Skip to content
Go to file
This branch is 4 commits ahead, 163 commits behind luxas:master.

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

Project outdated

I began with kuberenetes on ARM and ran into the issue of the missing cgroups, however this has now been offically integrated into the Kubernetes binaries since version 1.3.0 - this project is no longer necessary.

Welcome to the Kubernetes on ARM project!

Kubernetes on a Raspberry Pi? Is that possible?

Yes, now it is.

Imagine... Your own testbed for Kubernetes with cheap Raspberry Pis and friends.

Image of Kubernetes and Raspberry Pi

Are you convinced too, like me, that cheap ARM boards and Kubernetes is a match made in heaven?

Then, lets go!

Download and build a SD Card

The first thing you will do, is to create a SD Card for your Pi. Alternatively, you may use the .deb deployment

Supported OSes/boards:

  • Arch Linux ARM (archlinux)
    • Raspberry Pi 1 A, A+, B, B+, (ZERO,) armv6 (rpi)
    • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, armv7 (rpi-2)
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, armv8, armv7 rootfs (rpi-3)
    • Parallella armv7, read more (parallella)
    • Cubietruck, armv7 (cubietruck)
    • Banana Pro, armv7 (bananapro)
  • HypriotOS (hypriotos)
    • Raspberry Pi 1 A, A+, B, B+, armv6 (rpi)
    • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, armv7 (rpi-2)
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, armv8, The current image of Hypriot refuses to boot on RPI3 armv7 rootfs (rpi-3)
  • RancherOS (rancheros)
    • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, armv7 (rpi-2)
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, armv8, armv7 rootfs (rpi-3)
# Go to our home folder, if you want
cd ~

# Install git if needed and download this project
# sudo apt-get install git
git clone

# Change to that directory
cd kubernetes-on-arm

# See which letter your newly inserted SD Card has:
sudo fdisk -l

# Another great command

# Get some help text about supported options

# Template:
sudo sdcard/ /dev/sdX [board] [os] [rootfs]

# Example: Write the SD Card for Raspberry Pi 2, Arch Linux ARM and include this project's Kubernetes scripts
sudo sdcard/ /dev/sdX rpi-2 archlinux kube-systemd

# The installer will ask you if you want to erase all data on your card
# Answer y/n on that question
# Prepend the command with QUIET=1 if no security check should be made
# Requires an internet connection
# This script runs in 3-4 mins

The README for the kube-systemd rootfs is here

Setup your board from an SD Card

Boot your board and log into it.

Arch Linux users:

  • The user/password is: root/root or alarm/alarm
  • These scripts requires root. So if you login via alarm, then su root when you´re going to do some serious hacking :)

HypriotOS users:

  • The user/password is: pi/raspberry or root/hypriot
  • Remember to prepend all commands with sudo if you are the pi user
    • Sometimes, it's even required to prepend commands with sudo env PATH=$PATH ...

Yes, I know. Root enabled via ssh isn´t that good. But the task to enhance ssh security is left as an exercise to the user.

# This script will install and setup docker etc.
kube-config install

# First, it will update the system and install docker
# Then it will download prebuilt Kubernetes binaries
# Later, if you build kubernetes yourself via "kube-config build-images", all binaries will be replaced with the latest version

# It will ask for which hostname you want. Defaults to kubepi.

# The script will ask you for timezone. Defaults to Europe/Helsinki
# Run "timedatectl list-timezones" before to check for values

# It will ask you if it should create a 1 GB swapfile.
# If you are gonna build Kubernetes on your own machine, you have to create this

# Last question is whether you want to reboot
# You must do this now, otherwise docker will behave very strange and fail

# If you want to run this script non-interactively, do this:
# TIMEZONE=Europe/Helsinki SWAP=1 NEW_HOSTNAME=mynewpi REBOOT=0 kube-config install
# This script runs in 2-3 mins

Setup Kubernetes

If you want to change something in the source, edit files in /etc/kubernetes/source/images and run kube-config build-images before you do this These scripts are important in the setup process. They spin up all required services in the right order, and download the images from Github if not present.
This may take ~5-10min, depending on your internet connection.

# To enable the master service, run
kube-config enable-master

# To enable the worker service, run
kube-config enable-worker [master-ip]

Package deployment

If you have already made a SD Card and your device is up and running, what can you do instead? For that, I've made a .deb package, so you could install it easily

The README for the kube-systemd rootfs is here

If you already have set up your Pi with latest Raspbian OS for example, follow this guide.

