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Version: v0.7.0


1. Background

During application deployment and maintenance, users often need to obtain application logs, or directly log in to the running environment of the application for debugging. In Kubernetes cluster, we usually use kubectl log, kubectl exec and other command to debug. As following picture, on kubelet will act as a server, responsible for processing requests forwarded by kube-apiserver (KAS), which requires a network path between KAS and kubelet to allow KAS to actively access kubelet.


Cloud and edge are in different network domains, and edge nodes are inside the firewall. The cloud (center) edge collaborative architecture will lead to the following challenges in the maintenance monitoring capabilities of the native K8s system:

  • K8s native maintenance capabilities are lacking (such as kubectl logs/exec cannot be executed)
  • Community monitoring maintenance components cannot work (such as Prometheus/metrics-server)

In order to support the maintenance of edge applications through cloud nodes, we must establish a reverse maintenance tunnel between the cloud and the edge.

2. Reverse Tunnel

In OpenYurt, we introduced a special component YurtTunnel to deal with the cloud-side communication. Reverse tunnel is a common way to solve cross-network communication, and YurtTunnel is also a reverse tunnel. It is a typical C/S structure component, consisting of Yurt-Tunnel-Server deployed in the cloud and Yurt-Tunnel-Agent deployed on edge nodes. The deployment structure of YurtTunnel is following picture. The whole workflow of the reverse tunnel has the following steps:

  • Deploy Yurt-Tunnel-Server on the management and control network plane.
  • Yurt-Tunnel-Server opens an IP accessible from the public network.
  • Deploy a Yurt-Tunnel-Agent on each edge node, and establish a long connection with the Server through the Server's public IP.
  • Access requests from the management and control components to edge nodes will be forwarded to Yurt-Tunnel-Server.
  • Yurt-Tunnel-Server sends the request to the target node through the long connection.


3. Implementation

To create a secure, non-intrusive, and scalable reverse tunnel in the K8s cloud-edge architecture, it needs to include at least the following three capabilities.

  • Tunnel
  • Self-management of certificates at both ends of the tunnel
  • Cloud component requests are diverted to the tunnel

Architecture of YurtTunnel is as follows:


  1. Tunnel

When the Yurt-Tunnel-Agent on the edge starts up, it will establish a connection and register with the Yurt-Tunnel-Server according to the access address, and periodically check the health status of the connection and rebuild the connection.

Yurt-Tunnel-Agent registered is as follows:

"agentID": {NodeName}
"agentIdentifiers": ipv4={nodeIP}&host={NodeName}"
  • When Yurt-Tunnel-Server receives a request from a cloud component, it needs to forward the request to the Yurt-Tunnel-Agent. Because in addition to forwarding the request, the session is followed by data return or continuous data forwarding (such as kubectl exec ). So it is necessary to forward data in both directions. At the same time, it is necessary to support concurrent forwarding of requests from cloud components, which means that an unique ID needs to be established for each request life cycle. So there are two designs.

Option 1: The initial cloud-side connection only informs the forwarding request, and Yurt-Tunnel-Agent will establish a new connection with the cloud to process the request. Through the new connection, the problem of requesting unique ID can be resolved, and concurrency can also be resolved. But a connection needs to be established for each request, which will consume a lot of resources.

Option 2: Only the initial cloud-edge connection is used to forward requests. In order to reuse the same connection for a large number of requests, it is necessary to encapsulate each request and add an unique ID to solve the concurrent forwarding. At the same time, since a connection needs to be reused, it is necessary to decouple connection management and request lifecycle management. That is to manage the transition of request forwarding. This option involves packet and unpacket, request processing state machine, etc. The option will be a little more complicated.

  • The ANP component selected by OpenYurt adapts the above option 2, which also satisfies our original design intention.
  • Request forwarding is encapsulated in Packet_DialRequest and Packet_DialResponse, where Packet_DialResponse.ConnectID is used to identify request, which is like requestID in tunnel. The request and data are encapsulated in Packet_Data. Packet_CloseRequest and Packet_CloseResponse are used to forward and recycle resource. For details, please refer to the following sequence diagram:


  • RequestInterceptor module

    It can be seen from the above analysis that before Yurt-Tunnel-Server forwards the request, the client needs to make an Http Connect request to create a forwarding path. However, it is difficult to do some work for open source components such as Prometheus and metrics-server. Therefore, a request hijacking module Interceptor is added to Yurt-Tunnel-Server to make Http Connect requests.

