Network Security

Learn about Verrazzano network security

Verrazzano manages and secures network traffic between Verrazzano system components and deployed applications. Verrazzano does not manage or secure traffic for the Kubernetes cluster itself, or for non-Verrazzano services or applications running in the cluster. Traffic is secured at two levels in the network stack:

  • ISO Layer 3/4: Using NetworkPolicies to control IP access to Pods.
  • ISO Layer 6: Using TLS and mTLS to provide authentication, confidentiality, and integrity for connections within the cluster, and for external connections.


By default, all Pods in a Kubernetes cluster have network access to all other Pods in the cluster. Kubernetes has a NetworkPolicy resource that provides network level 3 and 4 security for Pods, restricting both ingress and egress IP traffic for a set of Pods in a namespace. Verrazzano configures all system components with NetworkPolicies to control ingress. Egress is not restricted.

NOTE: A NetworkPolicy resource needs a NetworkPolicy controller to implement the policy, otherwise the policy has no effect. You must install a Kubernetes CNI plug-in that provides a NetworkPolicy controller, such as Calico, before installing Verrazzano, or else the policies are ignored.

NetworkPolicies for system components

Verrazzano installs a set of NetworkPolicies for system components to control ingress into the Pods. A policy is scoped to a namespace and uses selectors to specify the Pods that the policy applies to, along with the ingress and egress rules. For example, the following policy applies to the Verrazzano API Pod in the verrazzano-system namespace. This policy allows network traffic from NGINX Ingress Controller on port 8775, and from Prometheus on port 15090. No other Pods can reach those ports or any other ports of the Verrazzano API Pod. Notice that namespace selectors need to be used; the NetworkPolicy resource does not support specifying the namespace name.

kind: NetworkPolicy
      app: verrazzano-api
  - from:
    - namespaceSelector:
    - port: 8775
      protocol: TCP
  - from:
    - namespaceSelector:
          app: system-prometheus
    - port: 15090
      protocol: TCP

The following table shows all of the ingresses that allow network traffic into system components. The ports shown are Pod ports, which is what NetworkPolicies require.

Component Pod Port From Description
Verrazzano Application Operator 9443 Kubernetes API Server Webhook entrypoint.
Verrazzano Platform Operator 9443 Kubernetes API Server Webhook entrypoint.
Verrazzano Console 8000 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
Verrazzano Console 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Verrazzano Authentication Proxy 8775 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
Verrazzano Authentication Proxy 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
cert-manager 9402 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Coherence Operator 9443 Prometheus Webhook entrypoint.
OpenSearch 8775 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
OpenSearch 8775 Fluentd Access from Fluentd.
OpenSearch 9200 OpenSearch Dashboards, Internal OpenSearch data port.
OpenSearch 9300 Internal OpenSearch cluster port.
OpenSearch 15090 Prometheus Envoy metrics scraping.
Istio control plane 15012 Envoy Envoy access to istiod.
Istio control plane 15014 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Istio control plane 15017 Kubernetes API Server Webhook entrypoint.
Istio ingress gateway 8443 External Application ingress.
Istio ingress gateway 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Istio egress gateway 8443 Mesh services Application egress.
Istio egress gateway 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Keycloak 8080 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
Keycloak 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
MySql 15090 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
MySql 3306 Keycloak Keycloak datastore.
Node exporter 9100 Prometheus Prometheus scraping.
Rancher 80 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
Rancher 9443 Kubernetes API Server Webhook entrypoint.
Prometheus 8775 NGINX Ingress Access from external client.
Prometheus 9090 Grafana Acccess for Grafana UI.

NetworkPolicies for applications

By default, applications do not have NetworkPolicies that restrict ingress into the application or egress from it. You can configure them for the application namespaces using the NetworkPolicy section of a Verrazzano project.

NetworkPolicies for Envoy sidecar proxies

As mentioned, Envoy sidecar proxies run in both system component pods and application pods. Each proxy sends requests to the Istio control plane pod, istiod, for a variety of reasons. During installation, Verrazzano creates a NetworkPolicy named istiod-access in the istio-system namespace to give ingress to system component and application sidecar proxies.


