Create context for remote cluster administration

This is a short guide on how to create context on your local machine so you could administer remote kubernetes cluster with kubectl.

First we need to create our certificate request. We can do this on our local machine. Important part is to set CN to username we will use later with the kubernetes cluster. So we create user admin1 in group admin with the following:

openssl genrsa -out admin1.key 2048
openssl req -new -key admin1.key -out admin1.csr -subj "/CN=admin1/O=admin"

Now we create user certificate on one of the master nodes or on your local machine if you have CA files from master, both private key and certificate, available. For this purpose we will do it on master node and it will be valid for 10 years:

sudo openssl x509 -req -in admin1.csr -CA /etc/kubernetes/pki/ca.crt -CAkey /etc/kubernetes/pki/ca.key -CAcreateserial -out admin1.crt -days 3650
Signature ok
Getting CA Private Key

While we are on master we will use clusterrolebinding to give admin1 user admin rights on whole cluster. There is cluster-admin role we will use for this that is already there

kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin1-binding --clusterrole=cluster-admin --user=admin1 created

Now we move to finish setting up context for us to be able to administer the cluster from our local machine. I usually copy certificate files to ~/.kube so I have everything in one place and run kubectl in .kube dir. So let's start with creating user:

kubectl config set-credentials admin1 --client-certificate=admin1.crt --client-key=admin1.key --embed-certs=true
User "admin1" set.

Next we create cluster name, pass the cluster certificate and set master address or loadbalancer address depending how your cluster is setup:

kubectl config set-cluster cluster1 --certificate-authority=ca.crt  --embed-certs=true --server=https://k8scluster:6443
Cluster "aws-admin1" set.

Last step is to setup context itself. We choose name and specify cluster and user to use with that context:

kubectl config set-context my-cluster1 --cluster=cluster1 --user=admin1

I had previously setup one context so I can have it for this test. So we can list all available contexts:

kubectl config get-contexts 
*         test1         test-cluster  testuser     
          my-cluster1   cluster1      admin1 

As we can see currently we are working in context name test1. Let's switch to newly created context:

kubectl config use-context my-cluster1
Switched to context "my-cluster1".

Every kubectl we run now will be run against specified cluster. To check lets get all nodes:

kubectl get nodes 
master1   Ready    master   7d    v1.17.0
master2   Ready    master   7d    v1.17.0
master3   Ready    master   7d    v1.17.0
node1     Ready    < none >   7d    v1.17.0
node2     Ready    < none >   7d    v1.17.0

And that's it. Every subsequent run of set-context or set-cluster command will overwrite/update existing so you can play with it.