I’ve been using Google Cloud Kubernetes (GKE) in staging for just over three months for a client project. It’s incredible how far this technology has come.

But this is not a critique of Kubernetes. It doesn’t need one, just look at which cloud companies support Kubernetes - hint, it’s all of them. (Azure, IBM, Amazon, Google)

There is a learning curve, especially since SSH is not the method of deployment or communication. When done correctly, like the way that Google authenticates has integrated authentication with kubectl - it’s a lot more powerful than anything I’ve used before. It reduces security risks by a factor since there is no chance of SSH key’s going out of sync or a colleague that left before you joined a year ago key is found on an machine that was somehow left off the ssh targets - it happens.

There are a few tools that I find indispensable for using Kubernetes:

  • kex. An amazing tool that allows you to quickly run a command on a pod. It is prompt based, asking first which namespace and pod to use. Check out the gif on the site.
  • kpoof Another great tool from farmotive. Allows you to quickly create a tunnel from a pod to a port on your machine. Great for debugging connection issues.
  • kubernetes-deploy Although this is written in Ruby, it’s a great tool to automate deployment and running of once-off containers. This tooling saved me countless hours and is production ready. They use it at Shopify. I just wish there was a Python port.

I also like the CRON jobs that can be setup in Kubernetes. I had been using Django and Celery with the Database backed scheduler, but it kept failing at the oddest of times.

Kubernetes CRON jobs My CRON jobs in Kubernetes

I migrated them in a morning and have not had a problem since. I’m still using Celery, but all the tasks are kicked off by a Kubernetes CRON job that just enqueues the jobs in Celery.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to the issue at hand, how to programmatically restart pods in a cluster.

Firstly, if you didn’t know, Kubernetes exposes credentials and environment variables into each pod that allows it to interact with the k8s API.

The token is exposed at /var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount/token, while the environment variables are KUBERNETES_SERVICE_HOST and KUBERNETES_PORT_443_TCP_PORT.

This is Python 3 code below that restarts all the Celery pods in a namespace.

The starmap is a pretty cool concept. Basically I wanted to pass two variables into the function restart_kubernetes_pod but there wasn’t an easy way to do it without rewriting the function which was used by other tools as well. #annoying

This is accomplished by using starmap and zip.

In the end, you end up with two arrays as follows:

>>> pods = ["test-celery-slaves-84fdb4f6dd-h29hc", "test-celery-slaves-81ddf4m6eg-c23mf"]
>>> namespaces = ["test", "test"]
>>> zip(namespaces, pods)
[('test', 'test-celery-slaves-84fdb4f6dd-h29hc'), ('test', 'test-celery-slaves-81ddf4m6eg-c23mf')]

>>> #... pass to starmap and let it populate the arguments of restart_kubernetes_pod.
import logging
import os
from multiprocessing.dummy import Pool as ThreadPool

import requests

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)


def restart_kubernetes_pod(namespace, pod):
    logger.info('Restart Kubernetes pod called with namespace %s and pod %s',
                namespace, pod)
    token = open('/var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount/token', 'r').read()

    kubernetes_host = os.environ.get('KUBERNETES_SERVICE_HOST')
    kubernetes_port = os.environ.get('KUBERNETES_PORT_443_TCP_PORT')
    headers = {'Authorization': 'Bearer %s' % token}
    url = "https://{host}:{port}/api/v1/namespaces/{namespace}/pods/{pod}".format(
        host=kubernetes_host,
        port=kubernetes_port,
        namespace=namespace,
        pod=pod
    )
    resp = requests.delete(url, headers=headers, verify=False)
    logger.info('Response from Kubernetes API %s', resp)


def restart_all_celery_pods(namespace):
    token = open('/var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount/token', 'r').read()

    kubernetes_host = os.environ.get('KUBERNETES_SERVICE_HOST')
    kubernetes_port = os.environ.get('KUBERNETES_PORT_443_TCP_PORT')
    headers = {'Authorization': 'Bearer %s' % token}
    url = "https://{host}:{port}/api/v1/namespaces/{namespace}/pods/".format(
        host=kubernetes_host,
        port=kubernetes_port,
        namespace=namespace
    )
    resp = requests.get(url, headers=headers, verify=False)
    json_to_parse = resp.json()
    pods = []
    namespaces = []
    for pod in json_to_parse.get('items', []):
        pod_name = pod['metadata']['name']
        if "-celery" in pod_name:
            pods.append(pod_name)
            namespaces.append(namespace)
    pool = ThreadPool(4)
    pool.starmap(restart_kubernetes_pod, zip(namespaces, pods))
    pool.close()
    pool.join()

As you can see, it’s not too difficult to quickly build some interesting tooling for Kubernetes.