Configure an egress NAT gateway

This document describes how to set up an egress NAT gateway for GKE on Bare Metal. This gateway provides persistent, deterministic SNAT IP addresses for the egress traffic from your clusters. When you run workloads that have egress user traffic (outside of your clusters), your customers want to identify this traffic by using a few deterministic IP addresses. This allows your customers to establish IP-based security measures, like allowlisting policies.

The egress NAT gateway is enabled using two custom resources. For a given namespace, the NetworkGatewayGroup custom resource specifies floating IP addresses that can be configured on the network interface of a Node that is chosen to act as a gateway. The EgressNatPolicy custom resource lets you specify egress routing policies to control the traffic on the egress gateway.

If you do not set up an egress NAT gateway, or if egress traffic does not meet traffic selection rules, egress traffic from a given Pod to a destination outside your cluster is masqueraded to the IP address of the node where the Pod is running. In this scenario, there is no guarantee that all egress traffic from a particular Pod will have the same source IP address or will masquerade to the same Node IP address.

Egress NAT gateway is an advanced networking offering built on top of Dataplane V2.

How the egress NAT gateway works

The egress traffic selection logic is based on a namespace selector, a Pod selector, and a set of destination IP address ranges in CIDR block notation. To illustrate how the egress NAT gateway works, let's consider the flow of a packet from a Pod to an external consumer and the corresponding response. Assume the Node subnet has IP addresses in the 192.168.1.0/24 CIDR block.

The following diagram shows the network architecture for egress traffic through a gateway node.

Egress NAT gateway diagram for GKE on Bare Metal

The packet flow through the egress NAT gateway might look like this:

  1. Egress traffic is generated from a Pod with IP address 10.10.10.1 in a Node with IP address 192.168.1.1.

    The traffic's destination address is an endpoint outside of the cluster.

  2. If the traffic matches an egress rule, the eBPF program routes the egress traffic to the gateway Node, instead of directly masquerading with the Node IP address.

  3. The gateway Node receives the egress traffic.

  4. The gateway node masquerades the originating traffic's source IP address, 10.10.10.1, with the source egress IP address, 192.168.1.100 specified in the EgressNATPolicy custom resource.

  5. Return traffic comes back to the gateway Node with destination as 192.168.1.100.

  6. The gateway node matches the conntrack of the return traffic with that of the original egress traffic and rewrites the destination IP address as 10.10.10.1.

  7. 10.10.10.1 is treated as in-cluster traffic, routed to the original Node, and delivered back to the original Pod.

Configure floating IP addresses for Node traffic

The Network Gateway Group custom resource is a bundled component of GKE on Bare Metal. The resource manages a list of one or more floating IP addresses to use for egress traffic from Nodes in your cluster. Participating Nodes are determined by the specified namespace. The Network Gateway Group makes a floating IP address available at all times on a best-effort basis. If a Node using a floating IP address goes down, the advanced network operator moves the assigned IP address to the next available Node. All workload egress traffic using that IP address will move as well.

Include the Network Gateway Group details (annotation and spec) in the cluster configuration file when you create a new 1.28.400-gke.77 cluster.

Create the NetworkGatewayGroup custom resource

You enable the Network Gateway Group by setting the spec.clusterNetwork.advancedNetworking field to true in the cluster configuration file when you create a cluster as shown in the following example:

apiVersion: baremetal.cluster.gke.io/v1
kind: Cluster
metadata:
  name: cluster1
  namespace: cluster-cluster1
spec:
  clusterNetwork:
    ...
    advancedNetworking: true
    ...

When you create the NetworkGatewayGroup custom resource, set its namespace to the cluster namespace and specify a list of floating IP addresses, as shown in the following example:

kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
metadata:
  namespace: cluster-cluster1
  name: default
spec:
  floatingIPs:
  - 192.168.1.100
  - 192.168.1.101
  - 192.168.1.102

The advanced networking operator assigns the floating IPs to Nodes based on the following criteria:

  • Node subnet: the floating IP address has to match Node's subnet.
  • Node role (control plane, worker): worker Nodes take precedence over control plane Nodes when assigning floating IP addresses.
  • Whether a Node has a floating IP address: the operator prioritizes assignments to Nodes that do not have a floating IP assigned already.

The address/node mapping can be found in the status section when you get the NetworkGatewayGroup object. Note that the NetworkGatewayGroup object is in the kube-system namespace. If a gateway node is down, the advanced network operator assigns the floating IP addresses to the next available Node.

Verify the gateway configuration

After you have applied your gateway configuration changes, you can use kubectl to check the status of the gateway and retrieve the floating IP addresses specified for the gateway.

  1. Use the following command to check the status of the NetworkGatewayGroup and see how the floating IP addresses are allocated:

    kubectl -n kube-system get networkgatewaygroups.networking.gke.io default -o yaml
    

    The response for a cluster with two nodes, worker1 and worker2 might look like this:

    kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      namespace: kube-system
      name: default
    spec:
      floatingIPs:
      - 192.168.1.100
      - 192.168.1.101
      - 192.168.1.102
    status:
      nodes:
        worker1: Up
        worker2: Up // Or Down
      floatingIPs:
        192.168.1.100: worker1
        192.168.1.101: worker2
        192.168.1.102: worker1
    

Set traffic selection rules

The EgressNATPolicy custom resource specifies traffic selection rules and assigns a deterministic IP address for egress traffic that leaves the cluster. When specifying the custom resource, egress (with at least one rule), destinationCIDRs, and egressSourceIP are all required.

Use kubectl apply to create the EgressNATPolicy custom resource. The following sections provide details and examples for defining the specification.

Specify egress routing rules

The EgressNatPolicy custom resource lets you specify the following rules for egress traffic:

  • You must specify one or more egress traffic selection rules in the egress section.

