Managed K3s -Is it a Thing?

K3s is an open-source, lightweight Kubernetes distribution by Rancher that was introduced this year and has gained huge popularity. If you’re not familiar with it, check out this post on k3s vs k8s by Andy Jeffries, CTO at Civo. People not only like the concept behind it, but also the awesome work that the team has done to strip down the heavy Kubernetes distribution to a minimal level. Though k3s started as a POC project for local Kubernetes development, its development has led people to use it even at a production level.

Official GitRepo:

Seeing the popularity of k3s, many developers/companies have started building products around k3s. CIVO cloud has come up with a cloud offering for First-Ever Managed k3s Kubernetes cluster.

CIVO Kubernetes Offering:
CIVO cloud has created a lightweight Kubernetes managed cluster offering.
Let us take a walk through some of the features of this managed k3s cluster and deploy a sample application.

NOTE: Before proceeding make sure you have the following:
- A Civo cloud account (they also have a 50$ free credit), you can sign up here.
- Civo cli tool installed: Civo cli is a command-line tool for interacting with resources in Civo Cloud. It's very handy and useful as you do not need to go to UI and can do most of the tasks from the Civo cli itself. For installation, you Need Ruby Installed in your machine (v 2.0.0 or later) and then run :

sudo gem install civo_cli

For more info visit:

K3s Cluster:
Civo Cloud has a managed k3s Kubernetes cluster offering and we can spin up the whole cluster using civo cli itself

Step1: Civo cli account setup using api keys

civo apikey add saiyam <yourkey>
Saved the API Key
<yourkey> as Demo_Test_Key

you can find your api key from: cloud account settings > Security > API Key (

Set the apikey as the default key to connect to Civo resources:

civo apikey current saiyam

You can list all stored API keys in your configuration by invoking civo apikey list or remove one by name by using civo apikey remove apikey_name

Step2: Create a Kubernetes Cluster using CIVO cli

command: civo kubernetes create civofirst --wait --saveBuilding new Kubernetes cluster civofirst: Done
Created Kubernetes cluster civofirst in 01 min 30 sec
Merged config into ~/.kube/config
command: civo kubernetes list
cluster created
From UI

While creating the cluster using civo CLI you have a few options that can be provided :
wait: spins until the cluster comes in ready state
save: saves the kubeconfig file
nodes: the number of nodes to be created, by default 3 nodes are created and master is counted as a node.
size: the size of the nodes, default size is g2.medium

So that is it you have just launched a 3 node k3s cluster running Kubernetes version 1.14

k3s Deployment and service:

Now that we have created k3s cluster lets see some basic deployment of nginx image and exposing it as a service.

kubectl get nodesNAME               STATUS   ROLES    AGE   VERSIONkube-master-3872   Ready    master   29m   v1.14.6-k3s.1kube-node-6052     Ready    worker   29m   v1.14.6-k3s.1kube-node-eaf0     Ready    worker   26m   v1.14.6-k3s.1kubectl get pods --all-namespacesNAMESPACE     NAME                    READY   STATUS      RESTARTS   AGEkube-system   coredns-b7464766c-89nrt      1/1     Running     0          29mkube-system   helm-install-traefik-g59pl   0/1     Completed   0          29mkube-system   svclb-traefik-689lv          2/2     Running     0         29mkube-system   svclb-traefik-bhg8h          2/2     Running     0          29mkube-system   svclb-traefik-xpf46          2/2     Running     0         27mkube-system   traefik-5c79b789c5-ns6xj     1/1     Running     0          29m

Now let us deploy a sample nginx application, service, and ingress:

Deployment: kubectl apply -f deploy.yaml

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
name: nginx-deployment
replicas: 2
app: nginx
app: nginx
- image: nginx
name: nginx-container

Service: kubectl apply -f svc.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
name: nginx-service
- name: http
port: 8080
targetPort: 80
app: nginx
type: LoadBalancer

Ingress: kubectl apply -f ingress.yaml

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
name: nginx-ingress
annotations: traefik
- host: nginx.localhost
- path: /
serviceName: nginx-service
servicePort: http

Let us see what all has been created.

kubectl get deployNAME                   READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
nginx-deployment 2/2 2 2 4m3s
kubectl get svcNAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGEkubernetes ClusterIP <none> 443/TCP 153mnginx-service LoadBalancer,, 8080:30051/TCP 3m16skubectl get ingressNAME HOSTS ADDRESS PORTS AGEnginx-ingress nginx.localhost 80 3m44s

Now open the browser and access the service by NodeIp:30051

You have deployed a sample application and created a service accessible from the internet within minutes with prepackaged ingress controller -> Traefik that comes packaged with k3s managed Kubernetes cluster by Civo cloud.

