Kubernetes is the most popular container-based cluster management system. The ease of deployment and high scalability make it a powerful choice for production environments. Unless you run your cluster or have a team that keeps track of all containers, managing Kubernetes becomes time-consuming and laborious.
With Kubernetes, you can scale your applications by adding more nodes or replicas without worrying about scaling up individual instances. When you scale down the cluster, things get complicated since each node has software and database requirements that must be taken care of manually before shutting it down. Ingress controllers automate exposing services to external networks from inside a Kubernetes cluster by automating virtualization and security setup steps.
Let us now look at the top Ingress Controllers for Kubernetes and understand how they can help you better manage your Kubernetes deployments.
What is Ingress Controller for Kubernetes?
An ingress controller is a software that lets you configure and manage virtual IPs that can be used to expose services outside of the cluster. Ingress controllers are used to create an Ingress resource, which is a mapping that describes the path to be taken to reach the external world. These paths can be virtual IPs mapped to pods or external load balancers.
An ingress controller is responsible for managing the Ingress resource. This can be achieved by using annotations inside your Kubernetes deployment. An ingress controller takes the path of a pod and returns an IP address to the external world. An ingress controller is configured by defining an Ingress resource that maps an external path to pods in a Kubernetes cluster. You can have different kinds of ingress controllers, like a load balancer that sits in front of your application and directs traffic to your pods, or you can create a custom route for your pods.
Here are seven ingress controllers for Kubernetes:
1. Emissary Ingress Controllers
Emissary Ingress Controllers are Kubernetes Ingress controller that allows for easy routing of incoming traffic to different services within a Kubernetes cluster. It offers advanced routing features, including support for multiple ingress objects for a single service, path-based routing, host-based routing, and header-based routing. You get automatically generated SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt and request shaping functionality such as rate limits and request timeouts. You only need to run the cluster using a simple YAML configuration file to run the Emissary Ingress Controllers in Kubernetes, which can also be configured to monitor the health of the services.
2. NGINX Ingress Controllers
NGINX is a high-performance, open-source HTTP server that serves static assets, dynamic content, and proxy servers. It accepts traffic from outside the Kubernetes platform, and load balances it to Pods running inside the platform. You also get access to features such as ACME (Automated Certificate Management Environment), middleware, and load balancing.
3. HAProxy Ingress Controllers
HAProxy Ingress Controllers are Kubernetes Ingress controller that utilizes the HAProxy load balancer to route incoming traffic to different services within a Kubernetes cluster. They offer high performance, flexibility, and can be tailored to fit specific needs by allowing for the definition of custom error handling and custom HAProxy configuration. Additionally, they support health monitoring, enabling SSL/TLS encryption for secure communication, providing detailed logging and metrics, and can be easily deployed to any Kubernetes cluster using a simple YAML configuration file.
4. Envoy Ingress Controllers
Envoy is an open-source edge and service proxy, designed for cloud-native applications. One of its features is the ability to act as an ingress controller for Kubernetes. This means it can handle incoming HTTP/HTTPS traffic and route it to the appropriate service within a Kubernetes cluster. Envoy ingress controllers also offer features such as load balancing, rate limiting, and authentication/authorization. Envoy’s dynamic configuration capabilities allow easy traffic routing adjustments without requiring manual reconfiguration. Envoy ingress controllers can also integrate with service mesh components, such as service discovery and traffic management, to provide a complete solution for managing traffic within a Kubernetes cluster.
5. Traefik Ingress Controllers
Traefik is a modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that simplifies the deployment of microservices. It works with any cloud provider and offers features such as automated certificate management, path-based routing, middleware, and load balancing. You can easily integrate traffic with any Kubernetes environment. It can be used as an Ingress controller, an API object that manages external access to the services in a cluster, typically HTTP. Traefik supports 1.14+ Kubernetes clusters and can route configuration and enable and use the provider. It also supports Let’s Encrypt for SSL certificates and can be configured with the provider configuration, endpoint, token, certAuthFilePath, namespaces, labelSelector, and ingressClass. Traefik also provides improved observability with an added level of control.
6. F5 Container Ingress
F5 Container Ingress is a solution for managing ingress traffic in containerized environments. It is built on top of the popular open-source ingress controller, Envoy, and offers additional features such as global traffic management, advanced load balancing, and security. With F5 Container Ingress, you can easily configure and manage ingress traffic for your containerized applications and use F5’s extensive feature set to optimize and secure your traffic.
7. Contour Ingress Controllers
Contour is an Ingress controller for Kubernetes clusters that uses Envoy as a layer 7 proxy. It works with Kubernetes API objects to configure and manage external access to applications running in the cluster. Contour provides features such as path-based routing, middleware, and TLS termination. It also supports Let’s Encrypt and automated certificate management.
Ingress controllers are beneficial as they provide a way to expose services to external requests. They create a single entry point for external traffic and provide path-based routing, middleware, and TLS termination features. They also improve security, as they can define TLS configurations and TLS security. We covered a list of the top 7 ingress controllers for Kubernetes.
To learn more about ingress controllers, watch also this video:
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