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Kubernetes The Right Way

Install a Kubernetes cluster with Ansible on any infrastructure. Have a vanilla, almost-production-ready cluster in no time!

This project aims to provide an automated way of deploying a Kubernetes cluster that isn't configured. This means that configuration and host preparations lies in the hands of the user executing the playbooks. After a successfull install you will have a cluster with:

  • containerd as container runtime
  • runc for managing containers
  • cni plugins
  • one or more etcd instances
  • one or more masters (kube-api, kube-controller-manager, kube-scheduler) installed as services managed by systemd.
  • one or more nodes (kubelet)
  • a certificate authority for etcd
  • a certificate authority for kube components

What you will not have:

  • Host-level validation and pre-flight checks
  • DNS plugin
  • Pod networking
  • Ingress
  • Node roles

As always, it's highly recommended that you verify that your hosting environment meets any requirements before installing Kubernetes and its components.


On the control host

  • Ansible >= 2.4
  • Python 2.7
  • OpenSSL

On each host in the cluster

  • Python 2.7
  • ca-certificates


There are a few variables that you may set to further customize the deployment.

Name Required Default Description
config_path False ~/.ktrw A path to a directory on the control host where cluster certificates and configuration is created.
cluster_hostname False groups['masters'][0] The public hostname of the cluster. Defaults to the hostname of the first master in the inventory. For multi-master installations, the value of cluster_hostname is usually a load balancer.
cluster_port False 6443 The port number on which kube-apiserver listens on.
cluster_name False cluster_hostname.split('.')[0] The name of the cluster, used for identification in kubectl. Defaults to the first segment of the cluster_hostname.
cluster_cidr False CIDR Range for Pods in cluster. This effectively sets the --cluster-cidr flag on kube-controller-manager.
regenerate_certificates False False Set to True to force create certificates. This will overwrite existing certificates.
regenerate_keys False False Set to True to force create private certificates (keys). This will overwrite existing certificates.
certificate_expiry False 1826 Number of days until cluster certificates expires and need to be renewed.
flags_apiserver False Additional options to kube-apiserver as an array, for example: ['--enable-admission-plugins=PodSecurityPolicy'].

Deploying a cluster

Configure an Ansible inventory file with the host groups etcd, masters and nodes and assign any host to their respective groups. Have a look at the examples.

Note! If you plan on using flannel in your cluster, you must set cluster_cidr= in the inventory.

  • After you've defined an inventory, run the install.yml playbook
ansible-playbook -i inventory install.yml
  • Use the kubeconfig in ~/.ktrw/<cluster_name>/kubeconfig to manage the cluster
$ KUBECONFIG=~/.ktrw/<cluster_name>/kubeconfig kubectl version --short
Client Version: v1.19.8
Server Version: v1.19.8

Installing additional plugins

After installation, you will have a bare minimum cluster. This means no cluster network or DNS. Refer to the kubernetes docs for more info. The choice is up to you. If you're not sure which ones to use, just stick with flannel and CoreDNS and you'll be fine.

Deploy flannel onto the cluster

kubectl apply -f

Deploy CoreDNS onto the cluster

kubectl apply -f


To remove a cluster run the cleanup.yml playbook.

ansible-playbook -i inventory cleanup.yml

Generated certs and config

During installation private certificates, public certificates and configuration are generated on the control host, the host that executes the playbook. They are then copied to the hosts during installation but are kept on the control host in ~/.ktrw/. This way, the cluster can be safely removed and re-installed without having to regenerate the cluster certificates. You may set which directory to store certs and config locally using the config_path variable.

Adding nodes

To add a node to an existing cluster is as easy as adding it to the inventory and running install.yml again.

Rolling upgrades

When making changes to your cluster you might want to make sure that no more than X hosts are down at the same time. There are four Ansible variables that control this, which must be set with the --extra-vars switch:

  • serial_etcd controls how many hosts of type etcd will be handled at a time
  • serial_masters controls how many hosts of type masters will be handled at a time
  • serial_nodes controls how many hosts of type nodes will be handled at a time
  • serial_all controls how many hosts of a single type will be handled at a time, given that the specific one above for that type is not specified

The default value of these variables is -1, indicating that everything should be executed in parallell. A value of 1 would indicate that only one host at a time will be processed. A value of 50% indicates that half of the hosts (rounded downwards) will be handled at a time, which effectively means that for example 1/3 or 2/5 will be handled at a time.


$ ansible-playbook --inventory ansible-inventory --extra-vars "serial_all=50%" install.yml

Version matrix

Name Version Role
cni 0.8.7 node
containerd 1.3.3 node
crictl 1.19.0 node
etcd 3.4.13 etcd
kube-apiserver 1.19.8 master
kube-controller-manager 1.19.8 master
kube-scheduler 1.19.8 master
kube-proxy 1.19.8 node
kubelet 1.19.8 node
runc 1.0.0-rc93 node

How to contribute

This project is MIT licensed and accepts contributions via GitHub pull requests.


Install Kubernetes with Ansible




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