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When services need to receive traffic from the outside, commonly called North/South, the Kuma Gateway enables routing network traffic from outside a Kuma mesh to services inside the mesh. The gateway is also responsible for security at the entrance of the Mesh.
Kuma Gateway deploys as a Kuma
Dataplane, that’s an instance of the
Like all Kuma
Dataplanes, the Kuma Gateway
Dataplane manages an Envoy proxy process that does the actual network traffic proxying.
You can distinguish two types of gateways:
- delegated: Allows users to use any existing gateway like Kong.
- builtin: Configures the data plane proxy to expose external listeners to drive traffic inside the mesh.
Gateways exist within a mesh. If you have multiple meshes, each mesh requires its own gateway. You can easily connect your meshes together using cross-mesh gateways.
Below visualization shows the difference between delegated and builtin gateways:
Builtin with Kong Gateway to handle the inbound traffic:
Delegated with Kong Gateway:
The blue lines represent traffic not managed by Kuma, which needs configuring in the Gateway.
Dataplane entity can operate in
gateway mode. This way you can integrate Kuma with existing API Gateways like Kong.
gateway mode lets you skip exposing inbound listeners so it won’t be intercepting ingress traffic. When you use a data plane proxy with a service, both inbound traffic to a service and outbound traffic from the service flows through the proxy. In the
gateway mode, you want inbound traffic to go directly to the gateway, otherwise, clients require dynamically generated certificates for communication between services within the mesh. The gateway itself should handle security at an entrance to the mesh.
Kuma supports most of the ingress controllers. However, the recommended gateway in Kubernetes is Kong. You can use Kong ingress controller for Kubernetes to implement authentication, transformations, and other functionalities across Kubernetes clusters with zero downtime.
Most ingress controllers require an annotation
ingress.kubernetes.io/service-upstream=true on every Kubernetes
Service to work with Kuma. Kuma automatically injects the annotation for every
Service in a namespace in a mesh that has
kuma.io/sidecar-injection: enabled label.
To use the delegated gateway feature, mark your API Gateway’s Pod with the
kuma.io/gateway: enabled annotation. Control plane automatically generates
apiVersion: apps/v1 kind: Deployment metadata: ... spec: template: metadata: annotations: kuma.io/gateway: enabled ...
API Gateway receives Services from:
- one specific zone
Multi-zone requires exposing a dedicated Kubernetes
Service object with type
ExternalName. Control plane creates a DNS entry
externalName with suffix
.mesh, which Kuma resolves in internal service discovery.
Example setting up Kong Ingress Controller
Follow instructions to setup an echo service reachable through Kong. These instructions are mostly taken from the Kong docs.
Install Kong using helm.
Start an echo-service:
kubectl apply -f https://bit.ly/echo-service
- Add an ingress:
echo " apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1 kind: Ingress metadata: name: demo spec: ingressClassName: kong rules: - http: paths: - path: /foo pathType: ImplementationSpecific backend: service: name: echo port: number: 80 " | kubectl apply -f -
You can access your ingress with
curl -i $PROXY_IP/foo where
$PROXY_IP you can retrieve from the service that exposes Kong outside your cluster.
You can check that the sidecar is running by checking the number of containers in each pod:
kubectl get pods NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE echo-5fc5b5bc84-zr9kl 2/2 Running 0 41m kong-1645186528-kong-648b9596c7-f2xfv 3/3 Running 2 40m
Example Gateway in Multi-Zone
In the previous example, you setup an
echo, that’s running on port
80, and deployed in the
Now make sure that this service works correctly with multi-zone. In order to do so, create
echo " apiVersion: v1 kind: Service metadata: name: echo-multizone namespace: default spec: type: ExternalName externalName: echo.default.svc.80.mesh " | kubectl apply -f -
Finally, you need to create a corresponding Kubernetes
Ingress that routes
/bar to the multi-zone service:
echo " apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1 kind: Ingress metadata: name: demo-multizone namespace: default spec: ingressClassName: kong rules: - http: paths: - path: /bar pathType: ImplementationSpecific backend: service: name: echo-multizone port: number: 80 " | kubectl apply -f -
Note that since you are addressing the service by its domain name
echo.default.svc.8080.mesh, you should always refer to port
80. This port is only a placeholder and is automatically replaced with the actual port of the service.
If you want to expose a
Service in one zone only, as opposed to multi-zone, you can just use the service name in the
Ingress definition without having to create an
externalName entry, this is what you did in your first example.
The builtin gateway is integrated into the core Kuma control plane. You can configure gateway listeners and routes to service directly using Kuma policies.
The builtin gateway is configured on a
type: Dataplane mesh: default name: gateway-instance-1 networking: address: 127.0.0.1 gateway: type: BUILTIN tags: kuma.io/service: edge-gateway
A builtin gateway
Dataplane does not have either inbound or outbound configuration.
To configure your gateway Kuma has these resources:
- MeshGateway is used to configure listeners exposed by the gateway
- MeshGatewayRoute is used to configure route to route traffic from listeners to other services.
Kuma gateways are configured with the Envoy best practices for edge proxies.
You can create and configure a gateway that listens for traffic from outside of your mesh and forwards it to the demo app frontend.
