo $(host $(oc get route mongo -n istio-system2 -o jsonpath={''}) | cut -d" " -f4) | sed -e "s/ /,/g")}")
# or set manually, for example IP_ADDRESSES={,}
export MONGODB_HOST=$(oc get route mongo -n istio-system2 -o jsonpath={})

#Service Mesh A
helm upgrade -i bookinfo helm/bookinfo -n bookinfo \
--set${MONGODB_HOST} \
--set$(oc get route api -n istio-system -o jsonpath={''}) \
--set mongodb.addresses=${IP_ADDRESSES}

Verify mTLS works between SMCP domains

Open the following url in a web browser. If you get the single ratings star it works.

#Service Mesh A
echo "https://$(oc get route api -n istio-system -o jsonpath={''})/productpage"



How to regenerate Istio workload certificates in a namespace

SECRETS=$(oc get secrets -n istio-system -o name | egrep 'istio\.')
for s in $SECRETS; do oc delete $s -n istio-system; done


How-tos, Security, Istio, OpenShift 4, Service Mesh

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