• erictune
  • lavalamp
  • thockin title: Creating a Custom Cluster from Scratch

This guide is for people who want to craft a custom Kubernetes cluster. If you can find an existing Getting Started Guide that meets your needs on this list, then we recommend using it, as you will be able to benefit from the experience of others. However, if you have specific IaaS, networking, configuration management, or operating system requirements not met by any of those guides, then this guide will provide an outline of the steps you need to take. Note that it requires considerably more effort than using one of the pre-defined guides.

This guide is also useful for those wanting to understand at a high level some of the steps that existing cluster setup scripts are making.

  • TOC {:toc}

Designing and Preparing


  1. You should be familiar with using Kubernetes already. We suggest you set up a temporary cluster by following one of the other Getting Started Guides. This will help you become familiar with the CLI (kubectl) and concepts (pods, services, etc.) first.
  2. You should have kubectl installed on your desktop. This will happen as a side effect of completing one of the other Getting Started Guides. If not, follow the instructions here.

Cloud Provider

Kubernetes has the concept of a Cloud Provider, which is a module which provides an interface for managing TCP Load Balancers, Nodes (Instances) and Networking Routes. The interface is defined in pkg/cloudprovider/cloud.go. It is possible to create a custom cluster without implementing a cloud provider (for example if using bare-metal), and not all parts of the interface need to be implemented, depending on how flags are set on various components.


  • You can use virtual or physical machines.
  • While you can build a cluster with 1 machine, in order to run all the examples and tests you need at least 4 nodes.
  • Many Getting-started-guides make a distinction between the master node and regular nodes. This is not strictly necessary.
  • Nodes will need to run some version of Linux with the x86_64 architecture. It may be possible to run on other OSes and Architectures, but this guide does not try to assist with that.
  • Apiserver and etcd together are fine on a machine with 1 core and 1GB RAM for clusters with 10s of nodes. Larger or more active clusters may benefit from more cores.
  • Other nodes can have any reasonable amount of memory and any number of cores. They need not have identical configurations.


Network Connectivity

Kubernetes has a distinctive networking model.

Kubernetes allocates an IP address to each pod. When creating a cluster, you need to allocate a block of IPs for Kubernetes to use as Pod IPs. The simplest approach is to allocate a different block of IPs to each node in the cluster as the node is added. A process in one pod should be able to communicate with another pod using the IP of the second pod. This connectivity can be accomplished in two ways:

  • Using an overlay network
  • An overlay network obscures the underlying network architecture from the pod network through traffic encapsulation (e.g. vxlan).
  • Encapsulation reduces performance, though exactly how much depends on your solution.
  • Without an overlay network
  • Configure the underlying network fabric (switches, routers, etc.) to be aware of pod IP addresses.
  • This does not require the encapsulation provided by an overlay, and so can achieve better performance.

Which method you choose depends on your environment and requirements. There are various ways to implement one of the above options:

  • Use a network plugin which is called by Kubernetes
  • Kubernetes supports the CNI network plugin interface.
  • There are a number of solutions which provide plugins for Kubernetes (listed alphabetically):
  • You can also write your own.
  • Compile support directly into Kubernetes
  • This can be done by implementing the "Routes" interface of a Cloud Provider module.
  • The Google Compute Engine (GCE) and AWS guides use this approach.
  • Configure the network external to Kubernetes
  • This can be done by manually running commands, or through a set of externally maintained scripts.
  • You have to implement this yourself, but it can give you an extra degree of flexibility.

You will need to select an address range for the Pod IPs. Note that IPv6 is not yet supported for Pod IPs.

  • Various approaches:
  • GCE: each project has its own Carve off a /16 for each Kubernetes cluster from that space, which leaves room for several clusters. Each node gets a further subdivision of this space.
  • AWS: use one VPC for whole organization, carve off a chunk for each cluster, or use different VPC for different clusters.
  • Allocate one CIDR subnet for each node's PodIPs, or a single large CIDR from which smaller CIDRs are automatically allocated to each node.
  • You need max-pods-per-node * max-number-of-nodes IPs in total. A /24 per node supports 254 pods per machine and is a common choice. If IPs are scarce, a /26 (62 pods per machine) or even a /27 (30 pods) may be sufficient.
  • e.g. use as the range for the cluster, with up to 256 nodes using through, respectively.
  • Need to make these routable or connect with overlay.

