Configure LBaaS

LBaaS in Boron is based on Octavia and can be deployed by OpenStack commands as described in this chapter. Note that an unallocated floating IP address is required.


LBaaS in Boron

The Octavia load balancer is managed by the plugin python-octaviaclient, which is installed with the OpenStack client suite for versions later than 3.12.0. If not already present, the plugin can be installed by

pip install python-octaviaclient

The commands described in this chapter follows the syntax of Octavia Client version 2.2.0. Figure 1 shows the different resource types in the load balancer and indicates the creation workflow.

Figure 1. Resource types in the Octavia load balancer.

Create load balancer

To create a load balancer, the components have to be defined with OpenStack commands. We assume that there are two back-end servers available and that a floating IP is available for the load balancer. During the creation process, it is convenient to use some simple naming convention, for example lb1 for the load balancer and lb1-listener for its listener, etc. Back-end servers controlled by the load balancer must be connected to the same subnet <internal-subnet>.

A load balancer has a listener that is associated with a specific port such as port 80. If the load balancer only handles HTTP traffic, one listener is sufficient. If it manages both HTTP and HTTPS, one listener per port (80 and 443) is needed.

openstack loadbalancer create --name <lb-name> --vip-subnet <internal-subnet>
openstack loadbalancer listener create --name <lb-listener-name> --protocol HTTP --protocol-port 80 <lb-name>
openstack loadbalancer pool create --name <lb-pool-name> --protocol HTTP --lb-algorithm ROUND_ROBIN --listener <lb-listener-name>
openstack loadbalancer healthmonitor create --name <lb-healthmonitor-name> --delay 4 --timeout 4 --max-retries 4 --type HTTP <lb-pool-name>

The parameter lb-algorithm takes the values

  • ROUND_ROBIN - sends requests to the pool members sequentially in a rotating manner

  • LEAST_CONNECTIONS - sends requests to the server with the least connections in use

  • SOURCE_IP_PORT - creates a hash from IP address and port used to select a server

  • SOURCE_IP - creates a hash from IP address only used to select a server

To verify the creation of the components, use

openstack loadbalancer list
openstack loadbalancer listener list
openstack loadbalancer pool list
openstack loadbalancer healthmonitor list

to have the details of the respective component printed. Next, two (or more) back-end web servers are entered as members of the pool:

openstack loadbalancer member create --name <lb-member0-name> --address <server0-ip> --protocol-port 8000 <lb-pool-name>
openstack loadbalancer member create --name <lb-member1-name> --address <server1-ip> --protocol-port 8000 <lb-pool-name>

Note that in this example, requests to the back-end servers are made on port 8000. The assigned members are listed with

openstack loadbalancer member list <pool-name>

which also shows the their operational status. A member can be removed from the pool with

openstack loadbalancer member delete <lb-pool-name> <lb-member_x-name>

Assign floating IP

In the publication step, a floating IP resource must be available to be assigned to the virtual IP (VIP) port. In the three steps below, the floating IP is acquired from the tenant quota, but an unassigned floating IP can also be used directly, replacing the variable FIP with this IP address.

A floating IP is acquired, stored in the variable FIP and assigned to the VIP port with

FIP=`openstack floating ip create <external-network> -f value -c floating_ip_address`
PORT=`openstack loadbalancer show -f value -c vip_port_id <lb-name>`
openstack floating ip set --port $PORT $FIP

The external network name or ID is found from

openstack network list

It can be convenient to define a variable for the external network ID by

export EXT_NET = `openstack network list --name <external-network> -f value -c ID`

which is then used in the first command above by replacing <external-network> with $EXT_NET.

Add security group

For testing purposes, a general security group is defined and assigned to the back-end server by

openstack security group create <lb-sg-name>
openstack security group rule create <lb-sg-name> --protocol HTTP --remote-ip --dst-port 80
openstack server add security group <server0-name> <lb-sg-name>
openstack server add security group <server1-name> <lb-sg-name>


The load balancer is launched and its internal configuration is done automatically, so it should now be operational. If the back-end servers are listening to the configured port (in the examples in this chapter the default port 80, but this can be redefined to some other number, for example 8000) and can send a response back that can identify it - for example by some message in index.html - they should respond to requests on the floating IP address.

For testing purposes, curl is a convenient to use directly from the client. By repeated requests

curl <floating-ip>

the back-end server should reply in an alternating manner (according to the algorithm specified). The commands for reading a possible unavailable status of a load balancer are also useful:

openstack loadbalancer list --provisioning-status ERROR
openstack loadbalancer list --provisioning-status PENDING_UPDATE

Application load balancing

By defining L7 policies in Octavia, exceptions to the default content-based routing can be implemented. These are typically associated with HTTP and formulated as a redirection or rejection of a request based on a pattern in the URL, header or cookie, referred to as a L7 rule. This is referred to as application load balancing, or content-based routing.

