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Doing maintenance & debugging on Kubernetes with a support pod

Doing maintenance & debugging on Kubernetes with a support pod

August 21, 2021

If you need to access services that are only reachable from the Kubernetes cluster or for example debug some network/DNS issues then you don’t want to attach to a running pod which is part of production deployment.

You probably need to install extra tools and the pod could have a read-only filesystem which prevents you from doing that. Including those tools in the image isn’t smart as well because they can expose a security risk.

So how do you do that then? You use a ‘support pod’!

With kubectl run you’re able to deploy a pod with a given image which gets deleted as soon as you exit the terminal.

kubectl run -i --rm --tty support-pod --image=alpine --restart=Never

This command will deploy the pod with the alpine image and open a terminal. You can then install the packages you need, for example;

apk add bind-tools

This will give you dig to debug DNS issues.

When you’re done, you just type exit or ctrl-D to exit the terminal and kill the pod.

This is a simple and secure way to take a look around from within the Kubernetes cluster without interfering with the workload or expose a security risk.

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