Running in Kubernetes

This guide presents an example approach to deploying linkerd as a sidecar in Kubernetes, using the multi-container pod support that Kubernetes provides. For more information on various deployment models, see the Deployment page.


In this example we’ll be deploying a basic “hello world” app with linkerd to the default namespace in our Kubernetes cluster.

To begin, we need to write a linkerd configuration file. This file will be mounted by the linkerd container when it starts up. We provide this file to Kubernetes using a ConfigMap object, in the file config.yml:

apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  name: linkerd-config
  config.yaml: |-
      port: 9990

    - kind: io.l5d.k8s
      experimental: true
      port: 8001

    - protocol: http
      - port: 8080
      dtab: |
        /iface      => /#/io.l5d.k8s/default;
        /svc        => /iface/http;

Create the config map with:

$ kubectl create -f config.yml
configmap "linkerd-config" created

The linkerd config that we’ve created specifies a single http router running on port 8080. The router routes requests by looking up the value of their HTTP Host header in service discovery. To do this, it uses the experimental k8s namer, which will lookup services in the Kubernetes cluster API. If a service exists in the default namespace with a name matching Host header value, it will load balance the requests over all of the pods that are managed by that service. The k8s namer expects a kubectl proxy process to be running locally to allow linkerd to talk to the cluster API. We’ll set that process up in the next section.

We can mount the ConfigMap from above into a linkerd container that we’ve defined as part of a pod spec. We’ll create a Replication Controller object to manage the pod, in the file rc.yml:

kind: ReplicationController
apiVersion: v1
  name: hello
  replicas: 1
    app: hello
        app: hello
      dnsPolicy: ClusterFirst
      - name: linkerd-config
          name: "linkerd-config"
      - name: hello
        image: dockercloud/hello-world:latest
        - name: http
          containerPort: 80

      - name: linkerd
        image: buoyantio/linkerd:latest
        - "/io.buoyant/linkerd/config/config.yaml"
        - name: ext
          containerPort: 8080
        - name: admin
          containerPort: 9990
        - name: "linkerd-config"
          mountPath: "/io.buoyant/linkerd/config"
          readOnly: true

      - name: kubectl
        image: buoyantio/kubectl:1.2.3
        - "proxy"
        - "-p"
        - "8001"

Create the replication controller (and corresponding pod) with:

$ kubectl create -f rc.yml
replicationcontroller "hello" created

This replication controller includes a pod spec that starts three containers. The “hello” container runs a simple hello world web service on port 80, which responds to http requests with a 200. The “linkerd” container runs linkerd, and exposes ports matching the config file that it is mounting. The “kubectl” container runs a local kubectl proxy, which linkerd’s k8s namer uses to perform service discovery via the Kubernetes cluster API.

Once the replication controller is created, we’ll need to create a service that allows access to the pods that are managed by the replication controller. We’ll add a Service object, in the file svc.yml:

kind: Service
apiVersion: v1
  name: hello
    app: hello
  type: LoadBalancer
  - name: ext
    port: 80
    targetPort: 8080
  - name: http
    port: 8081
    targetPort: 80
  - name: admin
    port: 9990

Create the service with:

$ kubectl create -f svc.yml
service "hello" created

This service forwards traffic on port 80 to the linkerd router running on 8080, as well as traffic on port 8081 to the hello world service running on port 80. With this configuration in place, requests received with a “hello” Host header on port 80 will be forwarded to the linkerd router running on port 8080, which will look up the hello service in service discovery and forward the request to the hello world service running on port 80. This effectively adds linkerd as a load balancer in front of all of the hello world instances. This service config also exposes linkerd’s admin service on port 9990.

Making sure it works

Once all of your objects have been created, you can test it out by making requests to the the external IP of the hello service that you created. Find the external IP with:

$ kubectl get svc hello
NAME      CLUSTER-IP       EXTERNAL-IP       PORT(S)                    AGE
hello      <public-ip>       80/TCP,8081/TCP,9990/TCP   1m

Next make a request to the external IP, specifying the “hello” host header:

$ curl -sI -H 'Host: hello' <public-ip> | head -n1
HTTP/1.1 200 OK

The request was successfully routed. Now to verify that host header routing is working properly, try making a request with an unknown header:

$ curl -sI -H 'Host: missing' <public-ip> | head -n1
HTTP/1.1 502 Bad Gateway

As expected, linkerd does not route this request, since there is no “missing” service available in service discovery.

Finally, to reach the admin service, make a request on port 9990:

$ curl <public-ip>:9990/admin/ping

Success! For more information about linkerd’s admin capabilities, see the Administration page.