Help us improve your experience.

Let us know what you think.

Do you have time for a two-minute survey?


Kubernetes Architecture and Components


There are two type of nodes in a Kubernetes cluster, and each one runs a well-defined set of processes:

  • Head node: also called master, or master node, it is the head and brain that does all the thinking and makes all the decisions; all of the intelligence is located here.

  • Worker node: also called node, or minion, it’s the hands and feet that conducts the workforce.

The nodes are controlled by the master and in most cases, you only need to talk to the master.

One of the most common interfaces between you and the cluster is the command-line tool kubectl. It is installed as a client application, either in the same master node or in a separate machine, like in your PC. Regardless of where it is, it can talk to the master via the REST-API exposed by the master.

Later in this book you can see an example of using kubectl to create Kubernetes objects. But for now, just remember, whenever you work with the kubectl command, you’re communicating with the cluster’s master.


The term node may sound semantically ambiguous – it could mean two things in the context of this book. Usually a node refers to a logical unit in a cluster, like a server, which can be either be physical or virtual. In context of Kubernetes clusters, a node usually refers specifically to a worker node.


You rarely need to bypass the master and work with nodes, but you can log in to a node and run all Docker commands to check running status of the containers. An example of this appears later in this chapter.