How to set up Kubernetes Ingress with AWS ALB Ingress Controller

In this blog post you will learn how to set up ingress for your Kubernetes application with AWS Application Load Balancer.

Mots of workloads run on your Kubernetes cluster ultimately need to be exposed to end-users. This is where Ingress comes to play – a special Kubernetes object responsible for providing external access to the services in a cluster. Typically, you define there rules, how HTTP traffic is routed to the backend services. But every ingress resource must be of some Ingress class that points to a controller, which will, in the end, implement rules with cloud infrastructure and services. When you are on AWS the natural choice is to use Application Load Balancer for it. Let’s see how to do that!

Installation

Before we can use ALB, we must first install the controller in our cluster. In this tutorial, I’ll use an alb-demo EKS cluster located in eu-central-1 region. As usually in AWS, let’s start with defining some IAM permissions so that controller can access ALB resources. First, we need to create an IAM OIDC provider for our cluster with the following command.

eksctl utils associate-iam-oidc-provider \
    --region eu-central-1 \
    --cluster alb-demo \
    --approve

Next, we create a dedicated IAM policy called AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy. We use a predefined template, but feel free to modify it if needed.

curl -o iam-policy.json https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes-sigs/aws-load-balancer-controller/v2.1.2/docs/install/iam_policy.json

aws iam create-policy \
    --policy-name AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy \
    --policy-document file://iam-policy.json

Finally, we can create an IAM role and ServiceAccount for the controller in the kube-system namespace. Please note, that we must use the policy ARN from the previous step.

eksctl create iamserviceaccount \
--cluster=alb-demo \
--region=eu-central-1 \
--namespace=kube-system \
--name=aws-load-balancer-controller \
--attach-policy-arn=arn:aws:iam::<AWS_ACCOUNT_ID>:policy/AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy \
--override-existing-serviceaccounts \
--approve

Now we are ready to deploy the ALB controller to our cluster. The easiest way to do that is to use a Helm chart from the official EKS chart repository.

helm repo add eks https://aws.github.io/eks-charts
kubectl apply -k "github.com/aws/eks-charts/stable/aws-load-balancer-controller//crds?ref=master"
helm install aws-load-balancer-controller eks/aws-load-balancer-controller -n kube-system \ 
--set clusterName=alb-demo \
--set serviceAccount.create=false \
--set serviceAccount.name=aws-load-balancer-controller

And that’s it, you can now use ALB when creating ingress for the application. Let’s see how to do that!

ALB configuration

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will deploy a simple web application into the Kubernetes cluster and expose it to the Internet with an ALB ingress controller. Complete source code is available in the GitLab repository.

Let’s first run the application on the EKS cluster by creating a deployment and service.

kubectl apply -f app-deployment.yaml
kubectl apply -f app-service.yaml

Now we can deploy the ingress, however before we do that, let’s take a closer look at it.

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: alb-demo-ingress
  annotations:
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: alb
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/scheme: internet-facing
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/listen-ports: '[{"HTTP": 80}]'
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-protocol: HTTP
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-port: http-healthcheck
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-path: /healthcheck
spec:
  rules:
    - http:
        paths:
          - path: /*
            backend:
              serviceName: app-service
              servicePort: 80

Apart from the standard ingress definition you probably noticed the special annotations attached to this resource. That is where we tell the ingress controller how to configure ALB. In our case, we want to expose our backend service to the Internet at HTTP port 80. We also define a health check so that the load balancer won’t route traffic to instances that are down. Let’s deploy the ingress.

kubectl apply -f ingress.yaml
kubectl describe ingress/alb-demo-ingress

After executing the above command you will probably see the following output.

Name:             alb-demo-ingress
Namespace:        alb-demo
Address:          
Default backend:  default-http-backend:80 (<error: endpoints "default-http-backend" not found>)
Rules:
  Host        Path  Backends
  ----        ----  --------
  *           
              /*   alb-demo-service:80 (172.31.24.80:80)
Annotations:  alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-path: /healthcheck
              alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-port: http-healthcheck
              alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-protocol: HTTP
              alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/scheme: internet-facing
              kubernetes.io/ingress.class: alb
Events:
  Type     Reason            Age               From     Message
  ----     ------            ----              ----     -------
  Warning  FailedBuildModel  2s (x10 over 6s)  ingress  Failed build model due to couldn't auto-discover subnets: unable to discover at least one subnet

Deploy failed with error message: Failed build model due to couldn’t auto-discover subnets: unable to discover at least one subnet. This is because we must explicitly mark our subnets with a special tag: kubernetes.io/role/elb=1. Once this is done, deploying ingress is successful and you can access the app from the browser.

SSL Support

It’s always a good idea to serve your application over a secure SSL connection so let’s see how we can enable it in ALB. As with most of the configuration, this can be done by adding additional annotations to the ingress definition.

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: alb-demo-ingress
  annotations:
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: alb
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/scheme: internet-facing
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/listen-ports: '[{"HTTP": 80}, {"HTTPS": 443}]'
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-protocol: HTTP
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-port: http-healthcheck
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/healthcheck-path: /healthcheck
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/certificate-arn: arn:aws:acm:eu-central-1:<ACCOUNT_ID>:certificate/<CERTIFICATE_ID>
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/listen-ports: '[{"HTTP": 80}, {"HTTPS":443}]'
    alb.ingress.kubernetes.io/actions.ssl-redirect: '{"Type": "redirect", "RedirectConfig": { "Protocol": "HTTPS", "Port": "443", "StatusCode": "HTTP_301"}}'

spec:
  rules:
    - http:
        paths:
          - path: /*
            backend:
              serviceName: ssl-redirect
              servicePort: use-annotation
          - path: /*
            backend:
              serviceName: app-service
              servicePort: 80
Summary

As you can see using the ALB ingress controller to expose Kubernetes workloads to the Internet is pretty straightforward, although it requires few preparation steps. Most of the configuration is done using annotations, so make sure you’ve read the full documentation.

2 replies on “How to set up Kubernetes Ingress with AWS ALB Ingress Controller”

what could be other issues though we have the subnet tags required added for autodiscovery? I am finding hard to fix this

Failed build model due to couldn’t auto-discover subnets: unable to discover at least one subnet. The tag exists

Hi Tara,
I’m not sure what could be other reasons. Please verify again if you’ve marked proper subnets.

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