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CKA - Page 1

What is Kubernetes

Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that is designed to Scale to the planet. It achieves this using a number of somewhat independent stacks of technology, like etcd and nginx.

This and all other pages are my study notes for the CKA exam.

Additional Study Resources

Code for exam reduction: DEVOPS15

GitHub for additional stuff: kodekloudhub/certified-kubernetes-administrator-course

Kubernetes Architecture

Kubernetes hosts your application in an automated fashion.

It's designed that applications can be both segmented logically, and allowed to communicate.

Container runtime

In order for nodes (Both master and workers) to be able to run Pods we need to have a CR (Container runtime).

A CR is the software installed on the nodes that allow containers (Docker containers) to be run. A few examples of common Container runtimes are below

The CR communicates to the CRI

Container Runtime Interface (CRI)

The CRI is a plugin interface which enables the Kubelet to use a wide variety of Container runtimes without the need to recompile the cluster components.

Where it's required

The CRI and CR are required to be on each node.


Kubernetes is split into 2 node types

  • Master - Responsible for managing the cluster
  • Workers - Responsible for running the containers (nae; workload)


Masters run the below workloads (They are not workloads per-se but can be deployed as pods on the masters)

The job of the master node (or nodes) is to control the workers, place pods on nodes that have the resources as well as keep a general eye on the cluster.

It stores information on the cluster in something called ETCD - A key value store.

The master is made up of the below components:

Name What it does Resources
kube-apiserver At the top level, this is where kubectl connects to, as well as all the cluster based metrics, jobs, status updates and scheduling requests originate from. Also used for nodes to communicate to the master. kube-apiserver
etcd Key value store of the cluster state, fronted by the kube-apiserver. ETCD runs on the control plane nodes only. How does kubernetes use ETCD
kube-scheduler Assigns pods to nodes, determines what nodes are available for placement of pods. Ranks each valid node and binds a pod to the node kube-scheduler
kube-controller-manager A control loop that runs the core controllers (replication, endpoints, namespace, and serviceaccounts controller) kube-controller-manager
node controller Controls the lifecycle of nodes, their registration and status (OutOfDisk, Ready, MemoryPressure and DiskPressure What is a node
ReplicationController Ensures the specified number of pod replicas are running at any given time. ReplicationController


Worker nodes are where the actual Workloads are run. A good example of a workload is a simple nginx deployment.

Some facts about the worker nodes:

  • Required to register with the master nodes (using the kubelet)
  • Report their status back to the master undoes
  • kubelet orchestrates the workloads on the nodes using instructions passed from the Kube-apiserver
  • Uses 'kube-proxy' to facilitate inter-cluster communication.

The worker is made up of the below component:

Name What it does Resources
kubelet Responsible for regiersting the node with the masters as well as ensuring that pods described by the apiserver are running and are healthy. kubelet
kube-proxy Runs on each node, this is where services live (services being kind: Service) kube-proxy


ETCD is a distributed reliable key value store

Key value store stores a key and a value

Normal Database example:

Name Age Location
Mike 32 Place 1
Not mike 54 Place 2

Whereas a key value store

Key Value
Name Mike
Location Place 1

So querying a key value store is like:

Put Name "Mike"

and then querying is like: get name

It's used for querying bits of operational data, and it's fast.

Etcd listens on 2379 by default.

The role it plays

ETCD stores all the stuff that you get when you run a kubectl get:

  • Nodes
  • PODs
  • Configs
  • Secrets
  • Accounts
  • Roles
  • Bindings
  • Others

It's important to know that when etcd runs it's to be bound to the host IP, you should then point it to kube-apiserver

List all keys etcd contains

etcdctl get / --prefix -keys-only

In an HA deployment, etcd installed a master server to each master instance, and that they know about each other. This is set under the --initial-cluster option


The official definition of the kube-apiserver is

The Kubernetes API server validates and configures data for the api objects which include pods, services, replicationcontrollers, and others. The API Server services REST operations and provides the frontend to the cluster's shared state through which all other components interact.

The kube-apiserver is the primary management component of Kubernetes.

When you issue a kubectl command, this is where the connection is made to.

