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Top 20 useful k8s tools

Javid Mougamadou
Simple is better than complex (PEP20)
Updated on ・5 min read

Monitoring

k9s

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K9s is a terminal based UI to interact with your Kubernetes clusters. The aim of this project is to make it easier to navigate, observe and manage your deployed applications in the wild. K9s continually watches Kubernetes for changes and offers subsequent commands to interact with your observed resources.

Link : https://github.com/derailed/k9s

popeye

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Popeye is a utility that scans live Kubernetes cluster and reports potential issues with deployed resources and configurations. It sanitizes your cluster based on what's deployed and not what's sitting on disk.

Link : https://github.com/derailed/popeye

Package manager

krew

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Krew is a tool that makes it easy to use kubectl plugins. Krew helps you discover plugins, install and manage them on your machine. It is similar to tools like apt, dnf or brew. Today, over 100 kubectl plugins are available on Krew.

Link : https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/krew

Plugins

kubectx + kubens

kubectx helps you switch between clusters back and forth:

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kubens helps you switch between Kubernetes namespaces smoothly:

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Link : https://github.com/ahmetb/kubectx

kubespy

kubespy is a small tool that makes it easy to observe how Kubernetes resources change in real time, derived from the work we did to make Kubernetes deployments predictable in Pulumi's CLI. Run kubespy at any point in time, and it will watch and report information about a Kubernetes resource continuously until you kill it.

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Link : https://github.com/pulumi/kubespy

kube-score

kube-score is a tool that performs static code analysis of your Kubernetes object definitions.

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Link : https://github.com/zegl/kube-score

kubectl-doctor

This plugin is inspired from brew doctor :) It will scan your currently targeted k8s cluster to see if there are anomalies or useful action points that it can report back to you.

This plugin does not change any state or configuration, it merely just scans and gathers information than reports back anomalies in yaml format.

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Link : https://github.com/emirozer/kubectl-doctor

ktunnel

Ktunnel is a CLI tool that establishes a reverse tunnel between a kubernetes cluster and your local machine. It lets you expose your machine as a service in the cluster or expose it to a specific deployment

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Link : https://github.com/omrikiei/ktunnel

kubectl-tree

A kubectl plugin to explore ownership relationships between Kubernetes objects through ownersReferences on them.

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Link : https://github.com/ahmetb/kubectl-tree

Debug/Logs

kubetail

Bash script that enables you to aggregate (tail/follow) logs from multiple pods into one stream. This is the same as running "kubectl logs -f " but for multiple pods.

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Link : https://github.com/johanhaleby/kubetail

kubectl-debug

kubectl-debug is an out-of-tree solution for troubleshooting running pods, which allows you to run a new container in running pods for debugging purpose.

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Link : https://github.com/aylei/kubectl-debug

stern

Stern allows you to tail multiple pods on Kubernetes and multiple containers within the pod. Each result is color coded for quicker debugging

Link : https://github.com/stern/stern

Alerting

Botkube

BotKube integration with Slack, Mattermost or Microsoft Teams helps you monitor your Kubernetes cluster, debug critical deployments and gives recommendations for standard practices by running checks on the Kubernetes resources. You can also ask BotKube to execute kubectl commands on k8s cluster which helps debugging an application or cluster

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Link : https://github.com/infracloudio/botkube

Validation

Polaris

Fairwinds' Polaris keeps your clusters sailing smoothly. It runs a variety of checks to ensure that Kubernetes pods and controllers are configured using best practices, helping you avoid problems in the future.

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Link : https://github.com/FairwindsOps/polaris

goldilocks

Goldilocks is a utility that can help you identify a starting point for resource requests and limits.

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Link : https://github.com/FairwindsOps/goldilocks

Helm

reckoner

Command line helper for helm. This utility adds to the functionality of Helm in multiple ways:

  • Creates a declarative syntax to manage multiple releases in one place
  • Allows installation of charts from a git commit/branch/release

Example :

# course.yml
charts:
  nginx-ingress:
    namespace: ingress-controllers
    version: 1.15.1
    values:
      controller.ingressClass: "my-ingress-class-name"
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Link : https://github.com/FairwindsOps/reckoner

helmfile

Deploy Kubernetes Helm Charts with helmfile

releases:
- name: prom-norbac-ubuntu
  namespace: prometheus
  chart: stable/prometheus
  set:
  - name: rbac.create
    value: false
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helmfile apply
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Link : https://github.com/roboll/helmfile

Ship

kubevela

KubeVela is a platform engine to enable designing and shipping applications with minimal effort.

$ vela up -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/oam-dev/kubevela/master/docs/examples/vela.yaml
Parsing vela.yaml ...
Loading templates ...

Rendering configs for service (testsvc)...
Writing deploy config to (.vela/deploy.yaml)

Applying deploy configs ...
Checking if app has been deployed...
App has not been deployed, creating a new deployment...
✅ App has been deployed 🚀🚀🚀
    Port forward: vela port-forward first-vela-app
             SSH: vela exec first-vela-app
         Logging: vela logs first-vela-app
      App status: vela status first-vela-app
  Service status: vela status first-vela-app --svc testsvc

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Link : https://github.com/oam-dev/kubevela

Helm secrets

sealed-secrets

In order to store secrets safely in a public or private Git repository, you can use Bitnami's sealed-secrets controller and encrypt your Kubernetes Secrets into SealedSecrets. The sealed secrets can be decrypted only by the controller running in your cluster and nobody else can obtain the original secret, even if they have access to the Git repository.

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# Create a json/yaml-encoded Secret somehow:
# (note use of `--dry-run` - this is just a local file!)
$ echo -n bar | kubectl create secret generic mysecret --dry-run=client --from-file=foo=/dev/stdin -o json >mysecret.json

# This is the important bit:
# (note default format is json!)
$ kubeseal <mysecret.json >mysealedsecret.json

# mysealedsecret.json is safe to upload to github, post to twitter,
# etc.  Eventually:
$ kubectl create -f mysealedsecret.json

# Profit!
$ kubectl get secret mysecret
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Link : https://github.com/bitnami-labs/sealed-secrets

kubernetes-external-secrets

The External Secrets Kubernetes operator reads information from a third party service like AWS Secrets Manager and automatically injects the values as Kubernetes Secrets.

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Link : https://github.com/external-secrets/external-secrets

Discussion (5)

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prashanthr profile image
Prashanth Rajaram (He/Him)

Great list. I'm happy to add another cool tool tool for monitoring and operations (an IDE if you will for K8s) called Lens.
Link: k8slens.dev/

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javidjms profile image
Javid Mougamadou Author

Yeah, I posted it here : dev.to/javidjms/lens-v4-2021-the-b...

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kaitoii11 profile image
Kaito Ii

The stern project referred to here is a little outdated.
There is a forked version of stern which is more active.
github.com/stern/stern

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javidjms profile image
Javid Mougamadou Author

Ok thanks, I will replace it

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muzammilaalpha profile image
muzammilaalpha

Good post!