Configuring manual load balancing

This page explains the load balancing requirements when using manual load balancing. Unlike bundled load balancing where Anthos on bare metal deploys load balancers to cluster nodes for control plane and data plane traffic, with manual load balancing you configure your own load balancing solutions for control plane and data plane traffic.

You must set up an external load balancer for the control plane before creating a bare metal cluster. The external control plane load balancer can also be used for data plane traffic, or you can set up a separate load balancer for the data plane. For example, you can use an in-cluster load balancer like MetalLB for data plane traffic.

In addition to explaining load balancing requirements, this page describes how to configure manual load balancing using F5 BIG-IP.

Prerequisites

Required IP address

You must plan your VIPs before creating a cluster. All clusters need a VIP for the control plane. All user clusters need a second VIP for the ingress service.

These VIPs can be in any IPv4 subnet routable from the load balancer. The control plane VIP must be reachable from all cluster nodes and from the admin workstation that you run bmctl on.

When you create the cluster, the ingress service is deployed using the VIP you specify in the cluster config file. You can configure load balancing for this IP address after cluster creation.

You must know the IP addresses you will use for the node(s) that will be used as control plane node(s).

External control plane load balancer requirements

The control plane load balancer must be configured before creating the cluster. The control plane load balancer must meet these requirements:

  • A virtual service (frontend) for the control plane VIP. The control plane's default listen port is 443. However, if you specify a different port the loadBalancer.ports.controlPlaneLBPort field of the cluster config file use that port for the virtual service.
  • A backend group containing all of the IP addresses of the cluster's control plane nodes. The backend port the control plane listens on is 6444.
  • A health check that monitors the backend nodes. The health check must use HTTPS and check the /readyz endpoint on port 6444. The health check must verify that this endpoint returns status code 200 to consider the node healthy.

If the external load balancer is not configured correctly then cluster bootstrapping is likely to fail. A preflight check verifies that the external load balancer is correctly configured, including verifying that the load balancer is health checking the /readyz endpoint.

Resetting connections to failed nodes (Recommended)

In addition to the preceding requirements, we recommend you configure the load balancer to reset client connections when it detects a backend node failure. Without this configuration, clients of the Kubernetes API server can stop responding for several minutes when a server instance goes down, which can cause instability in the Kubernetes control plane.

  • With F5 BIG-IP, this setting is called Action On Service Down in the backend pool configuration page.
  • With HAProxy, this setting is called on-marked-down shutdown-sessions in the backend server configuration.
  • If you are using a different load balancer, you should consult the documentation to find the equivalent setting.

Configuring your cluster

Before you create a Anthos on bare metal cluster, you create a cluster config file with bmctl. Edit this file to enable manual load balancing in the cluster:

  1. Set the loadBalancer.mode field to manual.
  2. Set the loadBalancer.vips.controlPlaneVIP field to the VIP that you configured on the load balancer.
  3. Remove, or comment out, the loadBalancer.addressPools section.

After you have finished editing the config file, including fields not related to load balancing, verify that the control plane VIP is correctly configured on the load balancer by running the preflight checks:

bmctl check preflight -c CLUSTER_NAME

Replace CLUSTER_NAME with the name of the cluster.

Supporting LoadBalancer Services in user clusters

You must configure load balancing to support Kubernetes LoadBalancer services In manual load balancing mode, Anthos on bare metal does not automatically provision load balancers so LoadBalancer services do not work unless you provision and configure load balancers to point the services.

Additionally, Anthos on bare metal automatically deploys an ingress service in all user clusters using a LoadBalancer service. To be externally accessible, this LoadBalancer service require a load balancer configured to point to the service.

Your options for supporting LoadBalancer services include:

  • Manually configure the load balancer for every LoadBalancer service in the cluster. See Configuring support for LoadBalancer services for an example using F5 BIG-IP.
  • Install a load balancer controller in the cluster that configures the external load balancer when LoadBalancer services are created.
  • Install an in-cluster load balancing solution like MetalLB.

Manual load balancing with F5 BIG-IP

This section describes how to configure manual load balancing with F5 BIG-IP as the external load balancer. If you are using a different load balancer, consult the documentation for that load balancer and use these steps as a model.

Configuring the control plane load balancer

You must configure the control plane load balancer before creating a cluster. After performing these steps, you can configure your cluster and create it.

Creating a partition for your cluster

Each cluster should have its own partition. Use the BIG-IP Configuration utility to create a partition:

  1. Go to System > Users > Partition List,
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the partition.
  4. Click Finished.

In the following steps you will create objects in this partition. Make sure this partition is selected in the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the UI for each of the following tasks so that each object is created in this partition.

