5 Cluster Management Tools for Kubernetes that You Should be Aware of

Avinash Bendigeri Avatar

Kubernetes, also known as K8s, is a platform that allows you to efficiently manage your containerized applications across a group of machines. It simplifies the process of deploying, scaling, and updating your applications while ensuring reliability. Additionally, Kubernetes offers a range of features, including service discovery, load balancing, storage orchestration, and automatic self-recovery.

A Kubernetes cluster consists of a set of node machines for running your containers and pods – the fundamental building blocks in Kubernetes. The cluster also includes a control plane that maintains the desired state of the cluster. This involves managing which applications are currently running and their resource allocation. The control plane comprises components like the APl server, scheduler, controller manager, etc.

Cluster Control Plane

Challenges in Kubernetes Cluster Management

Despite its advantages, Kubernetes does present challenges. As organizations expand their usage of Kubernetes, As the clusters become larger in scale, managing them becomes increasingly complex and difficult. Users often encounter a range of challenges when working with Kubernetes, including:

  • Cluster lifecycle and upgrade management: Keeping the cluster up and running and ensuring that it is updated with the latest patches and security fixes can be a daunting task. According to a survey by VMware, 41% of respondents reported difficulties in managing cluster lifecycles and upgrades, up 5% from last year.

  • Integration with existing infrastructure: Integrating Kubernetes with the existing network, storage, security, and monitoring systems can be challenging, especially in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The same survey found that 36% of respondents faced difficulties with integration into current infrastructure, up 6% from last year.

  • Security and compliance: Ensuring that the cluster and the applications running on it are secure and compliant with the relevant regulations and policies can be a major concern. The survey revealed that 47% of respondents struggled with meeting security and compliance requirements, up 4% from last year.

  • Resource utilization and optimization: Monitoring and managing the resource consumption and allocation of the cluster and the applications can be difficult, especially in large and dynamic clusters. The survey showed that 34% of respondents had difficulties with optimizing resource usage, up 3% from last year.

  • Deployment and downtime mitigation: Deploying new applications or updates to existing ones can be risky, especially if there are errors or failures that affect the availability and performance of the cluster. The survey indicated that 31% of respondents had difficulties with deployment failovers and downtime mitigation, up 2% from last year.

  • Visibility and troubleshooting: Having a clear and comprehensive view of the cluster and the applications, and being able to identify and resolve issues quickly and effectively, can be challenging, especially in multi-cluster and multi-cloud scenarios. The survey reported that 30% of respondents had difficulties with visibility and troubleshooting, up 1% from last year.

Overcoming the obstacles that arise during the adoption and implementation of Kubernetes, in organizations is crucial. To ensure an efficient management of Kubernetes clusters it is important to have access to the necessary tools and solutions. In this article we will talk about the top 5 Kubernetes cluster management tools in 2023 and discuss how they can assist in overcoming these challenges.

Criterias for selecting the best cluster management tools for Kubernetes

When it comes to choosing the cluster management tools for Kubernetes, there are various factors that you should take into account in order to ensure optimal cluster performance, security, and usability. Here are some key considerations when selecting the cluster management tools for Kubernetes:

  • Ease of use: The tool should be straightforward to install, set up, and utilize. It’s important that it comes with a user interface and clear documentation. Additionally, the tool should have the capability to automate tasks and seamlessly integrate with tools and platforms. As an example, Kubectl serves as the command-line tool for Kubernetes, enabling users to interact with their cluster through commands.

  • Features: The tool should have functionalities that cater to your requirements for managing clusters. These functionalities include creating, upgrading, backing up, monitoring, troubleshooting, scaling, and ensuring security. Additionally, the tool should be capable of supporting clusters and various cloud environments. It should also provide options for customization and extensibility. For instance, Rancher is a tool that offers a platform for managing Kubernetes clusters in settings. It enables you to incorporate custom plugins and applications.

  • Integration: The tool needs to integrate with your current infrastructure, including network, storage, security, and monitoring systems. It should also be compatible with the version and distribution of Kubernetes you’re using, as well as support the cloud provider or platform you’re deploying on. For instance, Cert Manager is a tool that works alongside Kubernetes to handle certificate management for your cluster. It supports a range of certificate issuers, like Lets Encrypt, HashiCorp Vault, and AWS Certificate Manager.

