Homelab Networking

My home network is roughly split into VLANs with a limited amount of network isolation. As usual there’s an eternal TODO item to split things out properly, but for now it’s basically split into IoT, Servers, and LAN. For the purposes of this post I’ll only focus on LAN and Servers.

I run home.domain.com for my apps hosted in a RKE2 Kubernetes cluster, with wildcard DNS pointing to the ingress point for that cluster. This means I can create a new app, app1.home.domain.com, and get a Kubernetes Ingress resource pointing at a service of my choice. This lets me have Kubernetes via Cert-Manager handle my TLS as well. Incidentally, I’m using the Lets Encrypt DNS01 challenge with Route53 to handle certificates, so if I’m ever not at home I still get DNS responses the servers just don’t respond.

Last week I deployed UptimeKuma as a dashboard, hosted as an add-on to Home Assistant. This meant it was outside my Kubernetes cluster, as Home Assistant runs on its own machine. I also run a couple of other services extra-cluster, and until recently handled their own TLS manually. This meant running cronjobs on a schedule on each device, and issuing a number of certificates which were likely not fully required.

After some digging I realised that Kubernetes supports ExternalName Services, which are basically in-cluster CNAME records. This means you can create a service in cluster which can be reached through your ingress/load balancer of choice, and have cert-manager still provision certificates. There’s still technically cleartext or non-trusted TLS happening between the cluster and that end service but for my homelab non-production needs, this is an accepted risk.

Setting this up was relatively trivial. I created a service that points to my Home Assistant Device:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
    app: homeassistant
  name: homeassistant
  namespace: apps
  externalName: homeassistant.lan.domain.com
    app: homeassistant
  type: ExternalName
  loadBalancer: {}

Then I made an Ingress Resource which points to that service. As no port name was specified in the service, we need to make sure we get the right port in Ingress:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: Ingress
    cert-manager.io/issuer: letsencrypt-homelab
    cert-manager.io/issuer-kind: ClusterIssuer
    nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/rewrite-target: /
  name: uptime
  namespace: apps
  - host: uptime.home.domain.com
      - backend:
            name: homeassistant
              number: 3001
        path: /
        pathType: Prefix
  - hosts:
    - uptime.home.domain.com
    secretName: wildcard-domain-com-tls
    - ip: x.y.z.1
    - ip: x.y.z.2
    - ip: x.y.z.3

It’s worth noting that I use a wildcard cert, just so I don’t need to get a new cert from LetsEncrypt every time I create a new service.

This approach lets me easily add easy-to-remember hostnames for apps in the house, rather than needing to remember that application X is hosted on device Y. It means if I create a new app running under Unraid or something that needs its own hardware, I can still keep the ingress consistent, and makes it way easier to add bookmarks and maintain dashboards etc.