Setting up static Kubernetes storage - tutorial

This is in connection to the topic of Using Kubernetes with Juju. See that page for background information.

This tutorial will show the steps required to create Kubernetes static persistent volumes (PVs) for use with Kubernetes-specific charms. This is normally done when your backing cloud does not have a storage type that is supported natively by Kubernetes. There is no reason, however, why you cannot use statically provisioned volumes with any cloud, and this is what we’ll do here with a Juju-deployed cluster using AWS.

Note that static volumes are dependent upon the Kubernetes hostPath volume type. This restricts us to a single worker node cluster. The ‘kubernetes-core’ bundle provides this and that’s we’ll be using here.


The following prerequisites are assumed as a starting point for this tutorial:

Installing Kubernetes

Let’s begin by creating a controller. We’ll call it ‘aws-k8s’:

juju bootstrap aws aws-k8s

Now deploy Kubernetes:

juju deploy kubernetes-core

After about ten minutes things should have settled down to arrive at a stable output to the status command:

juju status

Our example’s output:

Model    Controller  Cloud/Region   Version  SLA          Timestamp
default  aws-k8s     aws/us-east-1  2.5.0    unsupported  23:19:45Z

App                Version  Status  Scale  Charm              Store       Rev  OS      Notes
easyrsa            3.0.1    active      1  easyrsa            jujucharms  195  ubuntu  
etcd               3.2.10   active      1  etcd               jujucharms  378  ubuntu  
flannel            0.10.0   active      2  flannel            jujucharms  351  ubuntu  
kubernetes-master  1.13.2   active      1  kubernetes-master  jujucharms  542  ubuntu  exposed
kubernetes-worker  1.13.2   active      1  kubernetes-worker  jujucharms  398  ubuntu  exposed

Unit                  Workload  Agent  Machine  Public address  Ports           Message
easyrsa/0*            active    idle   0/lxd/0                   Certificate Authority connected.
etcd/0*               active    idle   0   2379/tcp        Healthy with 1 known peer
kubernetes-master/0*  active    idle   0   6443/tcp        Kubernetes master running.
  flannel/1           active    idle                     Flannel subnet
kubernetes-worker/0*  active    idle   1     80/tcp,443/tcp  Kubernetes worker running.
  flannel/0*          active    idle                       Flannel subnet

Machine  State    DNS            Inst id              Series  AZ          Message
0        started  i-0c4d170f529709dc0  bionic  us-east-1a  running
0/lxd/0  started  juju-79c582-0-lxd-0  bionic  us-east-1a  Container started
1        started    i-0e769efd3646a56e1  bionic  us-east-1b  running

Adding the cluster to Juju

We’ll now copy over the cluster’s main configuration file and then use the add-k8s command to add the cluster to Juju’s list of known clouds. Here, we arbitrarily call the new cloud ‘k8s-cloud’:

mkdir ~/.kube
juju scp kubernetes-master/0:config ~/.kube/config
juju add-k8s k8s-cloud

The success of this operation can be confirmed by running juju clouds.

Adding a model

When we add a Kubernetes cluster to Juju we effectively have two clouds being managed by one controller. For us, they are named ‘aws’ and ‘k8s-cloud’. So when we want to create a model we’ll need explicitly state which cloud to place the new model in. We’ll do this now by adding a model called ‘k8s-model’ to cloud ‘k8s-cloud’:

juju add-model k8s-model k8s-cloud

The output to juju models should now look very similar to:

Controller: aws-k8s

Model       Cloud/Region   Status     Machines  Cores  Access  Last connection
controller  aws/us-east-1  available         1      4  admin   just now
default     aws/us-east-1  available         3      8  admin   27 seconds ago
k8s-model*  k8s-cloud      available         0      -  admin   never connected

Adding a model for a Kubernetes cloud unlocks the ‘kubernetes’ storage provider, which we’ll refer to later. The output to juju storage-pools should now be:

Name        Provider    Attrs
Kubernetes  kubernetes

Static persistent volumes

We will now manually create Kubernetes persistent volumes (PVs). Another way of saying this is that we will set up statically provisioned storage.

There are two types of storage: operator storage and workload storage. The bare minimum is one volume for operator storage. The necessity of workload storage depends on the charms that will be deployed. Workload storage is needed if the charm has storage requirements. The size and number of those volumes are determined by those requirements and the nature of the charm itself.

The creation of volumes is a two-step process. First set up definition files for each PV, and second, create the actual PVs using kubectl, the Kubernetes configuration management tool. We’ll look at these two steps now.

