Kubernetes Remote Control

Using kubectl to Control a Remote Kubernetes Cluster

Posted by Craig Johnston on Saturday, March 24, 2018

I use Minikube to run a local Kubernetes single node cluster (cluster?). However, I also work with a custom production cluster for work. This cluster consists of development and production nodes. I often need to switch between working on my local Minikube and the online Kubernetes cluster.

TIP: Visit the kubectl Cheat Sheet often.

The default configuration kubectl is stored in ~/.kube/config and if you have Minikube installed, it added the context minikube to your config.

With kubectl you can specify a config to use with the command flag --kubeconfig.

Below I am just pointing to default config. However, you can replace that with a different config to test.

kubectl --kubeconfig=/Users/enochroot/.kube/config config view

In addition to specifying a configuration file to use, kubectl configs also contain contexts. Each configuration file can have multiple contexts.

Current Context

A context is a combination of cluster, namespace and user.

View the current context:

kubectl config view

You should now see the output the default configuration file.

You can see we have only one context by default on a workstation that just installed Minikube. You can also see the key current-context: is set to minikube.

Check the current config context:

kubectl config current-context



Add a Cluster

Get the public certificate from your cluster or use --insecure-skip-tls-verify:

kubectl config set-cluster example --server https://example.com:6443 --certificate-authority=example.ca


Cluster "example" set.

Add a User

Users in the configuration can use a path to a certificate --client-certificate or use the certificate data directly --client-certificate-data

kubectl config set-credentials example \
    --client-certificate=/some/path/example.crt \

Add a Context

Add a context to tie a user and cluster together.

kubectl config set-context deasil --cluster=example \
    --namespace=default --user=example-admin

Change Current Context

At this point you can change your current context from minikube to example:

kubectl config use-context example



Of course, kubectl config use-context minikube will put you back to managing your local Minikube.

Port Forwarding / Local Development

Check out kubefwd for a simple command line utility that bulk forwards services of one or more namespaces to your local workstation.


Kubernetes Remote Control: Using kubectl to Control a Remote Kubernetes Cluster by Craig Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License