Exploring platform architecture often highlights the potential of technology collaborations. KrakenD stands out by aligning effortlessly with a variety of specialized solutions and technical stacks, thanks to its unopinionated design approach. Unlike rigid platform solutions, KrakenD embraces flexibility and amplifies its functionality when integrated with other technological components. This approach not only boosts operational efficiency and helps avoid vendor lock-in, but also expands the realm of what can be achieved when the right tools are orchestrated together.
A tangible proof of this heterogeneous ecosystem is our diverse customer base, who utilize a wide range of technologies to operate and collaborate with KrakenD. The categories discussed below exemplify this variety, showcasing the versatility of KrakenD in different technological setups.
Local Development & Debugging
While KrakenD prioritizes engineering efficiency over flashy UIs for API Management, it doesn’t mean we leave you in the dark when it comes to coding. We offer JSON Schemas for our configuration files that most contemporary IDEs can use—yes, we’re talking about JetBrains and VS Code. These schemas provide real-time hints, autocomplete features, and value validation as you work on your configuration files. If you stray off course, visual warnings pop up, nudging you back in the right direction.
Now, let’s talk API contracts. OpenAPI has established a standard for designing and sharing them. KrakenD seamlessly integrates with both OpenAPI v2 and v3. This integration enables you to import existing OpenAPI specs and even generate a mock server based on these specs. But we don’t stop there—you can also export your KrakenD configuration to create a valid OpenAPI definition.
The cherry on top: KrakenD allows you to convert your configuration into a Postman Collection. This gives you not one, but two efficient ways to keep your development team in the loop with the latest API contract changes.
Deployment & Orchestration
Deployment is the critical initial step. It often leverages Docker and Kubernetes for their adeptness in simplifying and orchestrating tasks. KrakenD, being agnostic from the choice of deployment strategy, harmonizes well with dockerized solutions, presenting several operational advantages.
Docker enables an environment where KrakenD operates consistently, whether on a local machine or a production server, by encapsulating it within a container. This aligns with the modern practice of crafting immutable containers, but classical onprem installations are also frequent.
Scaling upwards, Kubernetes excels in automating many operational tasks and easing advanced deployment strategies like the blue/green deployment pattern. The blue/green deployment pattern entails having two identical production environments running different versions of the application, ensuring smooth transitions with minimal downtime. Kubernetes, with its structured deployment management, sets the stage for implementing this pattern with KrakenD.
Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
Transitioning from development to production necessitates precision, consistency, and a culture of continuous refinement. In this context, Github Actions, Gitlab Pipelines, and Travis CI emerge as instrumental allies to KrakenD, each fostering a seamless automation pipeline for Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment.
Github Actions, through its well-integrated environment with GitHub repositories, automates various stages of the delivery pipeline, ensuring each integration is meticulously vetted before moving to the subsequent phase. Its tight integration with GitHub’s ecosystem makes it a convenient choice for projects hosted on this platform.
On a similar note, Gitlab Pipelines streamlines the CI/CD process with its native integration within the GitLab ecosystem. Its ability to automate, customize, and execute multi-stage pipelines directly within GitLab makes it a robust choice for projects seeking an all-encompassing solution.
Contrastingly, Travis CI stands as a reliable, third-party solution, widely recognized for its simplicity and ease of integration with GitHub. Its focus on providing a seamless CI/CD experience for open source and private projects alike, make it a versatile choice.
Each of these tools aligns well with a GitOps-oriented methodology, encouraging a setup where code repositories serve as the single source of truth, and changes are both traceable and reversible. This approach not only bolsters operational efficiency but also reinforces the transparency and reliability of the deployment process.
Load Balancing & Scalability
Efficient traffic management and operational scalability are crucial in managing growth and traffic surges. Here, HAProxy or AWS ELB/ALB can collaborate with KrakenD to form a robust framework.
HAProxy is known for its proficiency in high-traffic environments. It takes on the role of distributing incoming requests evenly among multiple KrakenD instances. This setup eliminates potential choke points, ensuring smooth traffic flow.
AWS ELB and ALB automate traffic distribution, ensuring efficient request handling, especially within the AWS ecosystem, while linear scalability of KrakenD’s architecture allows for straightforward scaling of KrakenD instances as load increases.
It’s a prevalent practice among customers to set up a load balancer ahead of the KrakenD cluster. This strategy not only aids in load balancing but also centralizes SSL termination. As a result, you can offload the hassle of managing SSL certificates directly in the gateway, streamlining the entire process.
Service Mesh & Internal Traffic Management
In a microservices architecture, effective communication between services is essential. While KrakenD has your back when it comes to North-South (external) traffic, you’ll also need a robust strategy for managing East-West (internal) traffic. Here’s where options like Istio and DNS SRV come into play.
Istio serves as a comprehensive service mesh solution, offering dynamic traffic routing for scenarios like A/B testing or canary releases. It’s a strong enforcer of uniform policies across services and an advocate for secure, authenticated connections. When integrated with KrakenD, Istio truly shines, allowing for a flexible, secure, and efficient internal network.