  • Scalability: The tool needs to be capable of managing the expansion and intricacy of your cluster while ensuring availability and reliability. It should also have the ability to optimize resource usage and allocation in your cluster, assisting you in cost reduction efforts. For example, Kops is a tool that helps you create, update, and delete production-grade Kubernetes clusters on AWS and supports cluster scaling, rolling updates, and cluster federation.

By evaluating these criterias, you can find the best cluster management tools for Kubernetes that suit your specific requirements and preferences.

Rancher

Rancher is a platform for managing containers that allows you to easily run and oversee Kubernetes clusters in different environments. With Rancher, you can work with Kubernetes distributions like RKE, [K3s, and RKE2, as well as leverage cloud-based Kubernetes services such as EKS, AKS, and GKE. Additionally, Rancher offers features like authentication, access control, monitoring capabilities, catalog management, and project management for your Kubernetes clusters.

Architecture

The Rancher system is made up of two parts: the Rancher server and the Kubernetes clusters that are connected to it. The Rancher server acts as a Kubernetes cluster, hosting the Rancher API server and additional components that enable the Rancher user interface and its features. The downstream Kubernetes clusters refer to the clusters that’re under the management of the Rancher server, which can be either created by Rancher itself or imported from sources.

The Rancher server interacts with the Kubernetes clusters by utilizing the Rancher agent. This agent is a pod that operates within each cluster. Its main function is to register the cluster with the Rancher server and establish a websocket connection for receiving commands and sending events. Additionally, the Rancher agent handles the deployment and management of Rancher components on the cluster, including the cluster agent, node agent, and drivers.

The following diagram illustrates the Rancher architecture:

Rancher Architecture Diagram

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros of using Rancher are:

  • It is free and open source, with a large and active community.
  • It supports multiple Kubernetes distributions and cloud providers, giving you more flexibility and choice.
  • It provides a user-friendly and intuitive UI, as well as a powerful CLI and API, for managing your Kubernetes clusters.
  • It offers features that enhance the security, scalability, and usability of your Kubernetes clusters, such as RBAC, monitoring, backup, and catalog.

Some of the cons of using Rancher are:

  • It adds another layer of complexity and overhead to your Kubernetes stack, which may increase the learning curve and maintenance cost.
  • It may not support the latest versions or features of Kubernetes or the cloud providers, as it depends on the compatibility and integration of the Rancher components.
  • It may have some bugs or issues that affect the stability and performance of your Kubernetes clusters, as it is still under active development.

How to Install and Use Rancher

To install Rancher, you need to have a Linux host with a supported Docker version and a Helm CLI. You can follow these steps to install Rancher on your host:

  1. Add the Helm chart repository for Rancher:
helm repo add rancher-latest https://releases.rancher.com/server-charts/latest
  1. Create a namespace for Rancher:
kubectl create namespace cattle-system
  1. Choose your SSL configuration for Rancher. You can use either self-signed certificates, certificates from a recognized CA, or certificates from cert-manager. For example, to use self-signed certificates, you can run:
helm install rancher rancher-latest/rancher \
  --namespace cattle-system \
  --set hostname=rancher.my.org \
  --set tls=external
  1. If you are using cert-manager, you need to install it before installing Rancher. You can run:
kubectl apply --validate=false -f https://github.com/jetstack/cert-manager/releases/download/v1.0.4/cert-manager.crds.yaml
kubectl create namespace cert-manager
helm repo add jetstack https://charts.jetstack.io
helm repo update
helm install cert-manager jetstack/cert-manager \
  --namespace cert-manager \
  --version v1.0.4
  1. Install Rancher with Helm and your chosen certificate option. For example, to use cert-manager, you can run:
helm install rancher rancher-latest/rancher \
  --namespace cattle-system \
  --set hostname=rancher.my.org \
  --set ingress.tls.source=letsEncrypt \
  --set letsEncrypt.email=me@example.org
  1. Verify that the Rancher server is successfully deployed by checking the pod status:
kubectl -n cattle-system rollout status deploy/rancher

To utilize Rancher, you can access the Rancher User Interface (UI) by opening a web browser and navigating to the hostname or address where the Rancher server has been installed. From there, you will be provided with step-by-step instructions on how to configure your cluster. You have two options: Create a new cluster using Rancher or import an existing one. You can also use the Rancher CLI or API to interact with your clusters and resources. For more information, you can refer to the Rancher documentation.

