Understand Kubernetes Object–Service


This is the fourth part of the series on building highly scalable multi-container apps using AKS. Previous posts in this series:

This post we will focus on creating another basic resource in Kubernetes named Service.

We will be performing following actions during this post

  • Understand the basics of Service object in Kubernetes
  • Build Kubernetes service manifest file
  • Create a service using Kubernetes CLI kubectl
  • Get details about Service using kubectl
  • Get Details about service using Kubernetes dashboard
  • Delete service using Kubectl

Understand the basics of Service object in Kubernetes

If you recall from the last post, we successfully deployed the web application container using the Deployment controller. If we want to access the web user interface, how do we do that? This is where Kubernetes Service comes into the picture.

Service provides a stable endpoint for various components to talk to one another. It is an abstraction which defines the policy by which to access the pods. Assume that there are 2 replicas of a pod running on two different nodes. There is new version of the container to be deployed. The Kubernetes master decides to schedule the workload for the new version on completely different nodes. It would be extremely difficult for dependent services to keep updating the endpoint addresses every time there is a new deployment. This is where Service discovery mechanism and load balancing within Kubernetes comes into the picture. It provides stable endpoint for all the services which need to be exposed internally within the cluster or even outside the cluster.

Build Kubernetes service manifest file

We can use the kubectl command to create a service with all the parameters from the command line. Personally I prefer to use manifest file. Lets look at the example of the Service file manifest.


Like earlier manifest files we had used for Namespace and Deployment, we start with the API version and the kind attributes. The metadata attribute defines the name of the service as webfront. We also specify the namespace as abc2018sg.

The specification of the service is defined using Spec. The type defines how the service will be exposed to other components within the Kubernetes cluster or to the outside world. Available options are ClusterIP / NodePort / LoadBalancer / ExterName. In our example we are using LoadBalancer. This will expose the service using Azure load balancer. LoadBalancer service type automatically creates the NodePort and ClusterIP to which the external load balancer will route the requests.

The default service type is ClusterIP. It exposes the service on clusters internal IP. The disadvantage of this is the service will not be accessible from outside the Kubernetes cluster.

If we use NodePort the same port will be exposed on all the nodes of the cluster. We can access the service from any node on the cluster by using the specified port number.

ExternalName maps the service to the contents of the externalName. This is useful we wish to connect to a service outside of the Kubernetes cluster using a stable name. The example that comes to mind is that of connecting to a SQL Azure database instance.

Next we define the ports which need to be exposed using the service. Here we are exposing port 80.

The last part is the most important one. This links the service to the underlying pod using the selector. Be very careful to match the key value pairs. Usually spelling errors are the most common mistake while trying to match the labels if you are typing everything by hand.

Create service using Kubernetes CLI kubectl

Save the contents of the file shown above with name web-service.yml. We use Kubectl to create the service object as

kubectl create –-filename web-service.yml

Get details about Service using kubectl

We can query the Kubernetes API server to get the list of services. We can use any one of the following commands

kubectl get services –namespace abc201sg
kubectl get services -n abc201sg

Once we have the name which is webfront, we can query the service details

kubectl get  service webfront –namespace abc2018sg
kubectl get  service webfront -n abc2018sg

The output of the above commands is shown below

kubectl output

We can see that in case of LoadBalancer service type the Cluster-IP and the External-IP both are created. It also exposes port 80 and a higher order port with 31960. We can now access the service using the external IP and Port combination

The Public IP address provisioning can take few minutes depending on the cloud provider.

web UI

Note that since I am using Azure subscription,I keep the cluster running only for short period of time. When the cluster is recreated the public IP address will be different.

Get Details about service using Kubernetes dashboard

The process is similar to what we had in the previous one to access details of the pod and deployment. We filter the namespace and then the services section

service initializing

Delete service using Kubectl

Deleting the service is similar to deleting other objects.

kubectl delete service webfront –namespace abc2018sg
kubectl delete service webfront -n abc2018sg

You can use the dashboard or the kubectl command to query the service details and ensure that it has been deleted successfully. I will skip the part related to deleting the service from UI using the Kubernetes dashboard. You can try it out yourself which is same what we did in the last post for deleting the deployment.


In this post we saw how to access pods using Service. Service gives the stable endpoint that other dependent components can rely on even if the node on which the pods are running are impacted. Services is one of the topic which would need more than one post to cover all the major aspects related to things like networking, load balancing, scaling etc. We will cover them in more details as and when the need arises. In the future posts we will see other service types like NodePort and ClusterIP.

As always the complete source code for this post and the related posts is available on Github.

Until next time code with passion and strive for excellence.


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