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kcp Documentation


kcp is a Kubernetes-like control plane focusing on:

  • A control plane for many independent, isolated “clusters” known as workspaces
  • Enabling API service providers to offer APIs centrally using multi-tenant operators
  • Easy API consumption for users in their workspaces
  • Flexible scheduling of workloads to physical clusters
  • Transparent movement of workloads among compatible physical clusters
  • Advanced deployment strategies for scenarios such as affinity/anti-affinity, geographic replication, cross-cloud replication, etc.

kcp can be a building block for SaaS service providers who need a massively multi-tenant platform to offer services to a large number of fully isolated tenants using Kubernetes-native APIs. The goal is to be useful to cloud providers as well as enterprise IT departments offering APIs within their company.



  • kubectl
  • A Kubernetes cluster (for local testing, consider kind)

Download kcp

Visit our latest release page and download kcp and kubectl-kcp-plugin that match your operating system and architecture.

Extract kcp and kubectl-kcp-plugin and place all the files in the bin directories somewhere in your $PATH.

Start kcp

You can start kcp using this command:

kcp start

This launches kcp in the foreground. You can press ctrl-c to stop it.

To see a complete list of server options, run kcp start options.


During its startup, kcp generates a kubeconfig in .kcp/admin.kubeconfig. Use this to connect to kcp and display the version to confirm it's working:

$ export KUBECONFIG=.kcp/admin.kubeconfig
$ kubectl version
WARNING: This version information is deprecated and will be replaced with the output from kubectl version --short.  Use --output=yaml|json to get the full version.
Client Version: version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"24", GitVersion:"v1.24.4", GitCommit:"95ee5ab382d64cfe6c28967f36b53970b8374491", GitTreeState:"clean", BuildDate:"2022-08-17T18:46:11Z", GoVersion:"go1.19", Compiler:"gc", Platform:"darwin/amd64"}
Kustomize Version: v4.5.4
Server Version: version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"24", GitVersion:"v1.24.3+kcp-v0.8.0", GitCommit:"41863897", GitTreeState:"clean", BuildDate:"2022-09-02T18:10:37Z", GoVersion:"go1.18.5", Compiler:"gc", Platform:"darwin/amd64"}

Configure kcp to sync to your cluster

kcp can't run pods by itself - it needs at least one physical cluster for that. For this example, we'll be using a local kind cluster. It does not have to exist yet.

In this recipe we use the root workspace to hold the description of the workload and where it goes. These usually would go elsewhere, but we use the root workspace here for simplicity.

Run the following command to tell kcp about the kind cluster (replace the syncer image tag as needed; CI now puts built images in

$ kubectl kcp workload sync kind --syncer-image -o syncer-kind-main.yaml
Creating synctarget "kind"
Creating service account "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz"
Creating cluster role "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz" to give service account "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz"

 1. write and sync access to the synctarget "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz"
 2. write access to apiresourceimports.

Creating or updating cluster role binding "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz" to bind service account "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz" to cluster role "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz".

Wrote physical cluster manifest to syncer-kind-main.yaml for namespace "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz". Use

  KUBECONFIG=<pcluster-config> kubectl apply -f "syncer-kind-main.yaml"

to apply it. Use

  KUBECONFIG=<pcluster-config> kubectl get deployment -n "kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz" kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz

to verify the syncer pod is running.

Next, we need to install the syncer pod on our kind cluster - this is what actually syncs content from kcp to the physical cluster. The kind cluster needs to be running by now. Run the following command:

$ KUBECONFIG=</path/to/kind/kubeconfig> kubectl apply -f "syncer-kind-main.yaml"
namespace/kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz created
serviceaccount/kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz created
secret/kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz-token created created created
secret/kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz created
deployment.apps/kcp-syncer-kind-25coemaz created

Bind to workload APIs and create default placement

If you are running kcp version v0.10.0 or higher, you will need to run the following commmand (continuing in the root workspace) to create a binding to the workload APIs export and a default placement for your physical cluster:

$ kubectl kcp bind compute root
Binding APIExport "root:compute:kubernetes".
placement placement-1pfxsevk created.
Placement "placement-1pfxsevk" is ready.

Create a deployment in kcp

Let's create a deployment in our kcp workspace and see it get synced to our cluster:

$ kubectl create deployment --port=8080 kuard
deployment.apps/kuard created

Once your cluster has pulled the image and started the pod, you should be able to verify the deployment is running in kcp:

$ kubectl get deployments
kuard   1/1     1            1           3s

We are still working on adding support for kubectl logs, kubectl exec, and kubectl port-forward to kcp. For the time being, you can check directly in your cluster.

kcp translates the names of namespaces in workspaces to unique names in a physical cluster. We first must get this translated name; if you're following along, your translated name might be different.

$ KUBECONFIG=</path/to/kind/kubeconfig> kubectl get pods --all-namespaces --selector app=kuard
NAMESPACE          NAME                     READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
kcp-26zq2mc2yajx   kuard-7d49c786c5-wfpcc   1/1     Running   0          4m28s

Now we can e.g. check the pod logs:

$ KUBECONFIG=</path/to/kind/kubeconfig> kubectl --namespace kcp-26zq2mc2yajx logs deployment/kuard | head
2022/09/07 14:04:35 Starting kuard version: v0.10.0-blue
2022/09/07 14:04:35 **********************************************************************
2022/09/07 14:04:35 * WARNING: This server may expose sensitive
2022/09/07 14:04:35 * and secret information. Be careful.
2022/09/07 14:04:35 **********************************************************************
2022/09/07 14:04:35 Config:
  "address": ":8080",
  "debug": false,
  "debug-sitedata-dir": "./sitedata",

Next steps

Thanks for checking out our quickstart!

If you're interested in learning more about all the features kcp has to offer, please check out our additional documentation:

  • Concepts - a high level overview of kcp concepts
  • Workspaces - a more thorough introduction on kcp's workspaces
  • Locations & scheduling - details on kcp's primitives that abstract over clusters
  • Syncer - information on running the kcp agent that syncs content between kcp and a physical cluster
  • kubectl plugin
  • Authorization - how kcp manages access control to workspaces and content
  • Virtual workspaces - details on kcp's mechanism for virtual views of workspace content


We ❤️ our contributors! If you're interested in helping us out, please head over to our Contributing guide.

Getting in touch

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Additional references