Load Balancing in Ambassador Edge Stack

Load balancing configuration can be set for all Ambassador Edge Stack mappings in the ambassador Module, or set per Mapping. If nothing is set, simple round robin balancing is used via Kubernetes services.

To use advanced load balancing, you must first configure a resolver that supports advanced load balancing (e.g., the Kubernetes Endpoint Resolver or Consul Resolver). Once a resolver is configured, you can use the load_balancer attribute. The following fields are supported:

load_balancer:
policy: <load balancing policy to use>

Supported load balancer policies:

  • round_robin
  • least_request
  • ring_hash
  • maglev

For more information on the different policies and the implications, see load balancing strategies in Kubernetes.

Round Robin

When policy is set to round_robin, Ambassador Edge Stack discovers healthy endpoints for the given mapping, and load balances the incoming L7 requests with round robin scheduling. To specify this:

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Module
metadata:
name: ambassador
spec:
config:
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: round_robin

or, per mapping:

---
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: round_robin

Note that load balancing may not appear to be "even" due to Envoy's threading model. For more details, see the Envoy documentation.

Least Request

When policy is set to least_request, Ambassador Edge Stack discovers healthy endpoints for the given mapping, and load balances the incoming L7 requests to the endpoint with the fewest active requests. To specify this:

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Module
metadata:
name: ambassador
spec:
config:
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: least_request

or, per mapping:

---
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend/
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: least_request

Sticky Sessions / Session Affinity

Configuring sticky sessions makes Ambassador Edge Stack route requests to a specific pod providing your service in a given session. One pod serves all requests from a given session, eliminating the need for session data to be transferred between pods. Ambassador Edge Stack lets you configure session affinity based on the following parameters in an incoming request:

  • Cookie
  • Header
  • Source IP

NOTE: Ambassador Edge Stack supports sticky sessions using two load balancing policies, ring_hash and maglev.

load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
cookie:
name: <name of the cookie, required>
ttl: <TTL to set in the generated cookie>
path: <name of the path for the cookie>

If the cookie you wish to set affinity on is already present in incoming requests, then you only need the cookie.name field. However, if you want Ambassador Edge Stack to generate and set a cookie in response to the first request, then you need to specify a value for the cookie.ttl field which generates a cookie with the given expiration time.

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
cookie:
name: sticky-cookie
ttl: 60s
load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
header: <header name>

Ambassador allows header based session affinity if the given header is present on incoming requests.

Example:

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
header: STICKY_HEADER

Source IP

load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
source_ip: <boolean>

Ambassador Edge Stack allows session affinity based on the source IP of incoming requests.

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
source_ip: true

Load balancing can be configured both globally, and overridden on a per mapping basis. The following example configures the default load balancing policy to be round robin, while using header-based session affinity for requests to the /backend/ endpoint of the quote application:

Load balancing can be configured both globally, and overridden on a per mapping basis.

apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Module
metadata:
name: ambassador
spec:
config:
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: round_robin
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v1
kind: Mapping
metadata:
name: quote-backend
spec:
prefix: /backend/
service: quote
resolver: my-resolver
load_balancer:
policy: ring_hash
header: STICKY_HEADER

Disabling advanced load balancing

In Ambassador 0.60, you can disable advanced load balancing features by setting the environment variable AMBASSADOR_DISABLE_ENDPOINTS to any value. If you find that this is necessary, please reach out to us on Slack so we can fix whatever is wrong!