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Introduction to Istio

Decoupling at layer 5

Topic: System Administration
Lee Calcote

Organizations that have adopted containers and are running a handful (or more) of microservices often find tools to provide observability, control, and security lacking. Service meshes—the third phase in the microservices journey—have quickly entered the cloud native landscape, filling unmet service-level needs and providing a substrate of secure connectivity, uniform visibility, and granular control over service requests. Operating at layer 5, service meshes offer great value.

Expert Lee Calcote walks you through each and every aspect of the open source service mesh Istio. Over three hours, you’ll gain hands-on experience with this popular tool as you learn how to deploy Istio alongside microservices running in Kubernetes.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, hands-on, online course, you’ll understand:

  • How to manage traffic through load balancing and resilient communications
  • How to enforce policies and rate limiting
  • Istio's methods for managing telemetry, monitoring, and reporting
  • Approaches to canary deployments and securing communication with Istio

And you’ll be able to:

  • Configure and operate Istio in context of an example workloads and their common use cases
  • Take the third step in your cloud native journey with an initial deployment of a service mesh

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an operator who wants uniform observability irrespective of the different languages and libraries that run your services.
  • You’re a developer who wants to affect application behavior without code changes.
  • You want to become a cloud native architect or level up as one.


  • Working knowledge of Docker, Kubernetes, and kubectl.

A locally running instance of:

  • Docker (Docker Desktop for Mac or Windows, or Docker for Linux)
  • Kubernetes (using Docker Desktop or Minikube for Mac, Windows, or Linux)
  • Meshery (Mac, Windows or Linux)

Recommended preparation:

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Lee Calcote is an innovative product and technology leader, passionate about developer platforms and management software for clouds, containers, functions and applications. Advanced and emerging technologies have been a consistent focus through Calcote’s tenure at SolarWinds, Seagate, Cisco and Pelco. As founder of Layer5, he is also an advisor and author. Calcote is active in the community as a Docker Captain and Cloud Native Ambassador.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Service meshes and related technologies (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Service mesh concepts in the context of related technologies like container orchestrators, API gateways, and microservices frameworks; how the separation of service- and session-layer concerns from application code decouples developer and operators at layer 5
  • Q&A

Setting up Kubernetes and Istio (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Review of service mesh deployment architectures
  • Hands-on exercises: Set up Kubernetes and Istio on your local machine; deploy and explore Istio’s control and data plane components: Pilot, Mixer, Galley, Citadel, gateways and sidecar Proxy, and Envoy
  • Q&A
  • Break (5 minutes)

Deploying an app onto the mesh (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Overview of Istio’s canonical sample application; Istio’s requirements for onboarding an application onto the service mesh
  • Hands-on exercises: Deploy the sample application and review its configuration for exposure through Gateways and sidecar proxy; use Meshery as a service mesh manager to understand performance and overhead characteristics of Istio
  • Q&A

Observability (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: The types of telemetry available within a service mesh
  • Hands-on exercise: View distributed traces in Jaeger, service-level metrics in Prometheus, and service mesh-generated logs
  • Q&A
  • Break (5 minutes)

Traffic control (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Traffic management with a service mesh
  • Hands-on exercise: Manipulate Istio’s traffic routing and control capabilities using examples of fault injection, circuit breaking, and canary testing
  • Q&A

Security (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Istio’s service security capabilities
  • Hands-on exercise: Enable mutual TLS between services and perform service identity verification

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)