August 21, 2019. 5 minutes read.

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

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/[email protected]
    - 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/[email protected]
    - name: Kind
      run: |
        export GOBIN=$(go env GOPATH)/bin
        export PATH=$PATH:$GOBIN
        mkdir -p $GOBIN

        curl -LO`curl -s`/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
        chmod +x kubectl && mv kubectl $GOBIN
        wget && 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$HELM_VERSION-$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>

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!

Radu Matei

© Radu Matei 2022