L7 policies

The rules are most effective on fully qualified domain names (FQDN). Testing without the necessity to register a domain name and create a DNS record can easily be accomplished by defining the names locally in the file /etc/hosts as shown in the example below.

Furthermore, to define an alternative route for a policy, one or more secondary pools can be defined beside the default (primary) pool. Note that a pool can consist of a single server.

An L7 policy is created with

openstack loadbalancer l7policy create --action <action> [<redirection>] --name <l7policy-name> <listener>

The action argument can take the values

  • REJECT - The request is rejected

  • REDIRECT_TO_URL - The request is redirected to the URL defined in the redirect-url parameter

  • REDIRECT_TO_POOL - The request is redirected to the pool defined in the redirect-pool parameter

Rejection policies take precedence over other policies, and REDIRECT_TO_URL policies take precedence over REDIRECT_TO_POOL policies. If no policy matches a given request, then the request is routed to the listener's default pool (if it exists).

The priority of a policy can be determined by assigning a sequence number with the position argument. Policy position numbering starts with 1. If omitted, a rule is appended to the list of rules after the last inserted rule. An automatic reordering is performed after each insertion or deletion in the list.

L7 rules

The triggers of the policy are defined in L7 rules created with

openstack loadbalancer l7rule create --type <type> --compare-type <operator> --value <value> <l7policy>

where type takes one of the values

  • HOST_NAME - Compare a HTTP/1.1 host name in the request against the value parameter (for example subdomain)

  • PATH - Compare the path portion of the HTTP URI against the value parameter

  • FILE_TYPE - Compare the last portion of the URI against the value parameter (for example "txt", "jpg", etc.)

  • HEADER - Compare a portion of the header against the value parameter

  • COOKIE - Compare a portion of a cookie against the value parameter

The rule specifies a comparison test on the type by setting the argument compare-type to one of the following operations. Note that not all rule types support all comparison types.

  • REGEX - Perl-type regular expression matching

  • STARTS_WITH - A substring that the input string should start with

  • ENDS_WITH - A substring that the input string should end with

  • CONTAINS - A substring that the input string should contain

  • EQUAL_TO - A string identical to the input string

The value argument is the URL or string object that triggers the rule. A the truth value of a rule can be inverted to create rules more flexibly by setting the argument invert. In this way, for example, a rule “not equal to” can be formulated with comparison type EQUAL_TO and invert.

A load balancer with redirection

To illustrate a load balancer with a redirection policy, consider three back-end servers called, say, server1, server2 and server3, on the same internal subnet denoted <internal-subnet>. Suppose server1 and server2 are members of the default pool used to handle normal requests, and server3 is used to deliver some special content (or represent some subdomain that should be handle requests separately).

Create a load balancer with

export SUBNET=`openstack subnet list --name <internal-subnet> -f value -c ID`
openstack loadbalancer create --vip-subnet-id ${SUBNET} --name lb2

and a listener

openstack loadbalancer listener create --name lb2_listener --protocol HTTP --protocol-port 80 lb2

Next create a default pool with server1 and server2 and an additional pool with only server3 as members with

openstack loadbalancer pool create --name http_pool1 --listener lb2_listener --protocol HTTP --lb-algorithm ROUND_ROBIN

openstack loadbalancer pool create --name http_pool2 --loadbalancer lb2 --protocol HTTP --lb-algorithm ROUND_ROBIN

Note that in creation of the default pool the argument listener assigns it as the default pool and for any additional pool the argument loadbalancer has to be used.

Let the FQDNs of the servers be server1.tld, server2.tld and server3.tld and add these as members to the pools with their repsective IP addresses like so

openstack loadbalancer member create --name server1.tld --subnet <internal-subnet> --address --protocol-port 80 http_pool1
openstack loadbalancer member create --name server2.tld --subnet <internal-subnet> --address --protocol-port 80 http_pool1
openstack loadbalancer member create --name server3.tld --subnet <internal-subnet> --address --protocol-port 80 http_pool2

Assign a floating IP with

FIP=`openstack floating ip create <external-network> -f value -c floating_ip_address`
PORT=`openstack loadbalancer show -f value -c vip_port_id lb2`
openstack floating ip set --port $PORT $FIP

The floating IP is the public address through which all three servers are reachable. For the purpose of the example, say that FIP after assignment holds the IP address Then, on the client, open the file /etc/hosts for editing and add the lines server1.tld server2.tld server3.tld

Save the file. Here, TLD (for top-level domain) has been added to the server names to give them proper format. A real domain name would have as TLD com, org, a country code TLD, etc. With these lines, a request can be sent with the server name, which is locally resolved to the IP address given. A request to the load balancer is generated simply by issuing

curl server1.tld

Finally, a policy is created to route requests to server3 to the secondary pool http_pool2 with

openstack loadbalancer l7policy create --action REDIRECT_TO_POOL--redirect-pool http_pool2 --name policy1 lb2_listener
openstack loadbalancer l7rule create --type HOST_NAME--compare-type EQUAL_TO --value server3.tld policy1

The load balancer is now configured as set out, so that requests to server1 or server2 will be routed to http_pool1 and any request to server3 to http_pool2.

