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There is one object we haven’t explored so far: EP, or endpoint. We’ve learned that a particular pod or group of pods with matching labels are chosen to be the backend through label selector, so the service request traffic will be redirected to them. The IP and port information of the matching pods are maintained in the endpoint object. The pods may die and spawn any time, the mortal nature of the pod will most likely cause the new pods be respawned with new IP addresses. During this dynamic process the endpoints will always be updated accordingly, to reflect the current backend pod IPs, so the service traffic redirection will act properly. (CNI providers who have their own service implementation update the backend of the service based on the endpoint objects.)

Here is an example to demonstrate some quick steps to verify the service, corresponding endpoint, and the pod, with matching labels.

To create a service:

To list the endpoint:

To locate the pod with the label that is used by the selector in service:

And finally, scale the backend pods:

Now check the endpoints again, and you will see that they are updated accordingly:

Service Without Selector

In the preceding example, the endpoints object is automatically generated by the Kubernetes system whenever a service is created and at least one pod with a matching label exists. But another endpoint use case is a service that has no label selector defined in which you can manually map the service to the network address and the port where it’s running by manually adding an endpoint object. Then you can connect the endpoint with the service. This can be very useful in some scenarios, for example, in a setup where you have a backend web server running in a physical server, and you still want to integrate it into a Kubernetes service. In that case, you just create the service as usual, and then create an endpoint with an address and port pointing to the web server. That’s it! The service does not care about the backend type, it just redirects the service request traffic exactly the same way as if all backend is a pod.