NashTech Insights

Enhancing Service Mesh Observability: Integrating Kiali with Istio

Rahul Miglani
Rahul Miglani
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In the world of microservices and distributed applications, service mesh has emerged as a powerful architecture pattern. Istio, one of the most popular service mesh solutions, provides capabilities such as traffic management, security, and observability. To further enhance the observability and management of your service mesh, integrating Kiali with Istio can prove to be a valuable addition. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of integrating Kiali with Istio, unlocking advanced visualization and monitoring capabilities for your microservices ecosystem.

Understanding Istio and Kiali

Istio acts as a control plane layer, managing communication between services in a microservices architecture. It facilitates traffic routing, fault tolerance, load balancing, and security enforcement. However, managing these complexities can be challenging without proper observability tools.

Kiali, on the other hand, is a powerful observability and visualization tool specifically designed for Istio. It offers real-time monitoring, insights into traffic flows, and a comprehensive view of service dependencies. By integrating Kiali with Istio, you can gain a deeper understanding of your service mesh’s behavior and performance.


Before we dive into the integration process, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Istio Installed: Ensure you have Istio installed and configured in your Kubernetes cluster.
  2. Kiali Installed: You should have Kiali deployed in your cluster. If not, follow the Kiali installation guide on their official documentation.
  3. Access to the Cluster: You need access to your Kubernetes cluster to apply configurations and access resources.

Integrating Kiali with Istio

Follow these steps to integrate Kiali with Istio and leverage its observability features:

Step 1: Access Kiali Dashboard

  1. Access the Kiali dashboard using the URL provided during installation.
  2. Log in with the necessary credentials.

Step 2: Enable Istio Integration

  1. In the Kiali dashboard, navigate to Istio Config under the Istio section.
  2. Toggle the Istio Config switch to enable integration with Istio’s control plane.

Step 3: Explore Kiali Features

  1. With Istio integration enabled, you can now explore Kiali’s various features, including:
    • Graph Visualization: Gain insights into service dependencies and traffic flow using the interactive graph.
    • Metrics and Traces: Monitor service health and troubleshoot issues using metrics and distributed traces.
    • Traffic Management: Visualize traffic routing, retries, and timeouts.
    • Security: Identify mTLS communication and manage security policies.

Step 4: Leverage Additional Functionalities

  1. Use Graph Filters to customize your visualization based on namespaces, services, and labels.
  2. Traffic Animation helps you understand the path of the request through your service mesh.
  3. Utilize Health Indicators to quickly assess the health of your services.

Best Practices

  • Secure Access: Ensure that access to Kiali’s dashboard is properly secured with authentication and authorization mechanisms.
  • Regular Updates: Keep both Istio and Kiali updated to benefit from the latest features and security patches.
  • Resource Allocation: Allocate sufficient resources to Kiali to handle the data generated by Istio effectively.


Integrating Kiali with Istio empowers you with powerful tools to understand, manage, and optimize your microservices architecture. By visualizing service dependencies, monitoring traffic, and troubleshooting issues in real-time, you can enhance your observability and management capabilities significantly. Stay proactive in managing your service mesh, and leverage the insights gained from Kiali to ensure the smooth operation of your distributed applications. Happy observability journey!

Rahul Miglani

Rahul Miglani

Rahul Miglani is Vice President at NashTech and Heads the DevOps Competency and also Heads the Cloud Engineering Practice. He is a DevOps evangelist with a keen focus to build deep relationships with senior technical individuals as well as pre-sales from customers all over the globe to enable them to be DevOps and cloud advocates and help them achieve their automation journey. He also acts as a technical liaison between customers, service engineering teams, and the DevOps community as a whole. Rahul works with customers with the goal of making them solid references on the Cloud container services platforms and also participates as a thought leader in the docker, Kubernetes, container, cloud, and DevOps community. His proficiency includes rich experience in highly optimized, highly available architectural decision-making with an inclination towards logging, monitoring, security, governance, and visualization.

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