Traffic Director supports environments that extend beyond Google Cloud, including on-premises data centers and other public clouds that are reachable using hybrid connectivity. You configure Traffic Director so that your service mesh can send traffic to endpoints that are outside of Google Cloud. These endpoints can be on-premises load balancers, server applications on a virtual machine in another cloud, or any other destination that is reachable using hybrid connectivity and can be represented by an IP address and a port. You just add each endpoint's IP address and port to a hybrid connectivity network endpoint group (NEG).
Traffic Director's support for on-premises and multi-cloud services allows you to:
- Route traffic globally, including to the endpoints of on-premises and multi-cloud services
- Bring the benefits of Traffic Director and service mesh — including capabilities such as service discovery and advanced traffic management — to services running on your existing infrastructure outside of Google Cloud
- Combine Traffic Director capabilities with Cloud Load Balancing to bring Google Cloud networking services to multi-environments.
Traffic Director can configure networking between VM- and container-based services in multiple environments, including:
- Google Cloud
- On-premises data centers
- Other public clouds
Route mesh traffic to an on-premises location or another cloud
The simplest use case for this feature is traffic routing. Your application is running a Traffic Director client (either Envoy proxy or proxyless gRPC). Traffic Director tells the client about your services and each service's endpoints.
In the above diagram, when your application sends a request to the
service, the Traffic Director client inspects the outbound request and updates
its destination. The destination gets set to an endpoint associated with the
on-prem service (in this case,
10.2.0.1). The request then travels over
Cloud VPN or Cloud Interconnect to its intended destination.
If you need to add more endpoints, you just add them to your service by updating Traffic Director. You don't need to make any changes to your application code.
Migrate an existing on-premises service to Google Cloud
Sending traffic to a non-Google Cloud endpoint lets you route traffic to other environments. You can combine this capability with advanced traffic management to migrate services between environments (as well as other use cases).
The preceding diagram extends the previous pattern. Instead of configuring
Traffic Director to send all traffic to the
on-prem service, you
configure Traffic Director to split traffic across two services using
weight-based traffic splitting.
Traffic splitting allows you to start by sending 0% of traffic to the
service and 100% to the
on-prem service. You can then gradually increase the
proportion of traffic sent to the
cloud service. Eventually, you send 100% of
traffic to the
cloud service and you can retire the
Google Cloud network edge services for on-premises and multicloud deployments
Finally, you can combine this functionality with Google Cloud's existing networking solutions. Google Cloud offers a wide range of network services, such as global external load balancing with Google Cloud Armor for DDoS protection, that you can now use in conjunction with Traffic Director to bring new capabilities to your on-premises or multi-cloud services. Best of all, you don't need to expose these on-premises or multi-cloud services to the public internet.
In the preceding diagram, traffic from clients on the public internet enters Google Cloud's network from a Google Cloud load balancer, such as our global external HTTP(S) load balancer. You can apply network edge services, for example, Google Cloud Armor DDoS protection or Identity-Aware Proxy user authentication when traffic reaches the load balancer. For more information, see Network edge services for multi-environment deployments.
After you've applied these services, the traffic makes a brief stop in Google Cloud, where an application or standalone proxy (configured by Traffic Director) forwards the traffic across Cloud VPN or Cloud Interconnect to your on-premises service.
Architecture and resources
This section provides background information on the Google Cloud resources used to provide a Traffic Director-managed service mesh for on-premises and multi-cloud environments.
Google Cloud resources
The following diagram depicts the Google Cloud resources that enable on- premises and multi-cloud services support for Traffic Director. Note that the key resource is the NEG (and its network endpoints). The other resources are the resources that you would configure as part of standard Traffic Director setup.
For simplicity, options such as multiple global backend services are not shown in the diagram.
When you configure Traffic Director, you create services using the global backend services API resource. A service is just a logical construct that combines:
- Policies to apply when a client tries to send traffic to the service
- One or more backends or endpoints that handle the traffic that is destined for the service
On-premises and multi-cloud services are just like any other service configured
with Traffic Director. The key difference is that you configure the
endpoints of these services using a hybrid connectivity NEG. These are
NEGs that have the network endpoint type set to
endpoints that you add to hybrid connectivity NEGs must be valid
combinations that are reachable by your clients (for example, through hybrid
connectivity such as Cloud VPN or Cloud Interconnect).
The NEG has a network endpoint type and each NEG can only contain network endpoints of the same type. This type determines:
- The destination to which your services can send traffic
- Health checking behavior
When you create your NEG, configure it as follows so that you can send traffic to an on-premises or multi-cloud destination:
- Set the network endpoint type to
non-gcp-private-ip-port. This represents a reachable IP address. If this IP address is on-premises or at another cloud provider, it must be reachable from Google Cloud using hybrid connectivity, such as the connectivity provided by Cloud VPN or Cloud Interconnect.