Civo cli commands :

Scaling the cluster: Cluster can be scaled up to the quota and down to 1 via UI or civo cli

civo kubernetes scale civofirst --nodes=4Kubernetes cluster civofirst will now have 4 nodes

Renaming the cluster:

civo kubernetes rename civo --name="Prod"Kubernetes cluster 27f587bc-587b-48b2-8302-3fd62baeff76 is now named Prod

Removing the cluster:

civo kubernetes remove ProdRemoving Kubernetes cluster Prod

Marketplace: Civo cloud has an extensive list of application with the one-click install from the UI. You can go to UI and select the app that you want to deploy to the cluster and it will be available within minutes. Let us try to deploy OpenFaas on k3s from the marketplace.

Select OpenFaaS and click Install Apps, within a few seconds you can see it appears in the Installed apps section with instructions as well to deploy a sample function.

You can access the OpenFaaS UI by NODE_IP:31112 and enter the username/password.

Here we just deployed a sample colorise function to convert image to black & white image.

From the command line, you can see below objects created in k3s cluster when you deployed the OpenFaaS application from the marketplace.

kubectl get all -n openfaasNAME                                     READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGEpod/alertmanager-85864b8547-qb5zb        1/1     Running   0          27mpod/basic-auth-plugin-85994747dd-rvfds   1/1     Running   0          27mpod/faas-idler-6568bb4c9b-5xfjz          1/1     Running   2          27mpod/gateway-dcdd5b79c-rnfdj              2/2     Running   0          27mpod/nats-d4c9d8d95-fjw89                 1/1     Running   0          27mpod/prometheus-855d56876d-txscc          1/1     Running   0          27mpod/queue-worker-56b64d6848-48b7w        1/1     Running   0          27mNAME                        TYPE        CLUSTER-IP        EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)          AGEservice/alertmanager        ClusterIP   <none>        9093/TCP         27mservice/basic-auth-plugin   ClusterIP   <none>        8080/TCP         27mservice/gateway             ClusterIP   <none>        8080/TCP         27mservice/gateway-external    NodePort    <none>        8080:31112/TCP   27mservice/nats                ClusterIP   <none>        4222/TCP         27mservice/prometheus          ClusterIP   <none>        9090/TCP         27mNAME                                READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGEdeployment.apps/alertmanager        1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/basic-auth-plugin   1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/faas-idler          1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/gateway             1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/nats                1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/prometheus          1/1     1            1           27mdeployment.apps/queue-worker        1/1     1            1           27mNAME                                         DESIRED   CURRENT READY   AGEreplicaset.apps/alertmanager-85864b8547        1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/basic-auth-plugin-85994747dd   1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/faas-idler-6568bb4c9b          1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/gateway-dcdd5b79c              1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/nats-d4c9d8d95                 1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/prometheus-855d56876d          1         1         1       27mreplicaset.apps/queue-worker-56b64d6848        1         1         1       27m

Summary: Civo Kubernetes service is lightweight k3s managed cluster for production-ready workloads, currently in beta as they are improving the features based on community feedback via the KUBE100 program. Things we discussed in this article:

  • Introduction to k3s and managed k3s
  • Civo CLI
  • Cluster creation/scaling/renaming/removing using Civo cli
  • Deploying a sample application & exposing it to the outside world
  • Deploying OpenFaaS application from Marketplace



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Saiyam Pathak

Saiyam Pathak

l CNCF Ambassador | CKA | CKAD | Influx ACE | Multi-cloud certified | Rancher Ranch Hands member