Kubernetes Blog

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Highly Available Kubernetes Clusters

Today’s post shows how to set-up a reliable, highly available distributed Kubernetes cluster. The support for running such clusters on Google Compute Engine (GCE) was added as an alpha feature in Kubernetes 1.5 release.

Motivation

We will create a Highly Available Kubernetes cluster, with master replicas and worker nodes distributed among three zones of a region. Such setup will ensure that the cluster will continue operating during a zone failure.

Setting Up HA cluster

The following instructions apply to GCE. First, we will setup a cluster that will span over one zone (europe-west1-b), will contain one master and three worker nodes and will be HA-compatible (will allow adding more master replicas and more worker nodes in multiple zones in future). To implement this, we’ll export the following environment variables:

$ export KUBERNETES\_PROVIDER=gce

$ export NUM\_NODES=3

$ export MULTIZONE=true

$ export ENABLE\_ETCD\_QUORUM\_READ=true

and run kube-up script (note that the entire cluster will be initially placed in zone europe-west1-b):

$ KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-b ./cluster/kube-up.sh

Now, we will add two additional pools of worker nodes, each of three nodes, in zones europe-west1-c and europe-west1-d (more details on adding pools of worker nodes can be find here):

$ KUBE\_USE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-c ./cluster/kube-up.sh


$ KUBE\_USE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-d ./cluster/kube-up.sh

To complete setup of HA cluster, we will add two master replicase, one in zone europe-west1-c, the other in europe-west1-d:

$ KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-c KUBE\_REPLICATE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true ./cluster/kube-up.sh


$ KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-d KUBE\_REPLICATE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true ./cluster/kube-up.sh

Note that adding the first replica will take longer (~15 minutes), as we need to reassign the IP of the master to the load balancer in front of replicas and wait for it to propagate (see design doc for more details).

Verifying in HA cluster works as intended

We may now list all nodes present in the cluster:

$ kubectl get nodes

NAME                      STATUS                AGE

kubernetes-master         Ready,SchedulingDisabled 48m

kubernetes-master-2d4     Ready,SchedulingDisabled 5m

kubernetes-master-85f     Ready,SchedulingDisabled 32s

kubernetes-minion-group-6s52 Ready                 39m

kubernetes-minion-group-cw8e Ready                 48m

kubernetes-minion-group-fw91 Ready                 48m

kubernetes-minion-group-h2kn Ready                 31m

kubernetes-minion-group-ietm Ready                 39m

kubernetes-minion-group-j6lf Ready                 31m

kubernetes-minion-group-soj7 Ready                 31m

kubernetes-minion-group-tj82 Ready                 39m

kubernetes-minion-group-vd96 Ready                 48m

As we can see, we have 3 master replicas (with disabled scheduling) and 9 worker nodes.

We will deploy a sample application (nginx server) to verify that our cluster is working correctly:

$ kubectl run nginx --image=nginx --expose --port=80

After waiting for a while, we can verify that both the deployment and the service were correctly created and are running:

$ kubectl get pods

NAME                READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE

...

nginx-3449338310-m7fjm 1/1 Running 0     4s

...


$ kubectl run -i --tty test-a --image=busybox /bin/sh

If you don't see a command prompt, try pressing enter.

# wget -q -O- http://nginx.default.svc.cluster.local

...

\<title\>Welcome to nginx!\</title\>

...

Now, let’s simulate failure of one of master’s replicas by executing halt command on it (kubernetes-master-137, zone europe-west1-c):

$ gcloud compute ssh kubernetes-master-2d4 --zone=europe-west1-c

...

$ sudo halt

After a while the master replica will be marked as NotReady:

$ kubectl get nodes

NAME                      STATUS                   AGE

kubernetes-master         Ready,SchedulingDisabled 51m

kubernetes-master-2d4     NotReady,SchedulingDisabled 8m

kubernetes-master-85f     Ready,SchedulingDisabled 4m

...

However, the cluster is still operational. We may verify it by checking if our nginx server works correctly:

$ kubectl run -i --tty test-b --image=busybox /bin/sh

If you don't see a command prompt, try pressing enter.

# wget -q -O- http://nginx.default.svc.cluster.local

...

\<title\>Welcome to nginx!\</title\>

...

We may also run another nginx server:

$ kubectl run nginx-next --image=nginx --expose --port=80

The new server should be also working correctly:

$ kubectl run -i --tty test-c --image=busybox /bin/sh

If you don't see a command prompt, try pressing enter.

# wget -q -O- http://nginx-next.default.svc.cluster.local

...

\<title\>Welcome to nginx!\</title\>

...

Let’s now reset the broken replica:

$ gcloud compute instances start kubernetes-master-2d4 --zone=europe-west1-c

After a while, the replica should be re-attached to the cluster:

$ kubectl get nodes

NAME                      STATUS                AGE

kubernetes-master         Ready,SchedulingDisabled 57m

kubernetes-master-2d4     Ready,SchedulingDisabled 13m

kubernetes-master-85f     Ready,SchedulingDisabled 9m

...

Shutting down HA cluster

To shutdown the cluster, we will first shut down master replicas in zones D and E:

$ KUBE\_DELETE\_NODES=false KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-c ./cluster/kube-down.sh


$ KUBE\_DELETE\_NODES=false KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-d ./cluster/kube-down.sh

Note that the second removal of replica will take longer (~15 minutes), as we need to reassign the IP of the load balancer in front of replicas to the remaining master and wait for it to propagate (see design doc for more details).

Then, we will remove the additional worker nodes from zones europe-west1-c and europe-west1-d:

$ KUBE\_USE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-c ./cluster/kube-down.sh


$ KUBE\_USE\_EXISTING\_MASTER=true KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-d ./cluster/kube-down.sh

And finally, we will shutdown the remaining master with the last group of nodes (zone europe-west1-b):

$ KUBE\_GCE\_ZONE=europe-west1-b ./cluster/kube-down.sh

Conclusions

We have shown how, by adding worker node pools and master replicas, a Highly Available Kubernetes cluster can be created. As of Kubernetes version 1.5.2, it is supported in kube-up/kube-down scripts for GCE (as alpha). Additionally, there is a support for HA cluster on AWS in kops scripts (see this article for more details).

–Jerzy Szczepkowski, Software Engineer, Google

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