What Are The Advantages of a Service over an Ingress in Kubernetes?

Problem scenario
You have read that Ingresses have benefits compared to Services. You know the two are different for routing external traffic to reach a Kubernetes pod. When would you want to use a Service instead of an Ingress?

Possible Answers

  1. When you want to direct traffic to Pods based on a selector and not an IP address. Ingresses use IP addresses*, but Services use pod selectors**. Labels can be designed arbitrarily. For performance and functionality, you may want to design a nuanced assignment of web traffic to specific pods. For more information about labels and selectors, see this internal page or this external page. (Ingress resources can leverage Services to not use IP addresses, according to pages 145 and 146 in Kubernetes in Action, but we think bypassing an Ingress resource and going straight to the Service would have performance benefits.)
  2. When you want to keep the Ingress Controller off.*** For security reasons you may want to keep the Ingress Controller off. To create an Ingress resource, the Ingress Controller must be turned on. All things constant, Ingress resources would be safer than Services, but we cannot deny that keeping a component (the Ingress Controller) off has its security benefits too. Some Kubernetes clusters may have a policy to keep the Ingress Controller off for various reasons.
  3. If you have a hardened Kubernetes deployment, network traffic at and above layer 5 of the OSI model may be substantially filtered/blocked. Thus Ingress controllers would not work; they operate at layer 7 of the OSI model. Services with NodePort operate at layer 4 of the OSI model.
  4. If you want to leverage BGP with networking on baremetal. If this is a requirement, a Service of the LoadBalancer type would be preferred over an Ingress. The source link for this one is here.

For more information on the differences between the two, see this posting.

*"The Nginx installations route directly to the pods' IP addresses, bypassing the associated Service's virtual IP. " Taken from https://www.joyfulbikeshedding.com/blog/2018-03-26-studying-the-kubernetes-ingress-system.html

** "The set of Pods targeted by a Service is usually determined by a selector…" Taken from https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/services-networking/service/#service-resource

*** "…Ingress controllers are not started automatically with a cluster." Taken from https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/services-networking/ingress-controllers/

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