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Cluster Administrators have several options for exposing applications that run inside a cluster to external traffic and securing network connections:

  • Service types, such as node ports or load balancers

  • API resources, such as Ingress and Route

By default, Kubernetes allocates each pod an internal IP address for applications running within the pod. Pods and their containers can network, but clients outside the cluster do not have networking access. This ensures all containers within the pod behave as if they were on the same host. When you expose your application to external traffic, giving each pod its own IP address means that pods can be treated like physical hosts or virtual machines in terms of port allocation, networking, naming, service discovery, load balancing, application configuration, and migration.

Some cloud platforms offer metadata APIs that listen on the 169.254.169.254 IP address, a link-local IP address in the IPv4 169.254.0.0/16 CIDR block.

This CIDR block is not reachable from the pod network. Pods that need access to these IP addresses must be given host network access by setting the spec.hostNetwork field in the pod spec to true.

If you allow a pod host network access, you grant the pod privileged access to the underlying network infrastructure.

OpenShift Container Platform DNS

If you are running multiple services, such as front-end and back-end services for use with multiple pods, environment variables are created for user names, service IPs, and more so the front-end pods can communicate with the back-end services. If the service is deleted and recreated, a new IP address can be assigned to the service, and requires the front-end pods to be recreated to pick up the updated values for the service IP environment variable. Additionally, the back-end service must be created before any of the front-end pods to ensure that the service IP is generated properly, and that it can be provided to the front-end pods as an environment variable.

For this reason, OpenShift Container Platform has a built-in DNS so that the services can be reached by the service DNS as well as the service IP/port.

OpenShift Container Platform Ingress Operator

When you create your OpenShift Container Platform cluster, pods and services running on the cluster are each allocated their own IP addresses. The IP addresses are accessible to other pods and services running nearby but are not accessible to outside clients. The Ingress Operator implements the IngressController API and is the component responsible for enabling external access to OpenShift Container Platform cluster services.

The Ingress Operator makes it possible for external clients to access your service by deploying and managing one or more HAProxy-based Ingress Controllers to handle routing. You can use the Ingress Operator to route traffic by specifying OpenShift Container Platform Route and Kubernetes Ingress resources. Configurations within the Ingress Controller, such as the ability to define endpointPublishingStrategy type and internal load balancing, provide ways to publish Ingress Controller endpoints.

Comparing routes and Ingress

The Kubernetes Ingress resource in OpenShift Container Platform implements the Ingress Controller with a shared router service that runs as a pod inside the cluster. The most common way to manage Ingress traffic is with the Ingress Controller. You can scale and replicate this pod like any other regular pod. This router service is based on HAProxy, which is an open source load balancer solution.

The OpenShift Container Platform route provides Ingress traffic to services in the cluster. Routes provide advanced features that might not be supported by standard Kubernetes Ingress Controllers, such as TLS re-encryption, TLS passthrough, and split traffic for blue-green deployments.

Ingress traffic accesses services in the cluster through a route. Routes and Ingress are the main resources for handling Ingress traffic. Ingress provides features similar to a route, such as accepting external requests and delegating them based on the route. However, with Ingress you can only allow certain types of connections: HTTP/2, HTTPS and server name identification (SNI), and TLS with certificate. In OpenShift Container Platform, routes are generated to meet the conditions specified by the Ingress resource.