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Externally Managed Load Balancer


The load balancer controller (LBC) generally creates and destroys AWS Load Balancers in response to Kubernetes resources.

However, some cluster operators may prefer to manually manage AWS Load Balancers. This supports use cases like:

  • Preventing accidental release of key IP addresses.
  • Supporting load balancers where the Kubernetes cluster is one of multiple targets.
  • Complying with organizational requirements on provisioning load balancers, for security or cost reasons.

Solution Overview

Use the TargetGroupBinding CRD to sync a Kubernetes service with the targets of a load balancer.

First, a load balancer is manually created directly with AWS. This guide uses a network load balancer, but an application load balancer may be similarly configured.

Second, A listener and a target group are then added to the load balancer.

Third, a TargetGroupBinding CRD is created in a cluster. The CRD includes references to a Kubernetes service and the ARN of the Load Balancer Target Group. The CRD configures the LBC to watch the service and automatically update the target group with the appropriate pod VPC IP addresses.



Have this information available:

  • Cluster VPC Information
  • ID of EKS Cluster
  • Subnet IDs
  • This information is available in the "Networking" section of the EKS Cluster Console.
  • Port and Protocol of Target Kubernetes Service

Configure Load Balancer

Create Load Balancer: (optional)

  1. Use the create-load-balancer command to create an IPv4 load balancer, specifying a public subnet for each Availability Zone in which you have instances.

    You can specify only one subnet per Availability Zone.

    aws elbv2 create-load-balancer --name my-load-balancer --type network --subnets subnet-0e3f5cac72EXAMPLE

    Important: The output includes the ARN of the load balancer. This value is needed to configure the LBC.


  2. Use the create-target-group command to create an IPv4 target group, specifying the same VPC of your EKS cluster.

aws elbv2 create-target-group --name my-targets --protocol TCP --port 80 --vpc-id vpc-0598c7d356EXAMPLE

The output includes the ARN of the target group, with this format:

  1. Use the create-listener command to create a listener for your load balancer with a default rule that forwards requests to your target group. The listener port and protocol must match the Kubernetes service. However, TLS termination is permitted. [[double check it works in this configuration?]]
aws elbv2 create-listener --load-balancer-arn loadbalancer-arn --protocol TCP --port 80  \
--default-actions Type=forward,TargetGroupArn=targetgroup-arn

Create TargetGroupBinding CRD

  1. Create the TargetGroupBinding CRD

Insert the ARN of the Target Group, as created above.

Insert the name and port of the target Kubernetes service.

kind: TargetGroupBinding
  name: my-tgb
    name: awesome-service # route traffic to the awesome-service
    port: 80
  targetGroupARN: arn:aws:elasticloadbalancing:us-east-2:123456789012:targetgroup/my-targets/1234567890123456
2. Apply the CRD

Apply the TargetGroupBinding CRD CRD file to your Cluster.

kubectl apply -f my-tgb.yaml


Wait approximately 30 seconds for the LBC to update the load balancer.

View all target groups in the AWS console.

Find the target group by the ARN noted above, and verify the appropriate instances from the cluster have been added.