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Getting started

Building rktlet

# In the rktlet repo's root dir.
$ make
go build -o bin/rktlet ./cmd/server/main.go

Configure Kubernetes to use rktlet

Assuming the rktlet process is running with the default configuration you need to pass the following options to the Kubelet:

--cgroup-driver=systemd \
--container-runtime=remote \
--container-runtime-endpoint=/var/run/rktlet.sock \

Configure stream server address

For some operations (e.g. kubectl exec) the kubelet sends a streaming request to rktlet and rktlet generates a URL that is sent to the API server. Then, the API server will connect to that URL to carry out the requested operation.


For this to work, rktlet needs to know on which address to listen for streaming requests. This address must be reachable from the master node (running the API server).

You can specify the address with the rktlet flag --stream-server-address. For example, assuming the IP of the node where the rktlet is running is and that IP address is reachable from the master node, you can execute rktlet as follows.

# rktlet --stream-server-address=

Use rktlet in kube-spawn

kube-spawn is a tool for creating multi-node Kubernetes clusters on Linux with each node being a system-nspawn container.

Note: This guide assumes kube-spawn v0.2.0 and a built rkt.

First, create a cluster configuration with rkt. Substitute the paths for rkt, rkt's stage1, and rktlet with the ones on your machine.

$ export CNI_PATH=$GOPATH/bin
$ sudo -E KUBE_SPAWN_RKT_BIN=$GOPATH/bin/rkt \
          KUBE_SPAWN_RKT_STAGE1_IMAGE=$GOPATH/bin/stage1-coreos.aci \
          KUBE_SPAWN_RKTLET_BIN=$GOPATH/bin/rktlet \
          kube-spawn create --container-runtime=rkt
creating cluster environment "default"
spawning kubernetes version "v1.7.5"
spawning with container runtime "rkt"
ensuring environment
    "cniVersion": "0.2.0",
    "ip4": {
        "ip": "",
        "gateway": "",
        "routes": [
                "dst": "",
                "gw": ""
    "dns": {}
}checking base image
making iptables FORWARD chain defaults to ACCEPT...
setting iptables rule to allow CNI traffic...
generating scripts
copy files into environment
created cluster config

Let's start the cluster now!

$ sudo -E kube-spawn start
using config from /var/lib/kube-spawn/default
using "coreos" base image from /var/lib/machines
spawning cluster "default" (2 machines)
Image resized.
Resize '/var/lib/machines' of 'max'
waiting for machine "kubespawndefault0" to start up
waiting for machine "kubespawndefault1" to start up
machine "kubespawndefault0" started
bootstrapping "kubespawndefault0"
machine "kubespawndefault1" started
bootstrapping "kubespawndefault1"
cluster "default" started
[!] note: init on master can take a couple of minutes until all pods are up
Connected to machine kubespawndefault0. Press ^] three times within 1s to exit session.
[kubeadm] WARNING: kubeadm is in beta, please do not use it for production clusters.
[init] Using Kubernetes version: v1.7.5
[init] Using Authorization modes: [Node RBAC]
[preflight] Skipping pre-flight checks


cluster "default" initialized

Now you can access the cluster and schedule pods:

$ kubectl get nodes
NAME                STATUS    ROLES     AGE       VERSION
kubespawndefault0   Ready     master    2m        v1.7.5
kubespawndefault1   Ready     <none>    2m        v1.7.5
$ kubectl run nginx --image=nginx
deployment "nginx" created
$ kubectl get pods
NAME                     READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
nginx-4217019353-bfmzp   1/1       Running   0          22s

Use rktlet in minikube

rktlet is not yet officially supported on minikube. However, it can run with some manual steps.

Follow the minikube installation instructions.

Then, start the minikube configuring kubelet's cgroup-driver as systemd. We'll also give it more RAM since the default is a bit tight.

# In the minikube repo's root dir
$ minikube start --extra-config=kubelet.CgroupDriver=systemd --memory=3072

Then, you need to copy the rkt and rktlet binaries, and the rkt stage1 image to the minikube machine. Substitute the paths for rkt, rkt's stage1, and rktlet with the ones on your machine.

