clusterctl Provider Contract

The clusterctl command is designed to work with all the providers compliant with the following rules.

Provider Repositories

Each provider MUST define a provider repository, that is a well-known place where the release assets for a provider are published.

The provider repository MUST contain the following files:

  • The metadata YAML
  • The components YAML

Additionally, the provider repository SHOULD contain the following files:

  • Workload cluster templates

Optionally, the provider repository can include the following files:

  • ClusterClass definitions

Creating a provider repository on GitHub

You can use a GitHub release to package your provider artifacts for other people to use.

A GitHub release can be used as a provider repository if:

  • The release tag is a valid semantic version number
  • The components YAML, the metadata YAML and eventually the workload cluster templates are included into the release assets.

See the GitHub docs for more information about how to create a release.

Creating a provider repository on GitLab

You can use a GitLab generic packages for provider artifacts.

A provider url should be in the form https://{host}/api/v4/projects/{projectSlug}/packages/generic/{packageName}/{defaultVersion}/{componentsPath}, where:

  • {host} should start with gitlab. (gitlab.com, gitlab.example.org, ...)
  • {projectSlug} is either a project id (42) or escaped full path (myorg%2Fmyrepo)
  • {defaultVersion} is a valid semantic version number
  • The components YAML, the metadata YAML and eventually the workload cluster templates are included into the same package version

See the GitLab docs for more information about how to create a generic package.

This can be used in conjunction with GitLabracadabra to avoid direct internet access from clusterctl, and use GitLab as artifacts repository. For example, for the core provider:

  • Use the following action file:

    external-packages/cluster-api:
      packages_enabled: true
      package_mirrors:
      - github:
          full_name: kubernetes-sigs/cluster-api
          tags:
          - v1.2.3
          assets:
          - clusterctl-linux-amd64
          - core-components.yaml
          - bootstrap-components.yaml
          - control-plane-components.yaml
          - metadata.yaml
    
  • Use the following clusterctl configuration:

    providers:
      # override a pre-defined provider on a self-host GitLab
      - name: "cluster-api"
        url: "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects/external-packages%2Fcluster-api/packages/generic/cluster-api/v1.2.3/core-components.yaml"
        type: "CoreProvider"
    

Limitation: Provider artifacts hosted on GitLab don’t support getting all versions. As a consequence, you need to set version explicitly for upgrades.

Creating a local provider repository

clusterctl supports reading from a repository defined on the local file system.

A local repository can be defined by creating a <provider-label> folder with a <version> sub-folder for each hosted release; the sub-folder name MUST be a valid semantic version number. e.g.

~/local-repository/infrastructure-aws/v0.5.2

Each version sub-folder MUST contain the corresponding components YAML, the metadata YAML and eventually the workload cluster templates.

Metadata YAML

The provider is required to generate a metadata YAML file and publish it to the provider’s repository.

The metadata YAML file documents the release series of each provider and maps each release series to an API Version of Cluster API (contract).

For example, for Cluster API:

apiVersion: clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/v1alpha3
kind: Metadata
releaseSeries:
- major: 0
  minor: 3
  contract: v1alpha3
- major: 0
  minor: 2
  contract: v1alpha2

Components YAML

The provider is required to generate a components YAML file and publish it to the provider’s repository. This file is a single YAML with all the components required for installing the provider itself (CRDs, Controller, RBAC etc.).

The following rules apply:

Naming conventions

It is strongly recommended that:

  • Core providers release a file called core-components.yaml
  • Infrastructure providers release a file called infrastructure-components.yaml
  • Bootstrap providers release a file called bootstrap-components.yaml
  • Control plane providers release a file called control-plane-components.yaml

Target namespace

The instance components should contain one Namespace object, which will be used as the default target namespace when creating the provider components.

All the objects in the components YAML MUST belong to the target namespace, with the exception of objects that are not namespaced, like ClusterRoles/ClusterRoleBinding and CRD objects.

Controllers & Watching namespace

Each provider is expected to deploy controllers using a Deployment.

While defining the Deployment Spec, the container that executes the controller binary MUST be called manager.

The manager MUST support a --namespace flag for specifying the namespace where the controller will look for objects to reconcile; however, clusterctl will always install providers watching for all namespaces (--namespace=""); for more details see support for multiple instances for more context.

Variables

The components YAML can contain environment variables matching the format ${VAR}; it is highly recommended to prefix the variable name with the provider name e.g. ${AWS_CREDENTIALS}

clusterctl uses the library drone/envsubst to perform variable substitution.