Kubernetes also allocates an IP to each service. However, service IPs do not necessarily need to be routable. The kube-proxy takes care of translating Service IPs to Pod IPs before traffic leaves the node. You do need to Allocate a block of IPs for services. Call this SERVICE_CLUSTER_IP_RANGE. For example, you could set SERVICE_CLUSTER_IP_RANGE="", allowing 65534 distinct services to be active at once. Note that you can grow the end of this range, but you cannot move it without disrupting the services and pods that already use it.

Also, you need to pick a static IP for master node.

  • Call this MASTER_IP.
  • Open any firewalls to allow access to the apiserver ports 80 and/or 443.
  • Enable ipv4 forwarding sysctl, net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

Network Policy

Kubernetes enables the definition of fine-grained network policy between Pods using the NetworkPolicy resource.

Not all networking providers support the Kubernetes NetworkPolicy API, see Using Network Policy for more information.

Cluster Naming

You should pick a name for your cluster. Pick a short name for each cluster which is unique from future cluster names. This will be used in several ways:

  • by kubectl to distinguish between various clusters you have access to. You will probably want a second one sometime later, such as for testing new Kubernetes releases, running in a different region of the world, etc.
  • Kubernetes clusters can create cloud provider resources (e.g. AWS ELBs) and different clusters need to distinguish which resources each created. Call this CLUSTER_NAME.

Software Binaries

You will need binaries for:

  • etcd
  • A container runner, one of:
    • docker
    • rkt
  • Kubernetes
    • kubelet
    • kube-proxy
    • kube-apiserver
    • kube-controller-manager
    • kube-scheduler

Downloading and Extracting Kubernetes Binaries

A Kubernetes binary release includes all the Kubernetes binaries as well as the supported release of etcd. You can use a Kubernetes binary release (recommended) or build your Kubernetes binaries following the instructions in the Developer Documentation. Only using a binary release is covered in this guide.

Download the latest binary release and unzip it. Then locate ./kubernetes/server/kubernetes-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz and unzip that. Then, within the second set of unzipped files, locate ./kubernetes/server/bin, which contains all the necessary binaries.

Selecting Images

You will run docker, kubelet, and kube-proxy outside of a container, the same way you would run any system daemon, so you just need the bare binaries. For etcd, kube-apiserver, kube-controller-manager, and kube-scheduler, we recommend that you run these as containers, so you need an image to be built.

You have several choices for Kubernetes images:

  • Use images hosted on Google Container Registry (GCR):
  • e.g. gcr.io/google_containers/hyperkube:$TAG, where TAG is the latest release tag, which can be found on the latest releases page.
  • Ensure $TAG is the same tag as the release tag you are using for kubelet and kube-proxy.
  • The hyperkube binary is an all in one binary
    • hyperkube kubelet ... runs the kubelet, hyperkube apiserver ... runs an apiserver, etc.
  • Build your own images.
  • Useful if you are using a private registry.
  • The release contains files such as ./kubernetes/server/bin/kube-apiserver.tar which can be converted into docker images using a command like docker load -i kube-apiserver.tar
  • You can verify if the image is loaded successfully with the right repository and tag using command like docker images

For etcd, you can:

  • Use images hosted on Google Container Registry (GCR), such as gcr.io/google_containers/etcd:2.2.1
  • Use images hosted on Docker Hub or Quay.io, such as quay.io/coreos/etcd:v2.2.1
  • Use etcd binary included in your OS distro.
  • Build your own image
  • You can do: cd kubernetes/cluster/images/etcd; make

We recommend that you use the etcd version which is provided in the Kubernetes binary distribution. The Kubernetes binaries in the release were tested extensively with this version of etcd and not with any other version. The recommended version number can also be found as the value of TAG in kubernetes/cluster/images/etcd/Makefile.

