Migrating to the Operator

This chapter outlines a migration plan for the Kubermatic Operator, starting from having KKP installed using the old kubermatic Helm chart using Helm 2.x. or 3.x.

Chart installations are not supported any longer at KKP 2.17, hence KKP 2.16 chart-based installations have to be imperatively migrated. Please make sure that you follow our documentation to migrate to the operator.

Before performing the migration, make sure to back up all Kubermatic resources! Make sure that you also have recent etcd snapshots for all user clusters.


A parallel installation of both the old and the new kubermatic-operator chart is not possible, regardless of the namespaces. Only one KKP setup can be live in a given cluster at any time.

Because of this, it is recommended to perform an uninstall of the old chart followed by installing the new Operator chart. This will lead to some downtime, both in the dashboard as well as all cluster reconciliation logic.

It is of critical importance that the Kubermatic CRDs are not deleted during the migration. This would in turn delete all affected resources, like clusters, users, etc. KKP never used Helm to manage its CRDs (Helm was only previously used for the cert-manager and Velero CRDs), so it is safe to uninstall the chart.

Compared to the old installation method, where the kubermatic chart was installed both on the master and all seed clusters (toggling the isMaster flag in the chart accordingly), the operator seeds are now managed automatically. The operator is only ever installed once in the master cluster and manages the seed clusters from there. Still, care must be taken to not accidentally have both Helm chart and operator-managed resources in seed clusters. For these reasons, the reconciliation of seed clusters (installing the seed-controller-manager Deployment, the Seed validation webhook, etc.) can be disabled by setting the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation on Seed resources.

All in all, a migration plan can look like this:

  1. Perform a backup or all Kubermatic resources.
  2. Ensure etcd snapshots for all user clusters are in place.
  3. Convert Helm values / datacenters.yaml to KubermaticConfiguration, Seeds, Presets, etc. using the Kubermatic Installer. Make sure to create Seeds that are paused (have the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation set; this can be achieved by running the installer with the --pause-seeds flag).
  4. Uninstall kubermatic Helm chart from the master cluster. Leave the CRDs in place.
  5. Install the kubermatic-operator Helm chart using Helm 3.
  6. Wait for the master cluster to become ready.
  7. Start migrating Seeds:
    1. Pick a Seed
    2. Uninstall kubermatic Helm chart from the seed cluster.
    3. Update the Seed resource in the master and remove the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation.
    4. Wait for the operator to reconcile the seed cluster.
    5. Continue with the next seed cluster.

This poses a good opportunity to also make the switch to Helm 3. All other charts for the KKP stack (cert-manager, nginx-ingress-controller, etc.) can be migrated in-place from Helm 2 to 3.

The following sections describe the steps above in greater detail.


Backing up Kubermatic resources can be done in many ways, for example simply by using kubectl and writing the YAML into local files:

kubectl get addons -A -o yaml > addons.yaml
kubectl get addonconfigs -A -o yaml > addonconfigs.yaml
kubectl get admissionplugins -A -o yaml > admissionplugins.yaml
kubectl get clusters -A -o yaml > clusters.yaml
kubectl get kubermaticsettings -A -o yaml > kubermaticsettings.yaml
kubectl get presets -A -o yaml > presets.yaml
kubectl get projects -A -o yaml > projects.yaml
kubectl get seeds -A -o yaml > seeds.yaml
kubectl get users -A -o yaml > users.yaml
kubectl get userprojectbindings -A -o yaml > userprojectbindings.yaml
kubectl get usersshkeies -A -o yaml > usersshkeies.yaml
kubectl get verticalpodautoscalers -A -o yaml > verticalpodautoscalers.yaml

Administrators should also check each seed cluster’s Minio to verify that etcd snapshots for all user clusters are in place.

Convert datacenters.yaml / Helm Values

The Kubermatic Installer provides commands to automatically convert the old configuration files into their new formats.

The convert-helm-values command takes a Helm values.yaml file and outputs (to stdout) a number of YAML files, representing the generated KubermaticConfiguration, Seeds, Secrets, Presets, etc. Using this command is recommended, as it does all conversions in a single step, because of the old values.yaml contained all information in some form or another.

Note that the conversion commands by default outputs Seed resources with the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation already in place, so the Seeds are safe to apply during a migration.

Copy the old configuration file i.e. values.yaml to new KKP release directory.

Save the output from below command to respective YAML files i.e. seeds-with-secrets.yaml, kubermaticconfiguration.yaml and replace myvalues.yaml with your values YAML

./kubermatic-installer convert-helm-values <myvalues.yaml>
# apiVersion: operator.kubermatic.io/v1alpha1
# kind: KubermaticConfiguration
# metadata:
#   name: kubermatic
#   namespace: kubermatic
# ...
# ---
# apiVersion: kubermatic.k8s.io/v1
# kind: Seed
# ...
# ---
# ...

In case migrating the Helm values.yaml is not feasible, the installer also offers a dedicated command to convert just the datacenters.yaml into Seeds/Secrets. By default, the datacenters.yaml did not contain kubeconfigs, so you have to manually provide a kubeconfig with contexts for every seed cluster in the datacenters.yaml (the installer will error out if contexts are missing). If you do not provide a kubeconfig, Seeds will still be converted (and paused by default), but you are responsible yourself to provide the appropriate kubeconfig Secrets and reference them in the Seeds.

./kubermatic-installer convert-datacenters --kubeconfig kubeconfig-with-all-seeds datacenters.yaml
# apiVersion: kubermatic.k8s.io/v1
# kind: Seed
# ...
# ---
# ...