To ease starting gateways on Kubernetes, Kuma comes with a builtin type
This type requests that the control plane create and manage a Kubernetes
suitable for providing service capacity for the
MeshGateway with the matching
echo " apiVersion: kuma.io/v1alpha1 kind: MeshGatewayInstance metadata: name: edge-gateway namespace: default spec: replicas: 1 serviceType: LoadBalancer tags: kuma.io/service: edge-gateway " | kubectl apply -f -
For a given
MeshGatewayInstance, the control plane waits for a
MeshGateway matching the
kuma.io/service tag to exist.
Once one does, the control plane creates a new
Deployment in the
Deployment has the requested number of builtin gateway
Dataplane pod replicas running as the service named in the
The control plane also creates a new
Service to send network traffic to the builtin
Service is of the type requested in the
MeshGatewayInstance, and its ports are automatically adjusted to match the listeners on the corresponding
Additional customization of the generated
Deployment is possible via
MeshGatewayInstance.spec. For example, you can add annotations to the generated
spec: replicas: 1 serviceType: LoadBalancer tags: kuma.io/service: edge-gateway resources: limits: ... requests: ... serviceTemplate: metadata: annotations: service.beta.kubernetes.io/aws-load-balancer-internal: "true" ... spec: loadBalancerIP: ... " | kubectl apply -f -
Now that the
Dataplane is running you can describe the gateway listener:
echo " apiVersion: kuma.io/v1alpha1 kind: MeshGateway mesh: default metadata: name: edge-gateway spec: selectors: - match: kuma.io/service: edge-gateway conf: listeners: - port: 8080 protocol: HTTP hostname: foo.example.com tags: port: http/8080 " | kubectl apply -f -
This policy creates a listener on port 8080 and will receive any traffic which has the
Host header set to
Notice that listeners have tags like
Dataplanes. This will be useful when binding routes to listeners.
These are Kuma policies so if you are running on multi-zone they need to be created on the Global CP. See the dedicated section for detailed information.
Now, you can define a
MeshGatewayRoute to forward your traffic based on the
matched URL path.
echo " apiVersion: kuma.io/v1alpha1 kind: MeshGatewayRoute mesh: default metadata: name: edge-gateway-route spec: selectors: - match: kuma.io/service: edge-gateway port: http/8080 conf: http: rules: - matches: - path: match: PREFIX value: / backends: - destination: kuma.io/service: demo-app_kuma-demo_svc_5000 " | kubectl apply -f -
The Kuma Gateway resource types,
MeshGatewayRoute, are synced across zones by the Kuma control plane.
If you have a multi-zone deployment, follow existing Kuma practice and create any Kuma Gateway resources in the global control plane.
Once these resources exist, you can provision serving capacity in the zones where it is needed by deploying builtin gateway
Dataplanes (in Universal zones) or
MeshGatewayInstances (Kubernetes zones).
Mesh abstraction allows users
to encapsulate and isolate services
inside a kind of submesh with its own CA.
With a cross-mesh
you can expose the services of one
Meshes by defining an API with
All traffic remains inside the Kuma data plane protected by mTLS.
All meshes involved in cross-mesh communication must have mTLS enabled.
To enable cross-mesh functionality for a
... mesh: default selectors: - match: kuma.io/service: cross-mesh-gateway conf: listeners: - port: 8080 protocol: HTTP crossMesh: true hostname: default.mesh
If the listener includes a
the cross-mesh listener will be reachable
Meshes at this
In this case, the URL
Otherwise it will be reachable at the host:
Without transparent proxy
If transparent proxy isn’t set up, you’ll have to add the listener explicitly as
an outbound to your
Dataplane objects if you want to access it:
... outbound - port: 8080 tags: kuma.io/service: cross-mesh-gateway kuma.io/mesh: default
Cross-mesh functionality isn’t supported across zones at the moment but will be in a future release.
protocol supported is
Like service to service traffic,
all traffic to the gateway is protected with mTLS
but appears to be HTTP traffic
to the applications inside the mesh.
In the future, this limitation may be relaxed.
There can be only one entry in
Not all Kuma policies are applicable to Kuma Gateway (see table below). Kuma connection policies are selected by matching the source and destination expressions against sets of Kuma tags. In the case of Kuma Gateway the source selector is always matched against the Gateway listener tags, and the destination expression is matched against the backend destination tags configured on a Gateway Route.
When a Gateway Route forwards traffic, it may weight the traffic across multiple services.
In this case, matching the destination for a connection policy becomes ambiguous.
Although the traffic is proxied to more than one distinct service, Kuma can only configure the route with one connection policy.
In this case, Kuma employs some simple heuristics to choose the policy.
If all the backend destinations refer to the same service, Kuma will choose the oldest connection policy that has a matching destination service.
However, if the backend destinations refer to different services, Kuma will prefer a connection policy with a wildcard destination (i.e. where the destination service is
Kuma may select different connection policies of the same type depending on the context. For example, when Kuma configures an Envoy route, there may be multiple candidate policies (due to the traffic splitting across destination services), but when Kuma configures an Envoy cluster there is usually only a single candidate (because clusters are defined to be a single service). This can result in situations where different policies (of the same type) are used for different parts of the Envoy configuration.
You can find in each policy’s dedicated information with regard to builtin gateway support.