Production-grade installation

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to create a production-grade installation for BEL. This installation includes:

  • A highly-available control plane that is deployed as multiple replicas, with node anti-affinity constraints.
  • Our Lifecycle automation operator to automate control plane and data plane upgrades.
  • Explicit choices about the longevity of TLS credentials.
If you are on the Enterprise Plan for BEL, see the Enterprise Plan installation guide.

Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

  • A functioning Kubernetes cluster
  • Helm installed on your local machine

BEL requires a valid license key to run, which is freely available through the Buoyant portal. Following the instructions there, you should end up with an environment variable like this:


The commands below assume that you have this environment variable set.

The first step is to download and install the BEL CLI:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSfL | sh

Follow the instructions to add the linkerd CLI to your system path.

Verify that the CLI is installed and running the expected version with:

linkerd version --client

You should see:

Client version: enterprise-2.15.3

Finally, validate that your cluster is ready for installation:

linkerd check --pre

The next step is to install the BEL’s lifecycle automation components, which will automate installation and upgrades of BEL.

Start by adding/updating the linkerd-buoyant repo:

helm repo add linkerd-buoyant
helm repo update

Now, we can install the BEL lifecycle automation operator itself:

helm install linkerd-buoyant \
  --create-namespace \
  --namespace linkerd-buoyant \
  --set buoyantCloudEnabled=false \
  --set license=$BUOYANT_LICENSE \

Most of Linkerd’s TLS infrastructure is fully automated, but there are some things we need to generate: a trust anchor certificate and key pair, and an issuer certificate and key pair.

TLS key management is a complex topic. In this guide we are simply going to create our certificates by hand. Automated rotation of these credentials is commonly used in production enviornments but that is outside the scope of this guide.

Follow the Linkerd Trust Root CA & Identity Certificates & Keys docs. Pay attention to the lifetimes of the certificates you are creating, especially the trust anchor.

You will need the resulting ca.crt, issuer.crt, and issuer.key files. Be sure to keep these files in a safe place.

cat <<EOF > linkerd-identity-secret.yaml
apiVersion: v1
  ca.crt: $(cat ca.crt | base64 | tr -d '\n')
  tls.crt: $(cat issuer.crt | base64 | tr -d '\n')
  tls.key: $(cat issuer.key | base64 | tr -d '\n')
kind: Secret
  name: linkerd-identity-issuer
  namespace: linkerd

kubectl apply -f linkerd-identity-secret.yaml

Next, we need to configure the BEL lifecycle automation components to be able to install Linkerd using those TLS credentials we just created.

To do this, create a CRD config that will be used by the Linkerd BEL operator to install and manage the Linkerd control plane. You will need the ca.crt file from above.

cat <<EOF > linkerd-control-plane-config.yaml
kind: ControlPlane
  name: linkerd-control-plane
      version: enterprise-2.15.3
      license: $BUOYANT_LICENSE
        identityTrustAnchorsPEM: |
$(cat ca.crt | sed 's/^/          /')

        # HA config

  tmp=$(mktemp -d)
  helm pull linkerd-buoyant/linkerd-enterprise-control-plane --untar --untardir $tmp
  cat "$tmp/linkerd-enterprise-control-plane/values-ha.yaml" |
    tail -n +2 |
    sed 's/^/      /'

Finally, we’re ready to install BEL! Apply the config we created in the previous step to activate the BEL lifecycle operator and install the Linkerd control plane:

kubectl apply -f linkerd-control-plane-config.yaml

After the installation is complete, you can verify the health and configuration of Linkerd by running the linkerd check command:

linkerd check

You have successfully installed a production-ready BEL deployment onto your Kubernetes cluster.

You can also use BEL’s lifecycle automation to manage the data plane on your cluster, separate from the control plane. Please see our lifecycle automation management guide to get started.

Happy meshing!