Skip to content

Kubernetes (KRIB)

License: KRIB is APLv2

This document provides information on how to use the Digital Rebar KRIB content add-on. Use of this content will enable the operator to install Kubernetes in either a Live Boot (immutable infrastructure pattern) mode, or via installed to local hard disk OS mode.

KRIB uses the kubeadm cluster deployment methodology coupled with Digital Rebar enhancements to help proctor the cluster Master election and secrets management. With this content pack, you can install Kubernetes in a zero-touch manner.

KRIB does also support production, highly available (HA) deployments, with multiple masters. To enable this configuration, we've chosen to manage the TLS certificates and etcd installation in the Workflow instead of using the kubeadm process.

This document assumes you have your Digital Rebar Provisioning endpoint fully configured, tested, and working. We assume that you are able to properly provision Machines in your environment as a base level requirement for use of the KRIB content add-on use. See Installing Krib for step by step instructions.

KRIB Video References

The following videos have been produced or presented by RackN related to the Digital Rebar KRIB solution.

Online Requirements

KRIB uses community kubeadm for installation. That process relies on internet connectivity to download containers and other components.

Immutable -vs- Local Install Mode

The two primary deployment patterns that the Digital Rebar KRIB content pack supports are:

  1. Live Boot (immutable infrastructure pattern)
  2. Local Install (standard install-to-disk pattern)

The Live Boot mode uses an in-memory Linux image based on the Digital Rebar Sledgehammer (CentOS based) image. After each reboot of the Machine, the node is reloaded with the in-memory live boot image. This enforces the concept of immutable infrastructure - every time a node is booted, deployed, or needs updating, simply reload the latest Live Boot image with appropriate fixes, patches, enhancements, etc.

The Local Install mode mimics the traditional "install-to-my-disk" method that most people are familiar with.

KRIB Basics

KRIB is a Content Pack addition to Digital Rebar Provision. It uses the Clusters which provides atomic guarantees. This allows for Kubernetes master(s) to be dynamically elected, forcing all other nodes to wait until the kubeadm on the elected master to generate an installation token for the rest of the nodes. Once the Kubernetes master is bootstrapped, the Digital Rebar system facilitates the security token hand-off to rest of the cluster so they can join without any operator intervention.

Elected -vs- Specified Master

By default, the KRIB process will dynamically elect a Master for the Kubernetes cluster. This masters simply win the race-to-master election process and the rest of the cluster will coalesce around the elected master.

If you wish to specify a specific machines to be the designated masters, you can do so by setting a Param in the cluster Profile to the specific Machine that will be come the master. To do so, set the krib/cluster-masters Param to a JSON structure with the Name, UUID and IP of the machines to become masters. You may add this Param to the Profile in the below specifications, as follows:

# JSON reference to add to the Profile Params section
"krib/cluster-masters": [{"Name":"<NAME>", "Uuid":"<UUID>", "Address": "<ADDRESS>"}]

# or drpcli command line option
drpcli profiles set my-k8s-cluster param krib/cluster-master to <JSON>

The Kubernetes Master will be built on this Machine specified by the value.


This MUST be in the cluster profile because all machines in the cluster must be able to see this parameter.

Install KRIB

KRIB is a Content Pack and is installed in the standard method as any other Contents. We need the krib.json content pack to fully support KRIB and install the helper utility contents for stage changes.

Please review Installing Krib for step by step instructions.

CLI Install

KRIB uses the Certs plugin to build TLS, you can install that from the RackN library

# install required content and create the certs plugin
drpcli plugin_providers upload certs from catalog:certs-tip

# verify it worked - should return true
drpcli plugins show certs | jq .Available

Using the Command Line (drpcli) utility configured to your endpoint, use this process:

# Get code
drpcli contents upload catalog:krib-tip

UX Install

In the UX, follow this process:

  1. Open your DRP Endpoint: (eg. )
  2. Authenticate to your Endpoint
  3. Login with your RackN Portal Login account (upper right)
  4. Go to the left panel "Content Packages" menu
  5. Select Kubernetes (KRIB: Kubernetes Rebar Immutable Bootstrapping) from the right side panel (you may need to select Browser for more Content or use the Catalog button)
  6. Select the Transfer button for both content packs to add the content to your local Digital Rebar endpoint

Configuring KRIB

The basic outline for configuring KRIB follows the below steps:

  1. create a Profile to hold the Params for the KRIB configuration (you can also clone the krib-example profile)
  2. add a Param of name krib/cluster-profile to the Profile you created
  3. add a Param of name etcd/cluster-profile to the Profile you created
  4. apply the Profile to the Machines you are going to add to the KRIB cluster
  5. change the Workflow on the Machines to krib-live-cluster for memory booting or krib-install-cluster to install to Centos. You may clone these reference workflows to build custom actions.
  6. installation will start as soon as the Workflow has been set.

