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Ambassador vs Kong: What are the differences?


In this markdown code, we will discuss the key differences between Ambassador and Kong, two popular API gateway solutions.

  1. Integration with Kubernetes: Ambassador is specifically designed to work natively with Kubernetes, utilizing the Kubernetes Ingress resources to configure and manage routing rules. On the other hand, Kong can also be deployed on Kubernetes but requires an additional component, Kong Ingress Controller, to integrate with Kubernetes Ingress resources.

  2. API Gateway Implementation: Ambassador functions as a pure, lightweight API gateway that focuses on a single routing mechanism, using Nginx as its core proxy. Conversely, Kong offers a more extensive feature set as an API gateway, including authentication, rate limiting, analytics, caching, and plug-in support, making it a comprehensive solution for various API management needs.

  3. Configuration Language: Ambassador employs a declarative YAML configuration language, which simplifies the setup and management of routing configurations. In contrast, Kong relies on a declarative configuration file in JSON or YAML format, allowing more flexibility but potentially requiring a steeper learning curve.

  4. Support for Service Mesh: Ambassador is built specifically to integrate with service mesh technologies, such as Istio and Linkerd, to enhance traffic management capabilities within microservices architectures. Kong, on the other hand, can be used in conjunction with service mesh solutions but does not provide native integration.

  5. Rate Limiting Approach: Ambassador utilizes a global rate limiting approach, allowing the definition of rate limits for the entire cluster. This approach simplifies configuration management but may limit fine-grained control. In contrast, Kong provides both global rate limiting and per-service rate limiting, offering more granular control over rate limiting strategies.

  6. Commercial Support and Enterprise Features: Both Ambassador and Kong offer commercial versions with enhanced support and enterprise features. However, Kong provides more extensive enterprise-grade capabilities, such as advanced security features, plugin marketplace, and multi-region support, making it a stronger choice for organizations with complex API requirements.

In summary, Ambassador excels in Kubernetes native integration, simplicity, and service mesh compatibility, while Kong stands out with its broader feature set, flexible configuration options, and comprehensive enterprise capabilities.

Decisions about Ambassador and Kong
Prateek Mittal
Fullstack Engineer| Ruby | React JS | gRPC at Ex Bookmyshow | Furlenco | Shopmatic · | 4 upvotes · 294.1K views

Istio based on powerful Envoy whereas Kong based on Nginx. Istio is K8S native as well it's actively developed when k8s was successfully accepted with production-ready apps whereas Kong slowly migrated to start leveraging K8s. Istio has an inbuilt turn-keyIstio based on powerful Envoy whereas Kong based on Nginx. Istio is K8S native as well it's actively developed when k8s was successfully accepted with production-ready apps whereas Kong slowly migrated to start leveraging K8s. Istio has an inbuilt turn key solution with Rancher whereas Kong completely lacks here. Traffic distribution in Istio can be done via canary, a/b, shadowing, HTTP headers, ACL, whitelist whereas in Kong it's limited to canary, ACL, blue-green, proxy caching. Istio has amazing community support which is visible via Github stars or releases when comparing both.

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Pros of Ambassador
Pros of Kong
  • 3
  • 1
    Kubernetes friendly configuration
  • 37
    Easy to maintain
  • 32
    Easy to install
  • 26
  • 21
    Great performance
  • 7
    Api blueprint
  • 4
    Custom Plugins
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
    Has a good plugin infrastructure
  • 2
  • 1
    Load balancing
  • 1
    Documentation is clear
  • 1
    Very customizable

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What is Ambassador?

Map services to arbitrary URLs in a single, declarative YAML file. Configure routes with CORS support, circuit breakers, timeouts, and more. Replace your Kubernetes ingress controller. Route gRPC, WebSockets, or HTTP.

What is Kong?

Kong is a scalable, open source API Layer (also known as an API Gateway, or API Middleware). Kong controls layer 4 and 7 traffic and is extended through Plugins, which provide extra functionality and services beyond the core platform.

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What companies use Ambassador?
What companies use Kong?
See which teams inside your own company are using Ambassador or Kong.
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What are some alternatives to Ambassador and Kong?
Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.
Originally built at Lyft, Envoy is a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for single services and applications, as well as a communication bus and “universal data plane” designed for large microservice “service mesh” architectures.
Istio is an open platform for providing a uniform way to integrate microservices, manage traffic flow across microservices, enforce policies and aggregate telemetry data. Istio's control plane provides an abstraction layer over the underlying cluster management platform, such as Kubernetes, Mesos, etc.
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
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