Couchbase on OpenShift/Kubernetes PoC
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Couchbase on OpenShift/Kubernetes

Couchbase Server is a NoSQL document database with a distributed architecture for performance, scalability, and availability. It enables developers to build applications easier and faster by leveraging the power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON.

This project provides a proof-of-concept sidecar container that can be used alongside official Couchbase images to provide a scalable and flexible Couchbase deployment.

The sidecar is responsible for registering new nodes into the Couchbase cluster, automatically triggering cluster rebalances, and handles migration of data given a scale-down or node failure event.

Whilst working and handling the majority of failure cases, this should not be used in production. It has not been battle tested, and there are some edge-cases that can result in manual intervention being needed to bring your cluster back online. Please check the Limitations/Caveats section below for more details.


  • OpenShift cluster supporting StatefulSet (i.e. Origin 3.3+) with full administrator access
  • or Kubernetes cluster supporting StatefulSet (i.e. 1.5+)
    • Helm/Tiller (optional - it's possible to modify the Helm templates to create manifests)
  • Support for dynamic volume provisioning, or a set of pre-made PVs

Getting started


  1. Add Couchbase templates to the openshift project:
$ oc apply --namespace=openshift -f openshift/templates/
  1. Ensure a default StorageClass exists if you wish to use dynamic volume provisioning. For example, to use EBS gp2 on AWS as default fast storage:
$ oc create -f - <<EOF
kind: StorageClass
  name: fast
  annotations: "true"
  type: gp2
  1. Now create a new OpenShift project and add additional roles to the project serviceaccount required by the sidecar:
$ oc new-project couchbase
$ oc policy add-role-to-user edit system:serviceaccount:couchbase:default -n couchbase
$ odm policy add-cluster-role-to-user system:node-reader system:serviceaccount:couchbase:default
  1. The couchbase/docker container image initially runs as root for init, and then runs Couchbase components as a couchbase user. By default, OpenShift will prevent root execution in a container so it is necessary to relax these restrictions for the couchbase project default serviceaccount.
$ oadm policy add-scc-to-user anyuid system:serviceaccount:couchbase:default
  1. Use the OpenShift UI to create a new Couchbase cluster ('Add to project' -> 'New datastore').


For Kubernetes deployments, we use Helm to package up Couchbase, making it easier to view all available configuration options and easily manage the lifecycle of your deployment.

  1. A ready-made Helm chart is available in the contrib/charts/couchbase directory. You can review the available configuration options in values.yaml, or

  2. As Couchbase recommends not to use load balancers across nodes, we will use port-forward to access the Couchbase UI. If you named your release my-release, you can port-forward to one of your nodes for example with the following:

$ kubectl port-forward --namespace=<namespace> my-release-couchbase-data-0 8091:8091

You should then be able to access the web UI at http://localhost:8091/

  1. We can scale-up the cluster using a Helm upgrade:
$ helm upgrade --set my-release jetstack/couchbase

and back down again:

$ helm upgrade --set my-release jetstack/couchbase

When scaling down, you should scale by no more than your minimum replica count for a bucket (so if your least replicated bucket has 1 replica, scale down one at a time) - if you scale quicker than this, you will most likely cause data loss.

  1. We can clean-up after ourselves with a helm delete:
$ helm delete my-release

Note: this will remove all cluster data, and is an irreversible action


  • This has only been tested for local cluster access. It should be possible to access externally, however it will require careful configuration of the network fabric, DNS and port-forwarding on pods.
  • Occasionally, after deleting all pods/restarting the cluster, data nodes can get stuck in the warmup state. Kubernetes will stop scaling up as the sidecar will report not-healthy, and a deadlock will occur (Couchbase needs more nodes in order to function, but Kubernetes won't add more nodes until it is functioning).
  • Using emptyDir for persistent disks can result in storage issues. On GKE, the stateful data partition gets remounted RO and the whole Kubernetes cluster stops working.
  • Currently only supports Enterprise Edition, as the sidecar attempts to label nodes with zone information, which is unsupported in Couchbase Community Edition. This will be fixed in a later release.