We don't actually have to use kubectl, as kubectl is just a nice wrapper around making HTTP/POST request to any of the master nodes running the kube-aiserver

Creating a pod (kube-apiserver example)

The below explains what happens when we do kubectl create deployment nginx --image=nginx

Where it happens What happens
Master Authenticate as a user
Master Validate the request (check request is valid, no feature gates etc)
Master Create pod Object
Master Update etcd
Master Update user that the pod has been created
Master scheduler monitors the kube-api for changes
Master sees a change of +1 pod with no nodes assigned
Master Scheduler identifies a node to place the pod on, and communicates this to kube-api
Master kube-apiserver updates etcd
Master apiserver passes the information to the selected nodes kubelet on a worker
Worker Kubelet creates pod on the node, instructs the CRI to deploy the image
Worker CRE creates the image
Worker Updates kube-api
Master kube-apiserver updates ETCD

A similar pattern occurs each time anything is updated in the cluster

Summary of Kubeapi

kube-apiserver is responsible for Authenticating and validating requests as well as retrieving and updating data in ETCD.

In fact, kube-apiserver is the only service that communicates with ETCD directly. Components like scheduler, kubecontroller, kubelet all use the kube-apiserver

Viewing kube-apiserver configuration

We are able to view the configuration of the kube-apiserver on our cluster. Depending on how you provisioned the cluster, changes how you view the config.

deployed as a pod called kube-apiserver-master in the kube-system namespace

can view the config on /etc/kubernetes/manifests/kube-apiserver.yml

Can view the config at /etc/systemd/system/kube-apiserver.service

can view the process of kube-apiserver by doing ps -aus | grep kube-apiserver

Kube controller Manager

The Kube controller manager is a daemon that embeds control loops

The official definition of the kube-controller-manager is

The Kubernetes controller manager is a daemon that embeds the core control loops shipped with Kubernetes. In applications of robotics and automation, a control loop is a non-terminating loop that regulates the state of the system. In Kubernetes, a controller is a control loop that watches the shared state of the cluster through the apiserver and makes changes attempting to move the current state towards the desired state. Examples of controllers that ship with Kubernetes today are the replication controller, endpoints controller, namespace controller, and serviceaccounts controller.

The sole job of the kube-controller-manager (KCM) is to run the various deployable resources and services in the cluster.

All the controllers (see List of Controllers) are packed in to the kube-controller-manager which can be retrieved from gs://kubernetes-release/release/v1.21.0/bin/linux/amd64/kube-controller-manager

Enabling each controller is done using a feature gate under the option --controllers (See Here for additional Documentation)

Faulty Controllers

If you have issues with the Controllers, there is most likely an issue with the kube-controller-manager

you can view the file under `/etc/kubernetes/manifests/kube-controller-manager.yaml

Pods show up as kube-controller-manager-master in kube-system namespace on the master node

you can view the service under: /etc/systemd/system/kube-controller-manager.service

you can also view the running process using ps -aux | grep kube-controller-manager

An example of a controller is below

Node Controller

The Node controller is to monitor the state of nodes, take actions and keep the applications they are running... Running.

This is done through the kube-apiserver (like everything).

Important numbers to remember

The kube-apiserver polls a node every 5 seconds

If a node does not reply in 40 seconds it's marked as unreachable

If a node does not come back in 5 minutes the node is removed and workloads are rescheduled, only if the deployment has an RS (Replica Set)


The replication controller is responsible for ensuring that the desired number of pod replicas are running at one time.

If a pod was to die, the ReplicationController is what is responsible for recreating the pods

The official definition of the ReplicationController is

A ReplicationController ensures that a specified number of pod replicas are running at any one time. In other words, a ReplicationController makes sure that a pod or a homogeneous set of pods is always up and available.

Kube Scheduler

kube-scheduler is a cluster control plane process that assigns pods to a node. (note, this does not actually the run them on the node, see Kubelet)

The scheduler puts pods in a scheduling queue according to constraints (like CPU) and available resources on nodes.

Runs as a pod on the master node /etc/kubernetes/manifests/kube-scheduler.yaml

Not sure, but probably going to be under /etc/systemd/system/kube-scheduler.service

The config file for the scheduler exists under /etc/kubernetes/scheduler.conf

Why do we need a scheduler?

We need to ensure that the right pods are getting placed on the right nodes.

An Example would be we need to run a pod on a node with a GPU, the scheduler makes sure that the pod will land on a Node with a GPU attached.

Scheduling Considerations

The scheduler looks at each pod and tries to find the best node for it.

Scheduling Phase 1: Filtering

Filtering step finds the nodes where it's possible to schedule the pod. If there are more than one, it moves on to phase 2

Scheduling phase 2: Scoring

  1. Rank the surviving nodes from the Filtering stage and assing a value to each node.
  2. The score is assigned based on the active sorting rules (Default unless changed)
  3. If there are multiples, it picks one at random.

A note on schedulers

Kubernetes ships with one by default, but you are able to write your own.


Kubelet is responsible for registering the Worker node with the Masters.

