Updated: May 7, 2022
What is Kubernetes Ingress?
Kubernetes offers multiple ways to route traffic from the outside world to a Kubernetes cluster. The most flexible option is to define an Ingress resource that declares HTTP/S endpoints and user-defined routing rules. Each Ingress resource is associated with an Ingress Controller responsible for fulfilling those rules.
Traefik has become incredibly well-known among Ingress controllers, and it has some unique characteristics that justify its popularity. Traefik is a simple, dynamic, and easy-to-integrate ingress controller for any Kubernetes system.
Controllers first used Traefik as a proxy for microservices routing queries. It has evolved into a valuable tool for routing Kubernetes clusters as additional capabilities have been added over time.
What is Traefik Ingress?
Traefik is a Kubernetes implementation of an Ingress Controller. It started as an extendable, lightweight reverse proxy. However, it has since evolved to completely integrate with a Kubernetes cluster while still compatible with Docker and other interfaces.
It offers full support for various protocols, including TCP, HTTP, and HTTPS, and excellent load balancing capabilities. Traefik can handle numerous program instances and provide distinct load balancing techniques for each.
Traefik supports ACME Provider (like Let’s Encrypt) for automatic certificate generation.Traefik automatically tracks the expiry date of ACME certificates it generates. If there are less than 30 days remaining before the certificate expires, Traefik will attempt to renew it automatically.
It also supports HTTP/2 as a protocol exceptionally well.
This proxy’s initial design was to route requests for microservices in a dynamic environment. This design explains many of its valuable features, such as continuous configuration updates (no restarts), support for multiple load balancing algorithms, a web UI, metrics export, support for various protocols, REST API, canary releases, and so on. Another helpful feature is the support for Let's Encrypt certificates right out of the box. The biggest drawback is installing and connecting it to its Key-Value storage to organize the controller's high availability.
What is NGINX Ingress and How Does it Compare to Traefik Ingress?
NGINX ingress is most likely the most widely used ingress. Safe, monotonous, and dependable. It also supports both HTTP and HTTPS, as well as SSL termination. You can also get TCP and UDP to function, but based on the Github difficulties, I'd advise against it. Load balancing options are plentiful, robust routing, WebSocket support, rudimentary authentication, and tracing.
The NGINX controller boasts a high level of reliability, continual backward compatibility, the lack of any third-party modules, and predicted outstanding performance (in comparison to the official controller) due to the removal of the Lua code.
Compared to the official controller, the freeware version is severely constrained (due to the absence of Lua modules mentioned above). At the same time, the commercial edition offers a lot more features, such as real-time analytics, JWT validation, and active health checks. The full support for TCP/UDP traffic is a significant benefit over NGINX Ingress.
If setting your ingress controller is not that worry, NGINX is the most secure option. Advanced load balancing methods and third-party modules may be unavailable to you. Even so, its load-balancing capabilities, socket support, tracing, and authentication are more than enough for novices.
Nginx is typically used as the 'default' ingress controller since it does not require third-party plugins to function. NGINX to the controller, NGINX Inc. has complete control over all moving parts. The disadvantage of using the NGINX Ingress controller is that it does not allow dynamic designs. An NGINX reload gets required each time a new Kubernetes endpoint gets configured.
Traefik does not build on NGINX like other Kubernetes ingress controllers. It is an open-source project that has evolved on its own throughout time. So, suppose you have any problems when using Traefik. If that is the case, you may rely on the premium support included in the paid edition of this ingress controller.
Comparing Traefik to NGINX
Although both Traefik and NGINX are ingress controllers, they have a few key differences:
TCP + TLS
Ease of Use
Graphical User Interface
Graphical User Interface
Limitations of Traefik Ingress
Of course, there are plenty of benefits to Traefik Ingress, there are a few limitations, of which you should be aware.
Structure of the Documentation
Traefik's documentation includes setup examples for each provider type and functionality, but the document format can sometimes be counterintuitive.
You must specify three separate configurations to install and operate Traefik correctly:
A static configuration
A design that changes over time
Configuration of route rules
Such abstractions may not be helpful in particular provider scenarios. Traefik's documentation gets organized so that each functionality is detailed independently. Suppose you want to set Traefik for a specific use case. In that case, you'll have to browse through many portions of the documentation and combine the information to make a cohesive picture of how to configure Traefik.
Another factor to consider is avoiding server reloads since this influences load balancing quality and current connections, among other things. Because Traefik doesn't enable hitless reloads, you'll need to use NGINX or Envoy Proxy. This feature is a significant thing for a lot of individuals.
For example, suppose you want to run Traefik as an Ingress Controller, you'll need to refer to four different sections to configure Ingress objects: Entry points, Routers, Services, and Providers > Kubernetes IngressRoute. However, in Kubernetes, Routers and Services are hidden abstractions only applicable to the File provider when ingress rules get provided in a file.
Nginx ingress is always the default option. Because it is dependable and easy to use, it is the one that most novices and Kubernetes community members utilize. You may upgrade to NGINX Plus, a corporate variation if you want additional customization, security, and quality.
Lack of a TLS-Enabled High-Availability Setup
Though this may appear to be a significant issue, it is not as crucial for self-hosted installations. The cluster does not receive enough traffic to support a multi-instance load-balanced Traefik deployment in most home circumstances.
If a node housing Traefik goes down, Traefik will be redeployed to another node by the Kubernetes scheduler. You will restore the cluster connection in a matter of several seconds.