RKE is a fast, versatile Kubernetes installer that you can use to install Kubernetes on your Linux hosts. You can get started in a couple of quick and easy steps:
- Download the RKE Binary
- Prepare the Nodes for the Kubernetes Cluster
- Creating the Cluster Configuration File
- Deploying Kubernetes with RKE
- Save your Files
- Interacting with your Kubernetes Cluster
Download the RKE binary
From your workstation, open a web browser and look up the latest available RKE release. You can click on the release notes link to go straight to that release or manually navigate to our RKE Releases page and download the latest available RKE installer applicable to your operating system and architecture:
Note: Be aware that the release that is marked as
Latest releaseon GitHub release page might not be the actual latest available release of RKE.
- Linux (Intel/AMD):
- Linux (ARM 32-bit):
- Linux (ARM 64-bit):
- Windows (32-bit):
- Windows (64-bit):
Copy the RKE binary to a folder in your
$PATHand rename it
# macOS $ mv rke_darwin-amd64 rke # Linux $ mv rke_linux-amd64 rke # Windows PowerShell > mv rke_windows-amd64.exe rke.exe
Make the RKE binary that you just downloaded executable. Open Terminal, change directory to the location of the RKE binary, and then run one of the commands below.
Using Windows? The file is already an executable. Skip to Prepare the Nodes for the Kubernetes Cluster.
$ chmod +x rke
Confirm that RKE is now executable by running the following command:
$ rke --version
Alternative RKE macOS Install - Homebrew
RKE can also be installed and updated using Homebrew, a package manager for macOS.
Install Homebrew. See https://brew.sh/ for instructions.
brew, install RKE by running the following command in a Terminal window:
$ brew install rke
If you have already installed RKE using
brew, you can upgrade RKE by running:
$ brew upgrade rke
Alternative RKE macOS Install - MacPorts
RKE can also be installed and updated using MacPorts, a package manager for macOS.
Install MacPorts. See https://www.macports.org/ for instructions.
port, install RKE by running the following command in a Terminal window:
$ port install rke
If you have already installed RKE using
port, you can upgrade RKE by running:
$ port upgrade rke
Prepare the Nodes for the Kubernetes cluster
The Kubernetes cluster components are launched using Docker on a Linux distro. You can use any Linux you want, as long as you can install Docker on it.
For information on which Docker versions were tested with your version of RKE, refer to the terms of service for installing Rancher on RKE.
Review the OS requirements and configure each node appropriately.
Creating the Cluster Configuration File
RKE uses a cluster configuration file, referred to as
cluster.yml to determine what nodes will be in the cluster and how to deploy Kubernetes. There are many configuration options that can be set in the
cluster.yml. In our example, we will be assuming the minimum of one node for your Kubernetes cluster.
There are two easy ways to create a
- Using our minimal
cluster.ymland updating it based on the node that you will be using.
rke configto query for all the information needed.
rke config to create a new
cluster.yml in the current directory. This command will prompt you for all the information needed to build a cluster. See cluster configuration options for details on the various options.
rke config --name cluster.yml
Other RKE Configuration Options
You can create an empty template
cluster.yml file by specifying the
rke config --empty --name cluster.yml
Instead of creating a file, you can print the generated configuration to stdout using the
rke config --print
RKE is HA ready, you can specify more than one
controlplane node in the
cluster.yml file. RKE will deploy master components on all of these nodes and the kubelets are configured to connect to
127.0.0.1:6443 by default which is the address of
nginx-proxy service that proxy requests to all master nodes.
To create an HA cluster, specify more than one host with role
Available as of v0.2.0
By default, Kubernetes clusters require certificates and RKE auto-generates the certificates for all cluster components. You can also use custom certificates. After the Kubernetes cluster is deployed, you can manage these auto-generated certificates.
Deploying Kubernetes with RKE
After you’ve created your
cluster.yml, you can deploy your cluster with a simple command. This command assumes the
cluster.yml file is in the same directory as where you are running the command.
rke up INFO Building Kubernetes cluster INFO [dialer] Setup tunnel for host [10.0.0.1] INFO [network] Deploying port listener containers INFO [network] Pulling image [alpine:latest] on host [10.0.0.1] ... INFO Finished building Kubernetes cluster successfully
The last line should read
Finished building Kubernetes cluster successfully to indicate that your cluster is ready to use. As part of the Kubernetes creation process, a
kubeconfig file has been created and written at
kube_config_cluster.yml, which can be used to start interacting with your Kubernetes cluster.
Note: If you have used a different file name from
cluster.yml, then the kube config file will be named
Save Your Files
Important The files mentioned below are needed to maintain, troubleshoot and upgrade your cluster.
Save a copy of the following files in a secure location:
cluster.yml: The RKE cluster configuration file.
kube_config_cluster.yml: The Kubeconfig file for the cluster, this file contains credentials for full access to the cluster.
cluster.rkestate: The Kubernetes Cluster State file, this file contains credentials for full access to the cluster.
The Kubernetes Cluster State file is only created when using RKE v0.2.0 or higher.
Note: The “rancher-cluster” parts of the two latter file names are dependent on how you name the RKE cluster configuration file.
Kubernetes Cluster State
The Kubernetes cluster state, which consists of the cluster configuration file
cluster.yml and components certificates in Kubernetes cluster, is saved by RKE, but depending on your RKE version, the cluster state is saved differently.
As of v0.2.0, RKE creates a
.rkestate file in the same directory that has the cluster configuration file
.rkestate file contains the current state of the cluster including the RKE configuration and the certificates. It is required to keep this file in order to update the cluster or perform any operation on it through RKE.
Before v0.2.0, RKE saved the Kubernetes cluster state as a secret. When updating the state, RKE pulls the secret, updates/changes the state and saves a new secret.
Interacting with your Kubernetes cluster
After your cluster is up and running, you can start using the generated kubeconfig file to start interacting with your Kubernetes cluster using
After installation, there are several maintenance items that might arise: