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Set up High-Availability Kubernetes Masters

Kubernetes version 1.5 adds alpha support for replicating Kubernetes masters in kube-up or kube-down scripts for Google Compute Engine. This document describes how to use kube-up/down scripts to manage highly available (HA) masters and how HA masters are implemented for use with GCE.

Starting an HA-compatible cluster

To create a new HA-compatible cluster, you must set the following flags in your kube-up script:

Optionally, you can specify a GCE zone where the first master replica is to be created. Set the following flag:

The following sample command sets up a HA-compatible cluster in the GCE zone europe-west1-b:

$ MULTIZONE=true KUBE_GCE_ZONE=europe-west1-b  ENABLE_ETCD_QUORUM_READS=true ./cluster/kube-up.sh

Note that the commands above create a cluster with one master; however, you can add new master replicas to the cluster with subsequent commands.

Adding a new master replica

After you have created an HA-compatible cluster, you can add master replicas to it. You add master replicas by using a kube-up script with the following flags:

You don’t need to set the MULTIZONE or ENABLE_ETCD_QUORUM_READS flags, as those are inherited from when you started your HA-compatible cluster.

The following sample command replicates the master on an existing HA-compatible cluster:

$ KUBE_GCE_ZONE=europe-west1-c KUBE_REPLICATE_EXISTING_MASTER=true ./cluster/kube-up.sh

Removing a master replica

You can remove a master replica from an HA cluster by using a kube-down script with the following flags:

The following sample command removes a master replica from an existing HA cluster:

$ KUBE_DELETE_NODES=false KUBE_GCE_ZONE=europe-west1-c ./cluster/kube-down.sh

Handling master replica failures

If one of the master replicas in your HA cluster fails, the best practice is to remove the replica from your cluster and add a new replica in the same zone. The following sample commands demonstrate this process:

  1. Remove the broken replica:
$ KUBE_DELETE_NODES=false KUBE_GCE_ZONE=replica_zone KUBE_REPLICA_NAME=replica_name ./cluster/kube-down.sh
  1. Add a new replica in place of the old one:
$ KUBE_GCE_ZONE=replica-zone KUBE_REPLICATE_EXISTING_MASTER=true ./cluster/kube-up.sh

Best practices for replicating masters for HA clusters

Implementation notes



Each of master replicas will run the following components in the following mode:

In addition, there will be a load balancer in front of API servers that will route external and internal traffic to them.

Load balancing

When starting the second master replica, a load balancer containing the two replicas will be created and the IP address of the first replica will be promoted to IP address of load balancer. Similarly, after removal of the penultimate master replica, the load balancer will be removed and its IP address will be assigned to the last remaining replica. Please note that creation and removal of load balancer are complex operations and it may take some time (~20 minutes) for them to propagate.

Master service & kubelets

Instead of trying to keep an up-to-date list of Kubernetes apiserver in the Kubernetes service, the system directs all traffic to the external IP:

Similarly, the external IP will be used by kubelets to communicate with master.

Master certificates

Kubernetes generates Master TLS certificates for the external public IP and local IP for each replica. There are no certificates for the ephemeral public IP for replicas; to access a replica via its ephemeral public IP, you must skip TLS verification.

Clustering etcd

To allow etcd clustering, ports needed to communicate between etcd instances will be opened (for inside cluster communication). To make such deployment secure, communication between etcd instances is authorized using SSL.

Additional reading

Automated HA master deployment - design doc


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