Delete LBaaS resources

A listener, pool, healthmonitor or l7policy is deleted (represented by <type>) with

openstack loadbalancer <type> delete <id>

taking the identifier <id> as the only argument.

Members can only be removed from the load balancer pool by deletion, that is

openstack loadbalancer member delete <pool> <member>

with both a pool and a member identifier. The same syntax (with the identities <l7policy> and <l7rule>) is used to delete an L7 rule.

The complete load balancer is deleted with all its dependent components by

openstack loadbalancer delete --cascade <lb-name>

LBaaS deployment with Heat

The LBaaS can be easily deployed with Heat. The following simple Heat orchestration template creates the resources of the load balancer, two back-end servers with a security group applied and assigns a floating IP address to the load balancer. The resource quotas on the tenant must be allow for these resources to be created.

The load balancer can be created with Heat. The template specifies parameters for creation of the Octavia resources, two back-end servers and assignment of a floating IP address. A key pair needs to be generated and the corresponding <keypair-name> entered as a parameter to allow SSH access to the servers. The external and internal networks and subnet need to be added as parameters as well.

heat_template_version: 2018-08-31

description: Create a load balancer

    type: number
    description: Port used by the servers
    default: 80
    type: number
    default: 80
    description: Port used by the load balancer
    type: string
    description: Network used by the servers
    default: <internal-network>
    type: string
    description: Network used by the load balancer
    default: <external-network>
    type: string
    description: Subnet on which the load balancer will be located
    default: <internal-subnet>
    type: string
    description: Flavor used for servers
    default: g1.standard-1-1
    type: string
    description: Image used for servers
    default: ubuntu-20.04-x86_64
    type: string
    description: Key pair used by servers
    default: <keypair-name>
    type: OS::Neutron::SecurityGroup
        - remote_ip_prefix:
          protocol: tcp
          port_range_min: { get_param: app_port }
          port_range_max: { get_param: app_port }
        - remote_ip_prefix:
          protocol: tcp
          port_range_min: 22
          port_range_max: 22
    type: OS::Octavia::LoadBalancer
      name: "lb1"
      vip_subnet: { get_param: subnet }
    type: OS::Octavia::Listener
      - lb1
      protocol: HTTP
      protocol_port: { get_param: lb_port }
      loadbalancer: { get_resource: lb1 }
    type: OS::Octavia::Pool
      - lb1_listener
      name: "lb1_pool"
      lb_algorithm: "ROUND_ROBIN"
      protocol: HTTP
      listener: { get_resource: lb1_listener }
    type: OS::Octavia::HealthMonitor
      - lb1_pool
      delay: 3
      type: HTTP
      timeout: 3
      max_retries: 3
      pool: { get_resource: lb1_pool }
    type: OS::Nova::Server
      name: "server0"
      image: { get_param: image }
      flavor: { get_param: flavor }
      key_name: { get_param: key_pair }
      networks: [{ network: { get_param: private_network }}]
      security_groups: [{ get_resource: sec_group }]
    type: OS::Octavia::PoolMember
    depends_on: [ lb1_pool, server0 ]
      address: { get_attr: [ server0, first_address] }
      pool: { get_resource: lb1_pool }
      protocol_port: { get_param: app_port }
      subnet: { get_param: subnet }  # needed?
    type: OS::Nova::Server
      name: "server1"
      image: { get_param: image }
      flavor: { get_param: flavor }
      key_name: { get_param: key_pair }
      networks: [{ network: { get_param: private_network }}]
      security_groups: [{ get_resource: sec_group }]
    type: OS::Octavia::PoolMember
    depends_on: [ lb1_pool, server1 ]
      address: { get_attr: [ server1, first_address] }
      pool: { get_resource: lb1_pool }
      protocol_port: { get_param: app_port }
      subnet: { get_param: subnet }
    type: OS::Neutron::FloatingIP
      - lb1
      floating_network: { get_param: public_network }
      port_id: { get_attr: [lb1, vip_port_id] }
        template: http://IP_ADDRESS:PORT
          IP_ADDRESS: { get_attr: [floating_ip, floating_ip_address] }
          PORT: { get_param: lb_port }
    description: >
      The public URL used to access the load balancer.

Saving the template as a file, say, load_balancer.yaml, the system is created with

openstack stack create --template load_balancer.yaml <stack-name>

The order of resource deployment is important, and is controlled by the depends_on function. The template also contains an output section, which is printed to the stack record, viewed with

openstack stack show <stack-name>

Please note that the security group is intended for testing purposes only and should be modified with stricter policies.

Load balancer with ECMP

In Boron, a LBaaS product supporting ECMP is also available. Its deployment needs BGPaaS for route management. For deployment of this load balancer, please contact

Additional Resources

openstack loadbalancer (syntax)

Basic Load Balancing Cookbook