- Specify a Google Cloud zone
that minimizes the geographic distance between Google Cloud and your
on-premises or multi-cloud environment. For example, if you are hosting a
service in an on-premises environment in Frankfurt, Germany, you might
europe-west3-aGoogle Cloud zone when you create the NEG.
Health checking behavior for network endpoints of this type differs from
health checking behavior for other types of network endpoints. While other
network endpoint types use Google Cloud's centralized health checking system,
non-gcp-private-ip-port network endpoints use Envoy's distributed health
checking mechanism. See
Limitations and other considerations
for more details.
Connectivity and networking considerations
- Your Traffic Director clients, such as Envoy proxies and proxyless
gRPC libraries, must be able to connect to Traffic Director at
trafficdirector.googleapis.com:443. If you lose connectivity to the Traffic Director control plane:
- Existing Traffic Director clients cannot receive configuration updates from Traffic Director. They continue to operate based on their current configuration.
- New Traffic Director clients cannot connect to Traffic Director. They cannot use the service mesh until connectivity is re-established.
- If you want to send traffic between Google Cloud and on-premises or multi-cloud environments, the environments must be connected through hybrid connectivity. We recommend a high availability connection enabled by Cloud Interconnect or Cloud VPN.
- On-premises, other cloud, and Google Cloud subnet IP addresses and IP address ranges must not overlap.
Limitations and other considerations
You can only set the value of
proxyBind when you create a
You can't update an existing
Connectivity and disruption to connectivity
For details on connectivity requirements and limitations, see Connectivity and networking considerations.
Mixed backend types
A backend service can have VM or NEG backends. If a backend service has NEG backends, all NEGs must contain the same network endpoint type. You cannot have a backend service with multiple NEGs, each with different endpoint types.
Note that a URL map can have host rules that resolve to different backend services. You might have a backend service with only hybrid connectivity NEGs (with on-premises endpoints) as well as a backend service with standalone NEGs (with GKE endpoints). The URL map can contain rules, for example, weight-based traffic splitting, that split traffic across each of these backend services.
Using a NEG with endpoints of type
non-gcp-private-ip-port with Google Cloud backends
It is possible to create a backend service with a hybrid connectivity NEG that points to backends in Google Cloud. But we do not recommend this pattern, because hybrid connectivity NEGs don't benefit from centralized health checking. For an explanation of centralized health checking and distributed health checking, see Health checking.
If you want to add an endpoint to a NEG, you must update the NEG. This can
either be done manually, or it can be automated using the Google Cloud
network endpoint group REST APIs or the
gcloud command-line tool.
When a new instance of a service starts, you can use Google Cloud APIs
to register the instance with the NEG that you've configured. Note that when
using Compute Engine MIGs or GKE (in Google Cloud),
endpoint registration is handled automatically by the MIG or NEG controller,
Health checking behavior differs from the standard centralized health checking behavior when you use hybrid connectivity NEGs:
- For network endpoints of type
gce-vm-ip-port, Traffic Director receives endpoint health information from Google Cloud's centralized health checking system. Traffic Director provides this information to your Traffic Director clients, eliminating the need for potentially costly data plane-based health checking.
- For network endpoints of type
non-gcp-private-ip-port, Traffic Director configures its clients to handle health checking using the data plane. Envoy instances perform their own health checks and use their own mechanisms to avoid sending requests to unhealthy backends.
- Because your data plane handles health checks, you cannot retrieve the health
check status using the Google Cloud Console, API or
In practice, using
- Only HTTP and TCP health checks are supported.
- Because Traffic Director clients each handle health checking in a
distributed fashion, you may see an increase in network traffic because of
health checking. The increase depends on the number of Traffic Director
clients as well as the number of endpoints that each client needs to health
check. For example:
- When you add another endpoint to a hybrid connectivity NEG, existing Traffic Director clients might begin to health check the endpoints in hybrid connectivity NEGs.
- When you add another instance to your service mesh (for example, a virtual machine instance that runs your application code as well as a Traffic Director client), the new instance might begin to health check the endpoints in hybrid connectivity NEGs.
- Network traffic because of health checks increases at a quadratic
Virtual Private Cloud network
A service mesh is uniquely identified by its VPC network name. Traffic Director clients receive configuration from Traffic Director based on the VPC network specified in the bootstrap configuration. Consequently, even if your mesh is entirely outside of a Google Cloud data center, you must supply a valid VPC network name in your bootstrap configuration.
Within Google Cloud, the default Envoy bootstrap is configured to read service account information from either or both of the Compute Engine and GKE deployment environments. When running outside of Google Cloud, you must explicitly specify a service account, network name, and project number in your Envoy bootstrap. This service account must have sufficient permissions to connect with the Traffic Director API.
For instructions about configuring Traffic Director for on-premises and multi-cloud deployments, see Network edge services for multi-environment (on-prem, multi-cloud) deployments.