The remainder of the document assumes that the image identifiers have been chosen and stored in corresponding env vars. Examples (replace with latest tags and appropriate registry):

  • HYPERKUBE_IMAGE=gcr.io/google_containers/hyperkube:$TAG
  • ETCD_IMAGE=gcr.io/google_containers/etcd:$ETCD_VERSION

Security Models

There are two main options for security:

  • Access the apiserver using HTTP.
  • Use a firewall for security.
  • This is easier to setup.
  • Access the apiserver using HTTPS
  • Use https with certs, and credentials for user.
  • This is the recommended approach.
  • Configuring certs can be tricky.

If following the HTTPS approach, you will need to prepare certs and credentials.

Preparing Certs

You need to prepare several certs:

  • The master needs a cert to act as an HTTPS server.
  • The kubelets optionally need certs to identify themselves as clients of the master, and when serving its own API over HTTPS.

Unless you plan to have a real CA generate your certs, you will need to generate a root cert and use that to sign the master, kubelet, and kubectl certs. How to do this is described in the authentication documentation.

You will end up with the following files (we will use these variables later on)

  • put in on node where apiserver runs, in e.g. /srv/kubernetes/ca.crt.
  • signed by CA_CERT
  • put in on node where apiserver runs, in e.g. /srv/kubernetes/server.crt
  • put in on node where apiserver runs, in e.g. /srv/kubernetes/server.key
  • optional
  • optional

Preparing Credentials

The admin user (and any users) need:

  • a token or a password to identify them.
  • tokens are just long alphanumeric strings, e.g. 32 chars. See
    • TOKEN=$(dd if=/dev/urandom bs=128 count=1 2>/dev/null | base64 | tr -d "=+/" | dd bs=32 count=1 2>/dev/null)

Your tokens and passwords need to be stored in a file for the apiserver to read. This guide uses /var/lib/kube-apiserver/known_tokens.csv. The format for this file is described in the authentication documentation.

For distributing credentials to clients, the convention in Kubernetes is to put the credentials into a kubeconfig file.

The kubeconfig file for the administrator can be created as follows:

  • If you have already used Kubernetes with a non-custom cluster (for example, used a Getting Started Guide), you will already have a $HOME/.kube/config file.
  • You need to add certs, keys, and the master IP to the kubeconfig file:
    • If using the firewall-only security option, set the apiserver this way:
    • kubectl config set-cluster $CLUSTER_NAME --server=http://$MASTER_IP --insecure-skip-tls-verify=true
    • Otherwise, do this to set the apiserver ip, client certs, and user credentials.
    • kubectl config set-cluster $CLUSTER_NAME --certificate-authority=$CA_CERT --embed-certs=true --server=https://$MASTER_IP
    • kubectl config set-credentials $USER --client-certificate=$CLI_CERT --client-key=$CLI_KEY --embed-certs=true --token=$TOKEN
    • Set your cluster as the default cluster to use:
    • kubectl config set-context $CONTEXT_NAME --cluster=$CLUSTER_NAME --user=$USER
    • kubectl config use-context $CONTEXT_NAME

Next, make a kubeconfig file for the kubelets and kube-proxy. There are a couple of options for how many distinct files to make:

  1. Use the same credential as the admin
    • This is simplest to setup.
  2. One token and kubeconfig file for all kubelets, one for all kube-proxy, one for admin.
    • This mirrors what is done on GCE today
  3. Different credentials for every kubelet, etc.
    • We are working on this but all the pieces are not ready yet.

You can make the files by copying the $HOME/.kube/config, by following the code in cluster/gce/configure-vm.sh or by using the following template:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Config
- name: kubelet
    token: ${KUBELET_TOKEN}
- name: local
    certificate-authority: /srv/kubernetes/ca.crt
- context:
    cluster: local
    user: kubelet
  name: service-account-context
current-context: service-account-context

Put the kubeconfig(s) on every node. The examples later in this guide assume that there are kubeconfigs in /var/lib/kube-proxy/kubeconfig and /var/lib/kubelet/kubeconfig.

Configuring and Installing Base Software on Nodes

This section discusses how to configure machines to be Kubernetes nodes.

