Deploying OpenWhisk on kind


You can run Kubernetes on top of Docker on Linux, MacOS, and Windows using the kind project. Based on using Docker-in-Docker (DIND) virtualization and kubeadm, kind can be used to create a virtual multi-node Kubernetes cluster that is suitable for deploying OpenWhisk for development and testing. For detailed instructions on kind, we refer you to that project's github repository. Here we will only cover the basic operations needed to create and operate a default cluster with two virtual worker nodes.

Initial setup

Download the latest stable release of kind for your platform from Our TravisCI testing currently uses kind v0.8.1 on an ubuntu 18.04 host.

Creating the Kubernetes Cluster

On Linux, make sure your userid is in the docker group on the host machine. This will enable you to run kind without requiring sudo to gain root privileges.

Create a kind-cluster.yaml to configure your cluster.

kind: Cluster
- role: control-plane
- role: worker
    - hostPort: 31001
      containerPort: 31001
- role: worker

The extraPortMappings stanza enables port forwarding from the localhost to the in-cluster network. This is required on MacOS, but to simplify the instructions we use the same setup for all platforms.

Now create your cluster with the command:

kind create cluster --config kind-cluster.yaml

Next, configure kubectl by executing

KUBECONFIG="$(kind get kubeconfig-path)"

Then label the two worker nodes so that one is reserved for the invoker and the other will be used to run the rest of the OpenWhisk system.

kubectl label node kind-worker openwhisk-role=core
kubectl label node kind-worker2 openwhisk-role=invoker

Configuring OpenWhisk

To configure OpenWhisk, you first need to define a mycluster.yaml that specifies the “inside the cluster” ingress information and other system configuration. First, determine the internalIP of a worker node with the command:

kubectl describe node kind-worker | grep InternalIP: | awk '{print $2}'

A mycluster.yaml for a standard deployment of OpenWhisk would look like the below, replacing with its actual value:

    type: NodePort
    apiHostName: <INTERNAL_IP>
    apiHostPort: 31001

    impl: "kubernetes"

  httpsNodePort: 31001

Note that you must use the KubernetesContainerFactory when running OpenWhisk on kind because it is configured to use containerd as the underlying container engine.

External to the Kubernetes cluster, for example when using the wsk cli, we will use the port forwarding configured by the extraPortMappings in kind-cluster.yaml to allow the OpenWhisk apihost property to be set to localhost:31001

Hints and Tips

If you are working on the core OpenWhisk system and want to use a locally built controller or invoker image to test your changes, you need to push the image to the docker image repository inside the kind cluster.

For example, suppose I had a local change to the controller I wanted to test. To do this, I would build the image normally (gradlew distDocker in openwhisk). Then, execute the kind command

kind load docker-image whisk/controller

Then add a stanza to your mycluster.yaml to override the default behavior of pulling a stable openwhisk/controller image from Docker Hub.

  imageName: "whisk/controller"
  imageTag: "latest"

Then deploy OpenWhisk normally using helm install. The deployed system will use the locally built whisk/controller image.


Using kind is only appropriate for development and testing purposes. It is not recommended for production deployments of OpenWhisk.

TLS termination will be handled by OpenWhisk's nginx service and will use self-signed certificates. You will need to invoke wsk with the -i command line argument to bypass certificate checking.

Unlike using Kubernetes with Docker for Mac 18.06 and later, only the virtual master/worker nodes are visible to Docker on the host system. The individual pods running the OpenWhisk system are only visible using kubectl and not directly via host Docker commands.