Kubernetes Networking Deep Dive – A look at how Data Plane works

Many of you are running your mission-critical applications on containers, and if you haven’t already deployed Kubernetes to manage your container ecosystem, then chances are you soon will.

If you are considering a Kubernetes implementation, then there are several ways to go about it –

  • In-house Kubernetes deployment – if you have a large enough IT team with the requisite expertise in Kubernetes architecture and deployment, then getting your Kubernetes cluster up and running in-house is certainly a possibility. Kubernetes deployment is a complex process and requires a mix of specific skill sets. Also running and monitoring a Kubernetes platform requires the full-time services of a dedicated team, and your requirement must justify this additional cost.
  • SaaS Solutions for Kubernetes– if your business needs are specific and straightforward, then you can explore the market for pre-designed Kubernetes offerings on a SaaS payment model.
  • Fully outsourced (managed) Kubernetes services – if budget permits and your business demands, then bringing in the professionals is a safe and hassle-free solution. From infrastructure assessments to building a Kubernetes strategy to engineering, deploying, and managing enterprise-wide Kubernetes solutions – you can outsource your entire project to experts.
  • Many service providers like CloudIQ also offer day-to-day management and support as well as Kubernetes training to your IT staff to set up internal management expertise.

If the last decade of cloud has taught us anything, it is that when it comes to technology, bringing in professionals to do the job always turns out to be the best option in the long run. Kubernetes is a sophisticated platform that requires specialized competencies. Here is a look at one of our tutorials on Kubernetes Networking – how it all works under the hood.

KUBERNETES NETWORKING – DATA PLANE

In Kubernetes, applications run as a set of pods with their own IP address and port. Kubernetes provides an abstract way to expose the applications/pods as a network service. Various forms of the service abstractions include ClusterIP, NodePort, Load Balancer & Ingress. When service requests enters Kubernetes cluster, the service abstractions have to be directed to individual service endpoints of Pods. This data plane function is implemented using a Linux  Kernel feature – iptables.

Iptables is used to set up, maintain, and inspect the tables of IP packet filter rules in the Linux kernel. Several different tables may be defined. Each table contains a number of built-in chains and may also contain user-defined chains. Each chain is a list of rules which can match a set of packets. Each rule specifies what to do with a packet that matches. This is called a ‘target’, which may be a jump (-j) to a user-defined chain in the same table.

The service(SVC) to service endpoints(SEP) are programmed using KUBE-SERVICES user-defined chains in the NAT(Network Address Translation) table. The contents of the iptables can be extracted using “iptables-save” command

# Generated by iptables-save v1.6.0 on Mon Sep 16 08:00:17 2019
*nat
:PREROUTING ACCEPT [1:52]
:INPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [23:1438]
:POSTROUTING ACCEPT [10:592]
:DOCKER - [0:0]
:IP-MASQ-AGENT - [0:0]

:KUBE-SERVICES - [0:0]

-A PREROUTING -m comment --comment "kubernetes service portals" -j KUBE-SERVICES
-A OUTPUT -m comment --comment "kubernetes service portals" -j KUBE-SERVICES

Let’s consider the Services in the following example.

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ kubectl get svc –namespace=workshop-development

NAMEciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller
TYPELoadBalancer
CLUSTER-IPhttp://192.168.5.65
EXTERNAL-IPhttp://10.82.0.97
PORT(S)80:30512/TCP,443:31512/TCP
AGE19h

Here we have the following service abstractions that are defined.

LoadBalancerIP=10.82.0.97

NodePort=30512/31512

ClusterIP=192.168.5.65

The above services have to be translated to individual service endpoints. The rules performing matching and translation are programmed using custom chains in the NAT table of Ip Tables as below.

Lets look for LoadBalancer=10.82.0.97 service

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep 10.82.0.97
-A KUBE-SERVICES -d 10.82.0.97/32 -p tcp -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:http loadbalancer IP" -m tcp --dport 80 -j KUBE-FW-SXB4UOYSLPHVISJM
-A KUBE-SERVICES -d 10.82.0.97/32 -p tcp -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -m tcp --dport 443 -j KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2

Let’s look at the HTTPS service available on port 443.

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2

:KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 - [0:0]
-A KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -j KUBE-MARK-MASQ
-A KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -j KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2
-A KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -j KUBE-MARK-DROP
-A KUBE-SERVICES -d 10.82.0.97/32 -p tcp -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -m tcp --dport 443 -j KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2

We see below NodePort & Cluster IP translation. The service chains SVC point to two different service endpoints. In order to select between the two service endpoints, a random probability measure is calculated, and appropriate SEP service endpoints are selected.

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2

:KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 - [0:0]
-A KUBE-FW-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https loadbalancer IP" -j KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2
-A KUBE-NODEPORTS -p tcp -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https" -m tcp --dport 31512 -j KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2
-A KUBE-SERVICES -d 192.168.5.65/32 -p tcp -m comment --comment "workshop-development/ciq-ingress-workshop-development-nginx-ingress-controller:https cluster IP" -m tcp --dport 443 -j KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2
-A KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m statistic --mode random --probability 0.50000000000 -j KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC
-A KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -j KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW

In the SEP service endpoints, the actual DNAT is performed.

cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC
:KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC - [0:0]
-A KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC -s 10.82.0.10/32 -j KUBE-MARK-MASQ
-A KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC -p tcp -m tcp -j DNAT --to-destination 10.82.0.10:443
-A KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -m statistic --mode random --probability 0.50000000000 -j KUBE-SEP-4R3FOXQSM5T2ZADC
cloudiq@hubandspoke:~$ cat ciq-dev-aks-iptables-save.output | grep KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW
:KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW - [0:0]
-A KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW -s 10.82.0.82/32 -j KUBE-MARK-MASQ
-A KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW -p tcp -m tcp -j DNAT --to-destination 10.82.0.82:443
-A KUBE-SVC-JLRSZDR3OXJ4SUA2 -j KUBE-SEP-PI7R3ONIYH4XJLMW

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