Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Manually install a single node Kubernetes cluster on Debian

Debian has work-in-progress packages for Kubernetes, which work well enough enough for a testing and learning environement. Bootstraping a cluster with the kubeadm deployer with these packages is not that hard, and is similar to the upstream kubeadm documentation

Install necessary packages in a VM

Install a throwaway VM with Vagrant.

apt install vagrant vagrant-libvirt
vagrant init debian/testing64

Bump the RAM and CPU of the VM, Kubernetes needs at least 2 gigs and 2 cores.

awk  -i inplace '1;/^Vagrant.configure\("2"\) do \|config/ {print "  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |vm|  vm.memory=2048 end"}' Vagrantfile
awk  -i inplace '1;/^Vagrant.configure\("2"\) do \|config/ {print "  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |vm|  vm.cpus=2 end"}' Vagrantfile

Start the VM, login, update the package index.

vagrant up
vagrant ssh
sudo apt update

Install a container engine, here we use docker.io, we could also use containerd (both are packaged in Debian) or cri-o.

sudo apt install --yes --no-install-recommends docker.io curl

Install kubernetes binaries. This will install kubelet, the system service which will manage the containers, and kubectl the user/admin tool to manage the cluster.

sudo apt install --yes kubernetes-{node,client} containernetworking-plugins

Although it is not technically mandatory, we will use kubeadm, the most popular installer to create a Kubernetes cluster. Kubeadm is not packaged in Debian, we have to download an upstream binary.

wget https://dl.k8s.io/v1.20.5/kubernetes-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

sha512sum kubernetes-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz
28529733bf34f5d5b72eabe30a81df98cc7f8e529590f807745cd67986a2c5c3eb86cebc7ecbcfc3df3c50416306e5d150948f2483933ea46c2aebaeb871ea8f  kubernetes-server-linux-arm64.tar.gz

sudo tar --directory=/usr/local/sbin --strip-components 3 -xaf kubernetes-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz kubernetes/server/bin/kubeadm
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/kubeadm 
sudo kubeadm version
kubeadm version: &version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"20", GitVersion:"v1.20.5", GitCommit:"6b1d87acf3c8253c123756b9e61dac642678305f", GitTreeState:"clean", BuildDate:"2021-03-18T01:08:27Z", GoVersion:"go1.15.8", Compiler:"gc", Platform:"linux/amd64"}

Add a kubelet systemd unit:

curl -sSL "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/release/${RELEASE_VERSION}/cmd/kubepkg/templates/latest/deb/kubelet/lib/systemd/system/kubelet.service" | sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/kubelet.service
sudo systemctl enable kubelet

and a default config file for kubeadm

sudo mkdir -p /etc/systemd/system/kubelet.service.d
curl -sSL "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/release/${RELEASE_VERSION}/cmd/kubepkg/templates/latest/deb/kubeadm/10-kubeadm.conf" | sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/kubelet.service.d/10-kubeadm.conf

finally we need to help kubelet find the components needed for container networking

echo 'KUBELET_EXTRA_ARGS="--cni-bin-dir=/usr/lib/cni"' | sudo tee /etc/default/kubelet

Create a cluster

Initialize a cluster with kubeadm: this will download container images for the Kubernetes control plane (= the brain of the cluster), and start the containers via the kubelet service. Yes a good part of Kubernetes itself run in containers.

sudo kubeadm init --pod-network-cidr=
Your Kubernetes control-plane has initialized successfully!

To start using your cluster, you need to run the following as a regular user:

mkdir -p $HOME/.kube
sudo cp -i /etc/kubernetes/admin.conf $HOME/.kube/config
sudo chown $(id -u):$(id -g) $HOME/.kube/config

Follow the instructions from the kubeadm output, and verify you have a single node cluster, with the status NotReady.

kubectl get nodes 
NAME      STATUS     ROLES                  AGE    VERSION
testing   NotReady   control-plane,master   9m9s   v1.20.5

At that point you should also have a bunch of containers running on the node:

sudo docker ps --format '{{.Names}}'

The kubelet service also needs an external network plugin to get the cluster in Ready state.

sudo systemctl status kubelet
Mar 28 09:28:43 testing kubelet[9405]: E0328 09:28:43.958059    9405 kubelet.go:2188] Container runtime network not ready: NetworkReady=false reason:NetworkPluginNotReady message:docker: network plugin is not ready: cni config uninitialized

Let’s add that network plugin. Download the flannel network plugin definition, and schedule flannel to run on all nodes of your cluster:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/coreos/flannel/master/Documentation/kube-flannel.yml
kubectl apply --filename=kube-flannel.yml

After a dozen of seconds your node should be in ready status.

kubectl get nodes 
NAME      STATUS   ROLES                  AGE   VERSION
testing   Ready    control-plane,master   16m   v1.20.5

Deploy a test application

Our node is now in Ready status, but we cannot run application on it, since we only have a master node, an administrative node which by default cannot run user applications.

kubectl describe node testing | grep ^Taints
Taints:             node-role.kubernetes.io/master:NoSchedule

Let’s allow node testing to run user applications:

kubectl taint node testing node-role.kubernetes.io/master-

Deploy a nginx container:

kubectl run my-nginx-pod --image=docker.io/library/nginx --port=80 --labels="app=http-content" 

Create a Kubernetes service to access this pod externally:

cat service.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: my-k8s-service
  type: NodePort
    - port: 80
      nodePort: 30000
    app: http-content 

kubectl create --filename service.yaml

Access the service via IP adress:

Thank you for using nginx.


I will try to get this blog post in a Debian Wiki article, or maybe in the kubernetes-node documentation. Blog posts deprecate and disappear, wiki and project docs live longer.

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