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February 11, 2022

A Vercel-like PaaS beyond Jamstack with Kubernetes and GitOps, part IV

Kubernetes manifests

This post is a work in progress and hasn't been published yet.

This article is the fourth part of the A Vercel-like PaaS beyond Jamstack with Kubernetes and GitOps series.

A Vercel-like PaaS beyond Jamstack with Kubernetes and GitOps

In previous parts I've set up a Kubernetes cluster, configured GitLab repositories, pipeline stages, and then Dockerfiles.

Now, I'm going to create three manifests to describe resources I want to add to the Kubernetes cluster: an Ingress rule, a Service and a Deployment.

  1. Introduction
  2. Add an Ingress rule to route requests to a Service
  3. The Dockerfile and the docker build command
  4. Kubernetes manifests and resource configuration


Previously, I've modeled how traffic flows from client to application with the following diagram, in this part I'm setting up components 4, 5 and 6:

✓ 1.client DNS, 443/TCP - part I
✓ k0s installed - part I
✓ 3.ingress ingress-nginx installed - part I
✓ 7.application Dockerfile - part III

The Kubernetes documentation illustrates this flow in a similar way, and these components sit in the grey rectangle with the cluster label in the following picture:

Traffic flow according to the Kubernetes documentation

Traffic flow according to Kubernetes documentation

For that purpose, I've created three Kubernetes manifests. They are identical throughout the Node.js, PHP, Python and Ruby repositories so file excerpts hold true for any application example.

To keep things simple, I'm not using any template engine or tool such as Kustomize, Helm, Jsonnet or ytt.

Instead, I'm doing a simple find and replace with __TOKEN__ strings in manifests files, I've explained this task in part II.

1. Add an Ingress rule to route requests to a Service

An Ingress is not a component in itself, in the sense that it doesn't translates to a pod deployed to the cluster, with its own IP address on the cluster's internal network.

It's a routing rule that instructs the cluster's ingress controller to forward incoming connections to a certain Service according to a rule. Next section will explain what a Service is.

In my case, since I've installed ingress-nginx, this new rule will tell to the ingress-nginx-162... pod I was talking about in part I, to forward traffic received form the host to the Service I'll defined in the next section.

So, to define such rule I create an Ingress resource with the ingress.yml file defines an rule to route a specific url to a specific service:

kind: Ingress
ingressClassName: nginx <-- when this ingress-controller receives requests
- host: __KUBE_INGRESS_HOST__ <-- route requests to this domain name
- path: / <-- regardless of the requested path
name: api <-- to this service (in the same namespace)
number: 3000 <-- using this TCP port

Watching traffic flows

So, adding an Ingress means , what does On the other hand, the ingress-nginx controller transletes to a pod with its own IP address, running nginx:

$ kubectl describe pod -A -l
Name: ingress-nginx-1644337728-controller-5cdf6b55b9-55qj4
Status: Running
Ports: 80/TCP, 443/TCP, 8443/TCP
Host Ports: 80/TCP, 443/TCP, 8443/TCP

A simple way to see traffic being forwarded from this pod to a service is to show this pod's log stream while querying a deployed application. Here is the pod's output while running a curl command form another terminal:

# run this command in one terminal:
$ kubectl logs -f $(kubectl get pod -A \
-l -o name)
# run this command in a second terminal:
$ curl https://7c77eb36.nodejs.k0s.gaudi.s
# then the first terminal shows this new line: - - [07/Mar/2022:20:00:10 +0000] "GET / HTTP/2.0" 200 15 "-" "curl/7.68.0" 34 0.001 [nodejs-7c77eb36-api-3000] [] 25 0.004 200 ee266baf44f3cfd0838e28fa1ff79785

This log line shows the curl/7.68.0 client request to be forwared to nodejs-7c77eb36-api-3000. Since the URL I'm requesting points to the api service, on port 3000 and deployed in the nodejs-7c77eb36 namespace, which does exist:

$ kubectl get service api -n nodejs-7c77eb36 \
-o custom-columns=NAMESPACE:metadata.namespace,,PORT:spec.ports[*].targetPort
nodejs-7c77eb36 api 3000

2. Add a Service to forward request to Pods

On the other hand, a Service is an abstract component that has an IP address and act as a load balancer in front of a pool of pods.

Because Pods can be created and deleted at will, the Service act as a single immutable endpoint, meaning it has a fixed IP address. Then traffic is balanced between members of a Pod pool. The file defines a Service resource that To enter the pool, pods must use a specific selector as it's declared in the application's' service.yml manifest:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
type: ClusterIP
- name: http
port: 80 <-- service listens to this port
targetPort: 3000 <-- and routes traffic to this pod's port
protocol: TCP
app: api <-- pods must use this value to enter the pool

3. Pod forwards request to container

Pods are defined in the deployment.yml file:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment

I set how many pods I want to start:

replicas: 1 <-- the size of the pool

Which service pods belongs to:

app: api <-- selector must match service

The credentials to pull the Docker image from the GitLab Container Registry:

- name: gitlab-registry

I need only one container running the image built in section 1:

- name: node

I don't want to lock any host's resources for these pods. This is where I save a lot compared to other managed PaaS because I can wisely overcommit resources:

cpu: '0'
memory: '0'

I don't want to allow a pod to eat all the host's resources so I limit how much a pod can use2:

cpu: '0.125'
memory: 64M

And I expose the correct port:

- containerPort: 3000

6. container receives traffic and serve the application

It is critical to use the port the application is listening to in deployment.yml configuration (containerPort) and therefore in the service.yml (targetPort) and ingress.yml configuration (service.port.number).

In every application, I'm using the COMMIT_SHORT_HASH variable (exists only in during pipeline runtime) to assign a value to the COMMIT environmental variable (stored in the Docker image). Then, I can read this value from code:

Node.js: process.env.COMMIT PHP: getenv('COMMIT') Python: os.environ.get("COMMIT") Ruby: ENV['RUBY_VERSION']

  1. deploy app

Node.js PHP Python Ruby

1 Be aware that if you want to overcommit resources, as thedocumentation notes: if a container specifies its own memory limit, but does not specify a memory request, Kubernetes automatically assigns a memory request that matches the limit.

2 Remember that Kubernetes doesn't gently refuse access to more resource, it usually terminates(kills) hungry pods. A good reason not to run shell commands, such as migration or cron jobs, in running pods that serves web trafic.

About me


Hi, I'm Jonathan Experton.

I help companies start, plan, execute and deliver software development projects on time, on scope and on budget.

Montreal, Canada · GMT -4