Streamline API Management with Ambassador API Gateway in Kubernetes

In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud-native technologies, ensuring secure and efficient API management is critical. One popular tool that has gained traction for managing APIs in Kubernetes environments is the Ambassador API Gateway. With its focus on speed, security, and simplicity, Ambassador has become a go-to solution for many organizations. In this blog post, we will explore how to set up and use the Ambassador API Gateway in a Kubernetes environment, complete with code examples and useful tips.

What is Ambassador API Gateway?

Ambassador is an open-source, Kubernetes-native microservices API gateway built on the Envoy Proxy. It allows you to manage authentication, routing, rate limiting, observability, and more for your APIs. Ambassador is designed to be developer-friendly and integrates seamlessly with Kubernetes.

Why Use Ambassador?

Some key benefits of using Ambassador include:

  • Ease of Use: Declarative configuration using Kubernetes Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs).
  • Security: Built-in support for authentication, authorization, and rate limiting.
  • Observability: Integration with monitoring tools like Prometheus and Grafana.
  • Scalability: Designed for high performance, leveraging the power of Envoy Proxy.

Setting Up Ambassador in a Kubernetes Cluster

Let's walk through the steps to set up the Ambassador API Gateway in a Kubernetes cluster.

Step 1: Install Ambassador

You can install Ambassador using Helm, which simplifies the installation process. First, add the Helm repository:

helm repo add datawire

Next, create a namespace for Ambassador and install it using Helm:

kubectl create namespace ambassador
helm install ambassador datawire/ambassador -n ambassador

Verify that Ambassador is running:

kubectl get pods -n ambassador

Step 2: Deploy a Sample Service

We'll deploy a simple Hello World service to demonstrate how to configure Ambassador for routing. Create a file named hello-world.yaml with the following content:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: hello-world
    - name: http
      port: 80
      targetPort: 8080
    app: hello-world
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: hello-world
  replicas: 3
      app: hello-world
        app: hello-world
      - name: hello-world
        image: hashicorp/http-echo:0.2.3
        - "-text=Hello, World!"
        - containerPort: 8080

Apply the configuration:

kubectl apply -f hello-world.yaml

Verify that the Hello World service is running:

kubectl get deployments,pods,services -l app=hello-world

Step 3: Configure Ambassador for Routing

Now, we will configure Ambassador to route traffic to the Hello World service. Create a file named hello-world-mapping.yaml with the following content:

kind: Mapping
  name: hello-world-mapping
  namespace: ambassador
  prefix: /hello-world/
  service: hello-world.default.svc.cluster.local

Apply the mapping configuration:

kubectl apply -f hello-world-mapping.yaml

Step 4: Test the Configuration

To test the configuration, you need to retrieve the Ambassador service's external IP:

kubectl get svc -n ambassador

Look for the ambassador service's external IP. Once you have the IP address, you can test the routing by sending a request to the /hello-world/ endpoint:

curl http:///hello-world/

You should receive a response with the text "Hello, World!".

Advanced Configuration

Ambassador offers a range of advanced configurations for more complex scenarios:

  • Authentication: Using OAuth, JWT, or custom authentication mechanisms.
  • Rate Limiting: Define rate limiting policies to control API usage.
  • Circuit Breaking: Implement circuit breakers to handle downstream failures.
  • Observability: Integrate with Prometheus, Grafana, and Zipkin for detailed metrics and tracing.

For detailed documentation on these advanced configurations, visit the Ambassador documentation.


The Ambassador API Gateway is a powerful tool for managing APIs in a cloud-native Kubernetes environment. Its ease of use, security features, and scalability make it an excellent choice for modern applications. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can set up Ambassador and start managing your APIs effectively.

Have you used Ambassador in your projects? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below!