Install the .deb package

# The OS have to be systemd based, e. g. HypriotOS, Debian Jessie, Arch Linux ARM, Ubuntu 15.04

# Download the latest package
curl -sSL > kube-systemd.deb
# or

# Requires dpkg, which is preinstalled in at least all Debian/Ubuntu OSes
sudo dpkg -i kube-systemd.deb

# Setup the enviroinment
# It will ask which board it's running on and which OS
# If your OS is Hypriot or Arch Linux, choose that. Otherwise, choose systemd, which is generic
# It will download prebuilt binaries
# And make a swap file if you plan to compile things
# A reboot is required for it to function properly
kube-config install

## ----- REBOOT -----

# Start the master or worker
kube-config enable-master
kube-config enable-worker [master ip]

# Get some info about the node
kube-config info

Use Kubernetes (the fun part begins here)

Some notes on running Docker on ARM are here

# See which commands kubectl and kube-config has

# Get info about your machine and Kubernetes version
kube-config info

# Make an replication controller with an image
# Hopefully you will have some workers, so you is able to see how they spread across hosts
# The nginx-test image will be downloaded from Docker Hub and is a nginx server which only is serving the message: "<p>WELCOME TO NGINX</p>"
# Expose the replication controller "my-nginx" as a service
kubectl run my-nginx --image=luxas/nginx-test --replicas=3 --expose --port=80

# The above command will make a deployment since v1.2. The deployment will run a replica set (the "new" kind of replication contoller)
# You may also specify --hostport, e.g. --hostport=30001 for exposing the service on all nodes' port 30001

# The pull might take some minutes
# See when the nginx container is running
docker ps

# See which pods are running
kubectl get pods

# See which nodes we have
kubectl get nodes

# See which ip we may ping, by getting services
kubectl get svc

# See if the nginx container is working
# Replace $SERVICE_IP with the ip "kubectl get svc" returned 
# --> <p>WELCOME TO NGINX</p>

# Start dns, this will spin up 4 containers and expose them as a DNS service at ip
# is already enabled as a DNS server in your system, see the file /etc/systemd/resolved.conf.d/dns.conf
# That file makes /etc/resolv.conf use kube-dns also outside of your containers
kube-config enable-addon dns

# See which internal cluster services that are running
kubectl --namespace=kube-system get pods,rc,svc

# Test dns
curl my-nginx.default.svc.cluster.local
# --> <p>WELCOME TO NGINX</p>

# By default, "search [domains]" is added to /etc/resolv.conf
# In this case, these domains are searched: "default.svc.cluster.local svc.cluster.local cluster.local"
# That means, that you may only write "my-nginx", and it will search in those domains
curl my-nginx
# --> <p>WELCOME TO NGINX</p>

# Start the registry
kube-config enable-addon registry

# Wait a minute for it to start
kubectl --namespace=kube-system get pods

# Tag an image
docker tag my-name/my-image registry.kube-system:5000/my-name/my-image

# And push it to the registry
docker push registry.kube-system:5000/my-name/my-image

# On another node, pull it
docker pull registry.kube-system:5000/my-name/my-image

# The registry address may be written longer if search isn't specified.
# registry.kube-system.svc.cluster.local == registry.kube-system

# The master also proxies the services so that they are accessible from outside
# The -L flag is there because curl has to follow redirects
# You may also type this URL in a web browser
curl -L http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/default/services/my-nginx

# Generic apiserver proxy URL
# curl -L http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/[namespace]/services/[service-name]:[port-name]

# See which ports are open
netstat -nlp

# See cluster info
kubectl cluster-info

# See master health in a web browser
# cAdvisor in kubelet provides a web site that outputs all kind of stats in real time
# http://$MASTER_IP:4194

# Disable this node. This always reverts the "kube-config enable-*" commands
kube-config disable-node

# Remove the data for the cluster
kube-config delete-data

Custom hacking

If you already have set up a lot of devices and already are familiar with one OS, just grab the binaries here, pull the images from Docker Hub and start to hack your own solution 😄

# Get the binaries and put them in /usr/bin
curl -sSL | tar -xz -C /usr/bin

# Pull the images for master
docker pull kubernetesonarm/hyperkube
docker pull kubernetesonarm/etcd
docker pull kubernetesonarm/flannel
docker pull kubernetesonarm/pause

# Pull the images for worker
docker pull kubernetesonarm/hyperkube
docker pull kubernetesonarm/flannel
docker pull kubernetesonarm/pause

Then check the service files here for the right commands to use:

Build the images yourself

Instructions here

However, only use this method if you know what you are doing and want to customize just for your need

