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Running Kubernetes end-to-end tests with Kind and GitHub Actions

· Radu Matei

The Kind GitHub Action

To configure a Kubernetes cluster in your GitHub Actions in a single step, you can use the new @engineerd/setup-kind action:

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: actions/checkout@master
    - uses: engineerd/[email protected]
    - name: Testing
      run: |
        export KUBECONFIG="$(kind get kubeconfig-path)"
        kubectl cluster-info

Right now you can specify a Kind config file in your repository, select the Kind version you want to install, together with all flags you can pass to kind create cluster:

Creating cluster "kind" ...
 ✓ Ensuring node image (kindest/node:v1.15.3) đŸ–ŧ
 ✓ Preparing nodes đŸ“ĻđŸ“ĻđŸ“ĻđŸ“ĻđŸ“ĻđŸ“ĻđŸ“Ļ
 ✓ Configuring the external load balancer ⚖ī¸
 ✓ Creating kubeadm config 📜
 ✓ Starting control-plane 🕹ī¸
 ✓ Installing CNI 🔌
 ✓ Installing StorageClass 💾
 ✓ Joining more control-plane nodes 🎮
 ✓ Joining worker nodes 🚜
 ✓ Waiting ≤ 5m0s for control-plane = Ready âŗ
Cluster creation complete.

Kubernetes master is running at
KubeDNS is running at

$ kubectl get nodes
NAME                  STATUS     ROLES    AGE     VERSION
kind-control-plane    Ready      master   2m42s   v1.15.3
kind-control-plane2   Ready      master   2m11s   v1.15.3
kind-control-plane3   Ready      master   65s     v1.15.3
kind-worker           NotReady   <none>   28s     v1.15.3
kind-worker2          NotReady   <none>   28s     v1.15.3
kind-worker3          NotReady   <none>   28s     v1.15.3

When creating multi-node clusters, make sure you wait for the nodes to become available - this is still a work in progress that will be fixed in future versions.

EDIT: See the article about building reusable GitHub Actions.


Kind, or Kubernetes In Docker, is a tool for running local Kubernetes clusters using a Docker daemon to configure the Kubernetes nodes and control plane. It has become one of the easiest ways of running a local or development Kubernetes cluster (when compared to configuring Kubernetes in a virtual machine, Minikube, Docker Desktop, or running a cluster in the cloud).

For a quick guide to Kind, visit the official documentation - essentially, with the kind binary and a Docker daemon, all you have to do is run kind create cluster, and you get a 1 node Kubernetes cluster.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about running Kind in a Kubernetes cluster. But you don’t need to have an existing Kubernetes cluster in order to use Kind - you can configure your favorite CI to start a cluster using Kind, and in this short article, we’ll have a look at how to use the latest beta of GitHub Actions to do this.

If you’re not in the GitHub Actions beta already, you can sign up here.

TL; DR - It just works

Because GitHub Actions workers have a Docker daemon pre-configured, starting a Kubernetes cluster using Kind is straightforward - so let’s see how the configuration looks like:

name: Kind
on: [push, pull_request]

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: actions/checkout@master
    - name: Kind
      run: |
        export GOBIN=$(go env GOPATH)/bin
        export PATH=$PATH:$GOBIN
        mkdir -p $GOBIN

        curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/`curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt`/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
        chmod +x kubectl && mv kubectl $GOBIN
        wget https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/kind/releases/download/v0.5.0/kind-linux-amd64 && chmod +x kind-linux-amd64 && mv kind-linux-amd64 $GOBIN/kind

        kind create cluster --wait 300s
        export KUBECONFIG="$(kind get kubeconfig-path)"
        kubectl wait --for=condition=Ready pods --all --namespace kube-system
        kubectl cluster-info
        kubectl get pods -n kube-system        

Note that you don’t need to place the kind and kubectl binaries in any particular directory, just one that is in the $PATH.

