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Creating Talos Kubernetes cluster using Firecracker VMs.

In this guide we will create a Kubernetes cluster using Firecracker.

Note: Talos on QEMU offers easier way to run Talos in a set of VMs.


  • Linux
  • a kernel with
    • KVM enabled (/dev/kvm must exist)
    • CONFIG_NET_SCH_NETEM enabled
  • at least CAP_SYS_ADMIN and CAP_NET_ADMIN capabilities
  • firecracker (v0.21.0 or higher)
  • bridge, static and firewall CNI plugins from the standard CNI plugins, and tc-redirect-tap CNI plugin from the awslabs tc-redirect-tap installed to /opt/cni/bin
  • iptables
  • /etc/cni/conf.d directory should exist
  • /var/run/netns directory should exist


How to get firecracker (v0.21.0 or higher)

You can download firecracker binary via

curl<version>/firecracker-<version>-<arch> -L -o firecracker

For example version v0.21.1 for linux platform:

curl -L -o firecracker
sudo cp firecracker /usr/local/bin
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/firecracker

Install talosctl

You can download talosctl and all required binaries via

curl<version>/talosctl-<platform>-<arch> -L -o talosctl

For example version v0.11.0 for linux platform:

curl -L -o talosctl
sudo cp talosctl /usr/local/bin
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/talosctl

Install bridge, firewall and static required CNI plugins

You can download standard CNI required plugins via

curl<version>/cni-plugins-<platform>-<arch>-<version>tgz -L -o cni-plugins-<platform>-<arch>-<version>.tgz

For example version v0.9.5 for linux platform:

curl -L -o cni-plugins-linux-amd64-v0.9.5.tgz
mkdir cni-plugins-linux
tar -xf cni-plugins-linux-amd64-v0.9.5.tgz -C cni-plugins-linux
sudo mkdir -p /opt/cni/bin
sudo cp cni-plugins-linux/{bridge,firewall,static} /opt/cni/bin

Install tc-redirect-tap CNI plugin

You should install CNI plugin from the tc-redirect-tap repository

go get -d
cd $GOPATH/src/
make all
sudo cp tc-redirect-tap /opt/cni/bin

Note: if $GOPATH is not set, it defaults to ~/go.

Install Talos kernel and initramfs

Firecracker provisioner depends on Talos uncompressed kernel (vmlinuz) and initramfs (initramfs.xz). These files can be downloaded from the Talos release:

mkdir -p _out/
curl<version>/vmlinuz -L -o _out/vmlinuz
curl<version>/initramfs.xz -L -o _out/initramfs.xz

For example version v0.11.0:

curl -L -o _out/vmlinuz
curl -L -o _out/initramfs.xz

Create the Cluster

sudo talosctl cluster create --provisioner firecracker

Once the above finishes successfully, your talosconfig(~/.talos/config) will be configured to point to the new cluster.

Retrieve and Configure the kubeconfig

talosctl kubeconfig .

Using the Cluster

Once the cluster is available, you can make use of talosctl and kubectl to interact with the cluster. For example, to view current running containers, run talosctl containers for a list of containers in the system namespace, or talosctl containers -k for the namespace. To view the logs of a container, use talosctl logs <container> or talosctl logs -k <container>.

A bridge interface will be created, and assigned the default IP Each node will be directly accessible on the subnet specified at cluster creation time. A loadbalancer runs on by default, which handles loadbalancing for the Talos, and Kubernetes APIs.

You can see a summary of the cluster state by running:

$ talosctl cluster show --provisioner firecracker
PROVISIONER       firecracker
NAME              talos-default
NETWORK NAME      talos-default
NETWORK MTU       1500


NAME                     TYPE           IP         CPU    RAM      DISK
talos-default-master-1   Init    1.00   1.6 GB   4.3 GB
talos-default-master-2   ControlPlane   1.00   1.6 GB   4.3 GB
talos-default-master-3   ControlPlane   1.00   1.6 GB   4.3 GB
talos-default-worker-1   Join    1.00   1.6 GB   4.3 GB

Cleaning Up

To cleanup, run:

sudo talosctl cluster destroy --provisioner firecracker

Note: In that case that the host machine is rebooted before destroying the cluster, you may need to manually remove ~/.talos/clusters/talos-default.