Defining persistent volumes

In this tutorial we’ll be creating one operator storage volume and two workload storage volumes. The three corresponding files are below. Click on their names to reveal their contents.

kind: PersistentVolume
apiVersion: v1
name: op1
    storage: 1032Mi
    - ReadWriteOnce
persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
storageClassName: k8s-model-juju-operator-storage
    path: "/mnt/data/op1"
kind: PersistentVolume
apiVersion: v1
name: vol1
    storage: 100Mi
    - ReadWriteOnce
persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
storageClassName: k8s-model-juju-unit-storage
    path: "/mnt/data/vol1"
kind: PersistentVolume
apiVersion: v1
name: vol2
    storage: 100Mi
    - ReadWriteOnce
persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
storageClassName: k8s-model-juju-unit-storage
    path: "/mnt/data/vol2"
Note that operator storage needs a minimum of 1024 MiB.

When defining statically provisioned volumes, the intended storage class name must be prefixed with the name of the intended model. In the files above, the model name is ‘k8s-model’.

Creating persistent volumes

The actual creation of the volumes is very easy. Simply refer the kubectl command to the files. We begin by installing the tool if it’s not yet present:

sudo snap install kubectl --classic 
kubectl create -f operator-storage.yaml
kubectl create -f charm-storage-vol1.yaml
kubectl create -f charm-storage-vol2.yaml

This tool is communicating directly with the cluster. It can do so by virtue of the existence of the cluster configuration file (~/.kube/config).

We can also use this tool to take a look at our new PVs:

kubectl -n k8s-model get sc,pv,pvc

Our example’s output:

kubectl -n k8s-model get sc-pv-pvc first

Notice how our model name of ‘k8s-model’ can be passed to kubectl. When the Juju model was added a Kubernetes “namespace” was set up with the same name.

Creating Juju storage pools

The storage pool name for operator storage must be called ‘operator-storage’ while the pool name for workload storage is arbitrary. Here, our charm has storage requirements so we’ll need a pool for it. We’ll call it ‘k8s-pool’. It is this workload storage pool that will be used at charm deployment time.

For static volumes, the Kubernetes provisioner is

Our two storage pools are therefore created like this:

juju create-storage-pool operator-storage kubernetes \
    storage-class=juju-operator-storage \
juju create-storage-pool k8s-pool kubernetes \
    storage-class=juju-unit-storage \

Perform a verification by listing all current storage pools with the juju storage-pools command. Our example yields this output:

juju storage-pools

Almost there!

Deploying a Kubernetes charm

We can now deploy a Kubernetes charm. For example, here we deploy a charm by requesting the use of the ‘k8s-pool’ workload storage pool we just set up:

juju deploy cs:~juju/mariadb-k8s --storage database=k8s-pool,10M

The output to juju status should soon look like the following:

Model      Controller  Cloud/Region  Version    SLA          Timestamp
k8s-model  aws-k8s     k8s-cloud     2.5.0      unsupported  20:42:28Z

App          Version  Status  Scale  Charm        Store       Rev  OS          Address        Notes
mariadb-k8s           active      1  mariadb-k8s  jujucharms   13  kubernetes  

Unit            Workload  Agent  Address     Ports     Message
mariadb-k8s/0*  active    idle  3306/TCP

In contrast to standard Juju behaviour, there are no machines listed here.

Here is one of the created workload storage persistent volumes in use:

juju storage --filesystem


Unit           Storage id  Id  Provider id                         Mountpoint      Size   State     Message
mariadb-k8s/0  database/0  0   juju-database-0-juju-mariadb-k8s-0  /var/lib/mysql  38MiB  attached  

We’ll see the Provider id of ‘juju-database-0-juju-mariadb-k8s-0’ again in the next section.

Post-deploy cluster inspection

Let’s see what has happened within the cluster due to the deployment of the charm:

kubectl -n k8s-model get sc,pv,pvc

New sample output:

kubectl -n k8s-model get sc-pv-pvc


At the top we see that our two storage classes have been created and that they’re both associated with the ‘no-provisioner’ provisioner.

In the middle section it is clear that two of our volumes are being used (‘Bound’) and that one is available. The one that is used (‘vol1’) is claimed by the same Provider id that we saw in the output of the storage command above (‘juju-database-0-juju-mariadb-k8s-0’).

In the lower part we’re told what has “claimed” the two used volumes. Each of these claims have requested the use of the appropriate storage class.

If something goes wrong the following command can be used to drill down into the various objects:

kubectl -n k8s-model describe pods,sc,pv,pvc

Removing configuration and software

To remove all traces of Kubernetes and its configuration follow these steps:

juju destroy-model -y --destroy-storage k8s-model
juju remove-k8s k8s-cloud
rm -rf ~/.kube
rm ~/operator-storage.yaml
rm ~/charm-storage-vol1.yaml
rm ~/charm-storage-vol2.yaml

This leaves us with Juju and kubetl installed as well as an AWS controller. To remove even those things proceed as follows:

juju destroy-controller -y --destroy-all-models aws-k8s
sudo snap remove juju
sudo snap remove kubectl

That’s the end of this tutorial!

Next steps

Consider the following tutorials:

To gain experience with a standalone (non-Juju) MicroK8s installation check out Ubuntu tutorial Install a local Kubernetes with MicroK8s.

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