# If `VAR` is not set or empty, the default value is used. This is true for
# all the following formats.
${VAR:=default}
${VAR=default}
${VAR:-default}

Other functions such as substring replacement are also supported by the library. See drone/envsubst for more information.

Additionally, each provider should create user facing documentation with the list of required variables and with all the additional notes that are required to assist the user in defining the value for each variable.

Labels

The components YAML components should be labeled with cluster.x-k8s.io/provider and the name of the provider. This will enable an easier transition from kubectl apply to clusterctl.

As a reference you can consider the labels applied to the following providers.

Provider NameLabel
CAPIcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=cluster-api
CABPKcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=bootstrap-kubeadm
CACPKcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=control-plane-kubeadm
CACPNcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=control-plane-nested
CAPAcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-aws
CAPBcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-byoh
CAPCcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-cloudstack
CAPDcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-docker
CAPDOcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-digitalocean
CAPGcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-gcp
CAPHcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-hetzner
CAPIBMcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-ibmcloud
CAPKcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-kubevirt
CAPM3cluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-metal3
CAPNcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-nested
CAPOcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-openstack
CAPOCIcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-oci
CAPPcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-packet
CAPVcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-vsphere
CAPVCcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-vcluster
CAPVCDcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-vcd
CAPXcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-nutanix
CAPZcluster.x-k8s.io/provider=infrastructure-azure

Workload cluster templates

An infrastructure provider could publish a cluster templates file to be used by clusterctl generate cluster. This is single YAML with all the objects required to create a new workload cluster.

With ClusterClass enabled it is possible to have cluster templates with managed topologies. Cluster templates with managed topologies require only the cluster object in the template and a corresponding ClusterClass definition.

The following rules apply:

Naming conventions

Cluster templates MUST be stored in the same location as the component YAML and follow this naming convention:

  1. The default cluster template should be named cluster-template.yaml.
  2. Additional cluster template should be named cluster-template-{flavor}.yaml. e.g cluster-template-prod.yaml

{flavor} is the name the user can pass to the clusterctl generate cluster --flavor flag to identify the specific template to use.

Each provider SHOULD create user facing documentation with the list of available cluster templates.

Target namespace

The cluster template YAML MUST assume the target namespace already exists.

All the objects in the cluster template YAML MUST be deployed in the same namespace.

Variables

The cluster templates YAML can also contain environment variables (as can the components YAML).

Additionally, each provider should create user facing documentation with the list of required variables and with all the additional notes that are required to assist the user in defining the value for each variable.

Common variables

The clusterctl generate cluster command allows user to set a small set of common variables via CLI flags or command arguments.

Templates writers should use the common variables to ensure consistency across providers and a simpler user experience (if compared to the usage of OS environment variables or the clusterctl config file).

CLI flagVariable nameNote
--target-namespace${NAMESPACE}The namespace where the workload cluster should be deployed
--kubernetes-version${KUBERNETES_VERSION}The Kubernetes version to use for the workload cluster
--controlplane-machine-count${CONTROL_PLANE_MACHINE_COUNT}The number of control plane machines to be added to the workload cluster
--worker-machine-count${WORKER_MACHINE_COUNT}The number of worker machines to be added to the workload cluster

Additionally, the value of the command argument to clusterctl generate cluster <cluster-name> (<cluster-name> in this case), will be applied to every occurrence of the ${ CLUSTER_NAME } variable.

ClusterClass definitions

An infrastructure provider could publish a ClusterClass definition file to be used by clusterctl generate cluster that will be used along with the workload cluster templates. This is a single YAML with all the objects required that make up the ClusterClass.

The following rules apply:

Naming conventions

ClusterClass definitions MUST be stored in the same location as the component YAML and follow this naming convention:

  1. The ClusterClass definition should be named clusterclass-{ClusterClass-name}.yaml, e.g clusterclass-prod.yaml.

{ClusterClass-name} is the name of the ClusterClass that is referenced from the Cluster.spec.topology.class field in the Cluster template; Cluster template files using a ClusterClass are usually simpler because they are no longer required to have all the templates.

Each provider should create user facing documentation with the list of available ClusterClass definitions.

Target namespace

The ClusterClass definition YAML MUST assume the target namespace already exists.

The references in the ClusterClass definition should NOT specify a namespace.

It is recommended that none of the objects in the ClusterClass YAML should specify a namespace.

Even if technically possible, it is strongly recommended that none of the objects in the ClusterClass definitions are shared across multiple definitions; this helps in preventing changing an object inadvertently impacting many ClusterClasses, and consequently, all the Clusters using those ClusterClasses.

Variables

Currently the ClusterClass definitions SHOULD NOT have any environment variables in them.

