Integrating Distributed Cloud Mesh with Red Hat OCP


This guide provides instructions on how to integrate an F5® Distributed Cloud Services site with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP). For more information on sites, see Site.

Using the instructions provided in this guide, you can integrate the Distributed Cloud Services site with Red Hat OCP, discover services, and advertise them.

Note: The following information applies:

  • Distributed Cloud Services site in this document refers to the F5® Distributed Cloud Mesh (Mesh) capabilities only.

  • This feature provides basic functionality of launching a site on K8s with limited functionality, tools, and observability.

Deployment Methods

The instructions provided in this guide cover how to deploy Mesh as pods and how to discover services for web apps deployed in the OCP cluster using the features, such as service discovery and advertising.

You can deploy Mesh in the following methods:

  • Deploy site as ingress/egress gateway for OCP.

  • Deploy site as pods in OCP.

Note: The site as pods supports only Mesh functionalities and does not support F5® Distributed Cloud App Stack. The supported Kubernetes version is 1.23.

The following image is a high-level view for a sample deployment showing both deployment methods:

Figure: Deployment Methods
Figure: Deployment Methods

When deploying Mesh as an ingress/egress gateway for an OCP cluster, you will need to deploy web apps in OCP, set up service discovery, and advertise the services using an HTTP load balancer.

When deploying Mesh as OCP pods in the OCP cluster, you will need to deploy web apps in OCP and advertise services using an HTTP load balancer. Mesh site deployed as pods will automatically discover services running in the OCP cluster by querying the kube-api for services.


The following prerequisites apply:

  • A Distributed Cloud Services Account. If you do not have an account, see Create an Account.

  • A Distributed Cloud Services Site. If you do not have a site, see Site Management.

  • OCP K8s cluster. For more information, see OCP Documentation. OCP version 4.7 is supported.

  • Minimum 4 vCPUs and 8 GB of memory per node.

  • Kubernetes StorageClass with enabled Dynamic Persistent Volume Provisioner (PVC) with a minimum 1 GB space.

Note: Use the kubectl get storageclass command to check if dynamic PVC is enabled for your K8s StorageClass. The output with an entry of (default) in the name indicates that K8s storage class is enabled with dynamic PVC.

Deploy as Ingress/Egress Gateway

Deploy a Mesh node/site on bare metal, a virtual machine (VM), or on a public cloud provider instance. For instructions on how install Mesh, see Site Management guides.

After successful deployment, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Obtain kubeconfig file for your OCP cluster.

When Mesh is deployed outside the OCP cluster, the kubeconfig file is required to be loaded into F5® Distributed Cloud Console (Console) for service discovery to function. The kubeconfig enables Mesh to monitor kube-api, discover OCP services, and discover lifecycle of pods. It is recommenced to create a custom non-expiring kubeconfig with permissions limited to read-only. A kubeconfig file uploaded to Console is secured with Distributed Cloud Services Blindfold.

Note: For simplicity, in this deployment guide, the system:admin kubeconfig file is used instead of a token-based kubeconfig file.

The kubeconfig can be obtained in one of the following ways:

Root Access: Obtain kubeconfig on the system as a root user.

If you have root access to any master node, obtain the kubeconfig files located at /etc/kubernetes/static- pod-resources/kube-apiserver-certs/secrets/node-kubeconfigs/.

Note: You may need to use this method when OCP OAuth pods are not working, and you are unable to use token-based authentication to log in.

Remote Access: Obtain kubeconfig using remote interaction with the kube-api.
  • Perform remote login and interact with the kube-api.

  • Create a directory to store the kubeconfig file and then change to that directory:

          mkdir kubefile
          cd kubefile
  • Extract kubeconfig file remotely using the extract command:
          oc -n openshift-kube-apiserver extract secret/node-kubeconfigs lb-ext.kubeconfig

The extract command returns the extracted files. The following is sample output:

  • Verify the file list with the ls -al command.
Step 2: Use the kubeconfig file and log into OCP.