You should run three daemons on every node:

  • docker or rkt
  • kubelet
  • kube-proxy

You will also need to do assorted other configuration on top of a base OS install.

Tip: One possible starting point is to setup a cluster using an existing Getting Started Guide. After getting a cluster running, you can then copy the init.d scripts or systemd unit files from that cluster, and then modify them for use on your custom cluster.


The minimum required Docker version will vary as the kubelet version changes. The newest stable release is a good choice. Kubelet will log a warning and refuse to start pods if the version is too old, so pick a version and try it.

If you previously had Docker installed on a node without setting Kubernetes-specific options, you may have a Docker-created bridge and iptables rules. You may want to remove these as follows before proceeding to configure Docker for Kubernetes.

iptables -t nat -F
ip link set docker0 down
ip link delete docker0

The way you configure docker will depend in whether you have chosen the routable-vip or overlay-network approaches for your network. Some suggested docker options:

  • create your own bridge for the per-node CIDR ranges, call it cbr0, and set --bridge=cbr0 option on docker.
  • set --iptables=false so docker will not manipulate iptables for host-ports (too coarse on older docker versions, may be fixed in newer versions) so that kube-proxy can manage iptables instead of docker.
  • --ip-masq=false
    • if you have setup PodIPs to be routable, then you want this false, otherwise, docker will rewrite the PodIP source-address to a NodeIP.
    • some environments (e.g. GCE) still need you to masquerade out-bound traffic when it leaves the cloud environment. This is very environment specific.
    • if you are using an overlay network, consult those instructions.
  • --mtu=
    • may be required when using Flannel, because of the extra packet size due to udp encapsulation
  • --insecure-registry $CLUSTER_SUBNET
    • to connect to a private registry, if you set one up, without using SSL.

You may want to increase the number of open files for docker:

  • DOCKER_NOFILE=1000000

Where this config goes depends on your node OS. For example, GCE's Debian-based distro uses /etc/default/docker.

Ensure docker is working correctly on your system before proceeding with the rest of the installation, by following examples given in the Docker documentation.


rkt is an alternative to Docker. You only need to install one of Docker or rkt. The minimum version required is v0.5.6.

systemd is required on your node to run rkt. The minimum version required to match rkt v0.5.6 is systemd 215.

rkt metadata service is also required for rkt networking support. You can start rkt metadata service by using command like sudo systemd-run rkt metadata-service

Then you need to configure your kubelet with flag:

  • --container-runtime=rkt


All nodes should run kubelet. See Software Binaries.

Arguments to consider:

  • If following the HTTPS security approach:
    • --api-servers=https://$MASTER_IP
    • --kubeconfig=/var/lib/kubelet/kubeconfig
  • Otherwise, if taking the firewall-based security approach
    • --api-servers=http://$MASTER_IP
  • --config=/etc/kubernetes/manifests
  • --cluster-dns= to the address of the DNS server you will setup (see Starting Cluster Services.)
  • --cluster-domain= to the dns domain prefix to use for cluster DNS addresses.
  • --docker-root=
  • --root-dir=
  • --configure-cbr0= (described below)
  • --register-node (described in Node documentation.)


All nodes should run kube-proxy. (Running kube-proxy on a "master" node is not strictly required, but being consistent is easier.) Obtain a binary as described for kubelet.

Arguments to consider:

  • If following the HTTPS security approach:
    • --master=https://$MASTER_IP
    • --kubeconfig=/var/lib/kube-proxy/kubeconfig
  • Otherwise, if taking the firewall-based security approach
    • --master=http://$MASTER_IP


Each node needs to be allocated its own CIDR range for pod networking. Call this NODE_X_POD_CIDR.

A bridge called cbr0 needs to be created on each node. The bridge is explained further in the networking documentation. The bridge itself needs an address from $NODE_X_POD_CIDR - by convention the first IP. Call this NODE_X_BRIDGE_ADDR. For example, if NODE_X_POD_CIDR is, then NODE_X_BRIDGE_ADDR is NOTE: this retains the /16 suffix because of how this is used later.

