kind Cheatsheet

Last Updated: 2024-03-03

Kind CLI

# Create clusters.
$ kind create cluster --name test-cluster

# Get clusters.
$ kind get clusters

# Get nodes of a cluster.
$ kind get nodes --name test-cluster

# Get kubeconfig and use it to talk to the cluster.
$ kind get kubeconfig --name test-cluster > ~/test-cluster-kubeconfig
$ kubectl --kubeconfig  ~/test-cluster-kubeconfig ...
$ k9s --kubeconfig  ~/test-cluster-kubeconfig

$ kind export kubeconfig --name test-cluster
Set kubectl context to "kind-test-cluster"
# `current-context` of `~/.kube/config` is updated to `kind-test-cluster`

# Export logs
$ kind export logs --name test-cluster
Exporting logs for cluster "test-cluster" to: /path/to/log

# load images; calls `ctr images import` under the hood.
$ kind load image-archive

# Get IP address
$ docker container inspect test-cluster-control-plane \
 --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.Networks.kind.IPAddress }}'

# Delete clusters.
$ kind delete cluster --name test-cluster

# Check kind version
$ kind version

Check inside the control plane node.

# Get the container name of the control plane.
$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                  ... NAMES
2ff461dc6529   kindest/node:v1.xx.x   ... test-cluster-control-plane

# Get inside the container.
$ docker exec -it test-cluster-control-plane bash
# List images on the control plane node.
root@test-cluster-control-plane:/# crictl images
# List running containers.
root@test-cluster-control-plane:/# crictl ps
# List running processes
root@test-cluster-control-plane:/# ps aux

Notes about control plane processes:

  • built-in components as expected: kube-apiserver, kube-scheduler, kube-controller-manager, kube-proxy, etcd, coredns, etc
  • containerd as a CRI implementation to deal with Pods and containers. No docker inside the control plane docker container.


By default Kind clusters use a bridge network named kind (check by docker network ls). This can be overriden by setting KIND_EXPERIMENTAL_DOCKER_NETWORK.

$ KIND_EXPERIMENTAL_DOCKER_NETWORK=test-network kind create cluster --name test-cluster-with-test-network

# List networks
$ docker network ls
02ef0832c25e   test-network   bridge    local

# Check details of the network
$ docker network inspect test-network

# Clean up unused networks
$ docker network prune

The number of networks you can create is limited by /etc/docker/daemon.json. You may see this error:

Error response from daemon: could not find an available, non-overlapping IPv4 address pool among the defaults to assign to the network


How to create kind clusters with multiple nodes?

$ cat <<EOF | kind create cluster --name test-cluster-with-multiple-nodes --config -
kind: Cluster
apiVersion: kind.x-k8s.io/v1alpha4
- role: control-plane
- role: worker
- role: worker

$ kind get nodes --name test-cluster-with-multiple-nodes

How to Enable Shell Completion?

# bash
$ source <(kind completion bash)
$ echo "source <(kind completion bash)" >> ~/.bashrc

# zsh
$ source <(kind completion zsh)
# or
$ echo "source <(kind completion zsh)" >> ~/.zshrc

How to make packages available in kind

Option 1: kind load (without a registry)

Use kind load. This loads images without a registry. For example:

# Step 1: create the image
$ docker build -t my-custom-image:unique-tag ./my-image-dir

# Step 2: kind load the image
$ kind load docker-image my-custom-image:unique-tag

# Step 3: run
$ kubectl apply -f my-manifest-using-my-image:unique-tag

Under the hood: it uses LoadImageArchive() (https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/kind/blob/main/pkg/cluster/nodeutils/util.go), which calls ctr images import internally.

To check:

  • Get name of a node by running kubectl get nodes.
  • Get into the node by running docker exec -ti <nodename> bash
  • From there run crictl images to see images loaded on that node.

or use

$ docker exec -it ${CLUSTER_NAME}-control-plane crictl images

or check the Node CR, available images will be shown in status.images

$ kubectl get nodes kind-control-plane -o yaml

Option 2: use a local docker registry

Follow the official dock: https://kind.sigs.k8s.io/docs/user/local-registry/

Essentially it

  1. starts a docker registry by docker run registry:2.
  2. connect the registry to the cluster network.
  3. configure containerd to use the local registry.

Option 3: use a Harbor

  • Option 3.1: deploy Harbor on localhost
  • Option 3.2: deploy Harbor in the kind cluster


"too many open files"

Check limits:

$ sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_instances
fs.inotify.max_user_instances = 256

$ sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_watches
fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 4194304

To increase limits:

$ sudo sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_instances=1024

Under the hood

Kind depend on many other projects:

  • kind uses kubeadm to configure cluster nodes.
  • kind uses either Docker or Podman as the Provider.

Base Image vs Node Image

Base image: dependencies, but no k8s

Node image: base image + k8s (pkg/build/nodeimage/)


Providers: e.g. Docker or Podman. (https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/kind/blob/main/pkg/cluster/internal/providers)

type Provider struct {
  provider internalproviders.Provider
  logger   log.Logger

Create a kind cluster with rootless docker

$ export DOCKER_HOST=unix://${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}/docker.sock
$ kind create cluster

When to use kind?

kind can be used for

  • creating a local Kubernetes cluster for development environments
  • creating a temporary bootstrap cluster used to provision a target management cluster on the selected infrastructure provider.