Depending on your environment setup, use one of the kubeconfig files to log in. This example uses the internal kubeconfig file.

Note: You cannot use the <localhost>.kubeconfig to log in. Use lb-ext.kubeconfig or lb- int.kubeconfig.

  • Set the KUBECONFIG environment variable:
          export KUBECONFIG=./lb-int.kubeconfig
  • Connect to the OCP and verify the node information:
          oc get node

The following is a sample output of the above commands:

Figure: OCP Node List
Figure: OCP Node List
Step 3: Deploy web apps to OCP.

Deploy your apps to OCP using the app manifest file. This example deploys an app called Hipster Shop, whose manifest is hosted here.

Note: Ensure that you update the service type to NodePort for the service you want Mesh to advertise. This is because the Mesh node is deployed outside the OCP cluster.

  • Create a namespace in OCP that is same as your application namespace in Console. This example creates a namespace called foobang-chan:
          oc create ns foobang-chan
  • Deploy the apps:
          oc -n foobang-chan create -f hipster.yaml

The following output is returned:

          deployment.apps/emailservice created
service/emailservice created
deployment.apps/paymentservice created
service/paymentservice created
deployment.apps/productcatalogservice created
service/productcatalogservice created
deployment.apps/cartservice created
service/cartservice created
deployment.apps/currencyservice created
service/currencyservice created
deployment.apps/shippingservice created
service/shippingservice created
deployment.apps/recommendationservice created
service/recommendationservice created
deployment.apps/checkoutservice created
service/checkoutservice created
deployment.apps/frontend created
service/frontend created
deployment.apps/redis-cart created
service/redis-cart created
  • Verify that the services started:
          oc -n foobang-chan get svc

The following output is returned:

Figure: Deployed Services in OCP
Figure: Deployed Services in OCP

Note: For OCP to send traffic to a pod, the application service type should be NodePort. In this example, the frontend service is planned to be advertised with Mesh, so its type is NodePort.

Step 4: Verify that Mesh can reach the OCP kube-api.

Ensure that Mesh is able to reach the OCP kube-api using the server URL present in the kubeconfig. The server URL can be obtained by viewing the contents of the kubeconfig file.

  • Use a file reading command such as cat <kubeconfig-file> to view the kubeconfig contents.
Figure: API URL in Kubeconfig
Figure: API URL in Kubeconfig
  • Log into Console.

  • Click Multi-Cloud Network Connect.

Figure: Console Homepage
Figure: Console Homepage
  • Click Sites > Site List.
Figure: Site List
Figure: Site List
  • Click on your Mesh site to open its Dashboard.

  • Click the Tools tab.

  • Select Ping from the options of the Select Tool drop-down menu.

  • Enter the API URL in the Destination field and then click Call ping.

Note: You can also execute ping using the site local UI. See Site Local UI for more information.

Step 5: Create service discovery.
  • Click Manage > Service Discoveries.

  • Click Add Discovery.

  • Set the metadata in the Metadata section.

  • In the Where section, select Site from the Virtual-Site or Site or Network menu.

  • Select your site from the Reference menu.

  • Ensure that you select Site Local Network from the Network Type menu.

  • Select K8s Discovery Configuration from the Select Discovery Method menu, and then click Configure.

  • In the Access Credentials section, select Kubeconfig from the Select Kubernetes Credentials menu, and then click Configure.

  • In the Secret section, ensure that the Text option is selected for the Type and enter the contents of the kubeconfig file in the form available beneath the Type field.

  • Click Blindfold.

  • Wait until the secret is encrypted and then click Apply.

Note: Use a terminal file reading utility, such as cat, to obtain the contents of the kubeconfig file. Use the kubeconfig file obtained in the previous steps.

  • Click Apply and then click Save and Exit to complete creating the discovery object.

Note: For a full set of instructions on Kubernetes-based service discovery, see Service Discovery - K8s.

Step 6: Verify that the services were discovered.
  • Go to Manage > Service Discoveries and confirm that the service discovery object was created and that it lists discovered services under the Services column.