  • Recommended, automatic approach:

  • Set --configure-cbr0=true option in kubelet init script and restart kubelet service. Kubelet will configure cbr0 automatically. It will wait to do this until the node controller has set Node.Spec.PodCIDR. Since you have not setup apiserver and node controller yet, the bridge will not be setup immediately.

  • Alternate, manual approach:

  • Set --configure-cbr0=false on kubelet and restart.

  • Create a bridge
    • ip link add name cbr0 type bridge.
  • Set appropriate MTU. NOTE: the actual value of MTU will depend on your network environment
    • ip link set dev cbr0 mtu 1460
  • Add the node's network to the bridge (docker will go on other side of bridge).
    • ip addr add $NODE_X_BRIDGE_ADDR dev cbr0
  • Turn it on
    • ip link set dev cbr0 up

If you have turned off Docker's IP masquerading to allow pods to talk to each other, then you may need to do masquerading just for destination IPs outside the cluster network. For example:

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING ! -d ${CLUSTER_SUBNET} -m addrtype ! --dst-type LOCAL -j MASQUERADE

This will rewrite the source address from the PodIP to the Node IP for traffic bound outside the cluster, and kernel connection tracking will ensure that responses destined to the node still reach the pod.

NOTE: This is environment specific. Some environments will not need any masquerading at all. Others, such as GCE, will not allow pod IPs to send traffic to the internet, but have no problem with them inside your GCE Project.


  • Enable auto-upgrades for your OS package manager, if desired.
  • Configure log rotation for all node components (e.g. using logrotate).
  • Setup liveness-monitoring (e.g. using supervisord).
  • Setup volume plugin support (optional)
  • Install any client binaries for optional volume types, such as glusterfs-client for GlusterFS volumes.

Using Configuration Management

The previous steps all involved "conventional" system administration techniques for setting up machines. You may want to use a Configuration Management system to automate the node configuration process. There are examples of Saltstack, Ansible, Juju, and CoreOS Cloud Config in the various Getting Started Guides.

Bootstrapping the Cluster

While the basic node services (kubelet, kube-proxy, docker) are typically started and managed using traditional system administration/automation approaches, the remaining master components of Kubernetes are all configured and managed by Kubernetes:

  • their options are specified in a Pod spec (yaml or json) rather than an /etc/init.d file or systemd unit.
  • they are kept running by Kubernetes rather than by init.


You will need to run one or more instances of etcd.

  • Recommended approach: run one etcd instance, with its log written to a directory backed by durable storage (RAID, GCE PD)
  • Alternative: run 3 or 5 etcd instances.
    • Log can be written to non-durable storage because storage is replicated.
    • run a single apiserver which connects to one of the etcd nodes.

See cluster-troubleshooting for more discussion on factors affecting cluster availability.

To run an etcd instance:

  1. Copy cluster/saltbase/salt/etcd/etcd.manifest
  2. Make any modifications needed
  3. Start the pod by putting it into the kubelet manifest directory

Apiserver, Controller Manager, and Scheduler

The apiserver, controller manager, and scheduler will each run as a pod on the master node.

For each of these components, the steps to start them running are similar:

  1. Start with a provided template for a pod.
  2. Set the HYPERKUBE_IMAGE to the values chosen in Selecting Images.
  3. Determine which flags are needed for your cluster, using the advice below each template.
  4. Set the flags to be individual strings in the command array (e.g. $ARGN below)
  5. Start the pod by putting the completed template into the kubelet manifest directory.
  6. Verify that the pod is started.

