Streamlining Kubernetes: Traefik CRDs Overview


As Kubernetes continues to gain popularity as a container orchestration platform, Traefik has emerged as a preferred choice for ingress routing in Kubernetes clusters. The Ingress Kubernetes object has been widely used for managing ingress traffic in Traefik, but it comes with certain limitations that can hinder advanced use cases.

The Traefik Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) represent a powerful feature that overcomes these limitations and provides enhanced flexibility and control over ingress traffic management in Kubernetes. In this blog post, I will cover the basics of Kubernetes objects, discuss the limitations of Ingress, introduce the concept of Traefik CRDs, and provide an example of how they can be leveraged for rate limiting.

What are Kubernetes Objects?

Kubernetes objects are the fundamental building blocks used to deploy and manage applications in a Kubernetes cluster. They are declarative YAML or JSON files that define the desired state of an application, including its specifications, configurations, and other metadata. Some common examples of Kubernetes objects include:

  • Pods: Pods are the smallest and simplest units in the Kubernetes object model. They represent a single instance of a running process in a cluster and are used to group one or more containers together.
  • Deployments: Deployments are used to manage the deployment and scaling of Pods, ensuring the desired number of replicas are running at all times.
  • Services: Services are used to expose Pods to the network, allowing them to communicate with each other within the cluster or with external resources.
  • Ingresses: Ingresses are used to configure traffic routing rules from external sources to Services within the cluster.

Using the Ingress object in Traefik

The Ingress object is a powerful Kubernetes resource that enables you to define routing rules for incoming traffic based on hostnames and paths. With Traefik, a modern reverse proxy and load balancer, you can take full advantage of the Ingress object to efficiently manage ingress traffic in your Kubernetes cluster. Here are some key benefits of using the Ingress object in Traefik:

  1. Dynamic Routing: Traefik allows you to configure routing rules dynamically using the Ingress object. This means you can update your ingress configuration without restarting or redeploying Traefik, making it easy to manage routing changes in a dynamic environment.
  2. Traffic Management: With Traefik’s support for Ingress, you can easily manage traffic flow to different services based on hostnames, paths, or other criteria. This enables you to direct traffic to different backend services or versions of your application based on your requirements, improving traffic management and service discovery within your Kubernetes cluster.
  3. Enhanced Security: Traefik provides built-in support for SSL termination and other security features, making it easy to secure your ingress traffic. By leveraging the Ingress object in Traefik, you can define SSL certificates, manage TLS configurations, and apply other security policies to your ingress traffic.
  4. Load Balancing: Traefik supports various load balancing algorithms, such as round-robin, least connections, and more, allowing you to distribute incoming traffic to backend services efficiently. By using the Ingress object in Traefik, you can configure advanced load-balancing settings and optimize traffic distribution based on your application’s requirement

Code Example:

kind: Ingress
  name: my-ingress
  namespace: my-namespace
  annotations: websecure my-middleware
    - host:
          - path: /app
                name: my-service
                  number: 8080

In the above example, I defined an Ingress resource with a specific host and path, and route traffic to a backend service named my-service running on port 8080.

Limitations of the Ingress Kubernetes Object

The Ingress object in Kubernetes is a powerful tool for managing ingress traffic, but it also has some limitations to be aware of:

  1. Limited support for complex routing: The Ingress object provides basic support for routing traffic based on hostnames and paths, but it may not be suitable for managing complex routing scenarios. For example, it may not support advanced routing based on request headers, query parameters, or other custom criteria. This can limit the flexibility of routing options in some cases.
  2. Limited support for advanced security features: While the Ingress object allows for basic SSL termination, it may not support all advanced security features that some applications require. For example, it may not support advanced authentication mechanisms or fine-grained access controls. This may require additional configuration or customizations outside of the Ingress object.
  3. Limited support for advanced load balancing: The Ingress object provides basic support for load balancing using simple algorithms like round-robin or least connections. However, it may not support more advanced load-balancing features such as session affinity or weighted routing, which may be needed for some applications with specific traffic management requirements.
  4. Lack of standardization across implementations: The Ingress object is a Kubernetes standard, but the implementation and behavior may vary across different Kubernetes platforms and ingress controllers. This can result in inconsistent behavior and configuration options, making it challenging to maintain a consistent ingress configuration across different clusters or environments.
  5. Limited visibility and monitoring: The Ingress object may not provide comprehensive visibility and monitoring capabilities out of the box. Monitoring and troubleshooting ingress traffic may require additional tools or configurations to capture relevant metrics, logs, and alerts for effective monitoring and debugging

Introducing Traefik CRDs

Traefik CRDs, also known as Traefik Custom Resource Definitions, are powerful extensions to Kubernetes that enable Traefik to enhance the Kubernetes API with custom objects designed specifically for advanced ingress management. These custom objects provide a plethora of functionalities beyond what the standard Kubernetes Ingress object offers, allowing for highly sophisticated routing, security, and load-balancing configurations.

Overcoming limitations of Kubernetes objects with CRDs

Traefik CRDs (Custom Resource Definitions) overcome the limitations of the standard Kubernetes Ingress object by providing additional features and capabilities. Here’s how Traefik CRDs address the limitations of Kubernetes objects:

  1. Advanced Routing: Traefik CRDs allow for more advanced routing configurations based on various criteria, such as request headers, query parameters, and more. This provides more flexibility in defining routing rules for complex applications with specific traffic management requirements. For example:
    kind: Middleware
      name: my-middleware
          X-My-Custom-Header: "value"
  2. Advanced Security: Traefik CRDs offer advanced security features such as fine-grained authentication, authorization, and access controls. This enables better protection of applications by adding security layers beyond basic SSL termination. For instance:
    kind: Middleware
      name: my-middleware
          - "user:password"
  3. Advanced Load Balancing: Traefik CRDs provide more advanced load balancing options, including session affinity, weighted routing, and circuit breaking. This allows for more fine-grained control over traffic distribution, optimizing application performance and resilience. For example:
    kind: Service
      name: my-service
            name: my-cookie
  4. Standardized Implementation: Traefik CRDs are specifically designed for Traefik, ensuring consistent behavior and configuration options across different clusters or environments. This makes managing and maintaining ingress traffic easier across multiple Kubernetes deployments.
  5. Enhanced Visibility and Monitoring: Traefik CRDs come with built-in monitoring and observability features, including metrics, logs, and alerts. This provides better visibility into ingress traffic and simplifies troubleshooting and debugging.

