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Reconfigure a Node's Kubelet in a Live Cluster

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.11 beta
This feature is currently in a beta state, meaning:

  • The version names contain beta (e.g. v2beta3).
  • Code is well tested. Enabling the feature is considered safe. Enabled by default.
  • Support for the overall feature will not be dropped, though details may change.
  • The schema and/or semantics of objects may change in incompatible ways in a subsequent beta or stable release. When this happens, we will provide instructions for migrating to the next version. This may require deleting, editing, and re-creating API objects. The editing process may require some thought. This may require downtime for applications that rely on the feature.
  • Recommended for only non-business-critical uses because of potential for incompatible changes in subsequent releases. If you have multiple clusters that can be upgraded independently, you may be able to relax this restriction.
  • Please do try our beta features and give feedback on them! After they exit beta, it may not be practical for us to make more changes.

Dynamic Kubelet Configuration allows you to change the configuration of each Kubelet in a live Kubernetes cluster by deploying a ConfigMap and configuring each Node to use it.

Warning: All Kubelet configuration parameters can be changed dynamically, but this is unsafe for some parameters. Before deciding to change a parameter dynamically, you need a strong understanding of how that change will affect your cluster’s behavior. Always carefully test configuration changes on a small set of nodes before rolling them out cluster-wide. Advice on configuring specific fields is available in the inline KubeletConfiguration type documentation.

Before you begin

Reconfiguring the Kubelet on a Live Node in your Cluster

Basic Workflow Overview

The basic workflow for configuring a Kubelet in a live cluster is as follows:

  1. Write a YAML or JSON configuration file containing the Kubelet’s configuration.
  2. Wrap this file in a ConfigMap and save it to the Kubernetes control plane.
  3. Update the Kubelet’s corresponding Node object to use this ConfigMap.

Each Kubelet watches a configuration reference on its respective Node object. When this reference changes, the Kubelet downloads the new configuration, updates a local reference to refer to the file, and exits. For the feature to work correctly, you must be running an OS-level service manager (such as systemd), which will restart the Kubelet if it exits. When the Kubelet is restarted, it will begin using the new configuration.

The new configuration completely overrides configuration provided by --config, and is overridden by command-line flags. Unspecified values in the new configuration will receive default values appropriate to the configuration version (e.g. kubelet.config.k8s.io/v1beta1), unless overridden by flags.

The status of the Node’s Kubelet configuration is reported via Node.Spec.Status.Config. Once you have updated a Node to use the new ConfigMap, you can observe this status to confirm that the Node is using the intended configuration.

This document describes editing Nodes using kubectl edit. There are other ways to modify a Node’s spec, including kubectl patch, for example, which facilitate scripted workflows.

This document only describes a single Node consuming each ConfigMap. Keep in mind that it is also valid for multiple Nodes to consume the same ConfigMap.

Warning: While it is possible to change the configuration by updating the ConfigMap in-place, this causes all Kubelets configured with that ConfigMap to update simultaneously. It is much safer to treat ConfigMaps as immutable by convention, aided by kubectl’s --append-hash option, and incrementally roll out updates to Node.Spec.ConfigSource.

Automatic RBAC rules for Node Authorizer

Previously, you were required to manually create RBAC rules to allow Nodes to access their assigned ConfigMaps. The Node Authorizer now automatically configures these rules.

Generating a file that contains the current configuration

The Dynamic Kubelet Configuration feature allows you to provide an override for the entire configuration object, rather than a per-field overlay. This is a simpler model that makes it easier to trace the source of configuration values and debug issues. The compromise, however, is that you must start with knowledge of the existing configuration to ensure that you only change the fields you intend to change.

Ideally, the Kubelet would be bootstrapped from a file on disk and you could edit this file (which could also be version-controlled), to create the first Kubelet ConfigMap (see Set Kubelet parameters via a config file), Currently, the Kubelet is bootstrapped with a combination of this file and command-line flags that can override the configuration in the file. As a workaround, you can generate a config file containing a Node’s current configuration by accessing the Kubelet server’s configz endpoint via the kubectl proxy. This endpoint, in its current implementation, is intended to be used only as a debugging aid. Do not rely on the behavior of this endpoint for production scenarios. The examples below use the jq command to streamline working with JSON. To follow the tasks as written, you need to have jq installed, but you can adapt the tasks if you prefer to extract the kubeletconfig subobject manually.