Otherwise, use the SD Card method or deb package for an easy installation

Start a one-node cluster for testing

$ mount -B /var/lib/kubelet /var/lib/kubelet
$ mount --make-shared /var/lib/kubelet
$ docker run \
    --volume=/sys:/sys:ro \
    --volume=/var/lib/docker/:/var/lib/docker:rw \
    --volume=/var/lib/kubelet/:/var/lib/kubelet:shared \
    --volume=/var/run:/var/run:rw \
    --net=host \
    --pid=host \
    --privileged=true \
    -d \
    kubernetesonarm/hyperkube \
    /hyperkube kubelet \
        --hostname-override="" \
        --pod_infra_container_image=kubernetesonarm/pause \
        --address="" \
        --api-servers=http://localhost:8080 \
        --config=/etc/kubernetes/manifests \
        --cluster-dns= \
        --cluster-domain=cluster.local \
        --allow-privileged=true --v=2


To enable/disable addons is very easy: kube-config enable-addon [addon-name] and kube-config disable-addon [addon-name] README for the addons

Three addons are available for the moment:

  • Kubernetes DNS:
    • Every service gets the hostname: {{my-svc}}.{{my-namespace}}.svc.cluster.local
    • The default namespace is default (surprise), so unless you manually edit something it will land there
    • Kubernetes internal addon services runs in the namespace kube-system
    • Example: my-awesome-webserver.default.svc.cluster.local or just my-awesome-webserver may resolve to ip
    • Those DNS names is available both in containers and on the node itself (kube-config automatically adds the info to /etc/resolv.conf)
    • If you want to access the Kubernetes API easily, curl -k https://kubernetes or curl -k if you remember numbers better (-k stands for insecure as apiserver has no signed certs by default)
    • The DNS server itself has allocated ip by default
    • The DNS domain is cluster.local by default
  • Central image registry:
    • A registry for storing cluster images if e.g. the cluster has no internet connection for a while
    • Or for cluster-specific images that one not want to publish on Docker Hub
    • This service is available at this address: registry.kube-system when DNS is enabled
    • Just tag your image: docker tag my-name/my-image registry.kube-system:5000/my-name/my-image
    • And push it to the registry: docker push registry.kube-system:5000/my-name/my-image
  • Kubernetes Dashboard:
    • The Kubernetes Dashboard project is here
    • Replaces kube-ui
    • Access the dashboard on: http://[master-ip]:8080/ui
  • The Service Loadbalancer:
    • Documentation here
    • You have to label at least one node role=loadbalancer like this: kubectl label no [node_ip] role=loadbalancer
    • The loadbalancer will expose http services in the default namespace on http://[loadbalancer_ip]/[service_name]. Only http services on port 80 are tested in this release. It should be pretty easy to add https support though.
    • You may see haproxy stats on http://[loadbalancer_ip]:1936
    • More info will come later
  • Cluster monitoring with heapster, influxdb and grafana
    • When running this addon (heapster), the Dashboard will show usage graphs in the CPU and RAM columns.
    • All heapster data is stored in an InfluxDB database. Data is written once a minute. Access the graphical InfluxDB UI: http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/kube-system/services/monitoring-influxdb:http and the raw api on: http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/kube-system/services/monitoring-influxdb:api
    • A nice grafana web dashboard that shows resource usage for the whole cluster as for individual pods is accessible at: http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/kube-system/services/monitoring-grafana. It may take some minutes for data to show up.

Access your cluster

Here is some ways to make your outside devices reach the services running in the cluster.

  • apiserver proxy:
    • This is enabled by default by apiserver
    • Type this URL in a browser or use curl
    • curl -L http://[master-ip]:8080/api/v1/proxy/namespaces/[namespace]/services/[service-name][:[port-name]]
    • You may build a proxy in front of this with nginx that forwards all requests to the apiserver proxy
  • Connect a computer to the flannel network
    • It's possible to start flannel and kube-proxy on another computer in the same network and access all services
    • Run these two commands from a amd64 machine with docker:
      • docker run --net=host -d --privileged -v /dev/net:/dev/net /opt/bin/flanneld --etcd-endpoints=http://$MASTER_IP:4001
      • docker run --net=host -d --privileged /hyperkube proxy --master=http://$MASTER_IP:8080 --v=2'
    • Replace $MASTER_IP with the actual ip of your master node
    • The consuming amd64 computer can access all services
    • For example: curl -k
  • Make a service with externalIP
    • Via kubectl: kubectl expose rc {some rc} --port={the port this service will listen on} --container-port={the port the container exposes} --external-ip={the host you want to listen on}
    • Example: kubectl expose rc my-nginx --port=9060 --container-port=80 --external-ip=
    • This will make the service accessible at
  • Service NodePort
    • If one sets Service .spec.type to NodePort, Kubernetes automatically exposes the service on a random port on every node

See node health via cAdvisor

Go to a web browser and type: {IP of your node}:4194 and a nice dashboard will be there and show you some nice real-time stats.


