Traefik Ingress Controller On Premise with Cert-manager certificate renewal

Hello there !

Recently I had to deploy a Baremetal Kubernetes Cluster for a Client.

With baremetal Kubernetes comes some challenges , one of these is networking.

NOTE: You can skip to the configuration process if you already know what you want , an just need the explanations !

This Post was writter in September 2020 , using a 1.18 Kubernetes cluster and deploying Traefik v2.3 and Cert-Manager 1.16

Link to the github

In a Managed Kubernetes Cluster , the networking is integrated is somewhat transparent , you can expose the one of you service on the internet via a LoadBalancer service.

Networking is one of the “advantages” of a Managed Kubernetes Cluster, but we are not going to discuss the advantage of a Managed Kubernetes here, plenty of blog posts already do it on the web !

In a Baremetal Cluster, or Any non-managed Kubernetes Cluster, Exposing a service on the internet is not done that smoothly, since you loose the ability to create and use smoothly LoadBalancer you have to explore other option to expose your beautifull application to the internet.

In a Baremetal Cluster, the configuration will be done on the Ingress Controller(aka the logical component that will manage incoming network in your cluster), thing that I will do in this Blog post, by configuring Traefik.

The Ingress controller aka the logical component that will manage incoming network in your cluster.

Kubernetes , since 1.19 have augmented the capabilities of their basic ingress controller, I do recommend to consider using it, if you have basics needs.

I chose Traefik, for it’s performance, the integration with cert-managed, the easy installation using nodeport (and the cool web interface !).

If you want help, in the choice making of your ingress, I can recommend you the site kubedex , and his article on the subject.

Also , check the official doc that list the most advanced ingress controllers:

Please note that , the choices I made are based on my situation and need of my client , I might not suit you. And if you are in the same spot as me , and you have another/better solution, feel free to reach out to me!

First, we are going to see the option we have, and the one I chose. And to Finish we are going to configure the Traefik ingress.

1 .Difficulties of exposing Baremetal Kubernetes Cluster services to the internet

As said a the start of this Blog post, in a Baremetal Cluster you loose the ability to dynamically create a LoaBalancer, and thus, exposing service to the internet become a little challenge.

Yes, you could Create a LoadBalancer in front of your cluster (and I do recommend to do this, as it is a Best Practice, for a Lot of Reasons , but I am sure that you already tought of this !).

But, you still need to expose your cluster in a way or another, as the LoadBalancer need to point to something, an endpoint of your cluster.

Here is the official documentation on the subject of services.

In our case we can consider two options : HostPort and NodePort.

Since HostPort are a big security and resilience Loophole , you cannot use hostport in production context. (Not using hostport is a Kubernetes Best Practice ).

The best choice is to use NodePort.

But using nodePort in Kuberntes have one big flaw : you can only expose port from range 30000–32767.

Using Nodeport crate other challenges, as well in term of networking management (the port range is not really common, and not really practical, you will likely have to make a port translation at some point) and in security (as a port on your cluster is open). Good Article about NodePort flaws

But since your are on premise, you have no other choice but to use NodePort, and to enforce strong security policy on your network, host and front Load-Balancer.

We will configure Traefik to bind itself to the port 32080 (for http) and port 32443 (for https).

So , In the end my infrastructure looked like this :

My infrastructure

The domain name of my client pointed to the LoadBalancer public IP.

The LoadBalancer made the port forwarding from port 80 to 32080 and to port 443 to 32443, all requests were distributed to the NodePort Endpoints.

The NodePort Service then forwarded the request to the Traefik Service , that, based on the rules I defined when I created a IngressRoute , will then forward the request to the wanted service.

2. Deployment

Please note that you are not committed to use cert-manager or to deploy a certificate to use Traefik , I just described the way I configured it.

2.1. Deployment of Cert-Manager

I will not cover the creation of a certificate with Cert-Manger , because setting up a challenge really depend on your configuration . I wrote another article on how to setup a DNS01 challenge if your domain is hosted on OVH. Here is the link .

Once Cert-Manager is configured , you can issue a Certificate like so:

Now verify that the certificate is created by typing kubectl get certificates, if the certificate state is true everything is good. If you have any problems with the creation of the certificate, follow this link, that will guide you through the troubleshooting process.

2.3. Configuration of the Traefik helm charts

To deploy Traefik, we will use the official helm chart provided by the company behind traefik, containous.

We will configure the helm charts by customizing the value.yaml file , I will go through all the options that we need to set.

First clone the official github repo to get the value.yaml file.

additionnalArgument:”— providers.kubernetesingress.ingressClass=traefik-cert-manager”: to allow the use of cert-manager

additionalArgument:“ — log.level=DEBUG” : to enable debug logging, you can customize the level of logging

additionalArgument:“ — metrics.prometheus=true” : enable Prometheus metric endpoint

port:web:nodePort: 32080 : here we set the nodeport of the http port , that port will be exposed to the internet , you can use the one you wish , s long as it is on the authrized kubernetes port range

port:websecure:nodePort: 32443 : Here we set the nodePort for the https port , same as the http port , it will be exposed on the internet.

servicetype: NodePort : The type of service that we will use , we set the value as NodePort

As plain words are not usefull understanding yaml, you can find my github repo contain this value.yaml file here.

To put this in simple word , we added logging and enabled Prometheus Monitoring , we configured the traefik helm to create and use a service of type NodePort , and we setted the port pour the http port as 32080 and https port to use 32443.

You can modify other values to correspond to your needs add other arguments to additionalArguments for example.

2.4. Deployment of the traefik helm chart

2.5. Creation of a Ingress route with a test Application

To test your newly installed traefik ingress you can deploy a test application.

You can apply this yaml, that will deploy a deployment of a go application I wrote that return the date and time when accessing the port 8080 and a service to expose the application.

Then you can deploy an ingress route :

Don’t forget to modify the routes: -match: Host to the domain name pointing to your cluster Public IP.

I created a subdomain for this tutorial , but adapt to your needs !

2.6. Creation of an ingressRoute with ssl termination

Setting up ssl termination with traefik is pretty straight forward , you only need to provide to traefik the secret name containing the certificate.

If you want to set up automatic certificate renewal , you can deploy cert-manager. I wrote a Blog post explaining how to do so:

If you do not want to set up automatic renewal of the certificate , you can create a secret like this:

Now , to deploy the ingressRoute :

Again don’t forget to modify the host path

You have now a fully functional traefik ingress on your baremetal kubernetes cluster , Congratulations !

Now , the next steps would be to add middleware to your ingressroute if you need , explore in depth the possibility traefik , creating resources limitations for your pod and configuring prometheus Monitoring !

Godspeed !

Main Links Used:

Kubernetes Best Practice

Traefik documentation

My github for the project

Currently DevOps (working with Kubernetes/Helm, Terraform and Ansible). Learning GO and Eager to Learn Blockchain technology !

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