Multicluster Control Plane

What is Multicluster Control Plane

The multicluster control plane is a lightweight Open Cluster Manager (OCM) control plane that is easy to install and has a small footprint. It can be running anywhere with or without kubernetes environment to sever the OCM control plane capabilities.

Why use Multicluster Control Plane

  1. Some kubernetes environments do not have CSR (e.g., EKS) so that the standard OCM control plane cannot be installed. The multicluster control plane can be able to install in these environments and expose the OCM control plane API via loadbalancer.

  2. Some users want to run multiple OCM control plane to isolate the data. The typical case is that the user wants to run one OCM control plane for production and another OCM control plane for development. The multicluster control plane can be able to install in the different namespace in a single cluster. Each multicluster control plane is running independently and serving the OCM control plane capabilities.

  3. Some users want to run OCM control plane without kubernetes environment. The multicluster control plane can be running in a standalone mode. for example, it can be running in a VM. Expose the control plane API to the outside so the managed clusters can register to it.

How to use Multicluster Control Plane

Start the standalone multicluster control plane

You need build multicluster-controlplane in your local host. Following below steps to build the binary and start the multicluster control plane.

git clone
cd multicluster-controlplane
make run

Once the control plane is running, you can access the control plane by using kubectl --kubeconfig=./_output/controlplane/.ocm/cert/kube-aggregator.kubeconfig.

You can customize the control plane configurations by creating a config file and using the environment variable CONFIG_DIR to specify your config file directory. Please check here for details.

Install via clusteradm

Install clusteradm CLI tool

It’s recommended to run the following command to download and install the latest release of the clusteradm command-line tool:

curl -L | bash

Install multicluster control plane

You can use clusteradm init to deploy the multicluster control plane in your kubernetes environment.

  1. Set the environment variable KUBECONFIG to your cluster kubeconfig path. For instance, create a new KinD cluster and deploy multicluster control plane in it.
export KUBECONFIG=/tmp/kind-controlplane.kubeconfig
kind create cluster --name multicluster-controlplane
export mc_cp_node_ip=$(kubectl get nodes -o=jsonpath='{.items[0].status.addresses[?(@.type=="InternalIP")].address}')
  1. Run following command to deploy a control plane
clusteradm init --singleton=true --set route.enabled=false --set nodeport.enabled=true --set nodeport.port=30443 --set apiserver.externalHostname=$mc_cp_node_ip --set apiserver.externalPort=30443 --singleton-name multicluster-controlplane

Refer to here for how to customize the control plane configurations.

  1. Get the control plane kubeconfig by running the following command:
kubectl -n multicluster-controlplane get secrets multicluster-controlplane-kubeconfig -ojsonpath='{.data.kubeconfig}' | base64 -d > /tmp/multicluster-controlplane.kubeconfig

Join a cluster to the multicluster control plane

You can use clusteradm to join a cluster. For instance, take the KinD cluster as an example, run the following command to join the cluster to the control plane:

kind create cluster --name cluster1 --kubeconfig /tmp/kind-cluster1.kubeconfig
clusteradm --kubeconfig=/tmp/multicluster-controlplane.kubeconfig get token --use-bootstrap-token
clusteradm --singleton=true --kubeconfig /tmp/kind-cluster1.kubeconfig join --hub-token <controlplane token> --hub-apiserver https://$mc_cp_node_ip:30443/ --cluster-name cluster1
clusteradm --kubeconfig=/tmp/multicluster-controlplane.kubeconfig accept --clusters cluster1

Verify the cluster join

Run this command to verify the cluster join:

kubectl --kubeconfig=/tmp/multicluster-controlplane.kubeconfig get managedcluster
cluster1   true           https://cluster1-control-plane:6443   True     True        5m25s

You should see the managedcluster joins to the multicluster control plane. Congratulation!