There is a configuration file: /etc/kubernetes/k8s.conf, where you can customize some things:

  • K8S_MASTER_IP: Points to the master in the cluster. If the node is master, it uses (aka localhost). Default:
  • FLANNEL_SUBNET: The subnet flannel should use. More information. Default:
  • FLANNEL_BACKEND: The backend flannel will use to proxy packets from one node to another. More information. Default: host-gw, which requires Layer 2 connectivity between nodes.
  • DNS_IP: The IP the DNS addon will allocate. Defaults to: Do not change this unless you have a good reason.
  • DNS_DOMAIN: The domain for DNS names. Defaults to: cluster.local. If you for example changes this to abc, your DNS names will look like this:
  • DOCKER_STORAGE_DRIVER: The storage driver all docker daemons will use. Note: You shouldn't change this after the installation.

Note: You must change the values in k8s.conf before starting Kubernetes. Otherwise they won't have effect, just be able to harm your setup. And remember that if you change DNS_IP and DNS_DOMAIN on one node, you'll have to change them on all nodes in the cluster

You can also customize the master containers´ flags in the file: /etc/kubernetes/static/master/master.json. There the configuration for the master components are. Official file

You may also put more .json files in /etc/kubernetes/static/master and /etc/kubernetes/static/worker if you want; they will come up as static pods.

On Arch Linux, this file will override the default eth0 settings. If you have a special eth0 setup (or use some other network), edit this file to fit your use case: /etc/systemd/network/

Docker versions

With release v0.6.5 and higher, only docker-1.10.0 and higher is supported.


For this project, I compile the binaries on ARM hosts. But I've also made a script that can cross-compile if you want to compile it faster. Check it out

Running tests

Right now there is one test:

  • run-test master will simply do what the Use Kubernetes section does. It setups a master, runs nginx, starts the DNS, registry and sleep addons.

Logs can be found at: /etc/kubernetes/source/scripts/logs The tests can be found at: /etc/kubernetes/source/scripts/tests The test might fail, although the thing it's testing is in fact working. Report an issue in that case.

Service management

The kube-systemd rootfs uses systemd services for starting/stopping containers.

Systemd services:

  • system-docker: Or docker-bootstrap. Used for running etcd and flannel.
  • etcd: Starts the kubernetesonarm/etcd container. Depends on system-docker.
  • flannel: Starts the kubernetesonarm/flannel container. Depends on etcd.
  • docker: Plain docker service. Dropins are symlinked. Depends on flannel.
  • k8s-master: Service that starts up the main master components
  • k8s-worker: Service that starts up kubelet and the proxy.

Useful commands for troubleshooting:

  • systemctl status (service): Get the status for a service
  • systemctl start (service): Start a service
  • systemctl stop (service): Stop a service
  • systemctl cat (service): See the .service files for an unit.
  • journalctl -xe: Get the system log
  • journalctl -xeu (service): Get logs for a service


If your cluster won't start, try kube-config delete-data. That will remove all data you store in /var/lib/kubelet and /var/lib/kubernetes. If you don't want to delete all data, but have to get Kubernetes up and running, you can answer M, when running kube-config delete-data and it will rename /var/lib/kubernetes and /var/lib/kubelet to /var/lib/kubernetesold and /var/lib/kubeletold so you may restore them later.

There is also no guarantee that the master/workers and all their services will come up successfully after a reboot, but it's possible.


I would be really glad to review your Pull Request! One thing would be good to remember though. I develop on the dev branch, so it would be great if you target that one instead of master


Beta version

This project is under development.
I develop things on the dev branch


Future work



MIT License

Goals for this project

This project ports Kubernetes to the ARM architecture. The primary boards used for testing is Raspberry Pi 2´s.

My goal for this project is that it should be as small as possible, while retaining its flexibility.
It should also be as easy as possible for people, who don´t know anything about Kubernetes, to get started.

I also have opened a proposal for Kubernetes on ARM: kubernetes/kubernetes#17981.
The long-term goal most of this functionality should be present in core Kubernetes.

It should be easy in the future to add support for new boards and operating systems.

Feel free to create an issue if you find a bug or think that something should be added or removed!


Kubernetes ported to ARM boards like Raspberry Pi.




No packages published


You can’t perform that action at this time.