Bootstrap Provider Specification


A bootstrap provider generates bootstrap data that is used to bootstrap a Kubernetes node.

Data Types

Bootstrap API resource

A bootstrap provider must define an API type for bootstrap resources. The type:

  1. Must belong to an API group served by the Kubernetes apiserver
  2. May be implemented as a CustomResourceDefinition, or as part of an aggregated apiserver
  3. Must be namespace-scoped
  4. Must have the standard Kubernetes “type metadata” and “object metadata”
  5. Should have a spec field containing fields relevant to the bootstrap provider
  6. Must have a status field with the following:
    1. Required fields:
      1. ready (boolean): indicates the bootstrap data has been generated and is ready
      2. dataSecretName (string): the name of the secret that stores the generated bootstrap data
    2. Optional fields:
      1. failureReason (string): indicates there is a fatal problem reconciling the bootstrap data; meant to be suitable for programmatic interpretation
      2. failureMessage (string): indicates there is a fatal problem reconciling the bootstrap data; meant to be a more descriptive value than failureReason

Note: because the dataSecretName is part of status, this value must be deterministically recreatable from the data in the Cluster, Machine, and/or bootstrap resource. If the name is randomly generated, it is not always possible to move the resource and its associated secret from one management cluster to another.

Bootstrap Secret

The Secret containing bootstrap data must:

  1. Use the API resource’s status.dataSecretName for its name
  2. Have the label set to the name of the cluster
  3. Have a controller owner reference to the API resource
  4. Have a single key, value, containing the bootstrap data


A bootstrap provider must respond to changes to its bootstrap resources. This process is typically called reconciliation. The provider must watch for new, updated, and deleted resources and respond accordingly.

The following diagram shows the typical logic for a bootstrap provider:

Bootstrap provider activity diagram

  1. If the resource does not have a Machine owner, exit the reconciliation
    1. The Cluster API Machine reconciler populates this based on the value in the Machine‘s spec.bootstrap.configRef field.
  2. If the resource has status.failureReason or status.failureMessage set, exit the reconciliation
  3. If the Cluster to which this resource belongs cannot be found, exit the reconciliation
  4. Deterministically generate the name for the bootstrap data secret
  5. Try to retrieve the Secret with the name from the previous step
    1. If it does not exist, generate bootstrap data and create the Secret
  6. Set status.dataSecretName to the generated name
  7. Set status.ready to true
  8. Patch the resource to persist changes

Sentinel File

A bootstrap provider’s bootstrap data must create /run/cluster-api/bootstrap-success.complete (or C:\run\cluster-api\bootstrap-success.complete for Windows machines) upon successful bootstrapping of a Kubernetes node. This allows infrastructure providers to detect and act on bootstrap failures.


Provider controller

A bootstrap provider must have RBAC permissions for the types it defines, as well as the bootstrap data Secret resources it manages. If you are using kubebuilder to generate new API types, these permissions should be configured for you automatically. For example, the Kubeadm bootstrap provider the following configuration for its KubeadmConfig type:

// +kubebuilder:rbac:groups="",resources=secrets,verbs=get;list;watch;create;update;patch;delete

A bootstrap provider may also need RBAC permissions for other types, such as Cluster. If you need read-only access, you can limit the permissions to get, list, and watch. The following configuration can be used for retrieving Cluster resources:


Cluster API controllers

The Cluster API controller for Machine resources is configured with full read/write RBAC permissions for all resources in the API group. This group represents all bootstrap providers for SIG Cluster Lifecycle-sponsored provider subprojects. If you are writing a provider not sponsored by the SIG, you must add new RBAC permissions for the Cluster API manager-role role, granting it full read/write access to the bootstrap resource in your API group.

Note, the write permissions allow the Machine controller to set owner references and labels on the bootstrap resources; they are not used for general mutations of these resources.