  • Click the value displayed in the Services column to view the details of the services discovered.

  • Search for the frontend service and note down the service name.

  • Ensure that the Service Type value is displayed as NodePort.

Deploy as OCP Pods

Perform the following to deploy a Mesh node as OCP pods:

Step 1: Ensure that a working OCP environment is available.
  • Check the nodes and node states in the OCP cluster:
          oc get node
          oc get node -o wide
  • Confirm that no node has state Not Running or Not Completed:
          oc get pod -A | egrep -vi 'Running|Completed'
Step 2: Optionally, approve a pending certificate signing request.

Enter the following command to approve a pending certificate signing request:

          oc adm certificate approve \`oc get csr |grep Pending |awk '{print \$1}' \`
Step 3: Configure HugePages.

Label node or assigned role for which HugePages is to be configured. Alternatively, you can also configure or label HugePages for all nodes.

These examples show labeling for three worker nodes:

          oc label node
          oc label node
          oc label node
  • Verify that the labels created are using the oc get node command.

Note: The worker-1, worker-2, and worker-3 nodes are labelled as worker-hp - which is an arbitrary tag/label/name of choice.

  • Create two files named hugepages-tuned-boottime.yaml and hugepages-mcp.yaml.

The following are sample YAML contents for both files:


kind: Tuned
  name: hugepages
  namespace: openshift-cluster-node-tuning-operator
  - data: |
      summary=Boot time configuration for hugepages
      cmdline_openshift_node_hugepages=hugepagesz=2M hugepages=1792
    name: openshift-node-hugepages

  - machineConfigLabels: "worker-hp"
    priority: 30
    profile: openshift-node-hugepages


kind: MachineConfigPool
  name: worker-hp
    worker-hp: ""
      - {key:, operator: In, values: [worker,worker-hp]}
    matchLabels: ""
  • Enable HugePages using the newly created YAML files:
          oc create -f hugepages-tuned-boottime.yaml

The following output is returned:

          oc create -f hugepages-mcp.yaml

The following output is returned:


Note: See Official OCP Documentation for more information on HugePages configuration.

  • Wait for all worker nodes to have Ready status.

  • Use the oc get node command to verify the state of nodes.

Step 4: Verify that HugePages and storage class or dynamic PV is enabled.
  • Verify that HugePages is enabled. Repeat this command for all the worker nodes.

This example shows the verification command for the worker-1 node:

          oc get node -o jsonpath="{.status.allocatable.hugepages-2Mi}"

Note: Output for the above command must be a non-zero value and should match the HugePages you specified in the hugepages-tuned-boottime.yaml file.

  • Verify that the storage class or dynamic Persistent Volume (PV) is configured. This example shows verification for the storage class:
          oc get sc

The following output confirms that storage class is configured:

Figure: Storage Class Validation
Figure: Storage Class Validation
Step 5: Log into Console and create site tokens.
  • Click Multi-Cloud Network Connect.

  • Select Manage > Site Management > Site Tokens.

  • Click Add site token.

  • In the Name field, enter the token name.

  • Click Add site token.

  • Click > to expand the token details in JSON format and note down the value of the uid field.

Figure: Site Token
Figure: Site Token
Step 6: Create a site deployment manifest file.
  • Download the sample manifest template file.

  • Edit the configuration in the Vpm section of the manifest file per the following guidelines:

    • In the ClusterName field, type your cluster name.

    • In the Latitude and Longitude fields, type the latitude and longitude values.

    • In the Token field, type the site token.

Figure: Manifest Template
Figure: Manifest Template
  • Save your changes.
Step 7: Deploy the site.
  • Deploy the Distributed Cloud Services site using the site manifest file.

This example uses the ves-ocp.yaml site manifest file:

          oc create -f ves-ocp.yaml

The following is sample output of the above command:

          namespace/ves-system created
daemonset.apps/volterra-ce-init created
serviceaccount/vpm-sa created created created created
configmap/vpm-cfg created
statefulset.apps/vp-manager created
Step 8: Perform registration.
  • Run the following command to watch the progress of the site creation:
          watch 'oc -n ves-system get pod -o wide'
  • Check the PV and PVC information:
          oc -n ves-system get pv
          oc -n ves-system get pvc

Note: Log into Console to accept the site registrations. Only vp-manager-0 pod will be displayed as running until registration of the site is approved.

