A quick guide on How to extend kubectl with plugins?

19 Jun 2021 » kubernetes

You could Buy me a coffee If you like the blogs and find them useful.

kubectl

kubectl is a command-line interface (CLI) used to interact with the Kubernetes cluster. With the help of kubectl you can perform the following operations on the Kubernetes cluster:

  1. Deploy & Manage containerize application.
  2. Connect to multiple Kubernetes clusters.
  3. Get Kubernetes cluster information.
  4. Many more…

Visit here for more detail on kubectl.

What is a plugin?

  • kubectl plugin is a standalone executable file used to enhance the functionality of kubectl with new subcommands.
  • With plugins, you can add new features to kubectl as per your requirement.

Why write a plugin?

To build a complex use case using existing kubectl commands. Let us understand this with the following use case:

Restart a Pod

To restart a Pod you can use the following methods:

Method 1:

  • Retrieve the Pod name using the following command:

    kubectl get pods
    
  • Delete the Pod using the following command:

    kubectl delete pod <POD_NAME>
    

Method 2:

  • Retrieve the Deployment name using the following command:

    kubectl get deployment
    
  • Scale down the replica to zero using the following command:

    kubectl scale --replicas=0 deploy/<DEPLOYMENT_NAME>
    
  • Scale up the replica to one using the following command:

    kubectl scale --replicas=1 deploy/<DEPLOYMENT_NAME>
    

Note: Both the methods are valid only If Pod is created through Deployment.

In both the methods to restart a Pod You have to execute multiple kubectl commands. But can you achieve the same using a single command? The answer is YES. Through plugins, you can wrap the above kubectl commands into a single command. For example, You can have a command like kubectl restart pod nginx where nginx is the name of the Deployment.

How to write a plugin?

Let us understand the whole process step by step by writing a plugin for the Restart a Pod use case.

  1. Create a file called kubectl-restart-pod.sh by using the following command:

    touch kubectl-restart-pod.sh
    
  2. Add the following content into the kubectl-restart-pod.sh file:

    #!/bin/bash
    
    # Logging script execution start
    echo "-------------------------"
    
    DEPLOYMENT=$1
    NAMESPACE=default
    
    if [ ! -z $2 ]; then
     if [ $2 == "-n" ]; then
      NAMESPACE=$3
     fi
    fi
    
    
    # Logging name of the Deployment
    echo "Deployment: $DEPLOYMENT"
    
    # Logging name of the Namespace
    echo "Namespace: $NAMESPACE"
    
    # Retrieving Deployment
    DEPLOYMENT_DETAILS={}
    
    {
     DEPLOYMENT_DETAILS=$(kubectl get deploy $DEPLOYMENT -o json -n $NAMESPACE)
    } || {
     echo "-------------------------"
     exit 1
    }
    
    # Retrieving the current replicas
    CURRENT_REPLICAS=$(echo $DEPLOYMENT_DETAILS | jq .spec.replicas)
    
    # Retrieving the labels
    LABELS=$(echo $DEPLOYMENT_DETAILS | jq .spec.selector.matchLabels)
    LABEL=$(echo $LABELS | jq -r 'to_entries|map("\(.key)=\(.value|tostring)")|.[0]')
    
    # Scaling down the replicas
    echo "Scaling down the replicas to 0"
    kubectl scale --replicas=0 deploy/$DEPLOYMENT -n $NAMESPACE
    
    while true; do
    
        PODS_COUNT=$(kubectl get po -l $LABEL -n $NAMESPACE -o json | jq '.items | length')
    
        if [ $PODS_COUNT == 0 ]; then
            break
        else
            printf "."
            sleep 5
        fi
    
    done
    
    # Scaling up the replicas
    echo ""
    echo "Scaling up replicas to $CURRENT_REPLICAS"
    kubectl scale --replicas=$CURRENT_REPLICAS deploy/$DEPLOYMENT -n $NAMESPACE
    
    while true; do
    
        INDEX=0
        RUNNING_COUNT=0
        PODS=$(kubectl get po -l $LABEL -n $NAMESPACE -o json | jq .items)
    
        while [ $INDEX -lt $CURRENT_REPLICAS ]; do
            PHASE=$(echo $PODS | jq -r --arg index $INDEX '.[$index | tonumber].status.phase')
    
            if [ $PHASE == "Running" ]; then
                RUNNING_COUNT=$((RUNNING_COUNT + 1))
            fi
        
            INDEX=$((INDEX + 1))
        done
    
        if [ $RUNNING_COUNT == $CURRENT_REPLICAS ]; then
            break
        else
            printf "."
            sleep 5
        fi
    
    done
    
    # Logging script execution end
    echo ""
    echo "-------------------------"
    
    

    Refer to source code here.

  3. Make kubectl-restart-pod.sh file executable by using the following command:

    chmod +x kubectl-restart-pod.sh
    
  4. Move kubectl-restart-pod.sh file to /usr/local/bin directory by using following command:

    mv kubectl-restart-pod.sh /usr/local/bin/kubectl-restart-pod
    

Demo

  1. Install jq on the workstation machine, where you can access the Kubernetes cluster. Visit here for steps to install jq.

  2. List all the available plugins by using the following command:

    kubectl plugin list
    

    kubectl-restart-pod plugin should list in the output.

  3. Create namespace demo by using the following command:

    kubectl create ns demo
    
  4. Deploy nginx application on Kubernetes cluster by using the following command:

    kubectl create deploy nginx --image=nginx:latest -n demo
    
  5. Check the status of nginx Pod by using the following command:

    kubectl get po -n demo
    

    nginx Pod should be in the Running state.

  6. Restart the nginx Pod by using the following command:

    kubectl restart pod nginx -n demo
    

Notes

  • As a prerequisite, you should have kubectl CLI installed on your workstation machine, where you can access the Kubernetes cluster. Visit here for steps to install kubectl CLI.
  • Name of the plugin standalone executable file should start with kubectl- for example kubectl-restart-pod.sh
  • You cannot override the existing kubectl command using plugins for example you cannot create a plugin kubectl-delete-pod. If you create such plugin then it will be ignored when you run kubectl delete pod command.

Show Your Support

  • Report an issue here If you find a bug or want to improve the content.