Cert-manager

Cert-manager is an open-source tool that automates the management of TLS certificates in Kubernetes. It can issue certificates from various sources, such as Let’s Encrypt, HashiCorp Vault, and Venafi, as well as self-signed certificates. It also ensures that the certificates are valid and up-to-date, and attempts to renew them before they expire.

Architecture

Cert-manager consists of several components that work together to provide the certificate lifecycle management. The main components are:

  • The cert-manager controller: This is the core component that watches the Kubernetes resources related to certificates and issuers, and performs the necessary actions to obtain and renew certificates. It also communicates with the external certificate authorities and validates the ACME challenges.

  • The cert-manager webhook: This is an admission webhook that validates and mutates the cert-manager resources, such as adding default values and checking the syntax. It also provides a custom resource definition (CRD) conversion service to support multiple versions of the cert-manager CRDs.

  • The cert-manager cainjector: This is an auxiliary component that injects the CA certificates from cert-manager into other Kubernetes resources, such as ValidatingWebhookConfiguration, MutatingWebhookConfiguration, and APIService. This allows other components to trust the certificates issued by cert-manager.

The following diagram illustrates the cert-manager architecture:

Cert-manager Architecture Diagram

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros of using cert-manager are:

  • It is free and open source, with a large and active community.
  • It supports multiple sources of certificates, giving you more flexibility and choice.
  • It provides a declarative and consistent way of managing certificates, using Kubernetes native resources and APIs.
  • It offers features that enhance the security, reliability, and usability of your certificates, such as ACME challenges, DNS providers, certificate renewal, and backup.

Some of the cons of using cert-manager are:

  • It adds another layer of complexity and dependency to your Kubernetes stack, which may increase the learning curve and maintenance cost.
  • It may not support the latest versions or features of the external certificate authorities, as it depends on the compatibility and integration of the cert-manager components.
  • It may have some bugs or issues that affect the stability and performance of your certificates, as it is still under active development.

How to Install and Use Cert-manager

To install cert-manager, you need to have a Kubernetes cluster with a supported version and a Helm CLI. You can follow these steps to install cert-manager on your cluster:

  1. Create a namespace for cert-manager:
kubectl create namespace cert-manager
  1. Add the Jetstack Helm repository:
helm repo add jetstack https://charts.jetstack.io
  1. Update your local Helm chart repository cache:
helm repo update
  1. Install the cert-manager Helm chart:
helm install cert-manager jetstack/cert-manager \
  --namespace cert-manager \
  --version v1.6.1
  1. Verify that the cert-manager components are successfully deployed by checking the pod status:
kubectl get pods --namespace cert-manager

To use cert-manager, you need to create Issuer or ClusterIssuer resources that represent the certificate authorities that you want to use. You can choose from different types of issuers, such as ACME, Vault, Venafi, or SelfSigned. For example, to create a ClusterIssuer for Let’s Encrypt, you can apply the following YAML manifest:

apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
kind: ClusterIssuer
metadata:
  name: letsencrypt
spec:
  acme:
    # The ACME server URL
    server: https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
    # Email address used for ACME registration
    email: user@collabnix.com
    # Name of a secret used to store the ACME account private key
    privateKeySecretRef:
      name: letsencrypt
    # Enable the HTTP-01 challenge provider
    solvers:
    - http01:
        ingress:
          class: nginx

