AWS App Mesh
User Guide

Virtual Nodes

A virtual node acts as a logical pointer to a particular task group, such as an Amazon ECS service or a Kubernetes deployment.

When you create a virtual node, you must specify a service discovery method for your task group. Any inbound traffic that your virtual node expects is specified as a listener. Any virtual service that a virtual node sends outbound traffic to is specified as a backend.

The response metadata for your new virtual node contains the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) that is associated with the virtual node. Set this value (either the full ARN or the truncated resource name) as the APPMESH_VIRTUAL_NODE_NAME environment variable for your task group's Envoy proxy container in your Amazon ECS task definition or Kubernetes pod spec. For example, the value could be mesh/default/virtualNode/simpleapp. This is then mapped to the and node.cluster Envoy parameters.


If you require your Envoy stats or tracing to use a different name, you can override the node.cluster value that is set by APPMESH_VIRTUAL_NODE_NAME with the APPMESH_VIRTUAL_NODE_CLUSTER environment variable.

Creating a Virtual Node

To create a virtual node using the AWS Management Console, complete the following steps. To create a virtual node using the AWS CLI version 1.16.266 or higher, see the example in the AWS CLI reference for the create-virtual-node command.

  1. Open the App Mesh console at

  2. Choose Virtual nodes in the left navigation.

  3. Choose Create virtual node.

  4. For Virtual node name, enter a name for your virtual node.

  5. For Service discovery method, choose one of the following options:

    • DNS – Specify the DNS-registered hostname of the actual service that the virtual node represents. The Envoy proxy is deployed in an Amazon VPC. The proxy sends name resolution requests to the DNS server that is configured for the VPC. If the hostname resolves, the DNS server returns one or more IP addresses. For more information about VPC DNS settings, see Using DNS with your VPC. If the DNS server returns multiple IP addresses, then the Envoy proxy chooses one of the addresses using the Logical DNS service discovery type.

    • AWS Cloud Map – Specify the service name and namespace. Optionally, you can also specify attributes that App Mesh can query AWS Cloud Map for. Only instances that match all of the specified key/value pairs will be returned. To use AWS Cloud Map, your account must have the AWSServiceRoleForAppMesh service-linked role.

    • None – Select if your virtual node doesn't expect any inbound traffic.

  6. To specify any backends (for egress traffic) for your virtual node, or to configure inbound and outbound access logging information, choose Additional configuration.

    1. To specify a backend, choose Add backend and enter a virtual service name or full Amazon Resource Name (ARN) for the virtual service that your virtual node communicates with. Repeat this step until all of your virtual node backends are accounted for.

    2. To configure logging, enter the HTTP access logs path that you want Envoy to use. We recommend the /dev/stdout path so that you can use Docker log drivers to export your Envoy logs to a service such as Amazon CloudWatch Logs.


      Logs must still be ingested by an agent in your application and sent to a destination. This file path only instructs Envoy where to send the logs.

  7. If your virtual node expects ingress traffic, specify a Port and Protocol for the Listener.

  8. If you want to configure a health check for your listener, ensure that Health check enabled is selected and then complete the following substeps. If not, clear this check box. A health check policy is optional, but if you specify any values for a health policy, then you must specify values for Healthy threshold, Health check interval, Health check protocol, Timeout period, and Unhealthy threshold.

    1. For Health check protocol, choose a protocol. If you select grpc, then your service must conform to the GRPC Health Checking Protocol.

    2. For Health check port, specify the port that the health check should run on.

    3. For Healthy threshold, specify the number of consecutive successful health checks that must occur before declaring the listener healthy.

    4. For Health check interval, specify the time period in milliseconds between each health check execution.

    5. For Path, specify the destination path for the health check request. This value is only used if the Health check protocol is http or http2. The value is ignored for other protocols.

    6. For Timeout period, specify the amount of time to wait when receiving a response from the health check, in milliseconds.

    7. For Unhealthy threshold, specify the number of consecutive failed health checks that must occur before declaring the listener unhealthy.

  9. Choose Create virtual node to finish.

Deleting a Virtual Node

To delete a virtual node using the AWS Management Console complete the following steps. To delete a virtual node using the AWS CLI, use the aws appmesh delete-virtual-node command. For an example of deleting a virtual node using the AWS CLI, see delete-virtual-node.


You can't delete a virtual node if it is specified as a target in any route or as a provider in any virtual service.

  1. Open the App Mesh console at

  2. Choose the mesh that you want to delete a virtual node from.

  3. Choose Virtual nodes in the left navigation.

  4. In the Virtual Nodes table, choose the virtual node that you want to delete and select Delete.

  5. In the confirmation box, type delete and then select Delete.