Teapot Installation

In a sense, the core of Teapot is simply an application running in a Kubernetes cluster (the management cluster). This is a great advantage for ease of installation, because Kubernetes is renowned for its simplicity in bootstrapping. Many, many (perhaps too many) tools already exist for bootstrapping a Kubernetes cluster, so there is no need to reinvent them.

However, Teapot is designed to be the system that provides cloud services to bare-metal Kubernetes clusters, and while it is possible to run the management cluster on another cloud (such as OpenStack), it is likely in most instances to be self-hosted on bare metal. This presents a unique bootstrapping challenge.

OpenStack does not define an ‘official’ installer, largely due to the plethora of configuration management tools that different users preferred. Teapot does not have the same issue, as it standardises on Kubernetes as the lingua franca. There should be a single official installer and third parties are encouraged to add extensions and customisations by adding Resources and Operators through the Kubernetes API.

Implementation Options


Metal³ is designed to bootstrap standalone bare-metal clusters, so it can be used to install the management cluster. There are multiple ways to do this. One is to use the Cluster API on a bootstrap VM, and then pivot the relevant resources into the cluster. The OpenShift installer takes a slightly different approach, again using a bootstrap VM, but creating the master nodes initially using Terraform and then creating BareMetalHost resources marked as ‘externally provisioned’ for them in the cluster.

One inevitable challenge is that the initial bootstrap VM must be able to connect to the management and provisioning networks in order to begin the installation. That makes it difficult to simply run from a laptop, which makes installing a small proof-of-concept cluster harder than anyone would like. (This is inherent to the bare-metal environment and also a problem for OpenStack installers). If a physical host must be used as the bootstrap, reincorporating that hardware into the actual cluster once it is up and running should at least be simpler on Kubernetes.


Airship 2.0 uses Metal³ and the Cluster API to provision Kubernetes clusters on bare metal. It also provides a declarative way of repeatably setting the initial configuration and workloads of the deployed cluster, along with a rich document layering and substitution model (based on Kustomize). This might be the simplest existing way of defining what a Teapot installation looks like while allowing distributors and third-party vendors a clear method for providing customisations and add-ons.

Teapot Operator

A Kubernetes operator for managing the deployment and configuration of the Teapot components could greatly simplify the installation process. This is not incompatible with using Airship (or indeed any other method) to define the configuration, as Helm would just create the top-level custom resource(s) controlled by the operator, instead of lower-level resources for the individual components.