Install via Helm

Using Helm to install the Kiali Operator or Server.

Introduction

Helm is a popular tool that lets you manage Kubernetes applications. Applications are defined in a package named Helm chart, which contains all of the resources needed to run an application.

Kiali has a Helm Charts Repository at https://kiali.org/helm-charts. Two Helm Charts are provided:

  • The kiali-operator Helm Chart installs the Kiali operator which in turn installs Kiali when you create a Kiali CR.
  • The kiali-server Helm Chart installs a standalone Kiali without the need of the Operator nor a Kiali CR.

Although the kiali-server Helm Chart is actively maintained, it is only provided for convenience. The recommended method to install Kiali is by using the kiali-operator Helm Chart to install the Operator and then creating a Kiali CR to let the operator deploy Kiali.

Make sure you have the helm command available by following the Helm installation docs.

Adding the Kiali Helm Charts repository

Add the Kiali Helm Charts repository with the following command:

$ helm repo add kiali https://kiali.org/helm-charts

If you already added the repository, you may want to update your local cache to fetch latest definitions by running:

$ helm repo update

Installing Kiali using the Kiali operator

Once you’ve added the Kiali Helm Charts repository, you can install the latest Kiali Operator along with the latest Kiali server by running the following command:

$ helm install \
    --set cr.create=true \
    --set cr.namespace=istio-system \
    --namespace kiali-operator \
    --create-namespace \
    kiali-operator \
    kiali/kiali-operator

The --namespace kiali-operator and --create-namespace flags instructs to create the kiali-operator namespace (if needed), and deploy the Kiali operator on it. The --set cr.create=true and --set cr.namespace=istio-system flags instructs to create a Kiali CR in the istio-system namespace. Since the Kiali CR is created in advance, as soon as the Kiali operator starts, it will process it to deploy Kiali.

The Kiali Operator Helm Chart is configurable. Check available options and default values by running:

$ helm show values kiali/kiali-operator

The kiali-operator Helm Chart mirrors all settings of the Kiali CR as chart values that you can configure using regular --set flags. For example, the Kiali CR has a spec.namespace setting which you can configure in the kiali-operator Helm Chart by passing the --set cr.namespace flag as shown in the previous helm install example.

For more information about the Kiali CR, see the Creating and updating the Kiali CR page.

Operator-Only Install

To install only the Kiali Operator, omit the --set cr.create and --set cr.namespace flags of the helm command previously shown. For example:

$ helm install \
    --namespace kiali-operator \
    --create-namespace \
    kiali-operator \
    kiali/kiali-operator

This will omit creation of the Kiali CR, which you will need to create later to install Kiali Server. This option is good if you plan to do large customizations to the installation.

Installing Multiple Instances of Kiali

By installing a single Kiali operator in your cluster, you can install multiple instances of Kiali by simply creating multiple Kiali CRs. For example, if you have two Istio control planes in namespaces istio-system and istio-system2, you can create a Kiali CR in each of those namespaces to install a Kiali instance in each control plane.

If you wish to install multiple Kiali instances in the same namespace, or if you need the Kiali instance to have different resource names than the default of kiali, you can specify spec.deployment.instance_name in your Kiali CR. The value for that setting will be used to create a unique instance of Kiali using that instance name rather than the default kiali. One use-case for this is to be able to have unique Kiali service names across multiple Kiali instances in order to be able to use certain routers/load balancers that require unique service names.

Standalone Kiali installation

To install the Kiali Server without the operator, use the kiali-server Helm Chart:

$ helm install \
    --namespace istio-system \
    kiali-server \
    kiali/kiali-server

The kiali-server Helm Chart mirrors all settings of the Kiali CR as chart values that you can configure using regular --set flags. For example, the Kiali CR has a spec.server.web_fqdn setting which you can configure in the kiali-server Helm Chart by passing the --set server.web_fqdn flag as follows:

$ helm install \
    --namespace istio-system \
    --set server.web_fqdn=example.com \
    kiali-server \
    kiali/kiali-server

Upgrading Helm installations

If you want to upgrade to a newer Kiali version (or downgrade to older versions), you can use the regular helm upgrade commands. For example, the following command should upgrade the Kiali Operator to the latest version:

$ helm upgrade \
    --namespace kiali-operator \
    --reuse-values \
    kiali-operator \
    kiali/kiali-operator

WARNING: No migration paths are provided. However, Kiali is a stateless application and if the helm upgrade command fails, please uninstall the previous version and then install the new desired version.

Managing configuration of Helm installations

After installing either the kiali-operator or the kiali-server Helm Charts, you may be tempted to manually modify the created resources to modify the installation. However, we recommend using helm upgrade to update your installation.

For example, assuming you have the following installation:

$ helm list -n kiali-operator
NAME            NAMESPACE       REVISION        UPDATED                                 STATUS          CHART                   APP VERSION
kiali-operator  kiali-operator  1               2021-09-14 18:00:45.320351026 -0500 CDT deployed        kiali-operator-1.40.0   v1.40.0

Notice that the current installation is version 1.40.0 of the kiali-operator. Let’s assume you want to use your own mirrors of the Kiali Operator container images. You can update your installation with the following command:

$ helm upgrade \
    --namespace kiali-operator \
    --reuse-values \
    --set image.repo=your_mirror_registry_url/owner/kiali-operator-repo \
    --set image.tag=your_mirror_tag \
    --version 1.40.0 \
    kiali-operator \
    kiali/kiali-operator

Uninstalling

Removing the Kiali operator and managed Kialis

If you used the kiali-operator Helm chart, first you must ensure that all Kiali CRs are deleted. For example, the following command will agressively delete all Kiali CRs in your cluster:

$ kubectl delete kiali --all --all-namespaces

The previous command may take some time to finish while the Kiali operator removes all Kiali installations.

Then, remove the Kiali operator using a standard helm uninstall command. For example:

$ helm uninstall --namespace kiali-operator kiali-operator
$ kubectl delete crd kialis.kiali.io

Known problem: uninstall hangs (unable to delete the Kiali CR)

Typically this happens if not all Kiali CRs are deleted prior to uninstalling the operator. To force deletion of a Kiali CR, you need to clear its finalizer. For example:

$ kubectl patch kiali kiali -n istio-system -p '{"metadata":{"finalizers": []}}' --type=merge

Removing standalone Kiali

If you installed a standalone Kiali by using the kiali-server Helm chart, use the standard helm uninstall commands. For example:

$ helm uninstall --namespace istio-system kiali-server
Last modified January 19, 2022 : Update install-with-helm.md (#504) (1b1ae2f1)