Guide to setting up a Kubernetes (K8s) cluster using Ansible

22 feb 2024 4 min di lettura
Guide to setting up a Kubernetes (K8s) cluster using Ansible
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Kubernetes has become the go-to solution for container orchestration, allowing developers to easily deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications. However, setting up a Kubernetes cluster can be a complex process, involving numerous steps and configurations. This is where Ansible, an open source automation tool, comes in. By automating the deployment process, Ansible can make building a Kubernetes cluster much easier.

In this guide we will walk you through the process of creating a Kubernetes cluster using Ansible. It is assumed that all nodes in the K8 cluster are running the Ubuntu Linux operating system.


Before we dive into the setup process, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • Ansible - Ansible must be installed on the control machine. The control machine is where you will run your Ansible scripts and can be your local machine or a server.
  • Target nodes: These are the machines where Kubernetes will be installed. You will need at least two nodes: one for the master node and one for a worker node. Make sure these nodes are running a compatible Linux distribution.
  • SSH access: Ansible communicates with target nodes via SSH. SSH access must be configured for all target nodes from the control machine.

Step 1: Installing Ansible

To get started, set up Ansible on your control machine. The process involves installing Ansible, which varies depending on the operating system. Use the following commands depending on your distribution:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ansible

Step 2: Set up your inventory file

After installing Ansible, proceed with configuring the inventory file. Create a file called host.ini in your working directory, which will enumerate all the target nodes along with their IP addresses. To improve clarity, organize them into groups such as masters and workers. Here is an example:

 master ansible_host=

 worker1 ansible_host=
 worker2 ansible_host=

Step 3: Configuring the K8s Playbook Cluster

This playbook will help you set up a Kubernetes cluster using Ubuntu systems. Includes tasks to disable the firewall, disable swapping, configure network settings, add the Docker repository, install Docker and its components, adjust container runtime settings, add the Kubernetes repository, and install Kubernetes components (kubelet, kubeadm, kubectl). Specifically, kubectl is installed only on nodes identified as master. The playbook demonstrates a comprehensive approach to preparing systems for Kubernetes, focusing on required services, security configurations, and essential Kubernetes components.

Create a setup-playbook.yaml file and add the following content:

- name: Initialize master and worker nodes
 hosts: all

 - name: disable UFW firewall for labs
 name: ufw
 state: stopped
 enabled: false

 - name: Disable SWAP
 shell: |
 swapoff -a

 - name: Disable SWAP in fstab
 path: /etc/fstab
 regexp: '^.*swap.*$'
 line: '#\0'
 backrefs: yes

 - name: ensure net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-ip6tables is set to 1
 name: net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-iptables
 value: '1'
 state: present
 reload: yes

 - name: Installation of apt-utils
 name: apt-transport-https
 state: present
 update_cache: yes

 - name: Adding Docker GPG key
 state: present

 - name: Adding Docker Repository
 repo: deb [arch=amd64] {{ ansible_distribution_release }} stable
 state: present

 - name: Installation of Docker
 name: "{{ item }}"
 state: present
 - docker-ce
 - docker-ce-cli
 - docker-compose

 - name: Setting value of SystemdCgroup
 shell: |
 containerd config default | sudo tee /etc/containerd/config.toml | grep SystemdCgroup
 sed -i 's/SystemdCgroup = false/SystemdCgroup = true/g' /etc/containerd/config.toml

 - name: Starting Service of Docker
 name: docker
 state: started
 enabled: yes

 - name: Add Kubernetes apt repository
 repo: deb main
 state: present

 - name: Install kubelet and kubeadm
 name: "{{ item }}"
 state: present
 - kubeadm
 - kubelet

 - name: start kubelet
 name: kubelet
 enabled: yes
 state: started

 - name: install kubectl
 name: kubectl
 state: present
 when: "'masters' in group_names"

Run the playbook by running:

ansible-playbook -i hosts.ini setup-playbook.yml

Step 4: Configuring the Master Node

This Ansible playbook is designed to configure the master node of a Kubernetes cluster. Initialize the Kubernetes cluster with specific network configurations, create a .kube directory, and copy the kube configuration file to the user's home directory for cluster management. Also install the Calico networking plugin to manage the pod network, ensuring that pods can communicate with each other across nodes. The playbook automates the initial setup process, simplifying the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster.

Create a file named master-playbook.yml and add the contents below:

- name: Configuration of master node
 hosts: masters
 - name: initialize K8S cluster
 shell: kubeadm init --pod-network-cidr= --apiserver-advertise-address= --ignore-preflight-errors=all

 - name: create.kube directoryi and copy kube config file
 shell: "{{ item }}"
 - mkdir -p $HOME/.kube
 - cp -i /etc/kubernetes/admin.conf $HOME/.kube/config
 - chown $(id -u):$(id -g) $HOME/.kube/config

 - name: install Pod network
 become: yes
 shell: kubectl apply -f >> pod_network_setup.txt
 chdir: $HOME
 creates: pod_network_setup.txt

Run the playbook with the command:

ansible-playbook -i hosts.ini master-playbook.yml

Step 5: Configure the worker node playbook

This playbook is used to automate the process of merging Kubernetes nodes. It runs on all nodes, generating a join command on the master node and distributing it to the worker nodes. Initially, it retrieves the join command using kubeadm token create and stores it. Then, set a fact with this command to use on worker nodes. Finally, worker nodes use this command to join the Kubernetes cluster, bypassing preflight checks. This playbook simplifies the cluster expansion process by automating the node merging process.

Create a file named worker-playbook.yml and add the contents below:

- name: Generating token on master node and token deployment to worker node
 hosts: all
 gather_facts: false
 - name: get join command
 shell: kubeadm token create --print-join-command
 register: join_command_raw
 when: "'masters' in group_names"

 - name: set join command
 join_command: "{{ join_command_raw.stdout_lines[0] }}"
 when: "'masters' in group_names"

 - name: join cluster
 shell: "{{ hostvars['master'].join_command }} --ignore-preflight-errors all >> node_joined.txt"
 chdir: $HOME
 creates: node_joined.txt
 when: "'workers' in group_names"

Run the playbook with the command:

ansible-playbook -i hosts.ini worker-playbook.yml

Step 5: Verify the cluster

Once you run the playbooks, you can verify that your Kubernetes cluster is configured correctly.

On the master node, run:

kubectl get nodes

You should see all nodes listed with their status as Ready.


By following these steps, you have successfully configured a Kubernetes cluster using Ansible. This method offers a scalable and repeatable process, making it easier to manage and automate the deployment of Kubernetes clusters. As you become more familiar with Ansible and Kubernetes, you can further customize your playbooks to fit your specific requirements, such as adding more worker nodes or configuring advanced features. Happy orchestration!

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