Apiserver pod template

  "kind": "Pod",
  "apiVersion": "v1",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "kube-apiserver"
  "spec": {
    "hostNetwork": true,
    "containers": [
        "name": "kube-apiserver",
        "image": "${HYPERKUBE_IMAGE}",
        "command": [
        "ports": [
            "name": "https",
            "hostPort": 443,
            "containerPort": 443
            "name": "local",
            "hostPort": 8080,
            "containerPort": 8080
        "volumeMounts": [
            "name": "srvkube",
            "mountPath": "/srv/kubernetes",
            "readOnly": true
            "name": "etcssl",
            "mountPath": "/etc/ssl",
            "readOnly": true
        "livenessProbe": {
          "httpGet": {
            "scheme": "HTTP",
            "host": "",
            "port": 8080,
            "path": "/healthz"
          "initialDelaySeconds": 15,
          "timeoutSeconds": 15
    "volumes": [
        "name": "srvkube",
        "hostPath": {
          "path": "/srv/kubernetes"
        "name": "etcssl",
        "hostPath": {
          "path": "/etc/ssl"

Here are some apiserver flags you may need to set:

  • --cloud-provider= see cloud providers
  • --cloud-config= see cloud providers
  • --address=${MASTER_IP} or --bind-address= and --address= if you want to run a proxy on the master node.
  • --cluster-name=$CLUSTER_NAME
  • --service-cluster-ip-range=$SERVICE_CLUSTER_IP_RANGE
  • --etcd-servers=
  • --tls-cert-file=/srv/kubernetes/server.cert
  • --tls-private-key-file=/srv/kubernetes/server.key
  • --admission-control=$RECOMMENDED_LIST
  • See admission controllers for recommended arguments.
  • --allow-privileged=true, only if you trust your cluster user to run pods as root.

If you are following the firewall-only security approach, then use these arguments:

  • --token-auth-file=/dev/null
  • --insecure-bind-address=$MASTER_IP
  • --advertise-address=$MASTER_IP

If you are using the HTTPS approach, then set:

  • --client-ca-file=/srv/kubernetes/ca.crt
  • --token-auth-file=/srv/kubernetes/known_tokens.csv
  • --basic-auth-file=/srv/kubernetes/basic_auth.csv

This pod mounts several node file system directories using the hostPath volumes. Their purposes are:

  • The /etc/ssl mount allows the apiserver to find the SSL root certs so it can authenticate external services, such as a cloud provider.
  • This is not required if you do not use a cloud provider (e.g. bare-metal).
  • The /srv/kubernetes mount allows the apiserver to read certs and credentials stored on the node disk. These could instead be stored on a persistent disk, such as a GCE PD, or baked into the image.
  • Optionally, you may want to mount /var/log as well and redirect output there (not shown in template).
  • Do this if you prefer your logs to be accessible from the root filesystem with tools like journalctl.

TODO document proxy-ssh setup.

Cloud Providers

Apiserver supports several cloud providers.

  • options for --cloud-provider flag are aws, azure, cloudstack, fake, gce, mesos, openstack, ovirt, photon, rackspace, vsphere, or unset.
  • unset used for e.g. bare metal setups.
  • support for new IaaS is added by contributing code here

Some cloud providers require a config file. If so, you need to put config file into apiserver image or mount through hostPath.

  • --cloud-config= set if cloud provider requires a config file.
  • Used by aws, gce, mesos, openshift, ovirt and rackspace.
  • You must put config file into apiserver image or mount through hostPath.
  • Cloud config file syntax is Gcfg.
  • AWS format defined by type AWSCloudConfig
  • There is a similar type in the corresponding file for other cloud providers.
  • GCE example: search for gce.conf in this file

Scheduler pod template

Complete this template for the scheduler pod:

  "kind": "Pod",
  "apiVersion": "v1",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "kube-scheduler"
  "spec": {
    "hostNetwork": true,
    "containers": [
        "name": "kube-scheduler",
        "image": "$HYBERKUBE_IMAGE",
        "command": [
        "livenessProbe": {
          "httpGet": {
            "scheme": "HTTP",
            "host": "",
            "port": 10251,
            "path": "/healthz"
          "initialDelaySeconds": 15,
          "timeoutSeconds": 15

Typically, no additional flags are required for the scheduler.

Optionally, you may want to mount /var/log as well and redirect output there.

