Admin workstation prerequisites

The admin workstation hosts command-line interface (CLI) tools and configuration files to provision clusters during installation, and CLI tools for interacting with provisioned clusters post-installation.

You download and run tools, such as bmctl and the Google Cloud CLI, on the admin workstation to interact with clusters and Google Cloud resources. The admin workstation hosts configuration files to provision clusters during installation, upgrades, and updates. Post installation, the admin workstation hosts kubeconfig files so that you can use kubectl to interact with provisioned clusters. You also access logs for critical cluster operations on the admin workstation. A single admin workstation can be used to create and manage many clusters.

Make sure the admin workstation meets the prerequisites described in the following sections.

Operating system and software

In order to run bmctl and work as a control plane node, the admin workstation has the same operating system (OS) requirements as nodes. The admin workstation requires Docker, but not for use as a container runtime. When Google Distributed Cloud creates clusters, it deploys a Kubernetes in Docker (kind) cluster on the admin workstation. This bootstrap cluster hosts the Kubernetes controllers needed to create clusters. Unless you specify otherwise, the bootstrap cluster is removed when cluster creation completes successfully. The bootstrap cluster requires Docker to pull container images.

The admin workstation must meet the following requirements before you can install a cluster:

  • Operating system is a supported Linux distribution.

    For a list of supported Linux OSes and versions, see Select your operating system. That page has links to configuration instructions, including Docker configuration, for each OS.

  • Docker version 19.03 or later is installed. However, if your system uses cgroup v2, the Docker installation on your admin workstation must be version 20.10.0 or higher. (You can tell if your system uses cgroup v2 by the presence of the file /sys/fs/cgroup/cgroup.controllers). cgroup v2 is supported as a Preview capability only. We don't recommend the use of Preview features and capabilities in production environments.

  • Non-root user is a member of the docker group (for instructions, go to Manage Docker as a non-root user).

  • Google Cloud CLI is installed.

    You use kubectl and bmctl tools to create and manage clusters. To install these tools, you need the gcloud tool. The gcloud and kubectl command-line tools are components of gcloud CLI. For installation instructions, including instructions for installing components, see Install the gcloud CLI.

  • kubectl is installed. Use gcloud CLI to install kubectl with the following command:

    gcloud components install kubectl
  • bmctl is installed for the version of the cluster that you're creating or operating.

    Installation consists of using gcloud storage to download bmctl binary or images package. For instructions, see Anthos clusters on bare metal downloads.

Hardware resource requirements

The admin workstation requires significant computing power, memory, and storage to run tools and store the resources associated with cluster creation and management.

By default, the cluster upgrade and cluster create operations use a bootstrap cluster. When a bootstrap cluster is used, there is a significant increase in CPU and memory usage. If you intend to use the admin workstation as a control plane node, use no less than the higher, recommended amount of CPUs and RAM to prevent admin workstation activities from disrupting cluster control plane fuctions.

Depending on the size of etcd database and number of control plane nodes, cluster backup and restore operations consume significant RAM. The rough estimate for RAM required for backups is 3-5 GiB per control plane node. The backup process fails there isn't enough memory. Plan your RAM requirements accordingly.

The following table provides the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for the admin workstation:

Resource Minimum Recommended
CPUs / vCPUs* 2 core 4 core
RAM Ubuntu: 4 GiB
CentOS/RHEL: 6 GiB
Ubuntu: 8 GiB
CentOS/RHEL: 12 GiB
Storage 128 GiB 256 GiB

* Google Distributed Cloud supports only x86-64 CPUs and vCPUs at the CPU microarchitecture level v3 (x86-64-v3) and higher.

Networking requirements

The admin workstation needs access to Google Cloud and all your cluster nodes.

Access to Google Cloud

The admin workstation accesses Google Cloud to download and install tools and images, process authorization requests, create service accounts, manage logging and monitoring, and more. You can't create clusters without access to Google Cloud.

Access to Google Cloud can be either direct or through a proxy server. For information on different ways to connect to Google Cloud, see Connect to Google. For information on configuring a proxy server, see Install behind a proxy.

For information about the consequences of interrupted access to Google Cloud, see Impact of temporary disconnection from Google Cloud.

Access to nodes

To create and manage clusters from your admin workstation, you need the following access to the node machines:

  • Layer 3 connectivity to all cluster node machines.
  • Passwordless root access to all cluster node machines through SSH. SSH access can be either direct or through sudo.
  • Access to the control plane VIP.

IP forwarding

IP forwarding must be enabled on the admin workstation. Without IP forwarding, the bootstrap cluster can't be created, which blocks cluster creation. If IP forwarding is disabled, you see an error like the following when you attempt to create a cluster:

Error message: E0202 14:53:25.979322 225917 console.go:110] Error creating cluster: create kind cluster failed: error creating bootstrap cluster: failed to init node with kubeadm: command "docker exec --privileged bmctl-control-plane kubeadm init --skip-phases=preflight --config=/kind/kubeadm.conf --skip-token-print --v=6" failed with error: exit status 1

You can check the IP forwarding setting with the following command:

cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

A value of 1 indicates that IP forwarding is enabled. If IP forwarding is disabled (0), use the following command to enable it:

echo '1' | sudo tee /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

Set up root SSH access to nodes

To enable secure, passwordless connections between the admin workstation and the cluster node machines, create an SSH key on your admin workstation and share the public key with cluster nodes.

  1. Enable root SSH password authentication on each cluster node machine by uncommenting or adding the PermitRootLogin and PasswordAuthentication lines in the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and setting the values to yes.

    # $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.103 2018/04/09 20:41:22 tj Exp $
    # This is the sshd server system-wide configuration file.  See
    # sshd_config(5) for more information.
    # Authentication:
    #LoginGraceTime 2m
    PermitRootLogin yes
    #StrictModes yes
    #MaxAuthTries 6
    #MaxSessions 10
    PasswordAuthentication yes

    Initially, you need SSH password authentication enabled on the remote cluster node machines to share keys from the admin workstation.

  2. To apply your SSH configuration changes, restart the SSH service:

    sudo systemctl restart ssh.service
  3. Generate a private/public key pair on the admin workstation. Don't set a passphrase for the keys. Generate the keys with the following command:

    ssh-keygen -t rsa

    You can also use sudo user access to the cluster node machines to set up SSH. However, for passwordless, non-root user connections you must update the cluster configuration file with the spec.nodeAccess.loginUser field. This field is commented out by default. You can specify your non-root username with loginUser during cluster creation or anytime after that. For more information, see loginUser.

  4. Add the generated public key to the cluster node machines:


    Replace the following:

    • PATH_TO_IDENTITY_FILE: the path to the file containing the SSH public key. By default, the path to the identity file containing the public key is /home/USERNAME/.ssh/
    • CLUSTER_NODE_IP: the IP address of the node machine to which you're adding the SSH public key.
  5. Disable SSH password authentication on the cluster node machines by setting PasswordAuthentication to no in the sshd_config file and restarting the SSH service.

  6. Use the following command on the admin workstation to verify the public key authentication works between the workstation and the node machines.

    ssh -o IdentitiesOnly=yes -i PATH_TO_IDENTITY_FILE root@CLUSTER_NODE_IP

    When SSH is configured properly, you can log into the node machine from the admin workstation (as root) without having to enter a password.

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