Kubernetes Blog

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

KubeInvaders - Gamified Chaos Engineering Tool for Kubernetes

Authors Eugenio Marzo, Sourcesense

Some months ago, I released my latest project called KubeInvaders. The first time I shared it with the community was during an Openshift Commons Briefing session. Kubenvaders is a Gamified Chaos Engineering tool for Kubernetes and Openshift and helps test how resilient your Kubernetes cluster is, in a fun way.

It is like space invaders but the aliens are PODs.

During my presentation at Codemotion Milan 2019, I started saying “of course you can do it with few lines of bash but it is boring.”

Using the code above you can kill random PODs across a K8s cluster but I think it is much funnier with the spaceship of Kubeinvaders.

I published the code at https://github.com/lucky-sideburn/KubeInvaders and there is a little community that is growing gradually. Some people love to use it for demo sessions killing PODs on the big screens.

How to install KubeInvaders

I defined multiples modes to install it:

  1. Helm Chart https://github.com/lucky-sideburn/KubeInvaders/tree/master/helm-charts/kubeinvaders

  2. Manual Installation for Openshift using a template https://github.com/lucky-sideburn/KubeInvaders#install-kubeinvaders-on-openshift

  3. Manual Installation for Kubernetes https://github.com/lucky-sideburn/KubeInvaders#install-kubeinvaders-on-kubernetes

The preferred way, of course, is with a Helm chart.


  # Please set target_namespace to set your target namespace!
  helm install --set-string target_namespace="namespace1,namespace2" \
  --name kubeinvaders --namespace kubeinvaders ./helm-charts/kubeinvaders

How to use KubeInvaders

Once it is installed on your cluster you can use the following functionalities:

a. Key ‘a’ => Switch to automatic pilot;

b. Key ’m’ => Switch to manual pilot;

c. Key ‘i’ => Show pod\’s name. Move the ship towards an alien;

d. Key ‘h’ => Print help;

e. Key ‘n’ => Jump between; different namespaces (my preferred feature!)

Tuning KubeInvaders

At Codemotion Milan 2019, my colleagues and I organized a desk with a game station for playing KubeInvaders. People had to fight with K8s to win a t-shirt.

If you have PODs that require a few seconds to start, you may lose. It is possible to set the complexity of the game with these parameters as env var in the K8s deployment:

a. ALIENPROXIMITY => Reduce this value to increase the distance between aliens;

b. HITSLIMIT => Seconds of CPU time to wait before shooting;

c. UPDATETIME => Seconds to wait before update PODs status (you can set also 0.x Es: 0.5);

The result is a harder game experience against the machine :D

Use cases

Adopting chaos engineering strategies for your production environment is really useful because it is the only way to test if a system supports unexpected destructive events.

KubeInvaders is a game so please do not take it too seriously but it has some important use cases:

  • Test how resilient K8s clusters are on unexpected PODs deletion;

  • Collect metrics like PODs restart time;

  • Tuning readiness probes;

Next step

I want to continue to add some cool features and integrate it into a Kubernetes dashboard because I am planning to transform it into a “Gamified Chaos Engineering and Development Tool for Kubernetes”.

For “Development Tool for Kubernetes” I mean something that help developers to interact with deployments in a K8s environment. For example:

a. Point to the aliens to get PODs logs;

b. Deploy Helm charts shooting some particular objects;

c. Read message stored in a specific label present in a deployment;

Please feel free to contribute to https://github.com/lucky-sideburn/KubeInvaders and stay updated following #kubeinvaders news on Twitter (https://twitter.com/luckysideburn)

Thanks!