Cert-manager Certificate Provider

Using cert-manager as a certificate provider

This guide demonstrates the usage of cert-manager as a certificate provider to manage and issue certificates in FSM.


  • Kubernetes cluster running Kubernetes v1.19.0 or greater.
  • Have kubectl available to interact with the API server.
  • Have fsm CLI available for installing and managing the service mesh.


The following demo uses cert-manager as the certificate provider to issue certificates to the curl and httpbin applications communicating over Mutual TLS (mTLS) in an FSM managed service mesh.

  1. Install cert-manager. This demo uses cert-manager v1.6.1.

    kubectl apply -f https://github.com/jetstack/cert-manager/releases/download/v1.6.1/cert-manager.yaml

    Confirm the pods are ready and running in the cert-manager namespace.

    kubectl get pod -n cert-manager
    NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    cert-manager-55658cdf68-pdnzg             1/1     Running   0          2m33s
    cert-manager-cainjector-967788869-prtjq   1/1     Running   0          2m33s
    cert-manager-webhook-6668fbb57d-vzm4j     1/1     Running   0          2m33s
  2. Configure cert-manager Issuer and Certificate resources required by cert-manager to be able to issue certificates in FSM. These resources must be created in the namespace where FSM will be installed later.

    Note: cert-manager must first be installed, with an issuer ready, before FSM can be installed using cert-manager as the certificate provider.

    Create the namespace where FSM will be installed.

    export FSM_NAMESPACE=fsm-system # Replace fsm-system with the namespace where FSM is installed
    kubectl create namespace "$FSM_NAMESPACE"

    Next, we use a SelfSigned issuer to bootstrap a custom root certificate. This will create a SelfSigned issuer, issue a root certificate, and use that root as a CA issuer for certificates issued to workloads within the mesh.

    # Create Issuer and Certificate resources
    kubectl apply -f - <<EOF
    apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
    kind: Issuer
      name: selfsigned
      namespace: "$FSM_NAMESPACE"
      selfSigned: {}
    apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
    kind: Certificate
      name: fsm-ca
      namespace: "$FSM_NAMESPACE"
      isCA: true
      duration: 87600h # 365 days
      secretName: fsm-ca-bundle
      commonName: fsm-system
        name: selfsigned
        kind: Issuer
        group: cert-manager.io
    apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
    kind: Issuer
      name: fsm-ca
      namespace: "$FSM_NAMESPACE"
        secretName: fsm-ca-bundle
  3. Confirm the fsm-ca-bundle CA secret is created by cert-manager in FSM’s namespace.

    kubectl get secret fsm-ca-bundle -n "$FSM_NAMESPACE"
    NAME            TYPE                DATA   AGE
    fsm-ca-bundle   kubernetes.io/tls   3      84s

    The CA certificate saved in this secret will be used by FSM upon install to bootstrap its ceritifcate provider utility.

  4. Install FSM with its certificate provider kind set to cert-manager.

    fsm install --set fsm.certificateProvider.kind="cert-manager"

    Confirm the FSM control plane pods are ready and running.

    kubectl get pod -n "$FSM_NAMESPACE"
    NAME                              READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    fsm-bootstrap-7ddc6f9b85-k8ptp    1/1     Running   0          2m52s
    fsm-controller-79b777889b-mqk4g   1/1     Running   0          2m52s
    fsm-injector-5f96468fb7-p77ps     1/1     Running   0          2m52s
  5. Enable permissive traffic policy mode to set up automatic application connectivity.

    Note: this is not a requirement to use cert-manager but simplifies the demo by not requiring explicit traffic policies for application connectivity.

    kubectl patch meshconfig fsm-mesh-config -n "$FSM_NAMESPACE" -p '{"spec":{"traffic":{"enablePermissiveTrafficPolicyMode":true}}}'  --type=merge
  6. Deploy the httpbin service into the httpbin namespace after enrolling its namespace to the mesh. The httpbin service runs on port 14001.

    # Create the httpbin namespace
    kubectl create namespace httpbin
    # Add the namespace to the mesh
    fsm namespace add httpbin
    # Deploy httpbin service in the httpbin namespace
    kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/flomesh-io/fsm-docs/main/manifests/samples/httpbin/httpbin.yaml -n httpbin

    Confirm the httpbin service and pods are up and running.

    kubectl get svc -n httpbin
    NAME      TYPE        CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)     AGE
    httpbin   ClusterIP   <none>        14001/TCP   20s
    kubectl get pods -n httpbin
    NAME                     READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    httpbin-5b8b94b9-lt2vs   2/2     Running   0          20s
  7. Deploy the curl client into the curl namespace after enrolling its namespace to the mesh.

    # Create the curl namespace
    kubectl create namespace curl
    # Add the namespace to the mesh
    fsm namespace add curl
    # Deploy curl client in the curl namespace
    kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/flomesh-io/fsm-docs/main/manifests/samples/curl/curl.yaml -n curl

    Confirm the curl client pod is up and running.

    kubectl get pods -n curl
    NAME                    READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    curl-54ccc6954c-9rlvp   2/2     Running   0          20s
  8. Confirm the curl client is able to access the httpbin service on port 14001.

    kubectl exec -n curl -ti "$(kubectl get pod -n curl -l app=curl -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}')" -c curl -- curl -I http://httpbin.httpbin:14001
    #Response as below
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    server: gunicorn/19.9.0
    date: Mon, 04 Jul 2022 09:34:11 GMT
    content-type: text/html; charset=utf-8
    content-length: 9593
    access-control-allow-origin: *
    access-control-allow-credentials: true
    connection: keep-alive

    A 200 OK response indicates the HTTP request from the curl client to the httpbin service was successful. The traffic between the application sidecar proxies is encrypted and authenticated using Mutual TLS (mTLS) by leverging the certificates issued by the cert-manager certificate provider.


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