ClusterClass definitions files should not use variable substitution, given that ClusterClass and managed topologies provide an alternative model for variable definition.

Note

A ClusterClass definition is automatically included in the output of clusterctl generate cluster if the cluster template uses a managed topology and a ClusterClass with the same name does not already exists in the Cluster.

OwnerReferences chain

Each provider is responsible to ensure that all the providers resources (like e.g. VSphereCluster, VSphereMachine, VSphereVM etc. for the vsphere provider) MUST have a Metadata.OwnerReferences entry that links directly or indirectly to a Cluster object.

Please note that all the provider specific resources that are referenced by the Cluster API core objects will get the OwnerReference set by the Cluster API core controllers, e.g.:

  • The Cluster controller ensures that all the objects referenced in Cluster.Spec.InfrastructureRef get an OwnerReference that links directly to the corresponding Cluster.
  • The Machine controller ensures that all the objects referenced in Machine.Spec.InfrastructureRef get an OwnerReference that links to the corresponding Machine, and the Machine is linked to the Cluster through its own OwnerReference chain.

That means that, practically speaking, provider implementers are responsible for ensuring that the OwnerReferences are set only for objects that are not directly referenced by Cluster API core objects, e.g.:

  • All the VSphereVM instances should get an OwnerReference that links to the corresponding VSphereMachine, and the VSphereMachine is linked to the Cluster through its own OwnerReference chain.

Additional notes

Components YAML transformations

Provider authors should be aware of the following transformations that clusterctl applies during component installation:

  • Variable substitution;
  • Enforcement of target namespace:
    • The name of the namespace object is set;
    • The namespace field of all the objects is set (with exception of cluster wide objects like e.g. ClusterRoles);
  • All components are labeled;

Cluster template transformations

Provider authors should be aware of the following transformations that clusterctl applies during components installation:

  • Variable substitution;
  • Enforcement of target namespace:
    • The namespace field of all the objects are set;

The clusterctl command requires that both the components YAML and the cluster templates contain all the required objects.

If, for any reason, the provider authors/YAML designers decide not to comply with this recommendation and e.g. to

  • implement links to external objects from a component YAML (e.g. secrets, aggregated ClusterRoles NOT included in the component YAML)
  • implement link to external objects from a cluster template (e.g. secrets, configMaps NOT included in the cluster template)

The provider authors/YAML designers should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure the proper functioning of clusterctl when using non-compliant component YAML or cluster templates.

Move

Provider authors should be aware that clusterctl move command implements a discovery mechanism that considers:

  • All the Kind defined in one of the CRDs installed by clusterctl using clusterctl init (identified via the clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io label); For each CRD, discovery collects:
    • All the objects from the namespace being moved only if the CRD scope is Namespaced.
    • All the objects if the CRD scope is Cluster.
  • All the ConfigMap objects from the namespace being moved.
  • All the Secret objects from the namespace being moved and from the namespaces where infrastructure providers are installed.

After completing discovery, clusterctl move moves to the target cluster only the objects discovered in the previous phase that are compliant with one of the following rules:

  • The object is directly or indirectly linked to a Cluster object (linked through the OwnerReference chain).
  • The object is a secret containing a user provided certificate (linked to a Cluster object via a naming convention).
  • The object is directly or indirectly linked to a ClusterResourceSet object (through the OwnerReference chain).
  • The object is directly or indirectly linked to another object with the clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/move-hierarchy label, e.g. the infrastructure Provider ClusterIdentity objects (linked through the OwnerReference chain).
  • The object hase the clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/move label or the clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/move-hierarchy label, e.g. the CPI config secret.

Note. clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/move and clusterctl.cluster.x-k8s.io/move-hierarchy labels could be applied to single objects or at the CRD level (the label applies to all the objects).

Please note that during move:

  • Namespaced objects, if not existing in the target cluster, are created.
  • Namespaced objects, if already existing in the target cluster, are updated.
  • Namespaced objects are removed from the source cluster.
  • Global objects, if not existing in the target cluster, are created.
  • Global objects, if already existing in the target cluster, are not updated.
  • Global objects are not removed from the source cluster.
  • Namespaced objects which are part of an owner chain that starts with a global object (e.g. a secret containing credentials for an infrastructure Provider ClusterIdentity) are treated as Global objects.

If moving some of excluded object is required, the provider authors should create documentation describing the exact move sequence to be executed by the user.

Additionally, provider authors should be aware that clusterctl move assumes all the provider’s Controllers respect the Cluster.Spec.Paused field introduced in the v1alpha3 Cluster API specification.