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Configure Certificate Rotation for the Kubelet
This page shows how to enable and configure certificate rotation for the kubelet.
Kubernetes v1.19 [stable]
Before you begin
- Kubernetes version 1.8.0 or later is required
The kubelet uses certificates for authenticating to the Kubernetes API. By default, these certificates are issued with one year expiration so that they do not need to be renewed too frequently.
Kubernetes contains kubelet certificate rotation, that will automatically generate a new key and request a new certificate from the Kubernetes API as the current certificate approaches expiration. Once the new certificate is available, it will be used for authenticating connections to the Kubernetes API.
Enabling client certificate rotation
kubelet process accepts an argument
--rotate-certificates that controls
if the kubelet will automatically request a new certificate as the expiration of
the certificate currently in use approaches.
kube-controller-manager process accepts an argument
--experimental-cluster-signing-duration prior to 1.19)
that controls how long certificates will be issued for.
Understanding the certificate rotation configuration
When a kubelet starts up, if it is configured to bootstrap (using the
--bootstrap-kubeconfig flag), it will use its initial certificate to connect
to the Kubernetes API and issue a certificate signing request. You can view the
status of certificate signing requests using:
kubectl get csr
Initially a certificate signing request from the kubelet on a node will have a
Pending. If the certificate signing requests meets specific
criteria, it will be auto approved by the controller manager, then it will have
a status of
Approved. Next, the controller manager will sign a certificate,
issued for the duration specified by the
--cluster-signing-duration parameter, and the signed certificate
will be attached to the certificate signing request.
The kubelet will retrieve the signed certificate from the Kubernetes API and
write that to disk, in the location specified by
--cert-dir. Then the kubelet
will use the new certificate to connect to the Kubernetes API.
As the expiration of the signed certificate approaches, the kubelet will automatically issue a new certificate signing request, using the Kubernetes API. This can happen at any point between 30% and 10% of the time remaining on the certificate. Again, the controller manager will automatically approve the certificate request and attach a signed certificate to the certificate signing request. The kubelet will retrieve the new signed certificate from the Kubernetes API and write that to disk. Then it will update the connections it has to the Kubernetes API to reconnect using the new certificate.