On the flip side, DNS SRV offers a leaner approach. If you’re seeking simplicity and less overhead, this could be your best bet. Using DNS SRV records allows you to sidestep the hassle of maintaining individual backend addresses, letting you refer to services by name instead. It’s low maintenance, highly flexible, and integrates seamlessly with existing DNS infrastructures, all without adding undue complexity. It offers real strategic advantages, such as safely rolling out API changes using canary releases, thanks to the possibility of setting different weights per IP / host / service.
Both options provide the perk of dynamic backend discovery, meaning you can refer to your internal services by a consistent name rather than constantly updating individual configurations. Essentially, whether you opt for the feature-packed Istio or the straightforward DNS SRV, you’ll be investing in a more streamlined, efficient communication pathway for your internal services.
Security / Auth
KrakenD incorporates multiple features to help you ensure the security of your APIs. However, its operational simplicity also allows for easy coexistence in your architecture with specialized security solutions or WAFs, such as Cloudflare. By using a specialized WAF solution, you can implement complex security logic, like ML for automatic intrusion detection, DDOS protection, anomalies detection, and more.
Also, orchestrating reliable authentication and authorization mechanisms is paramount. KrakenD, when coupled with Identity Providers (IdPs) like Keycloak or Auth0, bolsters its security framework and extends its identity brokering capabilities.
Keycloak and Auth0 provide comprehensive features for managing user identities and ensuring secure access, aligning well with KrakenD’s framework. This integration not only broadens the authentication spectrum but also reinforces API security, maintaining the integrity of the digital ecosystem.
Furthermore, the use of solutions like Keycloak as Identity Brokers can greatly ease the integration of KrakenD with virtually any authentication technology. Whether it’s LDAP, Active Directory, or custom authentication services, KrakenD can leverage the identity brokering capabilities of Keycloak to seamlessly integrate with a wide range of authentication systems.
Streaming, Queuing & Event-Driven Communication
Real-time data flow orchestration and event-based solutions are essential in modern operations. Technologies like Apache Kafka and RabbitMQ facilitate real-time data streaming and message queuing, with KrakenD tuning in as a robust subscriber in this data journey.
Apache Kafka facilitates a seamless flow of messages, allowing data to be streamed across various services in real-time. It provides a scalable and fault-tolerant platform for high-throughput data ingestion, processing, and replication. When integrated with KrakenD, Apache Kafka becomes a powerful tool for streaming data, ensuring efficient and reliable communication between services.
RabbitMQ is a messaging broker that enables the exchange of messages between publishers and subscribers using a pub/sub messaging pattern. It provides a reliable and flexible messaging system that decouples senders and receivers, allowing for asynchronous communication. KrakenD, when aligned with RabbitMQ, becomes an efficient subscriber to the AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) system. This integration empowers KrakenD to act as an event-driven gateway, seamlessly handling and processing messages in real-time.
By integrating with these streaming and queuing solutions, KrakenD enhances its capabilities as an API gateway, enabling smooth communication between services and ensuring harmonious real-time data flow. This integration opens up new possibilities for building scalable and responsive systems that can handle the demands of modern operations.
Monitoring, Visualization & Performance Optimization
Monitoring, visualization, and performance optimization are essential components in delivering top-notch services. By leveraging complementary technologies like InfluxDB, Grafana, Jaeger, and the ELK stack, KrakenD users can unlock even more powerful capabilities.
InfluxDB serves as a robust solution for metrics data storage, allowing users to collect and analyze various performance metrics from their KrakenD deployment. With InfluxDB, users can gain real-time insights into the health and performance of their system.
Grafana is a powerful data visualization tool that seamlessly integrates with InfluxDB, enabling users to create insightful dashboards and visualize the collected metrics. By combining Grafana’s visualization capabilities with InfluxDB’s data storage, users can easily monitor and analyze the performance of their KrakenD deployment.
Jaeger is a tracing tool that provides detailed insights into the operations performed by KrakenD. By tracing request journeys, Jaeger helps users identify potential bottlenecks and optimize the performance of their KrakenD gateway.
The ELK stack, consisting of Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana, offers a comprehensive log analysis solution. With Elasticsearch as the data store, Logstash for log ingestion, and Kibana for data visualization, users can gain valuable insights from their KrakenD logs.
By incorporating these technologies into their KrakenD setup, users can gain a deeper understanding of their system’s performance, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their KrakenD operations.
As we’ve seen in the discussion above, KrakenD excels at integrating seamlessly with a range of existing technologies—be it Docker, Kubernetes, InfluxDB, or Grafana. This isn’t just a bonus feature; it’s central to what makes KrakenD a strong player in modern operational infrastructure.
Unlike many competitors who offer an all-in-one package, often riddled with features you may never use, KrakenD takes a specialized approach focused strictly on API Gateway capabilities. This specialization makes KrakenD not just a plug-and-play solution, but a strategic choice for building a scalable and future-proof tech stack.
Categories: Technical Insights & Best practices