Load Balancing and external service access in OpenShift.

Whenever a service needs to be accessed from outside a cluster (external to the network), there are several options available. The primary and most appropriate method is through using a Load Balancer. However, in some situations, such as during dev or test in an ephemeral or local cluster, it is easier to use methods such as exposing NodePorts. In this post, we will be explaining the various options available.

Load Balancers

HAproxy - OCP Default


MetalLB is a powerful Load Balancer available as an Operator in OpenShift which provides Load Balancing for clusters deployed on bare-metal or other environments without native load balancers: on-prem, IBM Power, Z, vSphere, etc.

MetalLB can operate on either L2 or L3, in addition to utilizing BGP. While the L2 functionality is similar to IP failover, it leverages a gossip-based protocol to identify node failure, via VRRP and keepalived. This makes MetalLB preferable over more basic options like IP failover.

The MetalLB Operator works within the cluster by providing a platform-native load balancer to any Service of type LoadBalancer, automating the entire process for every Service.

Other Methods


One of the most simple methods for exposing a Service outside of a cluster is by using a NodePort. Nodeports are a specific port on all OpenShift hosts (nodes) which is assigned to a specific service. This allows access to the service in a similar manner to accessing the OpenShift Web Console, at the core OpenShift IP but at the given port.

Assuming you have a Service which you are trying to expose, you can do the following to create a NodePort:

From within the given project:

oc edit svc <service_name>
  - name: 8443-tcp
    nodePort: 31234
    port: 8443
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 8443
  sessionAffinity: None
  type: NodePort

Validate your service is updated w/ the given port:

oc get svc
httpd   NodePort   172.xx.xx.xx    <none>        8443:31234/TCP   12s


Last modified September 8, 2023: loadbalancer (e0d5315)