Tinkering with Kubernetes and AWS


This article just goes through my tinkering with Kubernetes on AWS.

Create a new S3 bucket to store the state of your Kubernetes clusters

aws s3 mb s3://k8sstate --region eu-west-2


aws s3 ls

Create a Route 53 hosted zone. I’m creating k8stest.blenderfox.uk

aws route53 create-hosted-zone --name k8stest.blenderfox.uk \
--caller-reference $(uuidgen)

dig the nameservers for the hosted zone you created

dig NS k8stest.blenderfox.uk

If your internet connection already has DNS setup to the hosted zone, you’ll see the nameservers in the output:

;k8stest.blenderfox.uk.     IN  NS

k8stest.blenderfox.uk. 172800 IN NS ns-1353.awsdns-41.org.
k8stest.blenderfox.uk. 172800 IN NS ns-1816.awsdns-35.co.uk.
k8stest.blenderfox.uk. 172800 IN NS ns-404.awsdns-50.com.
k8stest.blenderfox.uk. 172800 IN NS ns-644.awsdns-16.net.


Export your AWS credentials as environment variables (I’ve found Kubernetes doesn’t reliably pick up the credentials from the aws cli especially if you have multiple profiles

export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID='your key here'
export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY='your secret access key here'

You can also add it to a bash script and source it.

Create the cluster using kops. Note that the master zones must have an odd count (1, 3, etc.) since eu-west-2 only has two zones (a and b), I have to have only one zone here

kops create cluster --cloud aws --name cluster.k8stest.blenderfox.uk \
--state s3://k8sstate --node-count 3 --zones eu-west-2a,eu-west-2b \
--node-size m4.large --master-size m4.large \
--master-zones eu-west-2a \
--ssh-public-key ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub \
--master-volume-size 50 \
--node-volume-size 50 \
--topology private

You can also add the --kubernetes-version switch to specifically pick a Kubernetes version to include in the cluster. Recognised versions are shown at


TL;DL: Bands are:

  • >=1.4.0 and <1.5.0
  • >=1.5.0 and <1.6.0
  • >=1.6.0 and <1.7.0
  • >=1.7.0

Each with their own Debian image.


Assuming the create completed successfully, update the cluster so it pushes the update out to your cloud

kops update cluster cluster.k8stest.blenderfox.uk --yes \
--state s3://k8sstate

While the cluster starts up, all the new records will be set up with placeholder IPs.


NOTE: Kubernetes needs an externally resolvable DNS name. Basically, you need to be able to create a hosted zone on a domain you control. You can’t use Kops on a domain you can’t control, even if you hack the resolver config.

The cluster can take a while to come up. Use

kops validate cluster --state s3://k8sstate

To check the cluster state.

When ready, you’ll see something like this:

Using cluster from kubectl context: cluster.k8stest.blenderfox.co.uk

Validating cluster cluster.k8stest.blenderfox.co.uk

NAME                    ROLE    MACHINETYPE     MIN     MAX     SUBNETS
master-eu-west-2a       Master  m4.large        1       1       eu-west-2a
nodes                   Node    m4.large        3       3       eu-west-2a,eu-west-2b

NAME                                            ROLE    READY
ip-172-20-35-51.eu-west-2.compute.internal      master  True
ip-172-20-49-10.eu-west-2.compute.internal  node    True
ip-172-20-72-100.eu-west-2.compute.internal     node    True
ip-172-20-91-236.eu-west-2.compute.internal     node    True

Your cluster cluster.k8stest.blenderfox.co.uk is ready

Now you can start interacting with the cluster. First thing is to deploy the Kubernetes dashboard

$ kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/dashboard/master/src/deploy/alternative/kubernetes-dashboard.yaml
 serviceaccount "kubernetes-dashboard" created
 role "kubernetes-dashboard-minimal" created
 rolebinding "kubernetes-dashboard-minimal" created
 deployment "kubernetes-dashboard" created
 service "kubernetes-dashboard" created

Now setup a proxy to the api

$ kubectl proxy
Starting to serve on

Next, access


To get the dashboard

Now let’s create a job to deploy on to the cluster.

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