Creating a monitor

Create a monitor to perform health checks on the control plane nodes:

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Monitors.
  2. Click Create
  3. Enter a name for the monitor (for example, https_readyz).
  4. Set the Type to HTTPS.
  5. For Send String, enter GET /readyz HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: \r\nConnection: close.
  6. For Receive String, enter HTTP/1.1 200.
  7. Click Finished.

Creating nodes

Create a node that points to the control plane nodes. If your cluster has a high availability (HA) control plane with multiple control plane nodes, create a node object for each control plane node.

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Nodes > Node List.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the node.
  4. Enter the IP address of the node in the Address field.
  5. Click Finished.

Creating a backend pool

Create a pool for the control plane nodes:

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Pools > Pool List.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Select Advanced in the Configuration drop-down.
  4. Enter a name for the pool.
  5. Select the health monitor created earlier.
  6. Set Action On Service Down to Reject (see discussion of this setting in the Resetting connections to failed nodes section).
  7. Add the control plane node to the pool. If your cluster has multiple control plane nodes, repeat these steps for each node:
    1. In the New Members section, click Node List and then select the previously created control plane node.
    2. In the Service Port field, enter 6444.
    3. Click Add.

Creating a virtual server

Create a virtual server for the control plane:

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Virtual Servers > Virtual Server List.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the virtual server.
  4. Set Type to Standard.
  5. Enter 0.0.0.0/0 in the Source Address field to allow traffic from any destination.
  6. Enter the control plane VIP as the Destination Address.
  7. Enter the control plane port as the Service Port. By default this is 443, but this is configurable and must match what you configure in your cluster configuration for loadBalancer.ports.controlPlaneLBPort.
  8. In the Source Address Translation field, select Auto Map.
  9. In Default Pool, select the pool created earlier in the drop-down.
  10. Click Finished.

Configuring support for LoadBalancer services

In manual load balancing mode, Anthos on bare metal does not automatically provision load balancers to support LoadBalancer services. See Supporting LoadBalancer Services in user clusters for more information.

This section shows how to manually configure a F5 BIG-IP load balancer for a LoadBalancer service. Repeat these steps for each LoadBalancer service you want to expose.

Prerequisites

In order to configure a LoadBalancer service, you need to know the VIP that you wish to expose through the load balancer, the port you wish to expose it on, and the NodePort that the LoadBalancer service in Kubernetes is using.

After you have deployed a LoadBalancer service in your cluster, determine the NodePort used for the LoadBalancer service. The following command will show the ports of the service:

kubectl --kubeconfig KUBECONFIG get service SERVICE_NAME -oyaml

Replace the following:

  • KUBECONFIG with the path to the kubeconfig file to use.
  • SERVICE_NAME with the name of the LoadBalancer service.

The output of kubctl get service includes includes a ports section. Each port entry shows the nodePort exposed for the port on the service, and this nodePort is what you will configure the load balancer backend to point to. An example is shown below:

spec:
  clusterIP: 172.26.232.107
  externalTrafficPolicy: Cluster
  loadBalancerIP: 21.0.101.77
  ports:
  - name: status-port
    nodePort: 30281
    port: 15021
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 15021
  - name: http
    nodePort: 30124
    port: 80
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 80
  - name: https
    nodePort: 31858
    port: 443
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 443

There are ports for http and https traffic. You can expose one or both of these ports through your load balancer.

If you are exposing the ingress service that is automatically deployed in all clusters, the LoadBalancer service is named istio-ingress and is in the gke-system namespace. Find its ports with this command:

kubectl --kubeconfig KUBECONFIG -n gke-system get service istio-ingress -oyaml

The ingress service is configured with a loadBalancerIP which is the IP supplied in the loadBalancer.vips.ingressVIP field in the initial cluster configuration. You should expose this VIP to expose the ingress service on the external load balancer.

Creating a backend pool

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Pools > Pool List.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the pool.
  4. Select tcp as the health monitor.
  5. Add worker nodes to the node pool. Repeat these steps for each node. You can add control planes as well as worker nodes as Kubernetes NodePorts are accessible on any node in the cluster.
    1. In the New Members section, click Node List and then select one of the previously created nodes.
    2. In the Service Port field, enter the NodePort value for the service.
    3. Click Add.

Creating a virtual server

  1. Go to Local Traffic > Virtual Servers > Virtual Server List.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a name for the virtual server.
  4. Set Type to Standard.
  5. Enter 0.0.0.0/0 in the Source Address field to allow traffic from any destination.
  6. Enter the load balancer service VIP as the Destination Address.
  7. Enter the port being exposed for the load balancer service as the Service Port.
  8. In the Source Address Translation field, select Auto Map.
  9. In Default Pool, select the pool created earlier in the drop-down.
  10. Click Finished.