metalstack.cloud lets you provision and manage Kubernetes clusters in an easy, developer friendly manner and takes care of IP addresses and persistent storage. Because we provide Kubernetes in its vanilla flavor, you will find many references to the official Kubernetes documentation.
The platform is based on the open source project metal-stack.io to manage the underlaying bare metal resources.
Our servers are located in an Equinix data center in Munich, Germany. The location is GDPR-compliant, ISO 27001 certified, has redundant power from renewable sources, a redundant internet uplink and offers HVAC measures.
To use our platform, you need an existing Github account and a valid email address. With a OAuth authentication flow you can then register and login to our platform.
Furthermore, a valid credit card is required, as well as your company’s VAT ID when you want to use our service after the trial phase.
2. User Management
Note: There is no dedicated user administration on our platform. Roles and permissions to access the platform and therewith your Kubernetes clusters can be defined in GitHub.
On the platform you see two organizational elements: tenants and projects. Each user can be a member or owner of multiple tenants. Each organization can contain multiple projects and each project can contain many clusters.
There is a direct dependency between the Github organization structure and the metalstack.cloud, see the following table.
|Simple team members||Can see their project in the metalstack.cloud, but cannot create or delete clusters.|
|Organization: Organizations are shared accounts where businesses and open-source projects can collaborate across many projects at once, with sophisticated security and administrative features. (from the GitHub docs)||Tenant: A tenant is the logical counterpart to the organization in Github. GitHub organization owners can configure tenant wide settings on the platform (e.g. billing information).|
|Team: “Teams are groups of organization members that reflect your company or group’s structure with cascading access permissions and mentions.” (from the GitHub docs)||Project: Every GitHub team in an organization automatically gets a project in metalstack.cloud and every maintainer of a GitHub team can create, update or delete Kubernetes clusters in their project in metalstack.cloud.|
3. Managed Kubernetes
The base costs for Kubernetes clusters incur from worker nodes and the Kubernetes control-plane.
3.1 Machine Types
The platform offers machine types with these hardware specifications:
|n1-medium-x86||1x Intel Xeon D-2141I||32GB RAM||960GB NVMe||0.01250€/min|
|c1-medium-x86||1x Intel Xeon D-2141I||128GB RAM||960GB NVMe||0.01917€/min|
|c1-large-x86||2x Intel Xeon Silver 4214 (12 Core)||192GB RAM||960GB NVMe||0.02916€/min|
Patch release upgrades are carried out automatically, for example from v1.23.1 to v1.23.2. This happens in-place, i.e. without rolling worker nodes.
Major and minor upgrades are done by rolling worker nodes which your application needs to tolerate. Major and minor release upgrades need to be started manually from the cluster details view or CLI. Only newer versions can be specified. There is no downgrade possibility.
Please refer to the cluster operation section for further details regarding cluster updates.
Creating a Cluster
If you want to create a new cluster you first have to navigate to the cluster overview by clicking on
Kubernetes in the navigation. Then click on the
Create Cluster Button. Select the version of Kubernetes that you require to run your cluster.
In the following form you can create your desired Kubernetes cluster.
First you have to specify a name and then you can choose a location, the different server types and number of nodes for the cluster. The name must be between two and 10 characters long, in lower case, and no special characters are allowed, except ’-‘. Whitespace and special characters are not supported. This restriction is necessary due to DNS constraints of your cluster’s API server.
Attention: You should not rely on the IP address of your API server as it is not guaranteed that the IP of your API server forever stays the same. Use the DNS name inside your cluster’s kubeconfig instead.
Lastly you can specify the used Kubernetes version and then create the cluster with the
Clusters will be provisioned in the location of your choice. The cluster creation may take a couple of minutes to complete. You can follow the process in cluster overview.
Clusters which are placed inside the same project are allowed to announce the same IP addresses for services of type load balancer, which allows ECMP load balancing through the BGP routing protocol for external services inside your clusters.
On the other side, clusters placed in different projects can not announce the same IP address. Please refer to the ip addresses section for further details on IP addresses.
3.3 Kubernetes Cluster & Kubeconfig
After you have submitted the cluster, it is shown in the cluster overview. There you can see your new cluster and on the left side is an indication if the cluster is already running or still being created.
Under the “Actions” column you can open a menu to view the details of your cluster, generate the kubeconfig to access the cluster and delete the cluster if it is no longer needed.
Attention: Please be aware that the downloadable kubeconfig has cluster-admin privileges! To mitigate the impact of leaked credentials, it is required to define an expiration time for the kubeconfig. You can use the admin kubeconfig to define more fine-grained permissions with service accounts.
In the cluster details view you can see all the available information about your cluster. It is also possible to update some of the cluster properties like the cluster version.