It receives jobs (Like placing a pod) and passes that on to the CRE. These are requested by Scheduling Events

It tells the CRE to pull the docker (or OCI) image, and then reports the status back to the masters on a regular basis.

It's not installed by default, so you have to install it

Not confirmed

Kube Proxy

Kube proxy is responsible for all the workload based networking.

It handles (non-exclusive list):

  • Inter-pod networking
  • Inter-pod-node networking
  • Services IP networking communication

It does this by running a pod on each node (using a DaemonSet) which then adjusts iptables rules on the nodes.

The job of the Kube proxy is to look out for new services that have been scheduled and host them

The kube-proxy needs to be installed, and run as a daemonset on all the nodes.

It's called kube-proxy-<uuid> and runs in the kube-system namespace

Pod networking

Pod networking (we will touch on this in more depth later) uses a network that spans all nodes. Pods then get

Accessing a service

When a kind:Service is created, an IP address gets assigned to the nodes (Not exactly, but this is the best way to think about it)

When a request for that kind:Service is made, the node accepts the traffic, and forwards it on to the serving pod.


What are pods

Pods are the smallest deployable item of compute on a Kubernetes cluster.

Pods are made up of containers. Usually it's just one container, however it can be multiple.

Note on multiple containers per pod

Only deploy multiple containers per pod if they are very tightly coupled. A good example would be apache2 and php-fpm (if memory serves me well.)

Another good example is in GKE, we are able to deploy the Google cloud SQL proxy along side the container to access the Database without having to use IP address'

When we deploy an application, we are effectively deploying a collection of pods.

How to scale the application

When your application is deployed in pods, to scale the application we do not add more containers to a pod, instead we add more pods to the cluster.

We can use a Deployment as well as HPA to scale the deployment manually and automatically.

Networking and storage

Due to how kubernetes uses the underlying Kernel, and then Networking Namespaces, containers that are in the same pod share localhost

Containers in the same pod share storage mappings, so we can map storage to 2 containers in a pod, and they have rw access, without having to do anything special

Creating a pod

We can create a pod using both kubectl and manifest files.

using kubectl

kubectl run nginx --image nginx:latest

If we break the command down:

  • kubectl: Kubernetes command line tool
  • run: telling the cluster to run something
  • nginx: name of the pod
  • --image Name of the image to run, from the public docker registry for nginx

Using Yaml to create a pod

We are able to use a Data Serialization language called Yaml

Below is an example Pod

apiVersion: v1 # (1)!
kind: Pod # (2)!
metadata: # (3)!
  name: my-app # (4)!
  namespace: test # (11)!
  labels: # (5)!
    app: my-app # (6)!
spec: # (7)!
  containers: # (8)!
    - name: nginx # (9)!
      image: nginx:latest # (10)!
  1. The version of the Kubernetes API you plan to use. Designed to allow for backwards compatibility
  2. What type of Object you're creating. In this case, a Pod
  3. Data that helps uniquely identify the object
  4. Name of the Pod Not optional to include
  5. Key Value pairs attached to the pod to identify it, and are defined as identifying attributes of objects that are meaningful and relevant to users
  6. User applied label Optional
  7. Desired state of the Object you are creating
  8. List of containers to create in the pod as we can have multiple containers in a pod
  9. First item in the list by definition of name
  10. Image as found on the public docker registry for nginx
  11. Namespace to deploy the Pod in to Optional


Deployments are the easier means to manage Kubernetes applications. You are able to describe your deployment in YAML, and then kubernetes automatically manages the Replica set that manages the pods.

You would use a Deployment over an RS (Replica Set) as it allows you to do things like:

  • Rolling Updates
  • Rollbacks

Below shows how Deployments interact with ReplicaSet and pods.

flowchart TD
Deployment --> ReplicaSet --> Pods --> Containers


Services enable communication with various components inside and outside the cluster.

They are used to connect applications together in loosely coupled microservices, as well as getting user traffic in to the cluster

Below shows how services can work

flowchart LR
A[Users] --> B[Service]
B --> C[Pods]
C --> D[Service]
C --> E[Backend Service]
D --> F[Pods]
E --> G[Pods]
G --> H[Database Service]
H --> I[Database ]

A service is a deployable piece of architecture in Kubernetes, in the form of iptables not actual compute.

