kubic-control for openSUSE Kubic

27. Aug 2019 | Thorsten Kukuk | No License


If you think, this is too much text and sounds far too complicated or you are not interested in background informations: install openSUSE Kubic and go directly to the “Deploy Kubernetes” Section. There is not really an easier way to deploy Kubernetes!

Why should I want to use kubic-control?

We have kubeadm on openSUSE Kubic to manage kubernetes, why do we need yet another management tool? There is a nice blog giving an answer to this: Automated High Availability in kubeadm v1.15: Batteries Included But Swappable, which explains, beside kubernetes multi master, also the scope of kubeadm very well: “kubeadm is focused on performing the actions necessary to get a minimum viable, secure cluster up and running in a user-friendly way. kubeadm’s scope is limited to the local machine’s filesystem and the Kubernetes API, and it is intended to be a composable building block for higher-level tools.”

The following tasks are out of scope for kubeadm:

  • Infrastructure provisioning
  • Third-party networking
  • Non-critical add-ons, e.g. monitoring, logging and visualitzation
  • Specific cloud provider integrations

kubic-control is such a higher-level toolkit. It configures the Host OS (in the feature, it will even be able to install new baremetal nodes with help of yomi), setups all necessary services, uses kubeadm to deploy kubernetes and installs and configures all necessary add-ons, like pod network and update and reboot services for the OS and the cluster. It will also help you to avoid mistakes like not calling kubeadm with the right arguments if you want to use flannel for the network.

What is kubic-control?

kubic-control consists of three binaries:

  • kubicd, a daemon which communicates via gRPC with clients. It’s setting up kubernetes on openSUSE Kubic, including pod network, kured, transactional-update, …
  • kubicctl, a cli interface
  • haproxycfg, a cli interface adjust haproxy.cfg for use as loadbalancer for the kubernetes API

The communication is encrypted, the kubicctl command can run on any machine. The user authenticates with his certificate, using RBAC to determine if the user is allowed to call this function. kubiccd will use kubeadm and kubectl to deploy and manage the cluster. So the admin can at everytime modify the cluster with this commands, too, there is no hidden state-database except for the informations necessary for a kubernetes multi-master/HA setup.


Mainly generic requirements by kubernetes itself:

  • All the nodes on the cluster must be on a the same network and be able to communicate directly with each other.
  • All nodes in the cluster must be assigned static IP addresses. Using dynamically assigned IPs will break cluster functionality if the IP address changes.
  • The Kubernetes master node(s) must have valid Fully-Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs), which can be resolved both by all other nodes and from other networks which need to access the cluster.
  • Since Kubernetes mainly works with certificates and tokens, the time on all Nodes needs to be always in sync. Else communication inside the cluster will break.

As salt is used for the communication, the Admin Node needs to run a salt-master and all other nodes needs to be configured as salt-minion.


Currently, the easiest way to get a running kubernetes cluster on openSUSE Kubic is to take the DVD and install the nodes with YaST. There are three relevant system roles to choose from:

  • Kubic Admin Node
  • Additional Kubic Node
  • Kubic Loadbalancer Node

Kubic Admin Node

The Kubic Admin Node is running kubicd, the salt-master and the first kubernetes master node. The overhead for kubicd and the salt-master is very low, so you don’t need a bigger machine because of this. During the first boot, some certificates are created for kubicd in /etc/kubicd/pki:

  • Kubic-Control-CA.key - the private CA key
  • Kubic-Control-CA.crt - the public CA key. This one is needed by kubicctl, too
  • KubicD.key - the private key for kubicd
  • kubicD.crt - the signed public key for kubicd
  • admin.key - private key, allows kubicctl to connect to kubicd as admin
  • admin.crt - public key, allows kubicctl to connect to kubcd as admin

For kubicctl, you need to create a directory ~/.config/kubicctl which contains Kubic-Control-CA.crt, user.key and user.crt. For the admin role, this need to be a copy of admin.key and admin.crt. For other users, you need to create corresponding certificates and sign them with Kubic-Control-CA.crt. If you call kubicctl as root and there is no user.crt in ~/.config/kubicctl, the admin certificates from /etc/kubicd/pki are used if they exist. Certificates for additional users can be created with _kubicctl certificates create _.

Please take care of this certificates and store them secure, this are the passwords to access kubicd!

Additional Kubic Node

Additional Kubic Nodes will become either additional master nodes for HA of the kubernetes API, or worker nodes. The procedure is in both cases the same:

  • Install the Additional Kubic Node system role. At some point during the workflow, you need to enter the hostname or IP address of the Kubic Admin Node for the salt-minion.
  • Accept the salt-minion on the Kubic Admin Node with salt-key -A

Kubic Loadbalancer Node

The Kubic Loadbalancer Node system role installs a MicroOS without container runtime but haproxy instead. During installation, you need to provide the hostname or IP address of the Kubic Admin Node for the salt minion. Accept the salt-minion on the Kubic Admin Node with salt-key -A

Afterwards, the haproxy needs to configured and enabled. In one of the next versions, kubic-control should be able to do this itself.

Deploy Kubernetes

Normally, after you did install the Kubic Admin Node and the needed numbers of Additional Kubic Nodes, deploying kubernetes is quite simple. Login to the Kubic Admin Node, accept the Keys of the salt-minions and run the following command to deploy the contral-plane on the master with weave net as POD network and kured to manage the reboot of nodes during an upgrade:

kubicctl init

Now we only need the worker nodes, who will run our workload. The Node names are always the minion ID, which is normally the FQHN of that node:

kubicctl node add node1,node2,...

That’s all. Two commands to setup your cluster! Run now kubectl get nodes to see your cluster!

Multi-Master Kubernetes

Setting up a control-plane with three master nodes (kubic-control currently allows any number of control-plane nodes, but this should be at minimum three and an uneven number of nodes!) is quite as simple.

At first, you need to setup a loadbalancer if you don’t have one in the network for the kubernetes API. That’s currently a manual process, but will also be handled by kubernetes-control in the near future.

Afterwards setup the initial master, where “load.balancer.dns” is the DNS name, under which the kubernetes API servers should be reacheable:

kubicctl init  --multi-master load.balancer.dns

Now add more master nodes:

kubicctl node add --type master master2,master3

And the worker Nodes:

kubicctl node add node1,node2,...

Now you have a running kubernetes cluster with 3 Master Nodes and several worker Nodes with only three commands! kubectl get nodes should show you the status of your Nodes.

Next Steps

This is just the beginning of our journey to make kubic-control a tool to manage your whole openSUSE Kubic cluster. Many more things are planned or under active development:

  • Re-configure a haproxy loadbalancer when adding or removing master nodes
  • Install new nodes with yomi
  • Certificate handling
  • Extend support and handling of add-ons, including rolling updates
  • Integration of ignition
  • Create “ready-to-run” images for all kinds of virtualisation consisting of the three system roles: Kubic Admin Node, Additional Kubic Node and Kubic Loadbalancer Node.
  • Add support to deploy container images from the devel:kubic:containers project

As with any new software, especially stuff we’re changing so quickly, there is a chance of bugs. If you try the steps in this guide and find any, please report them to our Bugzilla under the “Kubic” component.

Please Note: kubic-control on Kubic is under heavy active development. Many new functionality will come which may change current functionality.

Thanks, and have a lot of fun!

Categories: blog


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