Generate the configuration file

  1. Choose a Node to reconfigure. In this example, the name of this Node is referred to as NODE_NAME.
  2. Start the kubectl proxy in the background using the following command: bash kubectl proxy --port=8001 &
  3. Run the following command to download and unpack the configuration from the configz endpoint. The command is long, so be careful when copying and pasting. If you use zsh, note that common zsh configurations add backslashes to escape the opening and closing curly braces around the variable name in the URL. For example: ${NODE_NAME} will be rewritten as $\{NODE_NAME\} during the paste. You must remove the backslashes before running the command, or the command will fail.

      NODE_NAME="the-name-of-the-node-you-are-reconfiguring"; curl -sSL "http://localhost:8001/api/v1/nodes/${NODE_NAME}/proxy/configz" | jq '.kubeletconfig|.kind="KubeletConfiguration"|.apiVersion="kubelet.config.k8s.io/v1beta1"' > kubelet_configz_${NODE_NAME}
You need to manually add the kind and apiVersion to the downloaded object, because they are not reported by the configz endpoint.

Edit the configuration file

Using a text editor, change one of the parameters in the file generated by the previous procedure. For example, you might edit the QPS parameter eventRecordQPS.

Push the configuration file to the control plane

Push the edited configuration file to the control plane with the following command:

kubectl -n kube-system create configmap my-node-config --from-file=kubelet=kubelet_configz_${NODE_NAME} --append-hash -o yaml

This is an example of a valid response:

apiVersion: v1
  kubelet: |
kind: ConfigMap
  creationTimestamp: 2017-09-14T20:23:33Z
  name: my-node-config-gkt4c2m4b2
  namespace: kube-system
  resourceVersion: "119980"
  selfLink: /api/v1/namespaces/kube-system/configmaps/my-node-config-gkt4c2m4b2
  uid: 946d785e-998a-11e7-a8dd-42010a800006

The ConfigMap is created in the kube-system namespace because this ConfigMap configures a Kubelet, which is Kubernetes system component.

The --append-hash option appends a short checksum of the ConfigMap contents to the name. This is convenient for an edit-then-push workflow, because it automatically, yet deterministically, generates new names for new ConfigMaps. The name that includes this generated hash is referred to as CONFIG_MAP_NAME in the following examples.

Set the Node to use the new configuration

Edit the Node’s reference to point to the new ConfigMap with the following command:

kubectl edit node ${NODE_NAME}

In your text editor, add the following YAML under spec:

        name: CONFIG_MAP_NAME
        namespace: kube-system
        kubeletConfigKey: kubelet

You must specify all three of name, namespace, and kubeletConfigKey. The kubeletConfigKey parameter shows the Kubelet which key of the ConfigMap contains its config.

Observe that the Node begins using the new configuration

Retrieve the Node using the kubectl get node ${NODE_NAME} -o yaml command and inspect Node.Status.Config. The config sources corresponding to the active, assigned, and lastKnownGood configurations are reported in the status.

ThelastKnownGood configuration might not be present if it is set to its default value, the local config deployed with the node. The status will update lastKnownGood to match a valid assigned config after the Kubelet becomes comfortable with the config. The details of how the Kubelet determines a config should become the lastKnownGood are not guaranteed by the API, but is currently implemented as a 10-minute grace period.

You can use the following command (using jq) to filter down to the config status:

kubectl get no ${NODE_NAME} -o json | jq '.status.config'

The following is an example response:

  "active": {
    "configMap": {
      "kubeletConfigKey": "kubelet",
      "name": "my-node-config-9mbkccg2cc",
      "namespace": "kube-system",
      "resourceVersion": "1326",
      "uid": "705ab4f5-6393-11e8-b7cc-42010a800002"
  "assigned": {
    "configMap": {
      "kubeletConfigKey": "kubelet",
      "name": "my-node-config-9mbkccg2cc",
      "namespace": "kube-system",
      "resourceVersion": "1326",
      "uid": "705ab4f5-6393-11e8-b7cc-42010a800002"
  "lastKnownGood": {
    "configMap": {
      "kubeletConfigKey": "kubelet",
      "name": "my-node-config-9mbkccg2cc",
      "namespace": "kube-system",
      "resourceVersion": "1326",
      "uid": "705ab4f5-6393-11e8-b7cc-42010a800002"

If an error occurs, the Kubelet reports it in the Node.Status.Config.Error structure. Possible errors are listed in Understanding Node.Status.Config.Error messages. You can search for the identical text in the Kubelet log for additional details and context about the error.