After creating the issuer, you can request certificates from it by creating Certificate resources that specify the domains and other parameters for the certificates. For example, to request a certificate for collabnix.com, you can apply the following YAML manifest:

apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
kind: Certificate
metadata:
  name: collabnix-com
  namespace: default
spec:
  # The secret name where the certificate will be stored
  secretName: collabnix-com-tls
  # The duration of the certificate validity
  duration: 2160h # 90d
  # The renew period before the certificate expiration
  renewBefore: 360h # 15d
  # The common name and DNS names for the certificate
  commonName: collabnix.com
  dnsNames:
  - collabnix.com
  - www.collabnix.com
  # The issuer reference
  issuerRef:
    name: letsencrypt
    kind: ClusterIssuer

Cert-manager will then create a CertificateRequest resource and an Order resource to request the certificate from the issuer. It will also create a challenge resource, a pod, and a service to solve the ACME challenge. Once the challenge is solved and the certificate is issued, cert-manager will store the certificate in the secret specified in the certificate resource.

You can then use the certificate in your Kubernetes resources, such as Ingress, by referencing the secret name. For example, to create an Ingress for collabnix.com, you can apply the following YAML manifest:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: Ingress
metadata:
  name: collabnix-com
  namespace: default
  annotations:
    # Use the nginx ingress controller
    kubernetes.io/ingress.class: "nginx"
    # Enable TLS termination on the ingress
    nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/ssl-redirect: "true"
spec:
  # Specify the TLS configuration
  tls:
  - hosts:
    - collabnix.com
    - www.collabnix.com
    # Reference the secret name that contains the certificate
    secretName: collabnix-com-tls
  # Specify the routing rules
  rules:
  - host: collabnix.com
    http:
      paths:
      - path: /
        pathType: Prefix
        backend:
          service:
            name: collabnix-com
            port:
              number: 80
  - host: www.collabnix.com
    http:
      paths:
      - path: /
        pathType: Prefix
        backend:
          service:
            name: collabnix-com
            port:
              number: 80

For more information, you can refer to the cert-manager documentation.

Kops

Kops is a tool that enables you to easily create, manage, and remove Kubernetes clusters on AWS and other cloud platforms using the command line. It’s often compared to ‘kubectl’, for clusters, because it allows you to interact with your clusters through commands. Kops can also generate Terraform manifests for your clusters. Supports networking plugins and additional functionalities.

Architecture

Kops follows a declarative approach to cluster management, meaning that you define the desired state of your cluster using a YAML manifest, and then apply it using kops. Kops will then provision the necessary cloud resources, such as instances, load balancers, security groups, and DNS records, and install the Kubernetes components on them. Kops also creates a state store, which is a S3 bucket or a GCS bucket that stores the cluster configuration and secrets.

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros of using kops are:

  • It is free and open source, with a large and active community.
  • It supports multiple cloud platforms, giving you more flexibility and choice.
  • It provides a user-friendly and intuitive CLI, as well as a powerful API, for managing your Kubernetes clusters.
  • It offers features that enhance the security, scalability, and usability of your Kubernetes clusters, such as HA masters, rolling updates, and cluster federation.

Some of the cons of using kops are:

  • It adds another layer of complexity and dependency to your Kubernetes stack, which may increase the learning curve and maintenance cost.
  • It may not support the latest versions or features of Kubernetes or the cloud providers, as it depends on the compatibility and integration of the kops components.
  • It may have some bugs or issues that affect the stability and performance of your Kubernetes clusters, as it is still under active development.

How to Install and Use Kops

To install kops, you need to have a Linux or macOS host with a supported kubectl version and a cloud provider account. You can follow these steps to install kops on your host:

  1. Download the latest release of kops from the GitHub page:
curl -LO https://github.com/kubernetes/kops/releases/download/$(curl -s https://api.github.com/repos/kubernetes/kops/releases/latest | grep tag_name | cut -d '"' -f 4)/kops-linux-amd64
  1. Make the binary executable and move it to your PATH:
chmod +x kops-linux-amd64
sudo mv kops-linux-amd64 /usr/local/bin/kops
  1. Verify that kops is installed correctly:
kops version

To use kops you require a domain name for your cluster and a state store to store your cluster configuration and secrets. Follow these guidelines to use kops on AWS:

  1. Create a hosted zone for your domain name using Route 53. For example, if your domain name is collabnix.com, you can create a hosted zone for k8s.collabnix.com:
ID=$(uuidgen) && aws route53 create-hosted-zone --name k8s.collabnix.com --caller-reference $ID | jq .DelegationSet.NameServers
  1. Create a S3 bucket for your state store. For example, you can create a bucket named kops-state-store:
aws s3api create-bucket --bucket kops-state-store --region us-east-1
  1. Enable versioning for your state store bucket:
aws s3api put-bucket-versioning --bucket kops-state-store --versioning-configuration Status=Enabled
  1. Export the KOPS_STATE_STORE environment variable to point to your state store bucket:
export KOPS_STATE_STORE=s3://kops-state-store
  1. Create a cluster configuration using the kops create cluster command. You can specify various options, such as the cluster name, the number and size of nodes, the networking plugin, and the cloud provider. For example, to create a cluster named mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com with 3 nodes of size t2.medium using Kubenet networking on AWS, you can run:

    kops create cluster --name=mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com --node-count=3 --node-size=t2.medium --networking=kubenet --cloud=aws
  2. Review the cluster configuration using kops edit cluster command. You can modify the configuration as per your requirements. For example, to edit the cluster configuration for mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com, you can run:

kops edit cluster mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com
  1. Apply the cluster configuration using the kops update cluster command. This will create the cloud resources and install the Kubernetes components for your cluster. You can also use the –yes flag to apply the changes immediately, or omit it to preview the changes. For example, to apply the cluster configuration for mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com, you can run:
kops update cluster mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com --yes
  1. Verify that the cluster is ready using the kops validate cluster command. This will check the health and readiness of your cluster and nodes. For example, to validate the cluster for mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com, you can run:
kops validate cluster mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com
  1. Access the cluster using the kubectl command. You can use the usual kubectl commands to interact with your cluster and resources. For example, to get the nodes in the cluster for mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com, you can run:
kubectl get nodes --show-labels
  1. Delete the cluster using the kops delete cluster command. This will delete the cloud resources and uninstall the Kubernetes components for your cluster. You can also use the –yes flag to delete the cluster immediately or omit it to preview the changes. For example, to delete the cluster for mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com, you can run:
kops delete cluster mycluster.k8s.collabnix.com --yes

For more information, you can refer to the kops documentation.

Kind

The Kind tool can be used to set up a Kubernetes cluster by utilizing Docker containers as nodes. The term "kind" is short for "Kubernetes in Docker ". Its primary purpose is to facilitate the testing and development of Kubernetes applications on a machine. Additionally, Kind can be seamlessly integrated with Continuous Integration (CI) systems, allowing for the execution of Kubernetes tests in an isolated environment.

Architecture

To set up a cluster, Kind starts by launching one or more Docker containers. These containers run Kubernetes components, such as the API server, controller manager, scheduler, and Kubelet. Among these containers, one is designated as the control plane node, while the others function as worker nodes. To simulate the pod network in a Kubernetes cluster, these containers are interconnected through a Docker network. Additionally, Kind generates a file that grants you access to the cluster using tools like Kubectl or other Kubernetes utilities.

The following diagram illustrates the Kind architecture:

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros of using Kind are:

  • It is free and open source, with a large and active community.
  • It is easy to install and use, and does not require any special hardware or software dependencies.
  • It is fast and lightweight, and can run multiple clusters on the same machine.
  • It supports most of the Kubernetes features and configurations, and can run any Kubernetes version or distribution.

Some of the cons of using Kind are:

  • It is not suitable for production use, as it does not provide high availability, scalability, or security guarantees.
  • It may not support some of the Kubernetes features or configurations that depend on the underlying infrastructure, such as load balancers, storage classes, or network policies.
  • It may have some bugs or issues that affect the stability and performance of the cluster, as it is still under active development.

How to Install and Use Kind

Kind supports all major operating systems – Linux, macOS, and Windows. Below you can find the installation steps for each OS.