There are several types of Services:

  • ClusterIP
  • NodePort
  • LoadBalancer

Using a service we can access other services across namespaces as per the below diagram

   * ------------------------------------- Name of the service as defines in the field
   |           * ------------------------- Name of the namespace, In this example it's my-namespace
   |           |         * --------------- Denotes it's a Service
   |           |         |   * ----------- Incase you forget you're in a clluster
   |           |         |   |       * --- Suffic
   |           |         |   |       |


The service type ClusterIP is most commonly used for internal traffic between different microservices as the IP address is registered in side the cluster and is not really designed for external access.

In the below diagram, you can see where it's useful to use a service

flowchart TB
AA[Load Balancer] --> A & B & C
A[web pod 1] & B[web pod 2] & C[web pod 3] --> D[back-end]
D--> E[Backend pod 1] & F[Backend pod 2] & G[Backend pod 3] --> H[redis]
H --> I[Redis pod 1] & J[Redis pod 2] & K[Redis pod 3]

This allows us to scale each layer up and down, move it between clusters etc. and not have to update any IP address'

Secondly, using a service here means we can call it my DNS name, so each service gets a dns entry like the below

We are able to create a service with the below:

Example of a ClusterIP

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  creationTimestamp: null
    app: my-cs
  name: my-cs
  - port: 5678
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 8080
    app: my-cs
  type: ClusterIP


The Service type NodePort allows us to publish a port on the kubernetes nodes themselves.

Numbers to remember

The ports can only be allocated between 30000* and 32767**

When a type NodePort is exposed, traffic needs to be sent to the IP address of the nodes, along with the port.

Assuming a worker node is on the IP address we would do

Example of a NodePort

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: my-service
  type: NodePort
   name: MyApp
    # By default, and for convenience, the `targetPort` is set to the same value as the `port` field.
    - port: 80
      targetPort: 80
      # Optional field
      # By default and for convenience, the Kubernetes control plane will allocate a port from a range (default: 30000-32767)
      nodePort: 30007


This is only really used on cloud providers.

If you are not running on a cloud provider, it will act like Node Port


Manual Scheduler

If you do not have any scheduling installed on your cluster, you are able to set up scheduling your self.

This is known as the Manual Scheduler.

To schedule pods manually, you will need to know the name of the node.

Below is an example manifest that schedules the pod to the node node02

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: nginx
  nodeName: node02
    - name: nginx
      image: nginx

When there is a scheduler enabled on a cluster, this field is automatically set once the pod has been scheduled.

Due to how scheduling works, you are only able to apply this on creation, and cant change the node placement of a pod via an update.

You have 2 options

  1. Delete the pod, update the file and do it again
  2. Use the API

Updating scheduling using the api

We are able to write a Binding manifest like the below, convert it to json and then post it to the kube-api

Endpoint: POST : /api/v1/namespaces/{namespace}/pods/{name}/binding

apiVersion: v1
kind: Binding
  name: nginx
  apiVersion: v1
  kind: Node
  name: node02

We then need to convert this to JSON, ideally use an online web converter, but you can also use yq cli

 yq . binding.yaml
  "apiVersion": "v1",
  "kind": "Binding",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "nginx"
  "target": {
    "apiVersion": "v1",
    "kind": "Node",
    "name": "node02"
We then need to flatten this, so it's like the below


We are then able to post this to the endpoint.

As you can see from the manifest file, we don't have any target pods, this is because it's applied to the pod via the API

curl --header "Content-Type:application/json" --request POST --data '{"apiVersion": "v1","kind": "Binding","metadata": {"name": "nginx"},"target": {"apiVersion": "v1","kind": "Node","name": "node02"}}' https://$SERVER/api/v1/namespaces/$NAMESPACE/pods/$PODNAME/binding/

Taking apart the URL gives us the below

  • $SERVER : IP/ URL of the Kube API server
  • $NAMESPACE : Namespace the pod exists in
  • $PODNAME : Name of the pod we want to apply the binding to

More details can be found on the documentation for the Binding API

Labels and Selectors

Labels and Selectors are an imperative part of Kubernetes. They pave the way for just about everything that connects to anything else

In the below Example, we have added Labels to a Pod

metadata.labels are just for humans

Adding labels under metadata.labels are purely for the operator (usually a human), in order for kubernetes to use them they need to go under:

  • spec.selector.matchLabels
  • template.metadata.labels

And they have to match 1:1

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: simple-web
    app: simple
    function: front-end
    - name: simple-web
      image: nginx
        - containerPort: 8080

We are then able to get this pod using the below kubectl

kubectl get pods --selector app=simple

Below shows what we were talking about in the Info box, about how to target objects using labels

We need to use spec.selector.matchLabels and spec.template.metadata.labels

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: ReplicaSet
  name: simple-webapp
    app: App1
    function: front-end
      app: App1
        app: App1
        function: Front-end
        - name: simple-webapp
          image: nginx


Another field that exists on most manifest files are Annotations, which live under metadata

These are user and Kubernetes added filed that can be used by other systems as well as operators to track down information about something.