There are many configuration options available, review the krib/* and etcd/* parameters to learn more.

Configure with the CLI

The configuration of the Cluster includes several reference Workflow that can be used for installation. Depending on which Workflow you use, will determine if the cluster is built via install-to-local-disk or via an immutable pattern (live boot in-memory boot process). Outside of the Workflow differences, all remaining configuration elements are the same.

You must writeable create a Profile from YAML (or JSON if you prefer) with the Params stagemap and param required information. Modify the Name or other fields as appropriate - be sure you rename all subsequent fields appropriately.

echo '
Name: "my-k8s-cluster"
Description: "Kubernetes install-to-local-disk"
  krib/cluster-profile: "my-k8s-cluster"
  etcd/cluster-profile: "my-k8s-cluster"
  color: "purple"
  icon: "ship"
  title: "My Installed Kubernetes Cluster"
  render: "krib"
  reset-keeps": "krib/cluster-profile,etcd/cluster-profile"
' > /tmp/krib-config.yaml

drpcli profiles create - < /tmp/krib-config.yaml


The following commands should be applied to all of the Machines you wish to enroll in your KRIB cluster. Each Machine needs to be referenced by the Digital Rebar Machine UUID. This example shows how to collect the UUIDs, then you will need to assign them to the UUIDS variable. We re-use this variable throughout the below documentation within the shell function named my_machines. We also show the correct drpcli command that should be run for you by the helper function, for your reference.

Create our helper shell function my_machines

function my_machines() { for U in $UUIDS; do set -x; drpcli machines $1 $U $2; set +x; done; }

List your Machines to determine which to apply the Profile to

drpcli machines list | jq -r '.[] | "\(.Name) : \(.Uuid)"'

IF YOU WANT to make ALL Machines in your endpoint use KRIB, do:

export UUIDS=`drpcli machines list | jq -r '.[].Uuid'`

Otherwise - individually add them to the UUIDS variable, like:

export UUIDS="UUID_1 UUID_2 ... UUID_n"

Add the Profile to your machines that will be enrolled in the cluster

my_machines addprofile my-k8s-cluster

# runs example command:
# drpcli machines addprofile <UUID> my-k8s-cluster

Change stage on the Machines to initiate the Workflow transition. YOU MUST select the correct stage, dependent on your install type (Immutable/Live Boot mode or install-to-local-disk mode). For Live Boot mode, select the stage ssh-access and for the install-to-local-disk mode select the stage centos-7-install.

# for Live Boot/Immutable Kubernetes mode
my_machines workflow krib-live-cluster

# for intall-to-local-disk mode:
my_machines workflow krib-install-cluster

# runs example command:
# drpcli machines workflow <UUID> krib-live-cluster
# or
# drpcli machines workflow <UUID> krib-install-cluster

Configure with the UX

The below example outlines the process for the UX.

RackN assumes the use of CentOS 7 BootEnv during this process. However, it should theoretically work on most of the BootEnvs. We have not tested it, and your mileage will absolutely vary...

  1. create a Profile for the Kubernetes Cluster (e.g. my-k8s-cluster) or clone the krib-example profile.
  2. add a Param to that Profile: krib/cluster-profile = my-k8s-cluster
  3. add a Param to that Profile: etcd/cluster-profile = my-k8s-cluster
  4. Add the Profile (eg my-k8s-cluster) to all the machines you want in the cluster.
  5. Change workflow on all the machines to krib-install-cluster for install-to-local-disk, or to krib-live-cluster for the Live Boot/Immutable Kubernetes mode

Then wait for them to complete. You can watch the Stage transitions via the Bulk Actions panel (which requires RackN Portal authentication to view).


The reason the Immutable Kubernetes/Live Boot mode does not need a reboot is because they are already running Sledgehammer and will start installing upon the stage change.

Operating KRIB

Who is my Master?

If you have not specified who the Kubernetes Master should be; and the master was chosen by election - you will need to determine which Machine is the cluster Master.

