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Amazon EKS 0.67.4Last updated in version 0.65.7

ALB Ingress Controller Module

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This Terraform Module installs and configures the AWS ALB Ingress Controller on an EKS cluster, so that you can configure an ALB using Ingress resources.

This module uses the community helm chart, with a set of best practices input.

Note: v2

We're now supporting v2 of the AWS Load Balancer Ingress Controller. The AWS Load Balancer Ingress Controller v2 has many new features, and is considered backwards incompatible with the existing AWS resources it manages. Please note, that it can't coexist with the existing/older version, so you must fully undeploy the old version prior to updating. For the migration steps, please refer to the relevant Release notes for this module.

How does this work?

This module solves the problem of integrating Kubernetes Service endpoints with an ALB. Out of the box Kubernetes supports tying a Service to an ELB or NLB using the LoadBalancer type. However, the LoadBalancer Service type does not support ALBs, and thus you can not implement complex routing rules based on domain or paths.

Kubernetes uses Ingress resources to configure and implement "Layer 7" load balancers (where ALBs fit in the OSI model). Kubernetes Ingress works by providing a configuration framework to configure routing rules from a load balancer to Services within Kubernetes. For example, suppose you wanted to provision a Service for your backend, fronted by a load balancer that routes any request made to the path /service to the backend. To do so, in addition to creating your Service, you would create an Ingress resource in Kubernetes that configures the routing rule:

kind: Service
apiVersion: v1
name: backend
app: backend
- protocol: TCP
port: 80
targetPort: 80
apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
name: service-ingress
- http:
- path: /service
serviceName: backend
servicePort: 80

In the above configuration, we create a Cluster IP based Service (so that it is only available internally to the Kubernetes cluster) that routes requests to port 80 to any Pod that maches the label app=backend on port 80. Then, we configure an Ingress rule that routes any requests prefixed with /service to that Service endpoint on port 80.

The actual load balancer that is configured by the Ingress resource is defined by the particular Ingress Controller that you deploy onto your Kubernetes cluster. Ingress Controllers are separate processes that run on your Kubernetes cluster that will watch for Ingress resources and reflect them by provisioning or configuring load balancers. Depending on which controller you use, the particular load balancer that is provisioned will be different. For example, if you use the official nginx controller, each Ingress resource translates into an nginx Pod that implements the routing rules.

Note that each Ingress resource defines a separate load balancer. This means that each time you create a new Ingress resource in Kubernetes, Kubernetes will provision a new load balancer configured with the rules defined by the Ingress resource.

This module deploys the AWS ALB Ingress Controller, which will reflect each Ingress resource into an ALB resource deployed into your AWS account.


Helm setup

This module uses helm v3 to deploy the controller to the Kubernetes cluster.

ALB Target Type

The ALB Ingress Controller application can configure ALBs to send work either to Node IPs (instance) or Pod IPs (ip) as backend targets. This can be specified in the Ingress object using the The default is instance.

When using the default instance target type, the Services intended to be consumed by the Ingress resource must be provisioned using the NodePort type. This is not required when using the ip target type.

Note that the controller will take care of setting up the target groups on the provisioned ALB so that everything routes correctly.


You can use the annotation on Ingress resources to specify which subnets the controller should configure the ALB for.

You can also omit the annotation, and the controller will automatically discover subnets based on their tags. This method should work "out of the box", so long as you are using the eks-vpc-tags module to tag your VPC subnets.

Security Groups

As mentioned above under the ALB Target Type section, the default ALB target type uses node ports to connect to the Services. As such if you have restricted security groups that prevent access to the provisioned ports on the worker nodes, the ALBs will not be able to reach the Services.

To ensure the provisioned ALBs can access the node ports, we recommend using dedicated subnets for load balancing and configuring your security groups so that resources provisioned in those subnets can access the node ports of the worker nodes.

IAM permissions

The container deployed in this module requires IAM permissions to manage ALB resources. See the eks-alb-ingress-controller-iam-policy module for more information.

Using the Ingress Controller

In order for the Ingress resources to properly map into an ALB, the Ingress resources created need to be annotated to use the alb Ingress class. You can do this by adding the following annotation to your Ingress resources:

annotations: alb

The ALB Ingress Controller supports a wide range of configuration options via annotations on the Ingress object, including setting up Cognito for authentication. For example, you can add the annotation internet-facing to provision a public ALB. You can refer to the official documentation for the full reference of configuration options supported by the controller.

Getting the ALB endpoint

The ALB endpoint is recorded on the Ingress resource. You can use kubectl or the Kubernetes API to retrieve the Ingress resource and view the endpoint for the ALB under the Address attribute.

For example, suppose you provisioned the following Ingress resource in the default namespace:

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
name: service-ingress
annotations: alb
- http:
- path: /service
serviceName: backend
servicePort: 80

To get the ALB endpoint, call kubectl to describe the Ingress resource:

$ kubectl describe ing service-ingress
Name: service-ingress
Namespace: default
Default backend: default-http-backend:80 (
Host Path Backends
---- ---- --------
/service backend:80 (<none>)
FirstSeen LastSeen Count From SubObjectPath Type Reason Message
--------- -------- ----- ---- ------------- -------- ------ -------
3m 3m 1 ingress-controller Normal CREATE Ingress service-ingress/backend
3m 32s 3 ingress-controller Normal UPDATE Ingress service-ingress/backend

Note how the ALB endpoint is recorded under the Address column. You can hit that endpoint to access the service externally.

