Installing Knative with Ambassador

Ambassador is a popular Kubernetes-native, open-source API gateway built on Envoy Proxy.

This guide walks you through the installation of the latest version of Knative using pre-built images.

Before you Begin

Knative requires a Kubernetes cluster v1.11 or newer with the MutatingAdmissionWebhook admission controller enabled.

kubectl v1.10 is also required.

This guide assumes that you have already created a Kubernetes cluster and are using bash in a Mac or Linux environment.

Install Knative

First, let’s install Knative to manage our serverless applications.

The following commands install all available Knative components as well as the standard set of observability plugins. To customize your Knative installation, see Performing a Custom Knative Installation.

  1. To install Knative, first install the CRDs by running the kubectl apply command once with the -l flag. This prevents race conditions during the install, which cause intermittent errors:

    kubectl apply -l \
    --filename \
  2. To complete the install of Knative and it’s dependencies, run the kubectl apply command again, this time without the -l

    kubectl apply --filename \
  3. Monitor the Knative namespaces and wait until all of the pods come up with a STATUS of Running:

    kubectl get pods -w --all-namespaces

Install Ambassador

Knative was originally built using Istio to handle cluster networking. While the Istio gateway provides the functionality needed to serve requests to your application, installing a service mesh just to handle north-south traffic carries some operational overhead with it. Ambassador provides a way to get traffic to your Knative application without the overhead or complexity of a full service mesh.

You can install Ambassador with kubectl:

kubectl apply -f
kubectl apply -f

Ambassador will watch for and create routes based off of Knative ClusterIngress resources. These will then be accessible over the external IP address of the Ambassador service you just created.

Get this external IP address and save it in a variable named AMBASSADOR_IP

$ kubectl get svc ambassador

NAME         TYPE           CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP     PORT(S)        AGE
ambassador   LoadBalancer   80:32073/TCP   13m


Deploying an Application

Now that Knative and Ambassador are running, you can use them to manage and route traffic to a serverless application.

  1. Create a Knative Service

For this demo, a simple helloworld application written in go will be used. Copy the YAML below to a file called helloworld-go.yaml and apply it with kubectl

   kind: Service
     name: helloworld-go
     namespace: default
           - image:
               - name: TARGET
                 value: Go Sample v1
   kubectl apply -f helloworld-go.yaml
  1. Send a request

Knative Services are exposed via a Host header assigned by Knative. By default, Knative will assign the Host: {service-name}.{namespace} You can verify this by checking the EXTERNAL-IP of the helloworld-go service created above.

   $ kubectl get service helloworld-go

   NAME            TYPE           CLUSTER-IP   EXTERNAL-IP                         PORT(S)   AGE
   helloworld-go   ExternalName   <none>   <none>    32m

Ambassador will use this Host header to route requests to the correct service. You can send a request to the helloworld-go service with curl using the Host and AMBASSADOR_IP from above:

   $ curl -H "Host:" $AMBASSADOR_IP

   Hello Go Sample v1!

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Knative with Ambassador to manage and route to serverless applications!

What’s next