# returns the Kubernetes cluster Machine UUID
drpcli profiles show my-k8s-cluster | jq -r '.Params."krib/cluster-masters"'

Use kubectl - on Master

You can log in to the Master node as identified above, and execute kubectl commands as follows:

export KUBECONFIG=/etc/kubernetes/admin.conf
kubectl get nodes

Use kubectl - from anywhere

Once the Kubernetes cluster build has been completed, you may use the kubectl command to both verify and manage the cluster. You will need to download the conf file with the appropriate tokens and information to connect to and authenticate your kubectl connections. Below is an example of doing this:

# get the Admin configuration and tokens
drpcli profiles get my-k8s-cluster param krib/cluster-admin-conf > admin.conf

# set our KUBECONFIG variable and get nodes information
export KUBECONFIG=`pwd`/admin.conf
kubectl get nodes

Advanced Stages - Helm and Sonobuoy

KRIB includes stages for advanced Kubernetes operating support.

The reference workflows already install Helm using the krib-helm stage. To leverage this utility simply define the required JSON syntax for your charts as shown in the krib-helm stage documentation.

Sonobuoy can be used to validate that the cluster conforms to community specification. Adding the krib-sonobuoy stage will start a test run. It can be rerun to collect the results or configured to wait for them. Storing test results in the files path requires setting the unsafe/password parameter and is undesirable for production clusters.

Ingress/Egress Traffic, Dashboard Access, Istio

The Kubernetes dashboard is enabled within a default KRIB built cluster. However no Ingress traffic rules are set up. As such, you must access services from external connections by making changes to Kubernetes, or via the Kubernetes Dashboard via Proxy.

These are all issues relating to managing, operating, and running a Kubernetes cluster, and not restrictions that are imposed by Digital Rebar Provision. Please see the appropriate Kubernetes documentation on questions regarding operating, running, and administering Kubernetes (

For Istio via Helm, please consult the krib-helm stage documentation for a reference install.

Kubernetes Dashboard via Proxy

You can get the admin-user security token with the following command:

kubectl -n kube-system describe secret $(kubectl -n kube-system get secret | grep admin-user | awk '{print $1}')

Now copy the token from the token part printed on-screen so you can paste it into the Enter token field of the dashboard log in screen.

Once you have obtained the admin.conf configuration file and security tokens, you may use kubectl in Proxy mode to the Master. Simply open a separate terminal/console session to dedicate to the Proxy connection, and do:

kubectl proxy

Now, in a local web browser (on the same machine you executed the Proxy command) open the following URL:

MetalLB Load Balancer

If your cluster is running on bare metal you will most likely need a LoadBalancer provider. You can easily add this to your cluster by adding the krib-metallb stage after the krib-config stage in your workflow. Currently only L2 mode is supported. You will need to set the metallb/l2-ip-range param in your profile with the range of IP's you wish to use. This ip range must not be within the configured DHCP scope. See the MetalLB docs for more information (

NGINX Ingress

You can add nginx-ingress to your cluster by adding the krib-ingress-nginx stage to your workflow. This stage requires helm and tiller to be installed so should come after the krib-helm stage in your workflow.

This stage also requires a cloud provider LoadBalancer service or on bare metal you can add the krib-metallb stage before this stage in your workflow.

This stage includes support for cert-manager if your profile is properly configured. See example-cert-manager profile.

Kubernetes Dashboard via NGINX Ingress

If your workflow includes the NGINX Ingress stage the kubernetes dashboard will be accessable via The access url and cert-manager tls can also be configured by setting the appropriate params in your profile. See example-k8s-db-ingress profile.

Please consult Kubernetes Dashboard via Proxy for information on getting the login token

Rook Ceph Manager Dashboard

If you install the rook via the krib-helm chart template and have krib-ingress-nginx stage in your workflow an ingress will be created so you can access the Ceph Manager Dashboard at The access url and cert-manager tls can also be configured by setting the appropriate params in your profile. See example-rook-db-ingress profile.

The default username is admin and you can get the generated password with the with the following command:

kubectl -n rook-ceph get secret rook-ceph-dashboard-password -o yaml | grep "password:" | awk '{print $2}' | base64 --decode

Multiple Clusters

It is absolutely possible to build multiple Kubernetes KRIB clusters with this process. The only difference is each cluster should have a unique name and profile assigned to it. A given Machine may only participate in a single Kubernetes cluster type at any one time. You can install and operate both Live Boot/Immutable with install-to-disk cluster types in the same DRP Endpoint.