GCE L4 load-balancers’ health checks for nodes


Set up health checks for GCE L4 load-balancer to ensure it is only targeting healthy nodes.


On cloud providers which support external load balancers, setting the type field to “LoadBalancer” will provision a L4 load-balancer for the service (doc), which load-balances traffic to k8s nodes. As of k8s 1.6, we don’t create health check for L4 load-balancer by default, which means all traffic will be forwarded to any one of the nodes blindly.

This is undesired in cases: - k8s components including kubelet dead on nodes. Nodes will be flipped to unhealthy after a long propagation (~40s), even if we remove nodes from target pool at that point it is too slow. - kube-proxy dead on nodes while kubelet is still alive. Requests will be continually forwarded to nodes that may not be able to properly route traffic.

For now, the only case health check will be created is for OnlyLocal Service. We should have a node-level health check for load balancers that are used by non-OnlyLocal services.


Healthchecking the kube-proxys seems to be the best choice: - kube-proxy runs on every nodes and it is the pivot for service traffic routing. - Port 10249 on nodes is currently used for both kube-proxy’s healthz and pprof. - We already have a similar mechanism for healthchecking OnlyLocal services in kube-proxy.

The plan is to enable health check on all LoadBalancer services (if use GCP as cloud provider).


kube-proxy - Separate healthz from pprof (/metrics) to use a different port and bind it to As we will only allow traffic from load-balancer source IPs, this wouldn’t be a big security concern. - Make healthz check timestamp in iptables mode while always returns “ok” in other modes.

GCE cloud provider (through kube-controller-manager) - Manage k8s-l4-healthcheck firewall and healthcheck resources. These two resources should be shared among all non-OnlyLocal LoadBalancer services. - Add a new flag to pipe in the healthz port num as it is configurable on kube-proxy.

Version skew: - Running higher version master (with L4 health check feature enabled) with lower version nodes (without kube-proxy exposing healthz port) should fall back to the original behavior (no health check). - Rollback shouldn’t be a big issue. Even if health check is left on Network load-balancer, it will fail on all nodes and fall back to blindly forwarding traffic.