Practical Example: Implementing Rate Limiting

One of the features that Traefik provides is rate limiting, which allows you to limit the number of requests that are served from a particular client or IP address within a specific time frame. This functionality helps to prevent server overload and improve server stability and availability. By limiting the number of requests, rate limiting can also prevent malicious attacks, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, that try to overwhelm a server with too many requests at once. In this example, I will demonstrate how to use Traefik CRDs (Custom Resource Definitions) for rate-limiting.

  1. Create a Rate Limiting CRD: First,  I will create a Custom Resource Definition (CRD) for rate limiting. This CRD will define the rate limiting rules that middleware will use. Create a file named ratelimit.yaml with the following content:
    kind: Middleware
      name: ratelimit
        average: 100
        burst: 50

    In this example, I created a middleware resource called ratelimit that specifies a rate limiting rule of 100 requests per second with a burst rate of 50 requests. You can adjust these values to suit your specific requirements.

  2. Add the Rate Limiting Middleware to a Service: Next, I will add the rate limiting middleware to a service. In this example, I will use a Kubernetes service called my-service that I want to rate limit for. Create a file named service.yaml with the content below:
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Service
      name: my-service
      annotations: default-ratelimit@kubernetescrd
        app: my-app
        - name: http
          port: 80

    Here, I have added an annotation to the service that specifies the “default-ratelimit” middleware and specifies that it should be obtained from a Kubernetes CRD by using the @kubernetescrd suffix. This tells Traefik to use the rate limiting CRD I created in Step 1.

  3. Configure a Traefik Ingress Route: Finally, I will create a Traefik Ingress Route that points to the rate-limited service. In this example, I will route traffic to the my-service service using the path /.Create a file named ingress.yaml with the content below:
    kind: IngressRoute
      name: my-ingress
        - web
        - match: PathPrefix(`/`)
          kind: Rule
            - name: my-service
              port: http
            - name: default-ratelimit

    Here, I have created an IngressRoute resource that specifies the my-service service as the target for traffic that matches the path prefix /. I have also added the default-ratelimit middleware that I created in Step 1.

  4. Apply all files created above to the Kubernetes Cluster: To apply all the files at once, run the following command:
    > kubectl apply -f ratelimit.yaml -f service.yaml -f ingress.yaml
  5. Test the Rate Limiting Policy: The final step is to test the rate limiting policy to ensure that it is working as expected. You can use tools such as curl to send HTTP requests to your service and observe the rate limiting in action. Here’s an example of a curl command that sends 110 requests to the service within 1 minute:
    for i in {1..110}; do curl http://my-service/; done

    If the rate limiting policy is working correctly, you should see 429 Too Many Requests responses after the configured limit has been exceeded.

Benefits of Using Traefik CRDs

By leveraging Traefik Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs), you can enjoy several benefits for your ingress management:

  • Flexibility: Traefik CRDs provide more flexibility and fine-grained control over your ingress traffic. This enables you to implement advanced routing, traffic management, and security features tailored to your explicit application requirements.
  • Customization: Traefik CRDs allow you to define custom resources and configuration options, providing a highly customizable solution for managing ingress traffic. You can extend the functionality of Traefik to suit your application’s unique needs.
  • Visibility: Traefik CRDs provide built-in metrics, logs, and observability features that allow you to monitor and observe your ingress traffic in real time. This helps you quickly detect and resolve issues, ensuring the reliability and performance of your applications.
  • Compatibility: Traefik CRDs are compatible with Traefik’s ecosystem of tools and features, including Traefik Dashboard, Traefik Pilot, and Traefik Middleware, providing seamless integration into your existing Traefik setup.
  • Advanced Use Cases: Traefik CRDs enable you to implement advanced use cases that may not be supported by the standard Kubernetes Ingress object, such as Canary Deployments, A/B testing, rate limiting, and more. This allows you to implement complex traffic management strategies to ensure the smooth operation of your applications.
  • Ease of Use: Traefik CRDs are easy to define, configure, and manage using standard Kubernetes manifest files. They follow the same declarative approach as other Kubernetes resources, making it straightforward to integrate them into your Kubernetes workflow.
  • Community-Driven: Traefik CRDs are part of the vibrant Traefik community, which is constantly evolving and improving the Traefik ecosystem. You can benefit from the collective knowledge and expertise of the Traefik community, including documentation, tutorials, and community support.


By leveraging Kubernetes Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs), Traefik can extend its functionality and overcome the limitations of the Ingress object. With CRDs, you can define custom objects that enable enhanced flexibility, improved customization, and future-proofing for traffic routing and load-balancing configurations.

So don’t hesitate, start utilizing CRDs in Traefik today and unlock the full potential of Kubernetes for your applications. Happy routing!

External resources for further reading

  1. Traefik CRDs documentation: Official documentation from Traefik on Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) and how to use them in Traefik. Available at:
  2. Kubernetes documentation on Ingress objects: Official documentation from Kubernetes on Ingress objects and how they are used for managing external access to services in a Kubernetes cluster. Available at:
  3. Kubernetes documentation on Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs):