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Application Developer FAQ

Why can't I kubectl run?

To increase security, Compliance Kubernetes does not allow by default to run containers as root. Additionally, the container image is not allowed to be pulled from a public docker hub registry and all Pods are required to be selected by some NetworkPolicy. This ensures that an active decision has been made for what network access the Pod should have and helps avoid running "obscure things found on the internet".

Considering the above, you should start by pushing the container image you want to use to Harbor and make sure it doesn't run as root. See this document for how to use OIDC with docker. With that in place, you will need to create a NetworkPolicy for the Pod you want to run. Here is an example of how to create a NetworkPolicy that allows all TCP traffic (in and out) for Pods with the label run: blah.


This is just an example, not a good idea! You should limit the policy to whatever your application really needs.

kubectl apply -f - <<EOF
kind: NetworkPolicy
  name: blah
      run: blah
  - Ingress
  - Egress
  # Allow all incoming traffic
  - {}
  # Allow all outgoing traffic
  - {}

Now you are ready to run a Pod! Make sure you match the name with the label you used for the NetworkPolicy. Kubectl will automatically set the label run: <name-of-pod> when you create a Pod with kubectl run <name-of-pod>. Here is an example command (please replace the $MY_HARBOR_IMAGE):

kubectl run blah --rm -ti --image=$MY_HARBOR_IMAGE

If your image runs as root by defaults, but can handle running as another user, you may override the user by adding a flag like this to the above command:

--overrides='{ "spec": { "securityContext": "runAsUser": 1000, "runAsGroup": 1000 } }'

How do I give access to a new Application Developer to a Compliant Kubernetes environment?

Add the new user to the correct group via your Identity Provider (IdP), and Compliant Kubernetes will automatically pick it up.

Feeling lost? To find out what users and groups currently have access to your Compliant Kubernetes environment, type:

kubectl get workload-admin -o yaml
# look at the 'subjects' field

If you are not using groups, contact your administrator.

How do I add a new namespace?

See Namespaces.

Why can't I access my cluster? 'Bad Request Unregistered redirect_uri ("http://localhost:18000").'

Port 8000 is the only allowed port for OpenID callback URL and is needed by the kubectl OpenID plugin. If that port is used locally, then kubectl will try to bind to port 18000 which is not allowed due to security concerns. Make sure that nothing is running locally that is using port 8000.

"Connection reset by peer" when port-forwarding to postgres?

You may have seen this error when port-forwarding to postgres:

Forwarding from -> 5432
Forwarding from [::1]:5432 -> 5432
Handling connection for 5432
Handling connection for 5432
portforward.go:406] an error occurred forwarding 5432 -> 5432: error forwarding port 5432 to pod, uid : failed to execute portforward in network namespace "": read tcp4> read: connection reset by peer
portforward.go:234] lost connection to pod

You have two options to resolve this issue:

  1. Send a request to your administrator to disable TLS in the postgres cluster. Although it sounds "bad", it does not compromise security, since;

    • Traffic between kubectl and the Kubernetes API is encrypted.
    • In-cluster network is trusted.
  2. A workaround for the issue is to use an older version of kubectl when making this request, specifically v1.21.14 or lower.

    To avoid always using an old kubectl version, you can give the binary another name when downloading the v1.21.14 version, e.g. kubectl-1.21. This way your normal kubectl binary can be kept up to date.

    Then use that specific binary when making the port-forward request:

    kubectl-1.21 -n $NAMESPACE port-forward svc/$USER_ACCESS 5432

You can read more about this issue here.

What is encrypted at rest?

Compliant Kubernetes encrypts everything at rest, including Kubernetes resources, PersistentVolumeClaims, logs, metrics and backups, if the underlying Infrastructure Provider supports it.

Get in touch with your administrator to check the status. They are responsible for performing a provider audit.

Why does Compliant Kubernetes not offer encryption-at-rest at the platform level?

TL;DR: operational scalability and to avoid security theatre.

We are frequently asked why we don't simply do full-disk encryption at the VM level, using something like cryptsetup. Let us explain our rationale.

The reason why people want encryption-at-rest is to add another safeguard to data confidentiality. Encryption-at-rest is a must-have for laptops, as they can easily be stolen or get lost. However, it is a nice-to-have addition for servers, which are supposed to be in a physically protected data-center, with disks being safely disposed. This is verified during a provider audit.

At any rate, if encryption-at-rest is deployed it must: (a) actually safeguard data confidentiality; (b) without prohibitive costs in terms of administration.

A Compliant Kubernetes environment may comprise as many as 10 Nodes, i.e., VMs. These Nodes need to be frequently rebooted, to ensure Operating System (OS) security patches are applied. This is especially important for Linux kernel, container runtime (Docker) and Kubernetes security patches. Thanks to the power of Kubernetes, a carefully engineered and deployed application can tolerate such reboots with zero downtime. (See the go-live checklist.)

The challenge is how to deliver the disk encryption key to the VM when they are booting. Let us explore a few options:

  • Non-option 1: Store the encryption key on the VM's /boot disk. This is obvious security theatre. For example, if server disks are stolen, the VM's data is in the hands of the thiefs.

  • Non-option 2: Let admins type the encryption key on the VM's console. Asking admins to do this is time-consuming, error-prone, effectivly jeopardizing uptime. Instead, Compliant Kubernetes recommends automatic VM reboots during application "quiet times", such as at night, to ensure the OS is patched without sacrificing uptime.

  • Non-option 3: Let the VM pull the encryption key via instance metadata or instance configuration. This would imply storing the encryption key on the Infrastructure Provider. If the Infrastructure Provider doesn't have encryption-at-rest, then the encryption key is also stored unencrypted, likely on the same server as the VM is running. Hence, this quickly ends up being security theatre.

  • Non-option 4: Let the VM pull the encryption key from an external location which features encryption-at-rest. This would imply that the VM needs some kind of credentials to authenticate to the external location. Again these credentials are stored unencrypted on the Infrastructure Provider, so we are back to non-option 3.

Okay, so what is the real option, then?

The only real option is to rely on support from the Infrastructure Provider. The latest generation (physical) servers feature a TPM to store the disk encryption key. This can be securely release to the Linux kernel thanks to pre-boot authentication. This process is performance-neutral and fully transparent to the VMs running on top of the servers.

And that is why Compliant Kubernetes encrypts everything at rest, only if the underlying Infrastructure Provider supports it.

What are preview features?

Preview features are assessed to have a higher residual risk than commonly accepted by Customers. Residual risks include, but are not limited to:

  • risk of downtime;
  • risk of the feature becoming unavailable in the future;
  • risk of data loss.

The risks are usually due to novelty of the feature or uncertainties in the open-source ecosystem. By using Preview Features, the Customer accepts these additional risks.

Why are my Grafana dashboards not working?

Sometimes when increasing the amount of metrics emitted to Prometheus, or selecting a larger time frame for your dashboards, they might stop working and show errors similar to "Status: 504. Timeout exceeded while awaiting headers". This is likely due to the Grafana pods running OOM (Out Of Memory). Fetching a larger volume of data requires more memory for the Grafana pods to temporarily store that data for processing and visualization.

If you are facing this issue, you can:

  • See if you can optimize your dashboard queries, making sure you aren't fetching big volumes of data that doesn't necessarily need to be monitored.
  • Lower the time frame for the dashboard, visualizing smaller intervals of the metrics.
  • Contact your Platform Administrators and get them to increase the memory limits of Grafana or if your a Managed services customer, send us a ticket to increase the limit. As Grafana doesn't live in the workload cluster, it won’t use any resources associated with your applications.