mattfarina / kuberlr

A tool that simplifies the management of multiple versions of kubectl

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One kubectl to rule them all,
one kubectl to find them,
One kubectl to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.

Managing different kubernetes clusters often requires to keep multiple versions of the kubectl available on the system, plus it poses the challenge to ensure the right binary is used when talking with a cluster.

kubernetes defines a clear version skew policy for all its components. This is what is stated about kubectl:

kubectl is supported within one minor version (older or newer) of kube-apiserver.

Example:

kube-apiserver is at 1.18
kubectl is supported at 1.19, 1.18, and 1.17

kuberlr (kube-ruler) is a simple wrapper for kubectl. Its main purpose is to make it easy to manage clusters running different versions of kubernetes.

This is how kuberlr looks like in action: asciicast

kuberlr can run on Linux, macOS and Windows.

Installation

You can find pre-built binaries of kuberlr under the GitHub release tab.

Put the kuberlr binary somewhere in your PATH and create a symlink named kubectl pointing to it.

For example, assuming ~/bin has a high priority inside of your PATH:

$ cp kuberlr /bin/
$ ln -s ~/bin/kuberlr ~/bin/kubectl

Usage

Use the kubectl "fake binary" as you usually do. Behind the scene kuberlr will ensure a compatible version of kubectl is used.

You can invoke the kuberlr binary in a direct fashion to access its sub-commands. For example, the kuberlr bins will print all the kubectl binaries that are available to the user.

How it works

kuberlr connects to the API server of your kubernetes cluster and figures out its version.

kuberlr obtains the url of the kubernetes cluster either by looking at the ~/.kube/config file or by reading the contents of the file referenced by the KUBECONFIG environment variable.

Once the version of the remote server is know, kuberlr looks for a compatible kubectl binary under the ~/.kuberlr/<GOOS>-<GOARCH>/ directory and /usr/bin.

kuberlr reuses an already existing binary if it respects the kubectl version skew policy, otherwise it downloads the right one from the upstream mirror into the local user cache (~/.kuberlr/<GOOS>-<GOARCH>/).

kuberlr names the kubectl binaries it downloads using the following naming scheme: kubectl<major version>.<minor version>.<patch level>.

Finally kuberlr performs an execve(2) syscall and leaves the control to the kubectl binary. (٭)

Note well: by default kuberlr will download the missing kubectl binaries from the upstream mirror. This behaviour can be disabled via kuberlr's configuration file.

(٭) The execve syscall is not available on Windows. On this platform another approach is used, but the end result doesn't change.

Reusing system-wide kubectl binaries

As pointed above kuberlr looks for a compatible kubectl binary both at user level (~/.kuberlr/<GOOS>-<GOARCH>/) and at system level (/usr/bin).

The kubectl binaries installed at system level must respect one of these naming schemes in order to be used:

  • kubectl<major version>.<minor version>.<patch level> (e.g.: kubectl1.18.3)
  • kubectl<major version>.<minor version>: this would be handled as kubectl version <major version>.<minor version>.0

Configuration

The behaviour of kuberlr can be adjusted by creating a configuration file in one of these locations:

  1. /usr/etc/kuberlr.conf: this is the location used by distributions like openSUSE to handle the split between /etc and /usr/etc. You can find more details here.
  2. /etc/kuberlr.conf
  3. $HOME/.kuberlr/kuberlr.conf

The configuration files are read in the order written above and merged together. Configuration files can override the values defined by the previous ones, or provide new ones.

The configuration file is written using the TOML format:

# Allow the download of missing kubectl binaries from kubernetes' upstream mirror
AllowDownload = true

# Directory where kubectl binaries are made accessible to all the users of the system
SystemPath = "/opt/bin"

# Timeout (sec) for requests made against the kubernetes API
Timeout = 1
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A tool that simplifies the management of multiple versions of kubectl

License:Apache License 2.0


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