For the time being, within a cluster we support one server type only (worker groups will follow soon). Costs of a cluster change in accordance with your chosen server type. Changing the server type causes a worker roll. metalstack.cloud offers auto updates and auto scaling for your clusters by default. metalstack.cloud updates Kubernetes patch versions as well as operating systems automatically. Specify a maintenance time window, during which these updates may be performed. The number of worker nodes is scaled in the range you provided depending on your workload. For further information on interruption-free cluster operation, read here.
Choose the range of servers your cluster can utilize. For production use-cases we recommend to configure two worker nodes at minimum in order to spreading your applications across multiple worker nodes. This is important for interruption-free operation during cluster maintenance operations.
At max a cluster can have 32 workers (theoretical limit is 1024, which we can raise at a later point in time).
Our platform scales your cluster in the specified range if sufficient workers are available. Local storage depends on the lifecycle of a worker: it is ephemeral and will be wiped when the worker is rotated out of your cluster. You can change the number of guaranteed workers in the minimum setting. You only pay the number of workers you actually use.
The Kubernetes control-plane of every cluster is managed outside of your cluster in the responsibility of metalstack.cloud.
The control-plane needs to be paid for the whole lifetime of a cluster. The control-plane includes a highly-available, regularly backed-up Kubernetes control-plane (kube-apiservers, kube-controller-manager, kube-scheduler, ETCD, …), a dedicated firewall, IDS events and private networking with an internet gateway.
A firewall is always deployed along with your cluster as a physical server from the type
n1-medium-x86. The firewall secures your cluster from external networks like the internet.
The firewall can be configured through the custom resource called
ClusterwideNetworkPolicy (CWNP). With CWNPs you can control which egress and ingress traffic to external networks should be allowed. Ingress traffic for services of type load balancer is allowed automatically without the need to define an extra CWNP resource.
The package drops that occur on the firewall are forwarded to a special pod in your cluster. The pod is deployed into the
firewall namespace called
The state of your firewall can be checked by another custom resource called
FirewallMonitor, which also resides in the
firewall namespace, e.g.:
kubectl get fwmon -n firewall NAME MACHINE ID IMAGE SIZE LAST EVENT AGE shoot--f8e67080bc--test-firewall-d2a72 77abee12-5c0d-4adf-91f2-e48ffa4f3449 firewall-ubuntu-3.0 n1-medium-x86 Phoned Home 68d
When being provisioned, a firewall gets an internet IP automatically for outgoing communication. Your outgoing cluster traffic is masqueraded behind this IP address (SNAT). When the firewall gets rolled, it is possible that the source IP of your outgoing cluster traffic changes. We can provide static egress IP addresses in the near future. If you require this feature before it is GA, please contact us.
apiVersion: metal-stack.io/v1 kind: ClusterwideNetworkPolicy metadata: namespace: firewall name: clusterwidenetworkpolicy-egress spec: egress: - to: - cidr: 184.108.40.206/23 - cidr: 220.127.116.11/24 ports: - protocol: TCP port: 5432
Full examples and documentation can be found at https://github.com/metal-stack/firewall-controller.
Interruption-Free Cluster Operation
To keep service interruptions as small as possible during cluster upgrades or within or maintenance time windows, we recommend reading the following section.
Both during a maintenance time window or a Kubernetes version patch upgrade, the
kubelet service on the worker nodes gets restarted (jittered within a 5-minute time window).
Hence, we advise you to verify that your workload tolerates the restart of the
kubelet service. The restart of the
kubelet service can be manually tested using the following node annotation:
kubectl annotate node <node-name> worker.gardener.cloud/restart-systemd-services=kubelet
Additionally, when a
kubelet gets restarted, Kubernetes changes the status of the worker node to
NotReady for a couple of seconds (see here. Effectively, this leads to the temporary withdrawal of external ip announcements for this worker node. Active network connections to this node are interrupted. To reduce the impact of the restart, our recommendation is to spread services that receive external network traffic onto more than a single node in the cluster, which ensures your external service stays reachable during this operation.
MetalLB Speaker Restart
In order to offer services of type load balancer in our clusters, we manage an installation of MetalLB in the
metallb-system namespace of your cluster. During the maintenance time window there is a chance that we update the resources of the MetalLB deployment. This operation can potentially trigger a rolling update of the
metallb-speaker daemon set.
When a speaker shuts down, the external ip announcements for this worker nodes are withdrawn until the pod comes back up running.
In general, this is not a huge deal if the cluster has more than one worker node and your service type load balancer is deployed with
externalTrafficPolicy: Cluster. However, we recommend spreading service that receive external network traffic onto more than a single node in the cluster in order to keep potential service interruption as small as possible.
You can simply test this behavior by running a restart of the daemon set manually:
kubectl rollout restart -n metallb-system ds speaker
Worker Node Rolls
There can be multiple reasons that cause a roll of ther worker nodes of your cluster:
- Major and minor upgrades of the Kubernetes version
- Significant changes to the worker group (e.g. updating the worker’s OS image)
When this happens, a new worker node is added to your cluster. Then, an old worker node gets drained (
StatefulSets are drained sequentially) and removed. This procedure repeats until all worker nodes of your cluster were updated.