Install Kind on Linux

  1. Use the curl command to download Kind.
curl -Lo ./kind https://kind.sigs.k8s.io/dl/v0.20.0/kind-linux-amd64
  1. Change the binary’s permissions to make it executable.
chmod +x ./kind
  1. Move kind to an application directory, such as /usr/local/bin.
sudo mv ./kind /usr/local/bin/kind

Create a Cluster

Cluster management options in Kind are accessible through the kind command. Create a cluster by typing:

kind create cluster

The output shows the progress of the operation. When the cluster successfully initiates, the command prompt appears.

The command above bootstraps a Kubernetes cluster named kind. It uses a pre-built node image to create the control plane node and a worker node. To create a cluster with a different name, use the –name option.

kind create cluster --name=[cluster-name]

To create a cluster with a customized setup, including the desired number and type of nodes, the specific version of Kubernetes, or the preferred network settings, you can utilize the config option. Simply provide a YAML file that outlines your specifications. For instance, if you want to establish a cluster called "mycluster" with three worker nodes and Kubernetes version 1.21.1, refer to the following YAML file as an example:

# mycluster.yaml
kind: Cluster
apiVersion: kind.x-k8s.io/v1alpha4
nodes:
- role: control-plane
- role: worker
- role: worker
- role: worker
kubeadmConfigPatches:
- |
  kind: ClusterConfiguration
  metadata:
    name: config
  kubernetesVersion: v1.21.1

Then, run the command:

kind create cluster --name=mycluster --config=mycluster.yaml

Interact With Your Cluster

To interact with your cluster, you have the option to utilize Kubectl or any other Kubernetes tool. Kind automatically. It updates a file, which grants you access to the cluster. You can locate the kubeconfig file in the ~/.kube directory. Employ the kind get kubeconfig command to view its contents.

To work with your cluster using Kubectl, you have a couple of options. You can. Set the KUBECONFIG environment variable to indicate the location of the kubeconfig file. You can use the kubeconfig option along with kubectl. For instance, if you want to retrieve information about the nodes in your mycluster cluster, you can execute the command:

export KUBECONFIG="$(kind get kubeconfig-path --name=mycluster)"
kubectl get nodes

Or:

kubectl get nodes --kubeconfig="$(kind get kubeconfig-path --name=mycluster)"

You can also merge the kubeconfig file with your default kubeconfig file by using the command "export kubeconfig". Afterwards, you can conveniently use Kubectl with the context option. Let’s say you want to export the kubeconfig file for a cluster called "mycluster". In that case, just execute the command:

kind export kubeconfig --name=mycluster

Then, to get the pods in the cluster, you can run:

kubectl get pods --context=kind-mycluster

Delete a Cluster

To delete a cluster, use the kind delete cluster command and specify the cluster name. For example, to delete the cluster named mycluster, you can run:

kind delete cluster --name=mycluster

This will stop and remove the Docker containers that run the cluster nodes, and delete the kubeconfig file for the cluster.

Sealed Secrets

Sealed Secrets is a tool in the open-source community. It provides a way to encrypt your Kubernetes secrets and store them safely in a Git repository. The use of asymmetric cryptography ensures that only the controller operating within the target cluster has the ability to decrypt these secrets. Sealed secrets can be integrated with GitOps tools such as Argo CD or Flux to automate the deployment of secrets to your cluster.

Architecture

Sealed Secrets consists of two components:

  • A cluster-side controller that watches for SealedSecret resources and creates corresponding Secret resources.
  • A client-side utility called kubeseal that encrypts secrets and generates SealedSecret manifests.

The Kubeseal tool utilizes the controller key to encrypt data, generating a SealedSecret manifest that includes both the encrypted data and metadata of the original secret. This SealedSecret manifest can be saved in a Git repository. Applied to the cluster using tools like Kubectl or other Kubernetes utilities.

To decrypt the sealed secret, the controller employs its key. Generates a secret with an identical name and namespace. This secret can then be utilized by Kubernetes resources, including pods or deployment.

The following diagram illustrates the Sealed Secrets architecture:

Sealed secrets Architecture Diagram

Pros and Cons

Some of the pros of using Sealed Secrets are:

  • It is free and open source, with a large and active community.
  • It is easy to install and use, and does not require any special hardware or software dependencies.
  • It is secure and robust, as it uses asymmetric cryptography and does not expose the encryption key to the user or the Git repository.
  • It is compatible with most of the Kubernetes features and configurations, and can handle any kind of secret data.

