Spin-up a lightweight Kubernetes cluster ...

Spin-up a lightweight Kubernetes cluster on Linux with K3s, MetalLB and Nginx Ingress

Apr 15, 2022

Kubernetes is widely used orchestration tool used for deploying, auto-scaling and managing containerized applications.

Kubernetes can be setup on on-premise or cloud or hybrid (combination of on-premise and cloud) infrastructure.

Kubernetes cluster is little complex to setup and requires heavy resources which makes it difficult to spin-up on local machine for learning or development.

Here, We will use K3s which is a lightweight distribution of Kubernetes which is developed and managed by Rancher. It can be setup on any Linux desktop or servers with ease and resources required is also lesser. It has all the features which Kubernetes has and works with kubectl command. This is best for learning or for development.

You can also find convenience script in my GitLab/GitHub repo to setup this cluster.


Kubernetes (K8s) and K3s


  1. Pre-requisites

  2. Create cluster

  3. Install MetalLB load balancer

  4. Install Nginx Ingress Controller

  5. Stop, start and delete a cluster

  6. Setup using convenience script


This demo has been performed on/with:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 Linux Desktop (Windows user can use Linux Virtual Machine in VirtualBox/VMWare)

  • 2 CPUs and 2 GB RAM (1GB memory for each node)

  • Docker 20.10.9

Create cluster

Make sure above pre-requisite are met. This is not a production-grade setup and must only be used for education or development purpose.

  1. Install K3d which can be used to deploy K3s cluster. (OPTIONAL: You can review the script before executing it on your system)

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rancher/k3d/main/install.sh | TAG=v5.0.1 bash

2. Create a K3s cluster

k3d cluster create k3s-demo-cluster --api-port 6550 --agents 1 --k3s-arg "--disable=traefik@server:0" --k3s-arg "--disable=servicelb@server:0" --no-lb --wait

Spin-up K3s cluster

Above command will create a K3s cluster with 1 master/controlplane node (server) and 1 Worker/Agent node. We have disabled the service loadbalancer and Traefik ingress controller and instead of that we will setup MetalLB load balancer and Nginx ingress controller, which I find better (My personal opinion).

3. Install kubectl tool

curl -LO https://dl.k8s.io/release/v1.22.2/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
chmod +x kubectl
sudo mv ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl

4. Check cluster info and nodes

kubectl cluster-info

It should return cluster information.

kubectl get nodes

Install MetalLB Load Balancer

Kubernetes deployed on bare metal clusters doesn’t offer network load balancer. So, Kubernetes Service type can either be ClusterIP or NodePort but not LoadBalancer.

MetalLB enables the load balancer service type in bare metal kubernetes cluster.

  1. Install MetalLB

kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/metallb/metallb/v0.10.3/manifests/namespace.yaml
kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/metallb/metallb/v0.10.3/manifests/metallb.yaml

Above commands will create a new namespace ‘metallb-system’ on kubernetes cluster and deploy required resources (clusterroles and bindings, pod security policies and deployment) for metallb.

2. Configure MetalLB

sudo apt install jq -y
cidr_block=$(docker network inspect k3d-k3s-demo-cluster | jq '.[0].IPAM.Config[0].Subnet' | tr -d '"')
first_addr=$(echo $base_addr | awk -F'.' '{print $1,$2,$3,240}' OFS='.')

Create a configmap

cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  namespace: metallb-system
  name: config
  config: |
    - name: default
      protocol: layer2
      - $range

Above configuration can create up to 8 load balancers.

3. Deploy Nginx and create a service of LoadBalancer type to test load balancer

kubectl create deploy nginx --image=nginx

kubectl expose deploy nginx --port=80 --target-port=80 --type=LoadBalancer

kubectl get svc nginx

Load Balancer service should be able to create an external IP. Use external-IP of nginx service to access nginx.

4. Delete the nginx after testing, if not required.

kubectl delete deploy nginx

kubectl delete svc nginx

Install Nginx Ingress Controller

  1. Install Nginx Ingress Controller

kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/controller-v1.0.4/deploy/static/provider/aws/deploy.yaml

2. Wait for controller pod to come up.

3. Get external IP of ingress controller and access through browser

kubectl -n ingress-nginx get svc ingress-nginx-controller

Page should look like above in browser without any ingress created.

Ingress controller load balancer IP can be used to access any other application deployed on Kubernetes with ingress.

Stop, start and delete a cluster

K3s cluster can be stopped when not in use and can be started again.

To list K3s clusters:

k3d cluster list

To stop a running cluster

k3d cluster stop CLUSTERNAME

To start a stopped cluster

k3d cluster start CLUSTERNAME

To delete a cluster

k3d cluster delete CLUSTERNAME

A lightweight Kubernetes cluster is ready to use now.

Set up using convenience script

Run below commands to set up using convenience script.

curl -L https://gitlab.com/linuxshots/spinup-k8s/-/raw/master/spinup.sh -o spinup.sh
sudo bash spinup.sh

Provide the details requested by prompts.

To know more about K3s and K3d, Visit their official documentation page.




Navratan Lal Gupta

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