Architecting Kubernetes Clusters for High-Traffic Websites

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Jenn Gile
Published March 03, 2022

This blog is the second in our five‑part series about Kubernetes networking for Microservices March 2022:


Also be sure to download our free eBook, Managing Kubernetes Traffic with NGINX: A Practical Guide, for detailed guidance on implementing Kubernetes networking with NGINX.

Kubernetes networking is a framework for connecting your Kubernetes components, services, and traffic – but it’s more than just moving packets from A to B! In Unit 1, we answer the fundamental question How do I route traffic to my microservices in Kubernetes?

Three activities guide you progressively from a high‑level overview to practical application. We suggest you complete all three to get the best experience.

Step 1: Watch the Livestream (1 Hour)

Each Microservices March livestream provides a high‑level overview of the topic featuring subject matter experts from learnk8s and NGINX. If you miss the live airing on March 7 – don’t worry! You can catch it on demand.

In this episode, we answer the question “How do I route traffic to my microservices in Kubernetes?” by discussing:

  • The basics of Kubernetes infrastructure and traffic management
  • Node pools and node instances
  • NodePort versus LoadBalancer versus Ingress
  • The Ingress controller landscape
  • What you need to know about the Kubernetes Gateway API

Step 2: Deepen Your Knowledge (1–2 Hours)

We expect you’ll have more questions after the livestream – that’s why we curated a collection of relevant reading and videos. This Unit’s deep dive covers two topics: options for exposing your Kubernetes services and how to select an Ingress controller that works best for your requirements.

Blog | Kubernetes Networking 101


This blog helps answer the question “Do I need an Ingress controller to accept traffic into my Kubernetes environment?” It includes:

  • A primer on the other services for getting external traffic into a cluster: kube‑proxy, Cluster IP, NodePort, and LoadBalancer
  • What you can expect an Ingress controller to do
  • Why you might want to deploy a load balancer in front of an Ingress controller

Next, read our four‑part blog series, A Guide to Choosing an Ingress Controller.

Blog | Part 1: Identify Your Requirements
An Ingress controller can be one of the most powerful tools in your Kubernetes stack. Learn how to determine your Ingress requirements so you can select the best option.
Blog | Part 2: Risk and Future‑Proofing
Learn about risks you might introduce by selecting the wrong Ingress controller, and key areas where you can future‑proof your selection.
Blog | Part 3: Open Source vs. Default vs Commercial
As you evaluate Ingress controllers, you’ll notice they fall into three categories: open source, default, or commercial. Learn the pros and cons for each.
Blog | Part 4: NGINX Ingress Controller Options
Learn which NGINX Ingress controller might be best for you, based on authorship, development philosophy, production readiness, security, and support.

Finally, learn about the new Kubernetes Gateway API which was introduced in 2021. While this is a very new technology that you’re unlikely to use right away, you’re likely to see many open source projects and commercial products leveraging this API in the coming years.

Bonus Research

If you’re keen to deepen your knowledge on microservices and Kubernetes –and have more than 1–2 hours to spend –then we suggest three additional resources to get you started.

Webinar | Fundamentals of Microservices
This webinar introduces key microservices concepts and provides an understanding of hybrid architectures, containers, Kubernetes, Ingress controllers, and more.
eBook | Cloud Native DevOps with Kubernetes
This O’Reilly book shows how to apply industry‑standard DevOps practices to Kubernetes in a cloud‑native context. Learn how to build, deploy, and scale modern applications in the cloud.
Video | Kubernetes and the Future of Application Networking
Mark Church, a product manager at Google, is involved in creating the standards that define container networking. In this keynote, he explores how Kubernetes has impacted the service mesh ecosystem and offers his predictions for the future of application networking.



Step 3: Get Hands-On (1 Hour)

Even with all the best webinars and research, there’s nothing quite like getting your hands on the tech. The Microservices March labs run you through common scenarios to reinforce your learning.

In our first self‑paced lab, Reduce Kubernetes Latency with Autoscaling, you use NGINX Ingress Controller to expose an app and then autoscale the Ingress controller in response to a traffic surge. Watch this 20-minute walkthrough of the lab to see it in action and learn the “why” behind each step.

To access the lab, you need to register for Microservices March 2022. If you’re already registered, the email you received with the Unit 1 Learning Guide includes access instructions. Alternatively, you can try out the lab in your own environment, using NGINX Tutorial: Reduce Kubernetes Latency with Autoscaling as a guide.

Why Register for Microservices March?

While some of the activities (the livestreams and blogs) are freely available, we need to collect just a little personal information to get you setup with the full experience. Registration gives you:

  • Access to four self‑paced labs where you can get hands‑on with the tech via common scenarios
  • Membership in the Microservices March Slack channel for asking questions of the experts and networking with fellow participants
  • Weekly learning guides to help you stay on top of the agenda
  • Calendar invites for the livestreams

What’s Next?

Unit 2: Exposing APIs in Kubernetes begins on March 14. Learn about common API gateway use cases in Kubernetes, including authorization and authentication, OIDC, and rate limiting.

For detailed guidance on implementing Kubernetes networking with NGINX, download our eBook, Managing Kubernetes Traffic with NGINX: A Practical Guide.

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