Make more changes

Follow the workflow above to make more changes and push them again. Each time you push a ConfigMap with new contents, the –append-hash kubectl option creates the ConfigMap with a new name. The safest rollout strategy is to first create a new ConfigMap, and then update the Node to use the new ConfigMap.

Reset the Node to use its local default configuration

To reset the Node to use the configuration it was provisioned with, edit the Node using kubectl edit node ${NODE_NAME} and remove the Node.Spec.ConfigSource field.

Observe that the Node is using its local default configuration

After removing this subfield, Node.Status.Config eventually becomes empty, since all config sources have been reset to nil, which indicates that the local default config is assigned, active, and lastKnownGood, and no error is reported.

Kubectl Patch Example

You can change a Node’s configSource using several different mechanisms. This example uses kubectl patch:

kubectl patch node ${NODE_NAME} -p "{\"spec\":{\"configSource\":{\"configMap\":{\"name\":\"${CONFIG_MAP_NAME}\",\"namespace\":\"kube-system\",\"kubeletConfigKey\":\"kubelet\"}}}}"

Understanding how the Kubelet checkpoints config

When a new config is assigned to the Node, the Kubelet downloads and unpacks the config payload as a set of files on the local disk. The Kubelet also records metadata that locally tracks the assigned and last-known-good config sources, so that the Kubelet knows which config to use across restarts, even if the API server becomes unavailable. After checkpointing a config and the relevant metadata, the Kubelet exits if it detects that the assigned config has changed. When the Kubelet is restarted by the OS-level service manager (such as systemd), it reads the new metadata and uses the new config.

The recorded metadata is fully resolved, meaning that it contains all necessary information to choose a specific config version - typically a UID and ResourceVersion. This is in contrast to Node.Spec.ConfigSource, where the intended config is declared via the idempotent namespace/name that identifies the target ConfigMap; the Kubelet tries to use the latest version of this ConfigMap.

When you are debugging problems on a node, you can inspect the Kubelet’s config metadata and checkpoints. The structure of the Kubelet’s checkpointing directory is:

- --dynamic-config-dir (root for managing dynamic config)
| - meta
  | - assigned (encoded kubeletconfig/v1beta1.SerializedNodeConfigSource object, indicating the assigned config)
  | - last-known-good (encoded kubeletconfig/v1beta1.SerializedNodeConfigSource object, indicating the last-known-good config)
| - checkpoints
  | - uid1 (dir for versions of object identified by uid1)
    | - resourceVersion1 (dir for unpacked files from resourceVersion1 of object with uid1)
    | - ...
  | - ...

Understanding Node.Status.Config.Error messages

The following table describes error messages that can occur when using Dynamic Kubelet Config. You can search for the identical text in the Kubelet log for additional details and context about the error.

Error Message Possible Causes

failed to load config, see Kubelet log for details

The Kubelet likely could not parse the downloaded config payload, or encountered a filesystem error attempting to load the payload from disk.

failed to validate config, see Kubelet log for details

The configuration in the payload, combined with any command-line flag overrides, and the sum of feature gates from flags, the config file, and the remote payload, was determined to be invalid by the Kubelet.

invalid NodeConfigSource, exactly one subfield must be non-nil, but all were nil

Since Node.Spec.ConfigSource is validated by the API server to contain at least one non-nil subfield, this likely means that the Kubelet is older than the API server and does not recognize a newer source type.

failed to sync: failed to download config, see Kubelet log for details

The Kubelet could not download the config. It is possible that Node.Spec.ConfigSource could not be resolved to a concrete API object, or that network errors disrupted the download attempt. The Kubelet will retry the download when in this error state.

failed to sync: internal failure, see Kubelet log for details

The Kubelet encountered some internal problem and failed to update its config as a result. Examples include filesystem errors and reading objects from the internal informer cache.

internal failure, see Kubelet log for details

The Kubelet encountered some internal problem while manipulating config, outside of the configuration sync loop.