Install on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS)

This guide walks you through the installation of the latest version of Knative on an IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS) cluster.

You can find guides for other platforms here.

Before you begin

Knative requires a Kubernetes cluster v1.15 or newer. This guide walks you through creating a cluster with the correct specifications for Knative on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service.

This guide assumes you are using bash in a Mac or Linux environment; some commands need to be adjusted for use in a Windows environment.

Installing the IBM Cloud developer tools

If you already have ibmcloud installed with the ibmcloud cs plugin, you can skip these steps.

  1. Download and install the ibmcloud command line tool:

  2. Install the cs (container-service) plugin:

    ibmcloud plugin install container-service -r Bluemix
  3. Authorize ibmcloud:

    ibmcloud login

Setting environment variables

To simplify the command lines for this walkthrough, you need to define a few environment variables.


    export CLUSTER_NAME=knative
    export CLUSTER_REGION=us-south
    export CLUSTER_ZONE=dal13
    • CLUSTER_NAME must be lowercase and unique among any other Kubernetes clusters in this IBM Cloud region.
    • CLUSTER_REGION can be any region where IKS is available. You can get a list of all available regions via the IBM Cloud documentation or via ibmcloud cs regions.
    • CLUSTER_ZONE can be any zone that is available in the specified region above. You can get a list of all avaible locations from the IBM Cloud documentation or by using ibmcloud cs zones after you set the region by using ibmcloud cs region-set $CLUSTER_REGION.

Creating a Kubernetes cluster

To make sure the cluster is large enough to host all the Knative and Istio components, the recommended configuration for a cluster is:

  • Kubernetes version 1.15 or later
  • 4 vCPU nodes with 16GB memory (b2c.4x16)
  1. Set ibmcloud to the appropriate region:

    ibmcloud cs region-set $CLUSTER_REGION
  2. Create a Kubernetes cluster on IKS with the required specifications:

    ibmcloud cs cluster-create --name=$CLUSTER_NAME \
      --zone=$CLUSTER_ZONE \
      --machine-type=b2c.4x16 \

    If you're starting in a fresh account with no public and private VLANs, they are created automatically for you. If you already have VLANs configured in your account, get them via ibmcloud cs vlans --zone $CLUSTER_ZONE and include the public/private VLAN in the cluster-create command:

    ibmcloud cs cluster-create --name=$CLUSTER_NAME \
      --zone=$CLUSTER_ZONE \
      --machine-type=b2c.4x16 \
      --workers=3 \
      --private-vlan $PRIVATE_VLAN_ID \
      --public-vlan $PUBLIC_VLAN_ID
  3. Wait until your Kubernetes cluster is deployed:

    ibmcloud cs clusters | grep $CLUSTER_NAME

    It can take a while for your cluster to be deployed. Repeat the above command until the state of your cluster is “normal”.

  4. Point kubectl to the cluster:

    ibmcloud cs cluster-config $CLUSTER_NAME

    Follow the instructions on the screen to EXPORT the correct KUBECONFIG value to point to the created cluster.

  5. Make sure all nodes are up:

    kubectl get nodes

    Make sure all the nodes are in Ready state. You are now ready to install Istio into your cluster.

With a Kuberntes cluster ready, you now have two choices on how to install Knative: via a one-click “add-on” or manually.

Installing Knative using an IKS managed add-on

The easiest way to install it is using the Managed Knative add-on facility. This one-click install process will install Knative, and Istio if not already installed, and provide automatic updates and lifecycle management of your Knative control plane.

You can get the add-on via the “Add-ons” tab of your Kubernetes cluster's console page, or via the command line:

ibmcloud ks cluster-addon-enable knative -y $CLUSTER_NAME

For more information about the add-on see here.

Manually installing Knative on IKS

However, if you'd like to install Knative manually, see the instructions below. Kind in mind that if you do not use the add-on mechanism then you will need to manually manage the upgrade of your Istio and Knative installs yourself going forward.

Installing Istio

Knative depends on Istio. If your cloud platform offers a managed Istio installation, we recommend installing Istio that way, unless you need the ability to customize your installation.

If you prefer to install Istio manually, if your cloud provider doesn't offer a managed Istio installation, or if you're installing Knative locally using Minkube or similar, see the Installing Istio for Knative guide.

You must install Istio on your Kubernetes cluster before continuing with these instructions to install Knative.

Installing cluster-local-gateway for serving cluster-internal traffic

If you installed Istio, you can install a cluster-local-gateway within your Knative cluster so that you can serve cluster-internal traffic. If you want to configure your revisions to use routes that are visible only within your cluster, install and use the cluster-local-gateway.

Installing Knative

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. If you are upgrading from Knative 0.3.x: Update your domain and static IP address to be associated with the LoadBalancer istio-ingressgateway instead of knative-ingressgateway. Then run the following to clean up leftover resources:

    kubectl delete svc knative-ingressgateway -n istio-system
    kubectl delete deploy knative-ingressgateway -n istio-system

    If you have the Knative Eventing Sources component installed, you will also need to delete the following resource before upgrading:

    kubectl delete statefulset/controller-manager -n knative-sources

    While the deletion of this resource during the upgrade process will not prevent modifications to Eventing Source resources, those changes will not be completed until the upgrade process finishes.

  2. 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 --selector \
    --filename \
    --filename \
  3. To complete the install of Knative and its dependencies, run the kubectl apply command again, this time without the --selector flag, to complete the install of Knative and its dependencies:

    kubectl apply --filename \
    --filename \
  4. Monitor the Knative components until all of the components show a STATUS of Running:

    kubectl get pods --namespace knative-serving
    kubectl get pods --namespace knative-eventing
    kubectl get pods --namespace knative-monitoring

What's next

Now that your cluster has Knative installed, you can see what Knative has to offer.

To deploy your first app with the Getting Started with Knative App Deployment guide.

Get started with Knative Eventing by walking through one of the Eventing Samples.

Install Cert-Manager if you want to use the automatic TLS cert provisioning feature.

Cleaning up

Running a cluster in IKS costs money, so if you're not using it, you might want to delete the cluster when you're done. Deleting the cluster also removes Knative, Istio, and any apps you've deployed.

To delete the cluster, enter the following command:

ibmcloud cs cluster-rm $CLUSTER_NAME