DNS records for the ALB

In order for the host based routing rules to work with the ALB, you need to configure your DNS records to point to the ALB endpoint. This can be tricky if you are managing your DNS records externally, especially given the asynchronous nature of the controller in provisioning the ALBs.

The AWS ALB Ingress Controller has first class support for external-dns, a third party tool that configures external DNS providers with domains to route to Services and Ingresses in Kubernetes. See our eks-k8s-external-dns module for more information on how to setup the tool.

How do I deploy the Pods to Fargate?

To deploy the Pods to Fargate, you can use the create_fargate_profile variable to true and specify the subnet IDs for Fargate using vpc_worker_subnet_ids. Note that if you are using Fargate, you must rely on the IAM Roles for Service Accounts (IRSA) feature to grant the necessary AWS IAM permissions to the Pod. This is configured using the use_iam_role_for_service_accounts, eks_openid_connect_provider_arn, and eks_openid_connect_provider_url input variables.

How does the ALB route to Fargate?

For Pods deployed to Fargate, you must specify the annotation ip

to the Ingress resource in order for the ALB to route properly. This is because Fargate does not have actual EC2 instances under the hood, and thus the ALB can not be configured to route by instance (the default configuration).

Sample Usage

# ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

module "eks_alb_ingress_controller" {

source = ""

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

# The AWS region to deploy ALB resources into.
aws_region = <string>

# The ALB Ingress Controller application uses this to find resources (e.g.
# subnets) to associate with ALBs. Additionally, AWS resources created by the
# Ingress controller will be prefixed with this value.
eks_cluster_name = <string>

# Configuration for using the IAM role with Service Accounts feature to
# provide permissions to the helm charts. This expects a map with two
# properties: `openid_connect_provider_arn` and `openid_connect_provider_url`.
# The `openid_connect_provider_arn` is the ARN of the OpenID Connect Provider
# for EKS to retrieve IAM credentials, while `openid_connect_provider_url` is
# the URL. Set to null if you do not wish to use IAM role with Service
# Accounts.
iam_role_for_service_accounts_config = <object(
openid_connect_provider_arn = string
openid_connect_provider_url = string

# The ID of the VPC where the EKS cluster resides. Used for determining where
# to deploy the ALB.
vpc_id = <string>

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

# ARN of IAM Role to assume to create and control ALB's. This is useful if
# your VPC is shared from another account and needs to be created somewhere
# else.
alb_iam_role_arn = null

# The AWS partition used for default AWS Resources.
aws_partition = "aws"

# The version of the aws-load-balancer-controller helmchart to use.
chart_version = "1.4.6"

# ARN of permissions boundary to apply to the controller IAM role - the IAM
# role created for the Ingress Controller.
controller_iam_role_permissions_boundary = null

# When set to true, create a dedicated Fargate execution profile for the alb
# ingress controller. Note that this is not necessary to deploy to Fargate.
# For example, if you already have an execution profile for the kube-system
# Namespace, you do not need another one.
create_fargate_profile = false

# Tags to apply to all AWS resources managed by this controller
default_tags = {}

# Create a dependency between the resources in this module to the interpolated
# values in this list (and thus the source resources). In other words, the
# resources in this module will now depend on the resources backing the values
# in this list such that those resources need to be created before the
# resources in this module, and the resources in this module need to be
# destroyed before the resources in the list.
dependencies = []

# Command to run before uninstalling the AWS ALB Ingress Controller during
# `terraform destroy`. Since the ingress controller manages AWS resources, you
# may want to remove Ingress objects from the cluster and give the application
# enough time time to notice and remove the associated resources from AWS.
destroy_lifecycle_command = "exit 0"

# Environment variables that will be available when
# var.destroy_lifecycle_command runs
destroy_lifecycle_environment = {}

# The repository of the docker image that should be deployed.
docker_image_repo = ""

# The tag of the docker image that should be deployed.
docker_image_tag = "v2.4.5"

# Enables restricted Security Group rules for the load balancers managed by
# the controller. When this is true, the load balancer will restrict the
# target group security group rules to only use the ports that it needs.
enable_restricted_sg_rules = false

# Which Kubernetes Namespace to deploy the chart into.
namespace = "kube-system"

# Annotations to apply to the Pod that is deployed, as key value pairs.
pod_annotations = {}

# ARN of IAM Role to use as the Pod execution role for Fargate. Set to null
# (default) to create a new one. Only used when var.create_fargate_profile is
# true.
pod_execution_iam_role_arn = null

# Labels to apply to the Pod that is deployed, as key value pairs.
pod_labels = {}

# Configure affinity rules for the Pod to control which nodes to schedule on.
# Each item in the list should be a map with the keys `key`, `values`, and
# `operator`, corresponding to the 3 properties of matchExpressions. Note that
# all expressions must be satisfied to schedule on the node.
pod_node_affinity = []

# Number of replicas of the ingress controller Pod to deploy.
pod_replica_count = 1

# Configure tolerations rules to allow the Pod to schedule on nodes that have
# been tainted. Each item in the list specifies a toleration rule.
pod_tolerations = []

# A list of the subnets into which the EKS Cluster's administrative pods will
# be launched. These should usually be all private subnets and include one in
# each AWS Availability Zone. Required when var.create_fargate_profile is
# true.
vpc_worker_subnet_ids = []