To make this procedure as smooth as possible, we recommend taking the following actions:
- Refrain from using the local storage on the worker nodes and instead use cloud storage (see volumes section)
- Local storage cannot be restored once a worker node was removed from the cluster!
- Spread your workloads across the cluster such that you can tolerate draining a worker node
3.4 Deleting a Cluster
To delete a cluster, select the cluster you wish to terminate and click “Delete”. Please be aware that for this action an extra confirmation (typing in the name of the current cluster) is needed in order to be sure you really REALLY mean it. Once issued, a cluster deletion cannot be cancelled anymore. This process usually takes a couple of minutes.
Be aware that all the cluster’s
PersistentVolumeClaims (PVC) are deleted during cluster deletion. Depending on the
ReclaimPolicy this might cause associated volumes referenced by the claim to get deleted as well. If you set the
Retain, PVCs are not deleted, which allows re-using them in another cluster at a later point in time. For further information please refer to the official documentation and our volume section.
Please be aware that, if the reclaim policy is set to
Retain, you must delete the volumes after usage yourself in the console if you do not require them anymore. Unused volumes are also subject to your bill.
4. Volumes & Snapshots
In the volumes view you can see the volumes of your clusters. It is not possible to create volumes through the web console as they are actually managed and created through the Kubernetes resources in your cluster.
Only those volumes that were created from our storage classes that utilize the
csi.lightbitslabs.com provisioner are visible in the volumes view:
❯ k get sc NAME PROVISIONER RECLAIMPOLICY VOLUMEBINDINGMODE ALLOWVOLUMEEXPANSION csi-lvm metal-stack.io/csi-lvm Delete WaitForFirstConsumer false premium (default) csi.lightbitslabs.com Delete Immediate true premium-encrypted csi.lightbitslabs.com Delete Immediate true
The volumes used inside your cluster may survive the lifespan of the cluster itself by utilizing
ReclaimPolicy: Retain in your
PersistentVolume (PV) resources. With this policy, you can also de-attach volumes and use them in other clusters inside the same project. However, a volume can never be attached to multiple clusters / worker nodes at the same time.
Please be aware if the reclaim policy is set to
Retain you must delete the volumes after usage by yourself in the volume view if you do not require them anymore. Unused volumes are also subject to billing.
4.2 Volume Encryption
With metalstack.cloud you can bring your own key to encrypt a
PersistentVolume. The encryption is done client-side on the worker node and uses the Linux-Kernel-native LUKS2 encryption method.
To use this feature you have to choose the
premium-encrypted storage class in your
PersistentVolumeClaim and create a secret in the namespace where the encrypted volume will be used:
--- apiVersion: v1 kind: Secret metadata: name: storage-encryption-key namespace: default # please fill in the namespace where this volume is going to be used stringData: host-encryption-passphrase: please-change-me # change to a safe password type: Opaque
Please be aware that in the case of key loss, it is not possible to decrypt your data afterwards, and will therefore be rendered useless.
Hint: The performance of encrypted volumes storage is lower than the performance of unencrypted volumes. Also the size of an encrypted volume should not exceed 1TB as otherwise this may lead to provisioner pods or processes on the node to exceed memory usage, effectively preventing your volume to be mounted.
Creating, Managing and Deletion
For the operations mentioned, please refer to the official Kubernetes documentation.
Snapshots are shown in the snapshots tab within the volumes view.
The process and usage of snapshots Kubernetes documentation.
5. IP Addresses
In the IP addresses view you can allocate internet IPs for your clusters. You can give your new IP a name and add an optional description. Click the
Allocate button to acquire an IP. After the IP is created, you can see the IP in the IP addresses view. By default IP addresses are ephemeral. At “Actions” menu you can open the IPs details view, make the IP static and delete the IP.
If your Kubernetes
Service resource is of type
LoadBalancer, metalstack.cloud automatically assigns an ephemeral internet IP address to your service. Ephemeral IP addresses are cleaned up automatically as soon as your service (or cluster respectively) is deleted. Please be aware that it is not guaranteed to receive the same IP address again when the services is being recreated.
In order to assign an IP address that was created through the IP addresses view, please define the IP address in the
loadBalancerIP field of your service resource.
If you would like to keep an IP address longer than the lifetime of the
Service resource or the cluster, you need to turn it into a static IP address through the metalstack.cloud console.
Attention: Within the same project, an IP address can be used in several clusters and locations at the same time. The traffic is routed using ECMP load balancing through the BGP. Ephemeral IPs are deleted automatically as soon as no service references the IP address anymore. An IP address can be allocated exclusively for one project. It can not be used for other projects.
Public internet IP addresses are subject to billing.