    • Each rule consists of a podSelector and a namespaceSelector.
    • Selection is based on a namespace label, namespaceSelector.matchLabels.user, and a Pod label, podSelector.matchLabels.role.
    • If a Pod matches any of the rules (matching uses an OR relationship), it is selected for egress traffic.
  • Specify allowed destination addresses in the destinationCIDRs section.

    • destinationCIDRs takes a list of CIDR blocks.
    • If outgoing traffic from a Pod has a destination IP address that falls within the range of any of the specified CIDR blocks, it is selected for egress traffic.

In the following example, egress traffic from a Pod is permitted when the following criteria are met:

  • Pod is labeled with role: frontend.
  • Pod is in a namespace labeled as either user: alice or user: paul.
  • Pod is communicating to IP addresses in the 8.8.8.0/24 CIDR block.
kind: EgressNATPolicy
apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
metadata:
  name: egress
spec:
  sources:
  - namespaceSelector:
      matchLabels:
        user: alice
    podSelector:
      matchLabels:
        role: frontend
  - namespaceSelector:
      matchLabels:
        user: paul
    podSelector:
      matchLabels:
        role: frontend
  action: SNAT
  destinations:
    - cidr: 8.8.8.0/24
  gatewayRef:
    name: default
    namespace: kube-system

For more information about using labels, refer to Labels and Selectors in the Kubernetes documentation.

Get a source IP address for egress traffic

The EgressNATPolicy custom resource (policy) uses the gatewayRef.name and gatewayRef.namespace values to find a NetworkGatewayGroup object (gateway). The policy uses one of the gateway's floating IP addresses as the source IP address for egress traffic. If there are multiple floating IP addresses in the matching gateway, the policy uses the first IP address in the floatingIPs list and ignores any other IP addresses. For the example gateway, the first address in the floatingIPs list is 192.168.1.100. Having invalid fields or values in the gatewayRef section will result in failure to apply the policy object.

Multiple egress policies and multiple gateway objects

As described in the previous section, each egressNATPolicy object (policy) uses the first IP address in the floatingIPs list from the gateway object that matches gatewayRef.name and gatewayRef.namespace. You can create multiple policies and, if you intend to use different IP addresses, you need to create multiple NetworkGatewayGroup objects and refer to them respectively.

Each NetworkGatewayGroup resource must contain unique floating IP addresses. To configure multiple EgressNATPolicy objects to use the same IP address, use the same gatewayRef.name and gatewayRef.namespace for both.

To set up multiple egress policies and multiple gateway objects:

  1. Create gateway objects in the kube-system namespace to manage each floating IP address. Typically, each egress policy should have a corresponding gateway object to ensure the correct IP address is allocated.

    Then verify each gateway object with kubectl to get the allocation status of the floating IP addresses:

    kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      namespace: kube-system
      name: gateway1
    spec:
      floatingIPs:
      - 192.168.1.100
    status:
      ...
      floatingIPs:
        192.168.1.100: worker1
    ---
    kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      namespace: kube-system
      name: gateway2
    spec:
      floatingIPs:
      - 192.168.1.101
    status:
      ...
      floatingIPs:
        192.168.1.101: worker2
    ---
    kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      namespace: kube-system
      name: gateway3
    spec:
      floatingIPs:
      - 192.168.1.102
    status:
      ...
      floatingIPs:
        192.168.1.102: worker1
    
  2. Create multiple policies that refer to the gateway objects, such as gateway1 created in the preceding step:

    kind: EgressNATPolicy
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      name: egress1
    spec:
      ...
      gatewayRef:
        name: gateway1
        namespace: kube-system
    ---
    kind: EgressNATPolicy
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      name: egress2
    spec:
      ...
      gatewayRef:
        name: gateway2
        namespace: kube-system
    ---
    kind: EgressNATPolicy
    apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
    metadata:
      name: egress3
    spec:
      ...
      gatewayRef:
        name: gateway3
        namespace: kube-system
    

(Optional) Specify nodes to place floating IP addresses on

NetworkGatewayGroup resources support node selectors. To specify a subset of nodes that are considered for hosting a floating IP address, you can add the node selector to the NetworkGatewayGroup object as shown in the following sample:

kind: NetworkGatewayGroup
apiVersion: networking.gke.io/v1
metadata:
  namespace: cluster-cluster1
  name: default
spec:
  floatingIPs:
  - 192.168.1.100
  - 192.168.1.101
  - 192.168.1.102
  nodeSelector:
    node-type: "egressNat"

The node selector matches to nodes that have the specified label and only these nodes are considered for hosting a floating IP address. If you specify multiple selectors, their logic is additive, so a node has to match every label to be considered for hosting a floating IP address. If there aren't many nodes with matching labels, a node selector can reduce the high availability (HA) qualities of floating IP address placement.

Egress traffic selection rules and network policies

The egress NAT gateway is compatible with network policy APIs. Network policies are assessed first and take precedence over the traffic selection rules of the egress NAT gateway. For example, if the egress traffic triggers a network policy resulting in the packet being dropped, egress gateway rules won't check the packet. Only when the network policy allows the packet to egress will the egress traffic selection rules be evaluated to decide how the traffic is handled, either using the egress NAT gateway or directly masquerading with the IP address of the Node where the Pod is running.

Limitations

The current limitations for the egress NAT gateway include:

  • The egress NAT gateway is only enabled for IPv4 mode.

  • Egress IP addresses have to be in the same Layer 2 domain with Node IP addresses.

  • Upgrades are not supported for clusters that have been configured to use the Preview of the egress NAT gateway. For GKE on Bare Metal release 1.28.0 and later, the egress NAT gateway is in Preview on Ubuntu 18.04 only. There is no charge to use this feature while it's in Preview.