  1. Certificate management

In order to keep long and secure communication of cloud-edge, and also to support https request forwarding, YurtTunnel needs to generate its own certificate and maintain the automatic rotation of the certificate. The details are as follows:

# 1. Yurt-Tunnel-Server certificate:
- certificate path: /var/lib/yurt-tunnel-server/pki
- CommonName: "kube-apiserver-kubelet-client"  // webhook validation for kubelet server
- Organization: {"system:masters", "openyurt:yurttunnel"} // webhook validation for kubelet server and auto approve for Yurt-Tunnel-Server certificate
- Subject Alternate Name values: {x-tunnel-server-svc, x-tunnel-server-internal-svc's ips and dns names}
- KeyUsage: "any"

# 2. Yurt-Tunnel-Agent certificate:
- certificate path: /var/lib/yurt-tunnel-agent/pki
- CommonName: "yurttunnel-agent"
- Organization: {"openyurt:yurttunnel"} // auto approve for Yurt-Tunnel-Server certificate
- Subject Alternate Name values: {NodeName, nodeIP}
- KeyUsage: "any"

# 3. Yurt-tunnel Certificate Signing Request (CSR) is approved by Yurt-Tunnel-Server
- watch csr resource
- filter non yurt-tunnel csr (there is no "openyurt:yurttunnel" in Organization)
- approve unapproved csr

# 4. certificate automatic rotation
  1. transfer cloud component requests to the tunnel

Because the request of the cloud component needs to be forwarded to the Yurt-Tunnel-Server, it also means that no modification to the cloud component is required. So it is necessary to analyze the requests of cloud components. Currently the maintenance requests of components have the following two types:

  • type 1: access using IP address, such as: http://{nodeIP}:{port}/{path}
  • type 2: access using domain name, such as: http://{NodeName}:{port}/{path}

Different solutions need to be adopted for different types of requests.

Solution 1: Use iptables dnat rules to ensure that type 1 requests are forwarded to Yurt-Tunnel-Server

# iptables rules code:
# The iptables dnat rules maintained by Yurt-Tunnel-Server are as follows:
[root@xxx /]# iptables -nv -t nat -L OUTPUT
TUNNEL-PORT  tcp  --  *      *              /* edge tunnel server port */

[root@xxx /]# iptables -nv -t nat -L TUNNEL-PORT
TUNNEL-PORT-10255  tcp  --  *      *              tcp dpt:10255 /* jump to port 10255 */
TUNNEL-PORT-10250  tcp  --  *      *              tcp dpt:10250 /* jump to port 10250 */

[root@xxx /]# iptables -nv -t nat -L TUNNEL-PORT-10255
RETURN     tcp  --  *      *              /* return request to access node directly */ tcp dpt:10255
RETURN     tcp  --  *      *           /* return request to access node directly */ tcp dpt:10255
DNAT       tcp  --  *      *              /* dnat to tunnel for access node */ tcp dpt:10255 to:

Solution 2: Use dns domain name to resolve NodeName as the access address of Yurt-Tunnel-Server, so that type 2 requests can be forwarded to yurt-tunnel. Its working principle is as follows:


  • Yurt-Tunnel-Server maintains two Service addresses:
    • x-tunnel-server-svc: expose port 10262/10263 used to access from the public networkYurt-Tunnel-Server. Such as Yurt-Tunnel-Agent
    • x-tunnel-server-internal-svc: cloud components is accessed from the internal network, such as prometheus, metrics-server
  • Yurt-Tunnel-Server has a DNS Controller, dynamically configures Core DNS Host records, and maintains the mapping relationship between NodeName and IP (Cloud Node is directly reachable according to IP, directly mapped to Node IP; Edge Node needs to communicate through the Tunnel tunnel agent, mapping to the cluster ip of Yurt-Tunnel-Server Internal Service)
  • When the cloud component accesses the Edge node through NodeName, it will do domain name resolution through CoreDNS by default, and the request for the Edge Node will be directed to the ClusterIP of the internal service of Yurt-Tunnel-Server, and then use the forwarding ability of kube-proxy to forward the request Load balancing to healthy Yurt-Tunnel-Server Pods
  • Yurt-Tunnel-Server will check the requested Host. When the Host is NodeName, it will find the correct Agent backend through the node name and forward the data
  1. port extension

If users need to access other ports on the edge (other than 10250 and 10255), they need to add dnat rules in iptables or add port mapping in x-tunnel-server-internal-svc, as shown following:

# For example, access port 9051 of the edge
# add iptables dnat rule:
[root@xxx /]# iptables -nv -t nat -L TUNNEL-PORT
TUNNEL-PORT-9051  tcp  --  *      *              tcp dpt:9051 /* jump to port 9051 */

[root@xxx /]# iptables -nv -t nat -L TUNNEL-PORT-9051
RETURN     tcp  --  *      *              /* return request to access node directly */ tcp dpt:9051
RETURN     tcp  --  *      *           /* return request to access node directly */ tcp dpt:9051
DNAT       tcp  --  *      *              /* dnat to tunnel for access node */ tcp dpt:9051 to:

# add port mapping in x-tunnel-server-internal-svc
  - name: https
    port: 10250
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 10263
  - name: http
    port: 10255
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 10264
  - name: dnat-9051 # add port mapping
    port: 9051
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 10264

The above iptables dnat rules and service port mapping are automatically updated by Yurt-Tunnel-Server. Users only need to add port configuration in yurt-tunnel-server-cfg configmap in kube-system. details as follows:

# Notice: Due to uncontrollable factors of the certificate, the new port currently only supports forwarding from 10264 of Yurt-Tunnel-Server
apiVersion: v1
  dnat-ports-pair: 9051=10264 # new port = 10264 (non 10264 forwarding is not supported)
kind: ConfigMap
  name: yurt-tunnel-server-cfg
  namespace: kube-system