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A tool for managing complex enterprise Kubernetes environments as code.

Note: Effort on this project has moved to ksonnet/kubecfg (a golang rewrite, hence I haven't just transferred this repo)

kubecfg allows you to express the patterns across your infrastructure and reuse these powerful "templates" across many services. The more complex you infrastructure is, the more you will gain from using kubecfg.

Status: Basic create/delete/update/diff functionality works, but there are still some unimplemented features and arguments. If the functionality you want works now, it should continue to work going forward.

Yes, Google employees will recognise this as being very similar to a similarly-named internal tool ;)


Pre-built x86_64 binaries are available in the github releases page.

Install Rust and cargo. See

# `cargo install` installs here, without `--root` arg

cargo install --git


kubecfg currently relies on a local kubectl proxy to access the cluster. It defaults to http://localhost:8001/ and doesn't support kubernetes authentication options (yet).

% kubecfg proxy &

# Set kubecfg/jsonnet library search path.  Can also use `-J` args everywhere.
% export KUBECFG_JPATH=$PWD/examples/lib

# Show generated YAML
% kubecfg show -f examples/squid.jsonnet -o yaml

# Create squid (in namespace `squid`)
% kubecfg create -f examples/squid.jsonnet

# (modify squid.jsonnet)
% sed -ie 's/port: 80,/port: 8080,/' examples/squid.jsonnet
# Show differences vs the running job
% kubecfg diff -f examples/squid.jsonnet
# Update to new config
% kubecfg update -f examples/squid.jsonnet

Infrastructure-as-code Philosophy

The idea is to describe as much as possible about your configuration as files in version control (eg: git).

You make changes to the configuration and review, approve, merge, etc using your regular code change workflow (github pull-requests, phabricator diffs, etc). At any point, the config in version control captures the entire desired-state, so you can easily recreate the system in a QA cluster or recover from disaster.

Because the configuration is an absolute description (and not some commands relative to a particular starting condition), you can create/recreate/upgrade and downgrade using the same description[1]. In particular, this means that recovering from a bad change is as simple as reverting the change in version control and then updating the cluster to the new (ie: old) configuration.

This is a big deal, with many advantages when maintaining complex infrastructure with a team of people. I encourage you to read more complete discussions of this topic elsewhere.

[1] At least in most cases. There are still situations involving schema changes to persistent data, etc that require manual care when changing versions.

Recommended Automated Pipeline

An example ideal automated workflow with kubecfg using github and Jenkins' multibranch pipeline plugin would be:

On each pull-request, run kubecfg check -f $file on every top-level file. Optionally, run jsonnet fmt --test -f $file if you want to enforce local code style guidelines.

On each integration into the master branch, run kubecfg update --create --wait -f $file on every top-level file.


Kubecfg relies heavily on jsonnet to describe Kubernetes resources, and is really just a thin Kubernetes-specific wrapper around jsonnet evaluation. You should read the jsonnet tutorial, and skim the functions available in the jsonnet std library.

Why jsonnet?

Kubernetes configurations involve a lot of repeated patterns, and complex deployments will typically have their own local conventions on top of that. Jsonnet can import other files, has a strong "merge" operation, and carefully considered "composition" properties, which all allow for complex configurations to be managed without getting out of control.

Jsonnet allows configuration values to be derived from other configuration values, reducing duplication and avoiding configuration becoming inconsistent.

Jsonnet contains an assert statement, and produces stack traces on errors, allowing for faster local-turnaround when developing complex configurations. Many trivial errors can be caught immediately without needing to attempt a deployment.

Jsonnet natively produces JSON structures. This removes the quoting and indenting challenges from hybrid solutions like go-templated YAML.

Suggested jsonnet Repo Layout

You are welcome to use kubecfg/jsonnet in any way that works for you, and please tell others about it so they can learn from your experience.

My suggested configuration layout is (below any particular subdirectory):

/lib/*.libsonnet: Jsonnet utility files that don't represent real Kubernetes resources. /lib should be in KUBECFG_JPATH environment variable (or explicit -J args).

/common/*.jsonnet: A file for each major component of your infrastructure, in the style of examples/squid.jsonnet. Most of your config is here. In particular, note the idiom of ending each file with a kube.List() { ... } construct.

/$cluster_name/*.jsonnet: Specific instantiations of files in /common/*.jsonnet for each cluster. These are your "top-level" files for each cluster. These just import the "common" files and merge any tweaks required for this specific cluster deployment (eg: production clusters might need more resources than testing, or a different --web.external-url arg value, etc). These should be as thin as possible because (eg) anything specific to your production cluster isn't getting tested in your QA cluster.

With this structure, all *.libsonnet and *.jsonnet can be passed through jsonnet fmt and jsonnet eval lint checks (if desired). All */*.jsonnet files should be valid Kubernetes objects and satisfy kubecfg check. The files in $cluster/*.jsonnet can be automatically deployed to $cluster as appropriate for your workflow.

Note in particular that in this structure the "objects" being passed from kube.libsonnet -> common -> $cluster are the actual Kubernetes JSON objects and not some higher-level (and lossy) intermediate description. This structure allows any Kubernetes option to be tweaked at any level in the "inheritance" tree, without having to explicitly expose every option or make some options unavailable. Embrace the merge operation.


A tool for managing complex enterprise Kubernetes environments as code.







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