The external-attacher is a sidecar container that attaches volumes to nodes by calling
ControllerUnpublish functions of CSI drivers. It is necessary because internal Attach/Detach controller running in Kubernetes controller-manager does not have any direct interfaces to CSI drivers.
In Kubernetes, the term attach means 3rd party volume attachment to a node. This is common in cloud environments, where the cloud API is able to attach a volume to a node without any code running on the node. In CSI terminology, this corresponds to the
Detach is the reverse operation, 3rd party volume detachment from a node,
ControllerUnpublish in CSI terminology.
It is not an attach/detach operation performed by a code running on a node, such as an attachment of iSCSI or Fibre Channel volumes. These are typically performed during
NodeUnstage CSI calls and are not done by the external-attacher.
The external-attacher is an external controller that monitors
VolumeAttachment objects created by controller-manager and attaches/detaches volumes to/from nodes (i.e. calls
ControllerUnpublish. Full design can be found at Kubernetes proposal at container-storage-interface.md
This information reflects the head of this branch.
|Compatible with CSI Version||Container Image||Min K8s Version||Recommended K8s Version|
|CSI Spec v1.2.0||k8s.gcr.io/sig-storage/csi-attacher||1.17||1.17|
Various external-attacher releases come with different alpha / beta features.
The following table reflects the head of this branch.
|CSIMigration*||Beta||On||Migrating in-tree volume plugins to CSI.|
*) There is no special feature gate for this feature. It is enabled by turning on the corresponding features in Kubernetes.
All other external-attacher features and the external-attacher itself is considered GA and fully supported.
It is necessary to create a new service account and give it enough privileges to run the external-attacher, see
deploy/kubernetes/rbac.yaml. The attacher is then deployed as single Deployment as illustrated below:
kubectl create deploy/kubernetes/deployment.yaml
The external-attacher may run in the same pod with other external CSI controllers such as the external-provisioner, external-snapshotter and/or external-resizer.
Note that the external-attacher does not scale with more replicas. Only one external-attacher is elected as leader and running. The others are waiting for the leader to die. They re-elect a new active leader in ~15 seconds after death of the old leader.
Command line options
Important optional arguments that are highly recommended to be used
--csi-address <path to CSI socket>: This is the path to the CSI driver socket inside the pod that the external-attacher container will use to issue CSI operations (
/run/csi/socketis used by default).
--leader-election: Enables leader election. This is useful when there are multiple replicas of the same external-attacher running for one CSI driver. Only one of them may be active (=leader). A new leader will be re-elected when current leader dies or becomes unresponsive for ~15 seconds.
--leader-election-namespace <namespace>: Namespace where the external-attacher runs and where leader election object will be created. It is recommended that this parameter is populated from Kubernetes DownwardAPI.
--timeout <duration>: Timeout of all calls to CSI driver. It should be set to value that accommodates majority of
ControllerUnpublishcalls. See CSI error and timeout handling for details. 15 seconds is used by default.
--worker-threads: The number of goroutines for processing VolumeAttachments. 10 workers is used by default.
--retry-interval-start: The exponential backoff for failures. See CSI error and timeout handling for details. 1 second is used by default.
--retry-interval-max: The exponential backoff maximum value. See CSI error and timeout handling for details. 5 minutes is used by default.
--metrics-address: The TCP network address where the prometheus metrics endpoint and leader election health check will run (example:
:8080which corresponds to port 8080 on local host). The default is empty string, which means metrics and leader election check endpoint is disabled.
--metrics-path: The HTTP path where prometheus metrics will be exposed. Default is
--reconcile-sync: Resync frequency of the attached volumes with the driver. See Periodic re-sync for details. 1 minute is used by default.
Other recognized arguments
--kubeconfig <path>: Path to Kubernetes client configuration that the external-attacher uses to connect to Kubernetes API server. When omitted, default token provided by Kubernetes will be used. This option is useful only when the external-attacher does not run as a Kubernetes pod, e.g. for debugging.
--resync <duration>: Internal resync interval when the external-attacher re-evaluates all existing
VolumeAttachmentinstances and tries to fulfill them, i.e. attach / detach corresponding volumes. It does not affect re-tries of failed CSI calls! It should be used only when there is a bug in Kubernetes watch logic.
--version: Prints current external-attacher version and quits.
All glog / klog arguments are supported, such as
-v <log level>or
CSI error and timeout handling
The external-attacher invokes all gRPC calls to CSI driver with timeout provided by
--timeout command line argument (15 seconds by default).
ControllerPublish: The call might have timed out just before the driver attached a volume and was sending a response. From that reason, timeouts from
ControllerPublishis considered as "volume may be attached" or "volume is being attached in the background." The external-attacher will re-try calling
ControllerPublishafter exponential backoff until it gets either successful response or final (non-timeout) error that the volume cannot be attached.
ControllerUnpublish: This is similar to
ControllerPublish, The external-attacher will re-try calling
ControllerUnpublishwith exponential backoff after timeout until it gets either successful response or a final error that the volume cannot be detached.
Probe: The external-attacher re-tries calling Probe until the driver reports it's ready. It re-tries also when it receives timeout from
Probecall. The external-attacher has no limit of retries. It is expected that ReadinessProbe on the driver container will catch case when the driver takes too long time to get ready.
ControllerGetCapabilities: The external-attacher expects that these calls are quick and does not retry them on any error, including timeout. Instead, it assumes that the driver is faulty and exits. Note that Kubernetes will likely start a new attacher container and it will start with
Correct timeout value depends on the storage backend and how quickly it is able to processes
ControllerUnpublish calls. The value should be set to accommodate majority of them. It is fine if some calls time out - such calls will be re-tried after exponential backoff (starting with
--retry-interval-start), however, this backoff will introduce delay when the call times out several times for a single volume (up to
When CSI driver supports
LIST_VOLUMES_PUBLISHED_NODES capabilities, the external attacher periodically syncs volume attachments requested by Kubernetes with the actual state reported by CSI driver. Volumes detached by any 3rd party, but still required to be attached by Kubernetes, will be re-attached back. Frequency of this re-sync is controlled by
--reconcile-sync command line parameter.
The external-attacher optionally exposes an HTTP endpoint at address:port specified by
--metrics-address argument. When set, these two paths are exposed:
- Metrics path, as set by
--metrics-pathargument (default is
- Leader election health check at
/healthz/leader-election. It is recommended to run a liveness probe against this endpoint when leader election is used to kill external-attacher leader that fails to connect to the API server to renew its leadership. See https://github.com/kubernetes-csi/csi-lib-utils/issues/66 for details.
Community, discussion, contribution, and support
Learn how to engage with the Kubernetes community on the community page.
You can reach the maintainers of this project at:
Code of conduct
Participation in the Kubernetes community is governed by the Kubernetes Code of Conduct.