Istio can be enabled to use mTLS between services in the mesh, and also between the Istio gateways and Envoy sidecar proxies. There are various options to customize mTLS usage, for example it can be disabled on a per-port level. The Istio control plane, Istiod, is a CA and provides key and certificate rotation for the Envoy proxies, both gateways and sidecars.

Verrazzano configures Istio to have strict mTLS for the mesh. All components and applications put into the mesh will use mTLS, with the exception of Coherence clusters, which are not in the mesh. Also, all traffic between the Istio ingress gateway and mesh sidecars use mTLS, and the same is true between the proxy sidecars and the egress gateway.

Verrazzano sets up mTLS during installation with the PeerAuthentication resource as follows:

apiVersion: v1
- apiVersion:
  kind: PeerAuthentication
      mode: STRICT


TLS is used by external clients to access the cluster, both through the NGINX Ingress Controller and the Istio ingress gateway. The certificate used by these TLS connections vary; see Verrazzano security for details. All TLS connections are terminated at the ingress proxy. Traffic between the two proxies and the internal cluster Pods always uses mTLS, because those Pods are all in the Istio mesh.

Istio mesh

Istio provides extensive security protection for both authentication and authorization, as described in Istio Security. Access control and mTLS are two security features that Verrazzano configures. These security features are available in the context of a service mesh.

A service mesh is an infrastructure layer that provides certain capabilities like security, observability, load balancing, and such, for services. Istio defines a service mesh here. In the context of Istio on Kubernetes, a service in the mesh is a Kubernetes Service. Consider the Bob’s Books example application, which has several OAM Components defined. At runtime, there is a Kubernetes Service for each component, and each Service is in the mesh, with one or more Pods associated with the service. All services in the mesh have an Envoy proxy in front of their Pods, intercepting network traffic to and from the Pod. In Kubernetes, that proxy happens to be a sidecar running in each Pod.

There are various ways to put a service in the mesh. Verrazzano uses the namespace label, istio-injection: enabled, to designate that all Pods in a given namespace are in the mesh. When a Pod is created in that namespace, the Istio control plane mutating webhook, changes the Pod spec to add the Envoy proxy sidecar container, causing the Pod to be in the mesh.

Disabling sidecar injection

In certain cases, Verrazzano needs to disable sidecar injection for specific Pods in a namespace. This is done in two ways: first, during installation, Verrazzano modifies the istio-sidecar-injector ConfigMap using a Helm override file for the Istio chart. This excludes several components from the mesh, such as the Verrazzano application operator. Second, certain Pods, such as Coherence Pods, are labeled at runtime with"false" to exclude them from the mesh.

Components in the mesh

The following Verrazzano components are in the mesh and use mTLS for all service to service communication.

  • OpenSearch
  • Fluentd
  • Grafana
  • Kiali
  • OpenSearch Dashboards
  • Keycloak
  • MySQL
  • NGINX Ingress Controller
  • Prometheus
  • Verrazzano Authentication Proxy
  • Verrazzano Console
  • WebLogic Kubernetes Operator

Some of these components, have mesh-related details that are worth noting, as described in the following sections.


The NGINX Ingress Controller listens for HTTPS traffic, and provides ingress into the cluster. NGINX is configured to do TLS termination of client connections. All traffic from NGINX to the mesh services use mTLS, which means that traffic is fully encrypted from the client to the target back-end services.

Keycloak and MySQL

Keycloak and MySQL are also in the mesh and use mTLS for network traffic. Because all of the components that use Keycloak are in the mesh, there is end to end mTLS security for all identity management handled by Keycloak. The following components access Keycloak:

  • Verrazzano Authentication Proxy
  • Verrazzano Console
  • OpenSearch
  • Prometheus
  • Grafana
  • Kiali
  • OpenSearch Dashboards


Although Prometheus is in the mesh, it is configured to use the Envoy sidecar and mTLS only when communicating with Keycloak. All the traffic related to scraping metrics, bypasses the sidecar proxy, doesn’t use the service IP address, but rather connects to the scrape target using the Pod IP address. If the scrape target is in the mesh, then HTTPS is used; otherwise, HTTP is used. For Verrazzano multicluster, Prometheus also connects from the admin cluster to the Prometheus server in the managed cluster by using the managed cluster NGINX Ingress, using HTTPS. Prometheus in the managed cluster and never establishes connections to targets outside the cluster.

