Install on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS)

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

You may also have it all installed for you by clicking the button below: Deploy to IBM Cloud

More instructions on the deploy button here.

You can find guides for other platforms here.

Before you begin

Knative requires a Kubernetes cluster v1.11 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 1.11 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.

Installing Istio

Knative depends on Istio.

  1. Install Istio:

    kubectl apply --filename && \
    kubectl apply --filename

    Note: the resources (CRDs) defined in the istio-crds.yamlfile are also included in the istio.yaml file, but they are pulled out so that the CRD definitions are created first. If you see an error when creating resources about an unknown type, run the second kubectl apply command again.

  2. Label the default namespace with istio-injection=enabled:

    kubectl label namespace default istio-injection=enabled
  3. Monitor the Istio components until all of the components show a STATUS of Running or Completed:

    kubectl get pods --namespace istio-system

It will take a few minutes for all the components to be up and running; you can rerun the command to see the current status.

Note: Instead of rerunning the command, you can add --watch to the above command to view the component’s status updates in real time. Use CTRL+C to exit watch mode.

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.

  1. Run the kubectl apply command to install Knative and its dependencies:
   kubectl apply --filename \
   --filename \
   --filename \
   --filename \
   --filename \

Note: If your install fails on the first attempt, try rerunning the commands. They will likely succeed on the second attempt. For background info and to track the upcoming solution to this problem, see issues #968 and #1036.

Note: For the v0.4.0 release and newer, the clusterrole.yaml file is required to enable the Build and Serving components to interact with each other.

  1. Monitor the Knative components until all of the components show a STATUS of Running: bash kubectl get pods --namespace knative-serving kubectl get pods --namespace knative-build kubectl get pods --namespace knative-eventing kubectl get pods --namespace knative-sources 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 Knative, follow the step-by-step Getting Started with Knative App Deployment guide.

To get started with Knative Eventing, pick one of the Eventing Samples to walk through.

To get started with Knative Build, read the Build README, then choose a sample to walk through.

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

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