Bootstrap Provider Specification


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

For example, the Kubeadm bootstrap provider uses a cloud-init file for bootstrapping a 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. Must be implemented as a CustomResourceDefinition.
    1. The CRD name must have the format produced by, Kind).
  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.

BootstrapTemplate Resources

For a given Bootstrap resource, you should also add a corresponding BootstrapTemplate resource:

// PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateSpec defines the desired state of PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplate.
type PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateSpec struct {
	Template PhippyBootstrapTemplateResource `json:"template"`

// +kubebuilder:object:root=true
// +kubebuilder:resource:path=phippybootstrapconfigtemplates,scope=Namespaced,categories=cluster-api,shortName=pbct
// +kubebuilder:storageversion

// PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplate is the Schema for the Phippy Bootstrap API.
type PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplate struct {
	metav1.TypeMeta   `json:",inline"`
	metav1.ObjectMeta `json:"metadata,omitempty"`

	Spec PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateSpec `json:"spec,omitempty"`

type PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateResource struct {
	// Standard object's metadata.
	// More info:
	// +optional
	ObjectMeta clusterv1.ObjectMeta `json:"metadata,omitempty"`

	Spec PhippyBootstrapConfigSpec `json:"spec"`

The CRD name of the template must also have the format produced by, Kind).

List Resources

For any resource, also add list resources, e.g.


// PhippyBootstrapConfigList contains a list of Phippy Bootstrap Configurations.
type PhippyBootstrapConfigList struct {
	metav1.TypeMeta `json:",inline"`
	metav1.ListMeta `json:"metadata,omitempty"`
	Items           []PhippyBootstrapConfig `json:"items"`


// PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateList contains a list of PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplate.
type PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplateList struct {
	metav1.TypeMeta `json:",inline"`
	metav1.ListMeta `json:"metadata,omitempty"`
	Items           []PhippyBootstrapConfigTemplate `json:"items"`

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.

Taint Nodes at creation

A bootstrap provider can optionally taint worker nodes at creation with This taint is used to prevent workloads to be scheduled on Nodes before the node is initialized by Cluster API. As of today the Node initialization consists of syncing labels from Machines to Nodes. Once the labels have been initially synced the taint is removed form the Node.


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.