Breaking down the the configuration file, we have:

  • a workflow called Kind
  • it runs on all push or pull_request events
  • with one job, kind, which runs on ubuntu-latest (Ubuntu 18.04)
  • checkout the source code
  • get the kind and kubectl binaries
  • kind create cluster
  • wait for the cluster to come up

The only slightly interesting thing we’re doing here is waiting for the cluster to be ready - kind create cluster --wait waits until the resources are ready, but just to be sure (and to show you how to wait for resources in a given namespace so you might use it later), we wait for all pods in kube-system to be in a Ready state using kubectl.

 ✓ Installing StorageClass 💾
 ✓ Waiting ≤ 5m0s for control-plane = Ready âŗ
 ✓ Ready after 53s 💚

pod/coredns-5c98db65d4-658bm condition met
pod/coredns-5c98db65d4-bjcfh condition met
pod/kindnet-wdglm condition met
pod/kube-proxy-7gd45 condition met

Kubernetes master is running at
KubeDNS is running at

To further debug and diagnose cluster problems, use 'kubectl cluster-info dump'.
NAMESPACE     NAME                       READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
kube-system   coredns-5c98db65d4-658bm   1/1     Running   0          47s
kube-system   coredns-5c98db65d4-bjcfh   1/1     Running   0          47s
kube-system   kindnet-wdglm              1/1     Running   1          47s
kube-system   kube-proxy-7gd45           1/1     Running   0          47s

Note that depending on your cluster configuration you might have to wait for additional resources to be in a Ready state before using it.

Using Helm 3

Now that the cluster is ready, you can start configuring your usual toolchain - let’s see how we would use the latest Helm 3 pre-release (yay for no more Tiller):

export HELM_PLATFORM=linux-amd64 && export HELM_VERSION=helm-v3.0.0-alpha.2
wget https://get.helm.sh/$HELM_VERSION-$HELM_PLATFORM.tar.gz && tar -xvzf $HELM_VERSION-$HELM_PLATFORM.tar.gz && rm -rf $HELM_VERSION-$HELM_PLATFORM.tar.gz && mv $HELM_PLATFORM/helm $GOBIN/helm3 && chmod +x $GOBIN/helm3
helm3 init && helm3 repo update && helm3 install ni stable/nginx-ingress
kubectl get pods

Note that if you’re using Helm 2, it already comes configured on the GitHub workers.

In this example, we just install a chart from the stable repository:

$HELM_HOME has been configured at /home/runner/.helm.
Happy Helming!
Hang tight while we grab the latest from your chart repositories...
...Successfully got an update from the "stable" chart repository
Update Complete. ⎈ Happy Helming!⎈

NAME: ni
LAST DEPLOYED: 2019-08-21 10:24:48.635109582 +0000 UTC m=+1.216598463
NAMESPACE: default
STATUS: deployed

The nginx-ingress controller has been installed.
It may take a few minutes for the LoadBalancer IP to be available.
You can watch the status by running 'kubectl --namespace default get services -o wide -w ni-nginx-ingress-controller'

If TLS is enabled for the Ingress, a Secret containing the certificate and key must also be provided:

  apiVersion: v1
  kind: Secret
    name: example-tls
    namespace: foo
    tls.crt: <base64 encoded cert>
    tls.key: <base64 encoded key>
  type: kubernetes.io/tls

NAME                                                READY   STATUS              RESTARTS   AGE
ni-nginx-ingress-controller-64845d9cd4-fzqjt        0/1     ContainerCreating   0          0s
ni-nginx-ingress-default-backend-77f8c99775-smr4p   0/1     ContainerCreating   0          0s

If your workload is using a persistent volume, the deployment will currently fail, since Kind does not have support for dynamic volume provisioning, which is planned for the next version.


Running Kind in GitHub Actions is straightforward - get the right binaries, create a cluster, then configure your usual toolchain. Thanks for reading!