Flagger Install on EKS App Mesh

This guide walks you through setting up Flagger and AWS App Mesh on EKS.

App Mesh

The App Mesh integration with EKS is made out of the following components:

  • Kubernetes custom resources

    • mesh.appmesh.k8s.aws defines a logical boundary for network traffic between the services

    • virtualnode.appmesh.k8s.aws defines a logical pointer to a Kubernetes workload

    • virtualservice.appmesh.k8s.aws defines the routing rules for a workload inside the mesh

  • CRD controller - keeps the custom resources in sync with the App Mesh control plane

  • Admission controller - injects the Envoy sidecar and assigns Kubernetes pods to App Mesh virtual nodes

  • Metrics server - Prometheus instance that collects and stores Envoy's metrics


  • jq

  • homebrew

  • openssl

  • kubectl

  • AWS CLI (default region us-west-2)

Create a Kubernetes cluster

In order to create an EKS cluster you can use eksctl. Eksctl is an open source command-line utility made by Weaveworks in collaboration with Amazon, it’s a Kubernetes-native tool written in Go.

On MacOS you can install eksctl with Homebrew:

brew tap weaveworks/tap
brew install weaveworks/tap/eksctl

Create an EKS cluster:

eksctl create cluster --name=appmesh \
--region=us-west-2 \

The above command will create a two nodes cluster with App Mesh IAM policy attached to the EKS node instance role.

Verify the install with:

kubectl get nodes

Install Helm

Install the Helm command-line tool:

brew install kubernetes-helm

Create a service account and a cluster role binding for Tiller:

kubectl -n kube-system create sa tiller
kubectl create clusterrolebinding tiller-cluster-rule \
--clusterrole=cluster-admin \

Deploy Tiller in the kube-system namespace:

helm init --service-account tiller

You should consider using SSL between Helm and Tiller, for more information on securing your Helm installation see docs.helm.sh.

Enable horizontal pod auto-scaling

Install the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA) metrics provider:

helm upgrade -i metrics-server stable/metrics-server \
--namespace kube-system

After a minute, the metrics API should report CPU and memory usage for pods. You can very the metrics API with:

kubectl -n kube-system top pods

Install the App Mesh components

Run the App Mesh installer:

curl -fsSL https://git.io/get-app-mesh-eks.sh | bash -

The installer does the following:

  • creates the appmesh-system namespace

  • generates a certificate signed by Kubernetes CA

  • registers the App Mesh mutating webhook

  • deploys the App Mesh webhook in appmesh-system namespace

  • deploys the App Mesh CRDs

  • deploys the App Mesh controller in appmesh-system namespace

  • creates a mesh called global

Verify that the global mesh is active:

kubectl describe mesh
Mesh Condition:
Status: True
Type: MeshActive

Install Flagger and Grafana

Add Flagger Helm repository:

helm repo add flagger https://flagger.app

Install Flagger's Canary CRD:

kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/weaveworks/flagger/master/artifacts/flagger/crd.yaml

Deploy Flagger and Prometheus in the appmesh-system namespace:

helm upgrade -i flagger flagger/flagger \
--namespace=appmesh-system \
--set crd.create=false \
--set meshProvider=appmesh \
--set prometheus.install=true

In order to collect the App Mesh metrics that Flagger needs to run the canary analysis, you'll need to setup a Prometheus instance to scrape the Envoy sidecars.

You can enable Slack notifications with:

helm upgrade -i flagger flagger/flagger \
--namespace=appmesh-system \
--set crd.create=false \
--set meshProvider=appmesh \
--set metricsServer=http://prometheus.appmesh:9090 \
--set slack.url=https://hooks.slack.com/services/YOUR/SLACK/WEBHOOK \
--set slack.channel=general \
--set slack.user=flagger

Flagger comes with a Grafana dashboard made for monitoring the canary analysis. Deploy Grafana in the appmesh-system namespace:

helm upgrade -i flagger-grafana flagger/grafana \
--namespace=appmesh-system \
--set url=http://flagger-prometheus.appmesh-system:9090

You can access Grafana using port forwarding:

kubectl -n appmesh-system port-forward svc/flagger-grafana 3000:80

Now that you have Flagger running you can try the App Mesh canary deployments tutorial.