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Run k0s in Docker#

You can create a k0s cluster on top of docker. In such a scenario, by default, both controller and worker nodes are run in the same container to provide an easy local testing "cluster".


You will require a Docker environment running on a Mac, Windows, or Linux system.

Container images#

The k0s containers are published both on Docker Hub and GitHub. For reasons of simplicity, the examples given here use Docker Hub (GitHub requires a separate authentication that is not covered). Alternative links include:


Start k0s#

1. Initiate k0s#

You can run your own k0s in Docker:

docker run -d --name k0s --hostname k0s --privileged -v /var/lib/k0s -p 6443:6443

2. (Optional) Create additional workers#

You can attach multiple workers nodes into the cluster to then distribute your application containers to separate workers.

For each required worker:

  1. Acquire a join token for the worker:

    token=$(docker exec -t -i k0s k0s token create --role=worker)
  2. Run the container to create and join the new worker:

    docker run -d --name k0s-worker1 --hostname k0s-worker1 --privileged -v /var/lib/k0s k0s worker $token

3. Access your cluster#

Access your cluster using kubectl:

docker exec k0s kubectl get nodes

Alternatively, grab the kubeconfig file with docker exec k0s cat /var/lib/k0s/pki/admin.conf and paste it into Lens.

Use Docker Compose (alternative)#

As an alternative you can run k0s using Docker Compose:

version: "3.9"
    container_name: k0s
    command: k0s controller --config=/etc/k0s/config.yaml --enable-worker
    hostname: k0s
    privileged: true
      - "/var/lib/k0s"
      - /run
      - /var/run
      - "6443:6443"
    network_mode: "bridge"
      K0S_CONFIG: |-
        kind: Cluster
          name: k0s
        # Any additional configuration goes here ...

Known limitations#

No custom Docker networks#

Currently, k0s nodes cannot be run if the containers are configured to use custom networks (for example, with --net my-net). This is because Docker sets up a custom DNS service within the network which creates issues with CoreDNS. No completely reliable workaounds are available, however no issues should arise from running k0s cluster(s) on a bridge network.

Next Steps#