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Run Minikube from Docker Desktop

Background

Update 14.07.2019: I got message today on LinkedIn, where I was made aware that I’m a bit inaccurate in this blog post. While Docker desktop runs a Kubernetes single node cluster like Minikube, it does not actually run Minikube. So keep that in mind, whenever I mention Minikube in the context of Docker desktop.So the title of this post should be something like “Run Kubernetes from Docker Desktop, similar to Minikube”.

Nabheet Madan has released a great blog series about using UI5 with Kubernetes(1,2,3), using Minikube. I’ve been tinkering with containers, and run docker on my home server. I’ve also been trying to get into Kubernetes, but have hit some hurdles every time. When Minikube came to my attention, I decided to try again.

As a Mac user, I tried to install it via Homebrew, but hit some issues. But coincidentally I listened to the Minikube episode of the Kubernetes Podcast, where they mentioned that you can run Minikube Kubernetes through Docker Desktop. I run Docker Desktop on all my machines. Perfect! This is how to do it.

 

Enable Kubernetes on Docker Desktop

If you don’t have Docker Desktop installed, you can get it on Docker Hub. It’s available for both Windows and macOS.

When it’s installed, you get a little docker icon in your taskbar. Click it, and open Preferences. Navigate to the Kubernetes tab, and check the Enable Kubernetes checkbox.

If it’s the first time Kubernetes is enabled, Docker Desktop will download the Kubernetes cluster and install it, before the green light turns on.

And there you go. Minikube is running through Docker Desktop. Now you can use kubectl in your favourite terminal emulator as usual. Use it to verify the installation:

kubectl version

If you are using Kubernetes with another environment, you can check which one kubectl is working with:

kubectl config current-context

If needed, you can change the context to your docker instance:

kubectl config use-context docker-for-desktop

Bonus mission: Install Kubernetes Dashboard

If you want to, you can deploy Kubernetes Dashboard, a web-based Kubernetes user interface, to your Minikube. You can use Dashboard to deploy containerized applications to a Kubernetes cluster, troubleshoot your containerized application, and manage the cluster resources.

To deploy it, run the following command:

kubectl create -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/dashboard/master/aio/deploy/recommended/kubernetes-dashboard.yaml

To access the dashboard, you need to forward a specific port. To do this, you have to get the pod name for the dashboard. The dashboard pod is in the **kube-system** namespace. To find it’s name, list the pods:

kubectl get pods --namespace=kube-system

You will get a result like:

NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE
etcd-docker-for-desktop 1/1 Running 0 2h
kube-apiserver-docker-for-desktop 1/1 Running 0 2h
kube-controller-manager-docker-for-desktop 1/1 Running 0 2h
kube-dns-86f4d74b45-dzrlw 3/3 Running 0 2h
kube-proxy-7w5gn 1/1 Running 0 2h
kube-scheduler-docker-for-desktop 1/1 Running 0 2h
kubernetes-dashboard-669f9bbd46-xlqfj 1/1 Running 1 1h

Verify that the pod is in a ‘Running’ state. It might take some time, so be patient. To forward the port, you need to copy the name of the dashboard pod, and use it in the command:

kubectl port-forward kubernetes-dashboard-669f9bbd46-xlqfj 8443:8443 --namespace=kube-system

You can now open a browser, and navigate to https://localhost:8443.

Upon opening the Kubernetes Dashboard, we come to a sign in page.


There are ways to enable a ‘SKIP LOGIN’ button, but it’s also pretty easy to get the login TOKEN, to sign in properly. A quick Google search pointed med towards a Stack Overflow question, providing both explanation of why, and also a handy one-liner to extract the token.

kubectl -n kube-system describe secret $(kubectl -n kube-system get secret | awk '/^deployment-controller-token-/{print $1}') | awk '$1=="token:"{print $2}'

Copy the TOKEN from your terminal, paste it in the input field, and press ‘SIGN IN’. And et voilà! We’re in.

I really hope this has been useful. Good luck in your adventures with containers and Kubernetes. Now go to Nabheet Madan‘s blog posts, and get startet.

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