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Creating Talos Kubernetes cluster using VurtualBox VMs.

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

Video Walkthrough

To see a live demo of this writeup, visit Youtube here:


How to Get VirtualBox

Install VirtualBox with your operating system package manager or from the website. For example, on Ubuntu for x86:

apt install virtualbox

Install talosctl

You can download talosctl via

curl -sL | sh

Download ISO Image

Download the ISO image from the Talos release page. You can download talos-amd64.iso via

mkdir -p _out/
curl<version>/talos-<arch>.iso -L -o _out/talos-<arch>.iso

For example version v1.3.7 for linux platform:

mkdir -p _out/
curl -L -o _out/talos-amd64.iso

Create VMs

Start by creating a new VM by clicking the “New” button in the VirtualBox UI:

Supply a name for this VM, and specify the Type and Version:

Edit the memory to supply at least 2GB of RAM for the VM:

Proceed through the disk settings, keeping the defaults. You can increase the disk space if desired.

Once created, select the VM and hit “Settings”:

In the “System” section, supply at least 2 CPUs:

In the “Network” section, switch the network “Attached To” section to “Bridged Adapter”:

Finally, in the “Storage” section, select the optical drive and, on the right, select the ISO by browsing your filesystem:

Repeat this process for a second VM to use as a worker node. You can also repeat this for additional nodes desired.

Start Control Plane Node

Once the VMs have been created and updated, start the VM that will be the first control plane node. This VM will boot the ISO image specified earlier and enter “maintenance mode”. Once the machine has entered maintenance mode, there will be a console log that details the IP address that the node received. Take note of this IP address, which will be referred to as $CONTROL_PLANE_IP for the rest of this guide. If you wish to export this IP as a bash variable, simply issue a command like export CONTROL_PLANE_IP=

Generate Machine Configurations

With the IP address above, you can now generate the machine configurations to use for installing Talos and Kubernetes. Issue the following command, updating the output directory, cluster name, and control plane IP as you see fit:

talosctl gen config talos-vbox-cluster https://$CONTROL_PLANE_IP:6443 --output-dir _out

This will create several files in the _out directory: controlplane.yaml, worker.yaml, and talosconfig.

Create Control Plane Node

Using the controlplane.yaml generated above, you can now apply this config using talosctl. Issue:

talosctl apply-config --insecure --nodes $CONTROL_PLANE_IP --file _out/controlplane.yaml

You should now see some action in the VirtualBox console for this VM. Talos will be installed to disk, the VM will reboot, and then Talos will configure the Kubernetes control plane on this VM.

Note: This process can be repeated multiple times to create an HA control plane.

Create Worker Node

Create at least a single worker node using a process similar to the control plane creation above. Start the worker node VM and wait for it to enter “maintenance mode”. Take note of the worker node’s IP address, which will be referred to as $WORKER_IP


talosctl apply-config --insecure --nodes $WORKER_IP --file _out/worker.yaml

Note: This process can be repeated multiple times to add additional workers.

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>.

First, configure talosctl to talk to your control plane node by issuing the following, updating paths and IPs as necessary:

export TALOSCONFIG="_out/talosconfig"
talosctl config endpoint $CONTROL_PLANE_IP
talosctl config node $CONTROL_PLANE_IP

Bootstrap Etcd

Set the endpoints and nodes:

talosctl --talosconfig $TALOSCONFIG config endpoint <control plane 1 IP>
talosctl --talosconfig $TALOSCONFIG config node <control plane 1 IP>

Bootstrap etcd:

talosctl --talosconfig $TALOSCONFIG bootstrap

Retrieve the kubeconfig

At this point we can retrieve the admin kubeconfig by running:

talosctl --talosconfig $TALOSCONFIG kubeconfig .

You can then use kubectl in this fashion:

kubectl get nodes

Cleaning Up

To cleanup, simply stop and delete the virtual machines from the VirtualBox UI.