Friday, June 24, 2022

Kubernetes Ingress vs. Service Mesh: Demystifying Traffic Control in Your Cluster

  • In the bustling ️ world of microservices and Kubernetes, managing traffic within and outside your cluster becomes crucial. That's where two concepts – Kubernetes Ingress and Service Mesh – come into play.
  • But amidst the technical jargon, confusion often arises. What's the difference between these tools? When should you use one over the other?
  • In this blog post, you’ll learn about what a service mesh is, what ingress is, and why you need both.

Kubernetes Ingress : Gateway Guarding

  • Ingress acts as the **main gate **, controlling all north-south traffic ⬆️⬇️ (external requests from the internet ). Think of it as a majestic archway , welcoming visitors ‍‍ and directing them to their destinations with helpful signposts πŸͺ§
  • It acts as an API object that defines rules for how external traffic should be directed to services, providing HTTP and HTTPS routing capabilities.
  • Ingress enables the configuration of features like load balancing, SSL termination, and path-based routing, making it an essential tool for managing external traffic to applications,
Key features of Kubernetes Ingress:
  • Routing 🎻: Ingress allows you to route traffic to different services based on criteria such as domain names and URL paths.
  • Load Balancing πŸ•Ί: It provides basic load balancing capabilities to distribute incoming requests across multiple pods.
  • SSL Termination πŸ”’: Ingress can handle SSL termination, offloading the encryption/decryption process from the backend services.
  • Path-based Routing πŸ‘£: You can define rules to route traffic based on specific paths, allowing for more granular control over how requests are handled.
Use Ingress for:
  • Exposing specific services to the outside world (like opening the royal gardens for tourists).
  • Implementing simple routing and load balancing for public traffic ‍♀️‍♂️ (directing visitors to the jousting tournament ).
  • Securing external access with authentication and SSL ️ (guarding the castle gates with ID checks and magic shields ️).

Service Mesh : Weaving a Web of East-West Connections
  • While Ingress controls external access, Service Mesh takes care of the internal conversations, managing east-west traffic ⬅️➡️ between your microservices. Think of it as a network of invisible tunnels ‍♀️ connecting different castle towers , ensuring efficient and secure communication for residents.
  • Some service meshes, like Istio, offer Ingress capabilities, creating a one-stop solution for both.
Key features of Service Mesh:
  • Service-to-Service Communication πŸŽΆ: Service Mesh focuses on managing communication between microservices, providing features like circuit breaking and retries.
  • Observability πŸ‘€: It offers robust monitoring and logging capabilities, helping operators and developers gain insights into the behavior and performance of their services .
  • Security πŸ”: Service Mesh enhances security through features like mutual TLS (mTLS) for secure communication between services.
  • Traffic Management 🚦: It provides advanced traffic management features, such as canary deployments, A/B testing, and intelligent routing.

Use Service Mesh for:

  • Secure and managed communication between microservices ️️ (ensuring smooth communication between the royal kitchen ‍ and the dragon patrol ).
  • Advanced traffic routing, retries, and circuit breakers (like rerouting supplies during a siege ⚔️ or rebuilding bridges after a troll attack ).
  • Fine-grained control and observability of internal traffic (monitoring castle operations for optimal performance ️).


  • Scope Gazing: Ingress handles the external spotlight, welcoming traffic with open arms, while Service Mesh works its magic behind the scenes, ensuring seamless communication between microservices.
  • Functionality Fireworks: Ingress sparkles with external access and basic routing brilliance, while Service Mesh unleashes its powers on internal communication and observability, creating a spectacle of features.
  • Use Cases Unveiled: Ingress is your go-to for managing the red carpet of external HTTP/S traffic, perfect for web applications. Service Mesh steals the show in complex microservices setups, where internal communication and observability take center stage.


  • Both Kubernetes Ingress and Service Mesh play pivotal roles in the cloud-native landscape, addressing different aspects of application management and communication. 
  • Choosing between them depends on the specific requirements of your application architecture. In many cases, organizations may opt to use both in tandem to leverage their complementary strengths and provide a comprehensive solution for managing and securing containerised applications in Kubernetes. 🌐

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