The Cluster API Book

Note: Impatient readers may head straight to Quick Start.

Using Cluster API v1alpha1? Check the legacy documentation

What is the Cluster API?

The Cluster API is a Kubernetes project to bring declarative, Kubernetes-style APIs to cluster creation, configuration, and management. It provides optional, additive functionality on top of core Kubernetes to manage the lifecycle of a Kubernetes cluster.


  • To manage the lifecycle (create, scale, upgrade, destroy) of Kubernetes-conformant clusters using a declarative API.
  • To work in different environments, both on-premises and in the cloud.
  • To define common operations, provide a default implementation, and provide the ability to swap out implementations for alternative ones.
  • To reuse and integrate existing ecosystem components rather than duplicating their functionality (e.g. node-problem-detector, cluster autoscaler, SIG-Multi-cluster).
  • To provide a transition path for Kubernetes lifecycle products to adopt Cluster API incrementally. Specifically, existing cluster lifecycle management tools should be able to adopt Cluster API in a staged manner, over the course of multiple releases, or even adopting a subset of Cluster API.


  • To add these APIs to Kubernetes core (kubernetes/kubernetes).
    • This API should live in a namespace outside the core and follow the best practices defined by api-reviewers, but is not subject to core-api constraints.
  • To manage the lifecycle of infrastructure unrelated to the running of Kubernetes-conformant clusters.
  • To force all Kubernetes lifecycle products (kops, kubespray, GKE, AKS, EKS, IKS etc.) to support or use these APIs.
  • To manage non-Cluster API provisioned Kubernetes-conformant clusters.
  • To manage a single cluster spanning multiple infrastructure providers.
  • To configure a machine at any time other than create or upgrade.
  • To duplicate functionality that exists or is coming to other tooling, e.g., updating kubelet configuration (c.f. dynamic kubelet configuration), or updating apiserver, controller-manager, scheduler configuration (c.f. component-config effort) after the cluster is deployed.

Community, discussion, contribution, and support

  • Chat with us on Slack in the #cluster-api channel
  • Join the SIG Cluster Lifecycle Google Group for access to documents and calendars
  • Join our Cluster API working group sessions
  • Provider implementers office hours
    • Weekly on Tuesdays @ 12:00 PT (Zoom) and Wednesdays @ 15:00 CET (Zoom)
    • Previous meetings: [ notes ]

Pull Requests are very welcome! See the issue tracker if you’re unsure where to start, or feel free to reach out to discuss.

See also: our own contributor guide and the Kubernetes community page.

Code of conduct

Participation in the Kubernetes community is governed by the Kubernetes Code of Conduct.