Setting up a High-availability K3s Kubernetes Cluster for Rancher
This section describes how to install a Kubernetes cluster according to the best practices for the Rancher server environment.
For systems without direct internet access, refer to the air gap installation instructions.
Single-node Installation Tip: In a single-node Kubernetes cluster, the Rancher server does not have high availability, which is important for running Rancher in production. However, installing Rancher on a single-node cluster can be useful if you want to save resources by using a single node in the short term, while preserving a high-availability migration path.
To set up a single-node K3s cluster, run the Rancher server installation command on just one node instead of two nodes.
In both single-node setups, Rancher can be installed with Helm on the Kubernetes cluster in the same way that it would be installed on any other cluster.
These instructions assume you have set up two nodes, a load balancer, a DNS record, and an external MySQL database as described in this section.
Rancher needs to be installed on a supported Kubernetes version. To find out which versions of Kubernetes are supported for your Rancher version, refer to the support maintenance terms. To specify the K3s version, use the INSTALL_K3S_VERSION environment variable when running the K3s installation script.
1. Install Kubernetes and Set up the K3s Server
When running the command to start the K3s Kubernetes API server, you will pass in an option to use the external datastore that you set up earlier.
Connect to one of the Linux nodes that you have prepared to run the Rancher server.
On the Linux node, run this command to start the K3s server and connect it to the external datastore:
curl -sfL https://get.k3s.io | sh -s - server \
To specify the K3s version, use the INSTALL_K3S_VERSION environment variable:
curl -sfL https://get.k3s.io | INSTALL_K3S_VERSION=vX.Y.Z sh -s - server \
Note: The datastore endpoint can also be passed in using the environment variable
Repeat the same command on your second K3s server node.
2. Confirm that K3s is Running
To confirm that K3s has been set up successfully, run the following command on either of the K3s server nodes:
sudo k3s kubectl get nodes
Then you should see two nodes with the master role:
ubuntu@ip-172-31-60-194:~$ sudo k3s kubectl get nodes
NAME STATUS ROLES AGE VERSION
ip-172-31-60-194 Ready master 44m v1.17.2+k3s1
ip-172-31-63-88 Ready master 6m8s v1.17.2+k3s1
Then test the health of the cluster pods:
sudo k3s kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
Result: You have successfully set up a K3s Kubernetes cluster.
3. Save and Start Using the kubeconfig File
When you installed K3s on each Rancher server node, a
kubeconfig file was created on the node at
/etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yaml. This file contains credentials for full access to the cluster, and you should save this file in a secure location.
To use this
- Install kubectl, a Kubernetes command-line tool.
- Copy the file at
/etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yamland save it to the directory
~/.kube/configon your local machine.
- In the kubeconfig file, the
serverdirective is defined as localhost. Configure the server as the DNS of your load balancer, referring to port 6443. (The Kubernetes API server will be reached at port 6443, while the Rancher server will be reached at ports 80 and 443.) Here is an example
server: [LOAD-BALANCER-DNS]:6443 # Edit this line
- name: default
Result: You can now use
kubectl to manage your K3s cluster. If you have more than one kubeconfig file, you can specify which one you want to use by passing in the path to the file when using
kubectl --kubeconfig ~/.kube/config/k3s.yaml get pods --all-namespaces
For more information about the
kubeconfig file, refer to the K3s documentation or the official Kubernetes documentation about organizing cluster access using
4. Check the Health of Your Cluster Pods
Now that you have set up the
kubeconfig file, you can use
kubectl to access the cluster from your local machine.
Check that all the required pods and containers are healthy are ready to continue:
ubuntu@ip-172-31-60-194:~$ sudo kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
NAMESPACE NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE
kube-system metrics-server-6d684c7b5-bw59k 1/1 Running 0 8d
kube-system local-path-provisioner-58fb86bdfd-fmkvd 1/1 Running 0 8d
kube-system coredns-d798c9dd-ljjnf 1/1 Running 0 8d
Result: You have confirmed that you can access the cluster with
kubectl and the K3s cluster is running successfully. Now the Rancher management server can be installed on the cluster.