$ export RKT_BIN_PATH=$GOPATH/src/
$ export STAGE1_PATH=$GOPATH/src/
$ scp -i ~/.minikube/machines/minikube/id_rsa -o GlobalKnownHostsFile=/dev/null -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null $RKT_BIN_PATH $STAGE1_PATH $RKTLET_BIN_PATH docker@$(minikube ip):
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:algjLoZxaREX+nNzCQc0UWkNGuAQ7o6kxwMJBELZffg.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
rkt                                                                                                                                        100%   20MB  62.2MB/s   00:00
stage1-coreos.aci                                                                                                                             100%   56MB  89.3MB/s   00:00
rktlet                                                                                                                                     100%   29MB  66.3MB/s   00:00

Then, you need to ssh into the minikube VM and do some changes.

$ minikube ssh
                         _             _
            _         _ ( )           ( )
  ___ ___  (_)  ___  (_)| |/')  _   _ | |_      __
/' _ ` _ `\| |/' _ `\| || , <  ( ) ( )| '_`\  /'__`\
| ( ) ( ) || || ( ) || || |\`\ | (_) || |_) )(  ___/
(_) (_) (_)(_)(_) (_)(_)(_) (_)`\___/'(_,__/'`\____)

(minikube) $ sudo sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_watches=524288
(minikube) $ sudo sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_instances=1024
(minikube) $ sudo mv rktlet rkt stage1-coreos.aci /usr/local/bin/
(minikube) $ sudo sed -i 's/\(ExecStart.*$\)/\1 --container-runtime=remote --remote-runtime-endpoint=\/var\/run\/rktlet.sock --remote-image-endpoint=\/var\/run\/rktlet.sock/' /etc/systemd/system/localkube.service
(minikube) $ cat << EOF | sudo tee /etc/systemd/system/rktlet.service
Description=rktlet: The rkt implementation of a Kubernetes Container Runtime


(minikube) $ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
(minikube) $ sudo systemctl start rktlet
(minikube) $ sudo systemctl restart localkube
(minikube) $ exit

You should now have a minikube instance using rktlet!

$ kubectl cluster-info dump | grep ContainerRuntime
                    "ContainerRuntimeVersion": "rkt://0.1.0",
$ kubectl run --image nginx nginx
$ kubectl get pods
NAME                    READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
nginx-7c87f569d-ljj8b   1/1       Running   0          30s
$ kubectl expose deployment nginx --port=80 --type=NodePort
service "nginx" exposed
$ kubectl get services
NAME         TYPE        CLUSTER-IP   EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)        AGE
kubernetes   ClusterIP     <none>        443/TCP        4m
nginx        NodePort    <none>        80:31777/TCP   12s
$ curl $(minikube ip):31777
<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Welcome to nginx!</title>


Use rktlet in a local cluster

  • Start rktlet:
# After building rktlet, in the rktlet repo's root dir.
$ sudo ./bin/rktlet -v=4

By default, the rktlet service will listen on a unix socket /var/run/rktlet.sock.

  • Start a local cluster and set the container runtime type == remote, and tell kubelet where to contact the remote runtime.
# In the Kubernetes repo's root dir.
$ export LOG_LEVEL=6
$ export CGROUP_DRIVER=systemd
$ export CONTAINER_RUNTIME=remote
$ export CONTAINER_RUNTIME_ENDPOINT=/var/run/rktlet.sock
$ export IMAGE_SERVICE_ENDPOINT=/var/run/rktlet.sock
$ ./hack/
To start using your cluster, open up another terminal/tab and run:


  cluster/ config set-cluster local --server= --insecure-skip-tls-verify=true
  cluster/ config set-context local --cluster=local
  cluster/ config use-context local
  • Now we are able to launch pods:
$ kubectl create -f examples/pod
pod "nginx" created

$ kubectl get pods
nginx     1/1       Running   0          57s

Using the rkt cli

By default, rktlet will configure rkt to use a data directory in /var/lib/rktlet/data. It may be convenient to create a wrapper script to interact with this data directory.

To view rktlet started pods and applications, the following commands might help

$ export RKT_EXPERIMENT_APP=true
$ sudo -E rkt --dir=/var/lib/rktlet/data list
$ sudo -E rkt --dir=/var/lib/rktlet/data app list $uuid
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