  • Log into Console.

  • Click Multi-Cloud Network Connect.

  • Click Manage > Site Management > Registrations.

  • Click the Pending Registrations tab.

  • Find your node name and then click the blue checkmark.

  • In the form that appears, fill in all required fields with the asterisk symbol (*).

  • Click Save and Exit.

The watch command you set earlier will start showing the ver-0 pod as well. This indicates that the site is registered and getting provisioned. Upon successful provision, the status of all pods changes to Running.

Step 9: Check site status and health.

It may take a few minutes for the site health and connectivity score information to update.

  • Click Sites > Site List.

  • Click on your Site name. The Dashboard tab appears, along with many other tabs to inspect your Site.

  • Click the Site Status tab to verify the following:

    • The Update Status field has a Successful value for the F5 OS Status section.

    • The Update Status field has a Successful value for the F5 Software Status section.

    • The Tunnel status and Control Plane fields under the RE Connectivity section have up values.

Note: At this point, the site is ready to provide service to apps deployed on OCP. Due to the site pods being inside OCP, you do not need to create service discovery from Console. The pods can query kube-api for services and lifecycle of pods.

Step 10: Deploy apps.

Deploy the Hipster shop app using the app manifest. Download the manifest from here.

  • Create a namespace with the same name as that of your app namespace in Console:
          oc create ns foobang-chan
  • Deploy the apps:
          oc -n foobang-chan create -f hipster.yaml

Note: When Mesh deploys as pods inside OCP, the frontend service can be of type ClusterIP.

Step 1: Create origin pool.
  • In Console, click Multi-Cloud App Connect.

  • Select your namespace from the drop-down menu. Ensure that you have the namespace with the same name as the namespace for the OCP cluster.

  • Click Manage > Load Balancers > Origin Pools.

  • Click Add Origin Pool.

  • Enter a name in the Metadata section.

  • In the Basic Configuration section, click Add Item.

  • From the Select Type of Origin Server menu, select K8s Service Name of Origin Server on given Sites.

  • Enter a service name in the <servicename>.<namespace> format in the Service Name field.

  • Select Site from the Site or Virtual Site menu.

  • Select your Mesh site from the Site drop-down menu.

  • From the Select Network on the site menu, select Outside Network.

  • Click Add item.

  • Click Save and Exit.

Note: See the Origin Pools guide for more information.

Step 2: Create HTTP load balancer.
  • Click Manage > Load Balancers > HTTP Load Balancers in your app namespace.

  • Click Add HTTP Load Balancer.

  • Enter a name in the Metadata section.

  • In the Basic Configuration section, enter a domain name in the List of Domain field.

  • Enable the Automatically Manage DNS Records option.

  • In the Default Origin Servers section, click Add Item.

  • From the Select Origin Pool Method drop-down menu, select the origin pool created in the previous step.

  • Click Add Item.

  • Scroll down and click Save and Exit.

Step 3: Verify that the origin servers are displayed in load balancer monitoring.
  • Click Virtual Hosts > HTTP Load Balancers in your app namespace.

  • Click on the load balancer you created in the previous step. The General Monitoring view with the Dashboard tab loads by default.

  • Click the Origin Servers tab.

  • Verify that the page shows the pod running your apps as the origin server.

Note: When Mesh is deployed as the ingress/egress Gateway outside the OCP, it discovers services using the service discovery created. When deployed as pods inside the OCP, it auto-discovers the services using the service name and namespace name as specified in the origin pool.

Step 4: Verify that the application is accessible from the Internet.

Send a request to your domain using a web browser or a utility, such as cURL, and confirm that the request is successful and your web page is loaded or an HTTP response has data with a 200 code.


API References