Because Prometheus is in the mesh, additional configuration is done to allow the Envoy sidecar to be bypassed when scraping Pods. This is done with the Prometheus Pod annotation <keycloak-service-ip>. This causes traffic bound for Keycloak to go through the Envoy sidecar, and all other traffic to bypass the sidecar.

WebLogic Kubernetes Operator

When the WebLogic operator creates a domain, it needs to communicate with the Pods in the domain. Verrazzano puts the WebLogic operator in the mesh so that it can communicate with the domain Pods using mTLS. As a result, the WebLogic domain must be created in the mesh.

Applications in the mesh

Before you create a Verrazzano application, you should decide if it should be in the mesh. You control sidecar injection, for example, mesh inclusion, by labeling the application namespace with istio-injection=enabled or istio-injection=disabled. By default, applications will not be put in the mesh if that label is missing. If your application uses a Verrazzano project, then Verrazzano will label the namespaces in the project to enable injection. If the application is in the mesh, then mTLS will be used. You can change the PeerAuthentication mTLS mode as desired if you don’t want strict mTLS. Also, if you need to add mTLS port exceptions, you can do this with DestinationRules or by creating another PeerAuthentication resource in the application namespace. Consult the Istio documentation for more information.


When the WebLogic operator creates a domain, it needs to communicate with the Pods in the domain. Verrazzano puts the WebLogic operator in the mesh so that it can communicate with the domain Pods using mTLS. Because of that, the WebLogic domain must be created in the mesh. Also, because mTLS is used, do not configure WebLogic to use TLS. If you want to use a custom certificate for your application, you can specify that in the ApplicationConfiguration, but that TLS connection will be terminated at the Istio ingress gateway, which you configure using a Verrazzano IngressTrait.


Coherence clusters are represented by the Coherence resource, and are not in the mesh. When Verrazzano creates a Coherence cluster in a namespace that is annotated to do sidecar injection, it disables injection of the Coherence resource using the"false" label shown previously. Furthermore, Verrazzano will create a DestinationRule in the application namespace to disable mTLS for the Coherence extend port 9000. This allows a service in the mesh to call the Coherence extend proxy. For an example, see Bobs Books.

Here is an example of a DestinationRule created for the Bob’s Books application which includes a Coherence cluster.

API Version:
Kind:         DestinationRule
  Host:  *.bobs-books.svc.cluster.local
  Traffic Policy:
    Port Level Settings:
        Number:  9000
      Mode:  ISTIO_MUTUAL

Istio access control

Istio lets you control access to your workload in the mesh, using the AuthorizationPolicy resource. This lets you control which services or Pods can access your workloads. Some of these options require mTLS; for more information, see Authorization Policy.

Verrazzano always creates AuthorizationPolicies for applications, but never for system components. During application deployment, Verrazzano creates the policy in the application namespace and configures it to allow access from the following:

  • Other Pods in the application
  • Istio ingress gateway
  • Prometheus scraper

This prevents other Pods in the cluster from gaining network access to the application Pods.
Istio uses a service identity to determine the identity of the request’s origin; for Kubernetes this identity is a service account. Verrazzano creates a per-application AuthorizationPolicy as follows:

kind: AuthorizationPolicy
    - from:
    - source:
    - cluster.local/ns/sales/sa/greeter
    - cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account
    - cluster.local/ns/verrazzano-system/sa/verrazzano-monitoring-operator

WebLogic domain access

For WebLogic applications, the WebLogic operator must have access to the domain Pods for two reasons. First, it must access the domain servers to get health status; second it must inject configuration into the Monitoring Exporter sidecar running in the domain server Pods. When a WebLogic domain is created, Verrazzano adds an additional source, cluster.local/ns/verrazzano-system/sa/weblogic-operator-sa to the principals section to permit that access.