Controller Manager Template

Template for controller manager pod:

  "kind": "Pod",
  "apiVersion": "v1",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "kube-controller-manager"
  "spec": {
    "hostNetwork": true,
    "containers": [
        "name": "kube-controller-manager",
        "image": "$HYPERKUBE_IMAGE",
        "command": [
        "volumeMounts": [
            "name": "srvkube",
            "mountPath": "/srv/kubernetes",
            "readOnly": true
            "name": "etcssl",
            "mountPath": "/etc/ssl",
            "readOnly": true
        "livenessProbe": {
          "httpGet": {
            "scheme": "HTTP",
            "host": "",
            "port": 10252,
            "path": "/healthz"
          "initialDelaySeconds": 15,
          "timeoutSeconds": 15
    "volumes": [
        "name": "srvkube",
        "hostPath": {
          "path": "/srv/kubernetes"
        "name": "etcssl",
        "hostPath": {
          "path": "/etc/ssl"

Flags to consider using with controller manager:

  • --cluster-name=$CLUSTER_NAME
  • --cluster-cidr=, the CIDR range for pods in cluster.
  • --allocate-node-cidrs=, if you are using --cloud-provider=, allocate and set the CIDRs for pods on the cloud provider.
  • --cloud-provider= and --cloud-config as described in apiserver section.
  • --service-account-private-key-file=/srv/kubernetes/server.key, used by the service account feature.
  • --master=

Starting and Verifying Apiserver, Scheduler, and Controller Manager

Place each completed pod template into the kubelet config dir (whatever --config= argument of kubelet is set to, typically /etc/kubernetes/manifests). The order does not matter: scheduler and controller manager will retry reaching the apiserver until it is up.

Use ps or docker ps to verify that each process has started. For example, verify that kubelet has started a container for the apiserver like this:

$ sudo docker ps | grep apiserver:
5783290746d5        gcr.io/google_containers/kube-apiserver:e36bf367342b5a80d7467fd7611ad873            "/bin/sh -c '/usr/lo'"    10 seconds ago      Up 9 seconds                              k8s_kube-apiserver.feb145e7_kube-apiserver-kubernetes-master_default_eaebc600cf80dae59902b44225f2fc0a_225a4695

Then try to connect to the apiserver:

$ echo $(curl -s http://localhost:8080/healthz)
$ curl -s http://localhost:8080/api
  "versions": [

If you have selected the --register-node=true option for kubelets, they will now begin self-registering with the apiserver. You should soon be able to see all your nodes by running the kubectl get nodes command. Otherwise, you will need to manually create node objects.

Starting Cluster Services

You will want to complete your Kubernetes clusters by adding cluster-wide services. These are sometimes called addons, and an overview of their purpose is in the admin guide.

Notes for setting up each cluster service are given below:


Running validate-cluster

cluster/validate-cluster.sh is used by cluster/kube-up.sh to determine if the cluster start succeeded.

Example usage and output:

KUBECTL_PATH=$(which kubectl) NUM_NODES=3 KUBERNETES_PROVIDER=local cluster/validate-cluster.sh
Found 3 node(s).
NAME                    STATUS    AGE
node1.local             Ready     1h
node2.local             Ready     1h
node3.local             Ready     1h
Validate output:
NAME                 STATUS    MESSAGE              ERROR
controller-manager   Healthy   ok
scheduler            Healthy   ok
etcd-1               Healthy   {"health": "true"}
etcd-2               Healthy   {"health": "true"}
etcd-0               Healthy   {"health": "true"}
Cluster validation succeeded

Inspect pods and services

Try to run through the "Inspect your cluster" section in one of the other Getting Started Guides, such as GCE. You should see some services. You should also see "mirror pods" for the apiserver, scheduler and controller-manager, plus any add-ons you started.

Try Examples

At this point you should be able to run through one of the basic examples, such as the nginx example.

Running the Conformance Test

You may want to try to run the Conformance test. Any failures may give a hint as to areas that need more attention.


The nodes must be able to connect to each other using their private IP. Verify this by pinging or SSH-ing from one node to another.

Getting Help

If you run into trouble, please see the section on troubleshooting, post to the kubernetes-users group, or come ask questions on Slack.

Support Level

IaaS Provider Config. Mgmt OS Networking Docs Conforms Support Level
any any any any docs Community (@erictune)

For support level information on all solutions, see the Table of solutions chart.