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Kubernetes Master


A Kubernetes master node, or master, is the brain. The cluster master provides the control plane that makes all of the global decisions about the cluster. For example, when you need the cluster to spawn a container, the master will decide which node to dispatch the task and spawn a new container. This procedure is called scheduling.

The master is responsible for maintaining the desired state for the cluster. When you give an order for this web server, make sure there are always two containers backing each other up! The master monitors the running status, and spawns a new container any time fewer than two web server containers are running due to any failures.

Typically you only need a single master node in the cluster, however, the master can also be replicated for higher availability and redundancy. The master’s functions are implemented by a collection of processes running in the master node:

  • kube-apiserver: Is the front-end of the control plane, and provides REST APIs.

  • kube-scheduler: Does the scheduling and decides where to place the containers depending on system re- quirements (CPU, memory, storage, etc.) and other custom parameters or constraints (e.g., affinity specifications).

  • kube-controller-manager: The single process that controls most of the different types of controllers, ensuring that the state of the system is what it should be. Controller examples might be:

    • Replication Controller

    • ReplicaSet

    • Deployment

    • Service Controller

  • etcd: The database to store the state of the system.


For the sake of simplicity, some components are not listed (e.g., cloud-controller-manager, DNS server, kubelet). They are not trivial or negligible components, but skipping them for now helps us get past the Kubernetes basics.