Creating a Kubernetes Cluster on OpenStack with Rancher

OpenStack is still a viable cloud operating system and in use by many ISPs all over the world. Installations might differ slightly, the setup in this article was performed on a teutoStack public cloud environment in Bielefeld, operated by

OpenStack integration for Kubernetes itself has been around for some time and is well established. It consists of two components: The OpenStack cloud provider and the OpenStack node driver. The cloud provider is available in Rancher by default; Rancher also includes a node driver. However, that’s not enabled by default.

There are two options to build a Rancher Kubernetes cluster on OpenStack: With the OpenStack node driver or through a custom node setup.

For easier access, all configuration examples below are available on GitHub.

OpenStack Cloud Provider

To allow Kubernetes access to the OpenStack API, to create load balancers or volumes, for example, enable the OpenStack cloud provider.

To do so, choose the “Custom” option during cluster creation for the cloud provider in the Rancher GUI and then insert the following information into the cluster configuration (through “Edit YAML”) — substitute actual values as required:

name: "openstack"
ignore-volume-az: true
trust-device-path: false
bs-version: "v2"
auth-url: "" # Keystone Auth URL
domain-name: "Default" # Identity v3 Domain Name
tenant-id: "616a8b01b5f94f99acd00a844f8f46c3" # Project ID
username: "user" # OpenStack Username
password: "pass" # OpenStack Password
lb-version: "v2"
subnet-id: "f339e543-a67f-45fa-8157-4a58b0940e0b"
floating-network-id: "ca27ca05-2870-47b3-ad2f-535d04c9e736"
create-monitor: false
manage-security-groups: true
monitor-max-retries: 0
use-octavia: true
request-timeout: 0
ignore_docker_version: false

With this information, Kubernetes will get access to the OpenStack API, to create and delete resources, and access to Cinder volumes and the Octavia load balancer. Without this configuration, the Kubernetes cluster would still work fine, just without any access to Cinder or Octavia, or any other OpenStack resources.

Option 1: OpenStack Node Driver

The node driver needs to be enabled in the Rancher configuration to create a Kubernetes cluster on OpenStack with the built-in node driver. Then a node template needs to be created with the following information — substitute actual values as needed:

"authUrl": "",
"availabilityZone": "Zone1",
"domainName": "Default",
"flavorName": "standard.2.1905",
"floatingipPool": "extern",
"imageName": "ubuntu-18.04-bionic-amd64",
"keypairName": "rancher",
"netName": "intern",
"sshPort": "22",
"sshUser": "ubuntu",
"tenantId": "616a8b01b5f94f99acd00a844f8f46c3",
"username": "user"

Afterward, cluster creation is straightforward, as with all other cloud providers.

Security Groups

The following firewall rules need to be defined between Rancher and the OpenStack tenant to enable automatic cluster setup:

  • ssh, http and https in both directons
  • 2376 (docker) from Rancher to the tenant nodes
  • 2376, 2379, 2380, 6443, and 10250 between the tenant nodes

Option 2: Custom Nodes

Alternatively, the cluster can be built from individually created instances, with the help of a startup script to install and enable docker (on Ubuntu18.04 LTS):

apt-get update
apt-get -y install apt-transport-https jq software-properties-common
curl -fsSL | sudo apt-key add -
add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] $(lsb_release -cs) stable"
apt-get update
apt-get -y install docker-ce=18.06.3~ce~3-0~ubuntu
usermod -G docker -a ubuntu
exit 0

Security Groups

The following firewall rules need to be defined for the OpenStack tenant to enable cluster creation from existing nodes:

  • ssh from a workstation
  • http and https to Rancher


For access to Cinder block storage, apply the following storage class definition:

kind: StorageClass
name: cinder
reclaimPolicy: Delete
availability: nova

No further action is needed to enable the OpenStack load balancer.


There will be a certain amount of trial and error during the initial setup. A good source of debugging information comes from Rancher itself, in the form of its log to stdout — following a tail on this will help a lot, especially during node creation.

Happy Stacking!

(Originally published on my Wiki —

Christian is a senior Lead Solution Consultant in the Cloud and Datacenter automation space with many years of experience in IT Transformation

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