Examples of their use are below:

Taints and Toleration's

Attracting pods to nodes

Taints and tolerations stop pods being scheduled on a node, whereas Node affinity is a property of Pods that attracts them to a set of nodes

Taints are the opposite -- they allow a node to repel a set of pods.

Tolerations are applied to pods. Tolerations allow the scheduler to schedule pods with matching taints.

Assume the following:

  • A bug is a pod
  • A Person is a Node
  • Bug Spray is a Taint
  • Genetic Mutation is a Toleration

The example is as:

  • The bugs normally flock to humans to suck their blood
  • We can spray Bug Spray on to human to stop the insects from being attracted to them
  • After a while of humans wearing the bug spray, the insects have a genetic mutation, so they can tolerate the spray

If you take this example back to the real world:

  • We apply a taint to the nodes so pods cant get scheduled on it
  • If we want a pod to be able to schedule on to that node, we give the pod a toleration

An example would be we have a node that has a GPU attached to it, and we only want pods that need a GPU to be scheduled to it

We would apply the taint gpu to it. Now any pod that tries to get scheduled to this node will bounce off it

Apply a taint

There are 3 different types of taints, NoSchedule, PreferNoSchedule and NoExecute

Below is the base for the taint command

kubectl taint nodes node-name key=value:taint-effect

The below example applies the NoSchedule to node-01 for the taint gpu=enabled

kubectl taint nodes node-01 gpu=enabled:NoSchedule

View taints on nodes

kubectl describe node <master> | grep taint

You will see something like:


Removing a taint

You are able to remove a taint by appending - to the end of the taint command

Example of removing the control-plane:NoSchedule would be

kubectl taint nodes controlplane

As explained we have 3 types of taints we can apply, they are described below


Pods will not be scheduled to the node

Running pods continue to run


Pods are not scheduled to the node if at all possible. It will do it's best to avoid it.

Running pods continue to run


Pods are evicted from the node if already running and will not be scheduled on to the node ever (unless it has )

This taint affects pods that are already on the node, and evicts them.

Example of Pod that has tolerations

Note: You need to have the values quoted in "

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  namespace: myapp-pod
    - name: nginx-container
      image: nginx
    - key: "gpu"
      operator: "Equal"
      value: "enabled"
      effect: "NoSchedule"

Interesting fact

Master nodes can still run workloads, they just have taints on them, so you can create workloads that tolerate them!


Node Selectors

Node selectors allow us to schedule pods on to nodes that have already been labeled

In our pod spec we would add the below

kind: Pod
apiVersion: v1
  name: Pod
  namespace: test
    size: large
    - name: bradley
      image: "bradley:cool"

Limitations of Node Selectors

We don't get the creature comforts like:

  • Either
  • Anything but

This means if we have 3 nodes, ranging from Small, Medium and Large. We cant say "Use either Big or Large" and we can't say "Anything But small"

In Order to get around this, we can use Node Affinity

Node Affinity

Node affinity allows us to assign pods to nodes by using their labels.

It gives us some additional niceties that Node Selectors don't have.

Below is a comparison

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: bradley
    - name: bradley
      image: bradley
          - matchExpressions:
              - key: size
                operator: in
                  - Large
kind: Pod
apiVersion: v1
  name: Pod
  namespace: test
    size: large
    - name: bradley
      image: "bradley:cool"

Under the spec field, you have affinity, which looks like a sentence.


Affinity types

There are currently 2 types of Affinity types, and one that is perhaps coming soon:

  • requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution
  • preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution


This means that the operators that follows are required or the pod does not get scheduled.


This means that the operators that follow are more of a nice to have and the pod will still get scheduled, but it will do it's best first.

This means that the config that follows is required during scheduling



The Operator in allows you to pick from a list.

              - matchExpressions:
                  - key: size
                    operator: in
                      - Large
                      - Medium


Allows us to pick from a list that excludes something, and prefferes the rest

              - matchExpressions:
                  - key: size
                    operator: NotIn
                      - Small

The above example will schedule the pod on any node, as long as it doesn't have the label size=Small


This operator just checks if the node has the labels attached to it. You don't need the values as they aren't being compared

              - matchExpressions:
                  - key: size
                    operator: Exists


This operator just checks if the Label Size does not exist on the node

              - matchExpressions:
                  - key: size
                    operator: DoesNotExist


See #39256


See #39256

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