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loxilb started as a project to ease deployments of cloud-native/kubernetes workloads for the edge. When we deploy services in public clouds like AWS/GCP, the services becomes easily accessible or exported to the outside world. The public cloud providers, usually by default, associate load-balancer instances for incoming requests to these services to ensure everything is quite smooth.

However, for on-prem and edge deployments, there is no service type - external load balancer provider by default. For a long time, MetalLB originating from Google was the only choice for the needy. But edge services are a different ball game altogether due to the fact that there are so many exotic protocols in play like GTP, SCTP, SRv6 etc and integrating everything into a seamlessly working solution has been quite difficult.

loxilb dev team was approached by many people who wanted to solve this problem. As a first step to solve the problem, it became apparent that networking stack provided by Linux kernel, although very solid, really lacked the development process agility to quickly provide support for a wide variety of permutations and combinations of protocols and stateful load-balancing on them. Our search led us to the awesome tech developed by the Linux community - eBPF. The flexibility to introduce new functionality into the OS Kernel as a safe sandbox program was a complete fit to our design philosophy. It also does not need any dedicated CPU cores which makes it perfect for designing energy-efficient edge architectures.

What is loxilb

loxilb is an open source cloud-native load-balancer based on GoLang/eBPF with the goal of achieving cross-compatibity across a wide range of on-prem, public-cloud or hybrid K8s environments.

Kubernetes with loxilb

Kubernetes defines many service constructs like cluster-ip, node-port, load-balancer etc for pod to pod, pod to service and service from outside communication.

All these services are provided by load-balancers/proxies operating at Layer4/Layer7. Due to Kubernetes's highly modular architecture, these services can be provided by different software modules. For example, kube-proxy is used to provide cluster-ip and node-port services by default.

Service type load-balancer is usually provided by public cloud-provider as a managed service. But for on-prem and self-managed clusers, there are only a few good options. loxilb provides service type load-balancer as its main use-case.

Additionally, loxilb can also support cluster-ip and node-port services and thereby providing end-to-end connectivity for Kubernetes.

Why choose loxilb?

  • Performs much better compared to its competitors across various architectures
  • Utitlizes ebpf which makes it flexible as well as customizable
  • Advanced quality of service for workloads (per LB, per end-point or per client)
  • Works with any Kubernetes distribution/CNI - k8s/k3s/k0s/kind/OpenShift + Calico/Flannel/Cilium/Weave/Multus etc
  • Extensive support for SCTP workloads (with multi-homing) on k8s
  • Dual stack with NAT66, NAT64 support for k8s
  • k8s multi-cluster support (planned 🚧)
  • Runs in any cloud (public cloud/on-prem) or standalone environments

Overall features of loxilb

  • L4/NAT stateful loadbalancer
    • NAT44, NAT66, NAT64 with One-ARM, FullNAT, DSR etc
    • Support for TCP, UDP, SCTP (w/ multi-homing), QUIC, FTP, TFTP etc
  • High-availability support with hitless/maglev/cgnat clustering
  • Extensive and scalable end-point liveness probes for cloud-native environments
  • Stateful firewalling and IPSEC/Wireguard support
  • Optimized implementation for features like Conntrack, QoS etc
  • Full compatibility for ipvs (ipvs policies can be auto inherited)
  • Policy oriented L7 proxy support - HTTP1.0, 1.1, 2.0 etc (planned 🚧)

Components of loxilb

  • GoLang based control plane components
  • A scalable/efficient eBPF based data-path implementation
  • Integrated goBGP based routing stack
  • A kubernetes agent kube-loxilb written in Go

Layer4 vs Layer7

loxilb works as a L4 load-balancer/service-mesh by default. Although it provides great performance, at times, L7 load-balancing/proxy might be necessary in K8s. There are many good L7 proxies already available for k8s. Still, we are working on providing a great L7 solution natively in eBPF. It is a tough endeavor one which should reap great benefits once completed. Please keep an eye for updates on this.

Telco-Cloud with loxilb

For deploying telco-cloud with cloud-native functions, loxilb can be used as a SCP(service communication proxy). SCP is a communication proxy defined by 3GPP and aimed at telco micro-services running in cloud-native environment. Telco-cloud requires load-balancing and communication across various interfaces/standards like N2, N4, E2(ORAN), S6x, 5GLAN, GTP etc. Each of these present its own unique challenges which loxilb aims to solve e.g.:

  • N4 requires PFCP level session-intelligence
  • N2 requires NGAP parsing capability
  • S6x requires Diameter/SCTP multi-homing LB support
  • MEC use-cases might require UL-CL understanding
  • Hitless failover support might be essential for mission-critical applications
  • E2 might require SCTP-LB with OpenVPN bundled together

Architectural Considerations

Getting started with different K8s distributions & tools

loxilb as ext-cluster pod

loxilb as in-cluster pod

loxilb as service-proxy

loxilb in standalone mode

Advanced Guides



Community Posts

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Features(Ubuntu20.04) Features(Ubuntu22.04)
build workflow Docker-Multi-Arch
simple workflow Sanity-CI-Ubuntu-22
tcp-lb-sanity-CI tcp-lb-sanity-CI
udp-lb-sanity-CI udp-lb-sanity-CI
sctp-lb-sanity-CI ipsec-sanity-CI
extlb workflow nat66-sanity-CI
ipsec-sanity-CI Scale-Sanity-CI-Ubuntu-22
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K3s Tests K8s Cluster Tests EKS Test
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