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Develop on Okteto reference

Kubernetes Off-The-Shelf (KOTS) Software

Replicated KOTS is the collective set of tools that enable the distribution and management of Kubernetes Off-The-Shelf (KOTS) software. The Kots CLI (a Kubectl plugin) is a general purpose, client-side binary for configuring and building dynamic Kubernetes manifests. The Kots CLI also serves as the bootstrapper for the in-cluster Kubernetes application Admin Console kotsadm which can be used to automate the core Kots CLI tasks for managing applications (license verification, configuration, updates, image renaming, version controlling changes, and deployment) as well as additional KOTS tasks (running preflight checks and performing support bundle analysis).

Distributing a KOTS application

Software vendors can package their Kubernetes applications or Helm charts or Operators as a KOTS application in order to distribute the application to cluster operators.

Kots CLI Documentation

Check out the full docs on the cluster operator experience for using the Kots CLI as a Kubectl plugin.

Try Kots

Try Kots as a cluster operator by installing the Replicated sample app (Sentry Pro Example) into an existing Kubernetes cluster. First, install the Kots CLI (a Kubectl plugin) on your workstation:

curl | bash

Run kots install

The install command is the recommended way to learn KOTS. Executing the install command will install an application and the kotsadm Admin Console to an existing Kubernetes cluster. This command supports installing Helm charts (without Tiller), standard Kubernetes applications and also Replicated KOTS apps.

Continue with the demo by running the following command:

kubectl kots install sentry-pro

Set a namespace for the admin console and the application components to be installed, and provide a password for the admin console. After this command completes, the kotsadm Admin Console will be running in your cluster, listening on port :8800 on a ClusterIP service in the namespace you deployed the application to. By default this is exposed to your workstation using kubectl port-forward, but you could set up an ingress/load balancer of your own.

Access the Admin Console

Visit http://localhost:8800 to access the Admin Console, enter the password.

Download the sample license for Sentry Pro & upload it to the console. You'll then be presented with configuration settings, preflight checks and other application options.

If you terminate your terminal session, the port-forward will also terminate. To access the admin console again, just run:

kubectl kots admin-console --namespace sentry-pro


For questions about using KOTS, there's a Replicated Community forum, and a #kots channel in Kubernetes Slack.


By default, KOTS will leverage MinIO as a standalone object store instance to store application archives and support bundles. All communication between KOTS and the MinIO object store is limited to a REST API released under the Apache 2.0 license. KOTS has not modified the MinIO source code. Use of MinIO is currently governed by the GNU AGPLv3 license that can be found in their LICENSE file. To remove MinIO usage for this use case in an existing cluster, an optional install flag --with-minio=false is available for new KOTS installs or upgrades from existing versions. To remove MinIO usage for this use case in an embedded cluster, the disableS3 option is available in the KOTS add-on and can be used for new installs or upgrades.

Software Bill of Materials

Signed SBOMs for KOTS Go dependencies and are included in each release. Use Cosign to validate the signature by running the following command.

cosign verify-blob -key sbom/ -signature sbom/kots-sbom.tgz.sig sbom/kots-sbom.tgz



Known issues

  1. Kots cannot be installed through the CLI.
  2. When a manifest yaml file changes, the only supported way to apply it right now is to redeploy the whole pipeline.

Unsupported workflows

  1. Deploying a vendor application for debugging. While this could work, it's unsupported, and a different cluster should be used.

How To

Deploying an application to a different namespace from Kots Admin

If you need to test deploying an application to a different namespace, you'll need to first create the additional namespace in Okteto. Your permissions will be the same between both namespaces, and you will be able to create deploy/resources there.

Use the Kots CLI while Kots Admin is running
  1. okteto up - Put the the kots pod into dev mode
  2. make build run - Runs Kots Admin
  3. In a new terminal, navigate to the kots project.
  4. okteto exec bash - Runs bash interactively in the kots pod.
  5. ./bin/kots {{COMMAND}} - Run the kots commands you need.

Running KOTS in Helm managed mode

Steps to run in Helm managed mode:

  1. okteto pipeline deploy
  2. Ensure your local context is set to your okteto environment
  3. Set the IS_HELM_MANAGED environment variable for the kots deployment kubectl set env deployment/kotsadm IS_HELM_MANAGED=true
  4. Remove S3 endpoint: kubectl set env deployment/kotsadm S3_ENDPOINT=""

Note that in order to use non-production environment, REPLICATED_API_ENDPOINT must also be set in the deployment:

kubectl set env deployment/kotsadm REPLICATED_API_ENDPOINT=https://<replicated-app host name>



This new iteration of our Okteto workspace has significant changes and requires a new workflow by developers.


We've been trying to optimize our build times and make developing on Okteto as frictionless as possible. However, we've realized that there are some fundemental issues with our current strategy, such as:

  1. Builds take place in two places (buildkit, in dev containers). This causes issues with cache sharing, image size, etc.
  2. Spike in resources for development containers. Some of our apps put a heavy strain on resources when built, this require us to either give them a lot of resources while in development mode (which can be long-lasting) or starve them of resources and bottleneck builds.
  3. Unable to quickly/easily deploy kubernetes manifest changes.


This V2 work flow attempts to solve these issues by:

  1. Build application only on the buildkit servers so that the cache lives in one place and image sizes stay lean. This excluded applications that have live reloading (web).
  2. Only use development containers where needed. (web apps, schema hero, etc)
  3. Update the Okteto manifest to the new schema which allows for separating build and deploy specs, allowing us to run okteto deploy and only deploy the manifest.


Action Syntax Description
Build and Deploy okteto pipeline deploy -f okteto-v2.yml Runs both build and deploy sections of the Okteto manifest. Perfect for updating or creating a namespace.
Build single service okteto build -f okteto-v2.yml {{SERVICE_NAME}} Builds the named service (kotsadm, kotsadm-web, kotsadm-migrations) and pushes it to the Okteto registry.
Deploy okteto deploy -f okteto-v2.yml Deploys the kubernetes manifests. If there were builds before this command, the new images will be used in the deployment.
Development mode okteto up -f okteto-v2.yml Prompts the use for what container to put into development mode. Only web and migrations should appear at this time.


Because this new workflow is experimental, we still have the old workflow in the project. If you are using the new workflow, and fail to provide the -f flag with the v2 manifest, you will be invoking the old workflow.

Example workflow: kotsadm change

  1. okteto pipeline deploy -f okteto-v2.yml
  2. Make code changes to kots.
  3. okteto build -f okteto-v2.yml kotsadm
  4. okteto deploy -f okteto-v2.yml

Example workflow: kubernetes manifest change

  1. okteto pipeline deploy -f okteto-v2.yml
  2. Make manifest changes.
  3. okteto deploy -f okteto-v2.yml

Example workflow: kotsadm web changes

  1. okteto pipeline deploy -f okteto-v2.yml
  2. okteto up -f okteto-v2.yml
  3. Select kotsadm-web.
  4. Make code changes to kotsadm web.


KOTS provides the framework, tools and integrations that enable the delivery and management of 3rd-party Kubernetes applications, a.k.a. Kubernetes Off-The-Shelf (KOTS) Software.




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