Some of the cons of using Sealed Secrets are:

  • It does not support automatic rotation or expiration of secrets, which may require manual intervention or additional tools.
  • It does not support cloud KMS solutions, such as AWS KMS or Google Cloud KMS, which may offer more flexibility and scalability for key management.
  • It may have some bugs or issues that affect the stability and performance of the tool, as it is still under active development.

How to Install and Use Sealed Secrets

To install and use Sealed Secrets, you need to have a Kubernetes cluster with kubectl access, and a Git repository to store your SealedSecret manifests. You can follow these steps to install and use Sealed Secrets:

  1. Install the controller in your cluster using the official Helm chart or the YAML manifest. For example, to install the controller using Helm, you can run:
helm repo add sealed-secrets [15](https://bitnami-labs.github.io/sealed-secrets)
helm repo update
helm install sealed-secrets-controller -n kube-system sealed-secrets/sealed-secrets
  1. Install the kubeseal utility on your local machine using the Homebrew formula, the binary from the GitHub release page, or the Docker image. For example, to install the kubeseal binary on Linux, you can run:
wget [16](https://github.com/bitnami-labs/sealed-secrets/releases/download/v0.16.0/kubeseal-linux-amd64) -O kubeseal
sudo install -m 755 kubeseal /usr/local/bin/kubeseal
  1. Create a secret in your cluster using kubectl or any other Kubernetes tool. For example, to create a secret named my-secret with the data username=foo and password=bar, you can run:
kubectl create secret generic my-secret --from-literal=username=foo --from-literal=password=bar
  1. Encrypt the secret using kubeseal and generate a SealedSecret manifest. You can specify the name and namespace of the secret, and the format of the output. For example, to encrypt the secret named my-secret in the default namespace and output a YAML manifest, you can run:
kubectl get secret my-secret -o json | kubeseal --format yaml > my-secret.yaml
  1. Delete the original secret from the cluster, as it is no longer needed. For example, to delete the secret named my-secret, you can run:
kubectl delete secret my-secret
  1. Store the SealedSecret manifest in your Git repository and apply it to the cluster using kubectl or any other Kubernetes tool. For example, to apply the SealedSecret manifest named my-secret.yaml, you can run:
kubectl apply -f my-secret.yaml
  1. Verify that the controller has created a secret from the SealedSecret using kubectl or any other Kubernetes tool. For example, to get the secret named my-secret, you can run:
kubectl get secret my-secret

For more information, you can refer to the Sealed Secrets documentation.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have explored different cluster management tools for Kubernetes in 2023. We’ve explored how these tools can assist in creating, operating, and scaling your Kubernetes clusters. Additionally, we’ve compared the advantages and disadvantages of each tool, along with instructions on their installation and usage.

However, it’s important to note that depending on factors such as cluster size, complexity, environment, and specific requirements, you may find some tools more suitable than others. Therefore, we recommend evaluating these tools based on the following criteria:

  • Ease of use: How easy is it to install, configure, and use the tool? Does it provide a user-friendly interface and documentation? Does it support automation and integration with other tools and platforms?

  • Features: What features does the tool offer to meet your cluster management needs? Does it support cluster creation, upgrade, backup, monitoring, troubleshooting, scaling, and security? Does it support multi-cluster and multi-cloud scenarios? Does it provide extensibility and customization options?

  • Integration: How well does the tool integrate with your existing infrastructure, such as network, storage, security, and monitoring systems? Is it compatible with the Kubernetes version and distribution you are using? Does it support the cloud provider or platform you are deploying on?

  • Scalability: How well does the tool handle the growth and complexity of your cluster? Does it provide high availability and reliability? Does it optimize the resource utilization and allocation of your cluster? Does it help you reduce costs?

By applying these guidelines, you can discover the optimal cluster management tools for Kubernetes that align with your requirements and preferences. We trust that this article has provided insights into the cluster management tools for Kubernetes and their efficient utilization.

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