Manual Clean Up

The talosctl cluster destroy command depends heavily on the clusters state directory. It contains all related information of the cluster. The PIDs and network associated with the cluster nodes.

If you happened to have deleted the state folder by mistake or you would like to cleanup the environment, here are the steps how to do it manually:

Stopping VMs

Find the process of firecracker --api-sock execute:

ps -elf | grep '[f]irecracker --api-sock'

To stop the VMs manually, execute:

sudo kill -s SIGTERM <PID>

Example output, where VMs are running with PIDs 158065 and 158216

ps -elf | grep '[f]irecracker --api-sock'
4 S root      158065  157615 44  80   0 - 264152 -     07:54 ?        00:34:25 firecracker --api-sock /root/.talos/clusters/k8s/k8s-master-1.sock
4 S root      158216  157617 18  80   0 - 264152 -     07:55 ?        00:14:47 firecracker --api-sock /root/.talos/clusters/k8s/k8s-worker-1.sock
sudo kill -s SIGTERM 158065
sudo kill -s SIGTERM 158216

Remove VMs

Find the process of talosctl firecracker-launch execute:

ps -elf | grep 'talosctl firecracker-launch'

To remove the VMs manually, execute:

sudo kill -s SIGTERM <PID>

Example output, where VMs are running with PIDs 157615 and 157617

ps -elf | grep '[t]alosctl firecracker-launch'
0 S root      157615    2835  0  80   0 - 184934 -     07:53 ?        00:00:00 talosctl firecracker-launch
0 S root      157617    2835  0  80   0 - 185062 -     07:53 ?        00:00:00 talosctl firecracker-launch
sudo kill -s SIGTERM 157615
sudo kill -s SIGTERM 157617

Remove load balancer

Find the process of talosctl loadbalancer-launch execute:

ps -elf | grep 'talosctl loadbalancer-launch'

To remove the LB manually, execute:

sudo kill -s SIGTERM <PID>

Example output, where loadbalancer is running with PID 157609

ps -elf | grep '[t]alosctl loadbalancer-launch'
4 S root      157609    2835  0  80   0 - 184998 -     07:53 ?        00:00:07 talosctl loadbalancer-launch --loadbalancer-addr --loadbalancer-upstreams
sudo kill -s SIGTERM 157609

Remove network

This is more tricky part as if you have already deleted the state folder. If you didn’t then it is written in the state.yaml in the /root/.talos/clusters/<cluster-name> directory.

sudo cat /root/.talos/clusters/<cluster-name>/state.yaml | grep bridgename
bridgename: talos<uuid>

If you only had one cluster, then it will be the interface with name talos<uuid>

46: talos<uuid>: <NO-CARRIER,BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state DOWN group default qlen 1000
    link/ether a6:72:f4:0a:d3:9c brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet brd scope global talos17c13299
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::a472:f4ff:fe0a:d39c/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

To remove this interface:

sudo ip link del talos<uuid>

Remove state directory

To remove the state directory execute:

sudo rm -Rf /root/.talos/clusters/<cluster-name>



Inspect logs directory

sudo cat /root/.talos/clusters/<cluster-name>/*.log

Logs are saved under <cluster-name>-<role>-<node-id>.log

For example in case of k8s cluster name:

sudo ls -la /root/.talos/clusters/k8s | grep log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root      69415 Apr 26 20:58 k8s-master-1.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root      68345 Apr 26 20:58 k8s-worker-1.log
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root      24621 Apr 26 20:59 lb.log

Inspect logs during the installation

sudo su -
tail -f /root/.talos/clusters/<cluster-name>/*.log


After executing these steps and you should be able to use kubectl

sudo talosctl kubeconfig .
mv kubeconfig $HOME/.kube/config
sudo chown $USER:$USER $HOME/.kube/config