Refer to the KubermaticConfiguration and Seed documentation for more information.

Once the conversion is completed, carefully check the new configuration files for mistakes. Do note that the installer generally does not output default values, so if you configured for example 2 Apiserver replicas and this is the default for Kubermatic anyway, the generated KubermaticConfiguration will skip the value altogether, relying on the defaulting.

It is now recommended to set up Kubermatic in a test environment, using the newly converted files.

Upgrading the Master Cluster

It’s now time to change the Helm charts. Begin by uninstalling the kubermatic chart. This will make the dashboard unavailable and begin the downtime.

Helm 3

helm --namespace kubermatic delete kubermatic

Helm 2

helm --tiller-namespace kubermatic delete --purge kubermatic

Once the Helm chart is gone, it’s time to perform a clean installation of the new Kubermatic Operator. The first step for that is to add new Kubermatic CRDs:

kubectl apply -f charts/kubermatic/crd/

To prevent Kubermatic from rejecting existing clusters, make sure to apply the Seeds before installing the Operator. We assume that seeds-with-secrets.yaml is part of the output of one of the conversion commands described above. Likewise, kubermaticconfiguration.yaml is part of the conversion output from above.

kubectl apply -f seeds-with-secrets.yaml -f kubermaticconfiguration.yaml

The output from the installer command can also be applied directly, though we recommend reviewing the output to prevent surprises.

./kubermatic-installer convert-helm-values --pause-seeds <myvalues.yaml> | kubectl apply -f -

# or
./kubermatic-installer convert-datacenters --pause-seeds --kubeconfig kubeconfig-with-all-seeds datacenters.yaml | kubectl apply -f -

Check that all seeds are in place now:

kubectl -n kubermatic get seeds

Now it’s time to install the operator. Make sure to configure the kubermatic-operator chart properly, taking care of setting the correct ImagePullSecret in the values.yaml.

  # insert the Docker authentication JSON provided by Kubermatic here
  imagePullSecret: |
      "auths": {
        "quay.io": {
          "auth": "",
          "email": ""

You can also check this configuration in charts/kubermatic-operator/values.yaml

Once you’re satisfied, install the operator:

Helm 3

helm -n kubermatic install --values <myvalues.yaml> kubermatic-operator charts/kubermatic-operator/

Helm 2

helm --tiller-namespace kubermatic install --values <myvalues.yaml> --namespace kubermatic kubermatic-operator charts/kubermatic-operator/

Once the operator is up, it will begin reconciling the KKP Master and Seed clusters. It will now take a few minutes for the new installation to become ready.

Migrate Seeds

Due to the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation on Seeds, the operator will not provision them. However Kubermatic is still seeing the Seed and wants to use it, so the migration of seeds should now be completed relatively quickly.

To migrate a seed, first uninstall the kubermatic Helm chart from it. As with the master, do not delete the CRDs.

Helm 3

helm --namespace kubermatic delete kubermatic

Helm 2

helm --tiller-namespace kubermatic delete --purge kubermatic

Like we did on the master, apply the updated CRDs now:

kubectl apply -f charts/kubematic/crd/

The seed cluster is now ready to be managed by the operator. On the master cluster, update the Seed resource for the seed cluster and remove the operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling annotation:

kubectl annotate seed <your-seed> operator.kubermatic.io/skip-reconciling- -n kubermatic

Once the Seed is updated, the operator will start to reconcile the seed cluster. It is recommended to follow the operator’s logs to spot any problems.

After all seed clusters have been migrated, the operator migration is finished and for health and safety reasons, everyone involved should take a break.

Migrating from the nodeport-proxy Helm Chart

In conjunction with the operator being promoted to the recommended installation method, we also deprecate the old nodeport-proxy Helm chart. The proxy is still a required component of any Kubermatic setup, but is now managed by the Kubermatic Operator (similar to how it manages seed clusters).

The migration to the operator-managed nodeport-proxy is relatively simple. The operator by default creates the new nodeport-proxy inside the Kubermatic namespace (kubermatic by default), whereas the old proxy was living in the nodeport-proxy namespace. Due to this, no naming conflicts can occur and in fact, both proxies can co-exist in the same cluster.

The only important aspect is where the DNS record for the seed cluster is pointing. To migrate from the old to new nodeport-proxy, all that needs to be done is switch the DNS record to the new LoadBalancer service. The new services use the same ports, so it does not matter what service a user is reaching.

To migrate, find the new LoadBalancer service’s public endpoint:

kubectl -n kubermatic get svc
#NAME                   TYPE           CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP     PORT(S)                                          AGE
#kubermatic-api         NodePort    <none>          80:32486/TCP,8085:32223/TCP                      216d
#kubermatic-dashboard   NodePort    <none>          80:32382/TCP                                     128d
#kubermatic-ui          NodePort   <none>          80:31585/TCP                                     216d
#nodeport-proxy         LoadBalancer   32180:32428/TCP,30168:30535/TCP,8002:30791/TCP   182d
#seed-webhook           ClusterIP     <none>          443/TCP                                          216d

Take the nodeport-proxy’s EXTERNAL IP, in this case, and update your DNS record for *.<seedname>.kubermatic.example.com to point to this new IP.

It will take some time for the DNS changes to propagate to every user, so it is recommended to leave the old nodeport-proxy in place for a period of time, before finally removing it:

Helm 3

helm --namespace nodeport-proxy delete nodeport-proxy
kubectl delete ns nodeport-proxy

Helm 2

helm --tiller-namespace kubermatic delete --purge nodeport-proxy
kubectl delete ns nodeport-proxy

These steps need to be performed on all seed clusters.