NOTE: This content is just for testing and experimentation. It can provoke many security issues therefore, do not use in a production environment.

Some days ago, a question was raised in a Slack channel of Clastix, the company I currently work for: Could I launch a kind cluster in a remote machine? I directly thought, yes, you could, but let’s see how.

Kind is a magnificient tool for those people who develop for Kubernetes or test their SW directly in Kubernetes. Every Kind’s nodes will be a Docker container and this is the key part of having the possibility of launching remote Kind clusters.

Firstly, we need to have a remote machine. If you already have it, you can skip next section and go directly to Docker section.

Virtual Machine

For this experiment, a virtual machine will be used as remote machine. You can work with the system you are more comfortable with but the example is based on Multipass to use KVM in a Linux machine.

Launch Virtual Machine

ubuntu@local:~$ multipass launch --name remote

List Virtual Machines

ubuntu@local:~$ multipass list                   
Name                    State             IPv4             Image
remote                  Running     Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Go into

ubuntu@local:~$ multipass shell remote
Welcome to Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 5.4.0-91-generic x86_64)

Now we have a remote Linux machine running Ubuntu 20.04


Docker daemon is a server application which exposes an API to work with. By default, docker daemon is only exposed through a UNIX socket but we can also expose a TCP socket modifying the configuration.

Firstly, we must have docker.


ubuntu@remote:~$ sudo apt update
ubuntu@remote:~$ sudo apt install -y


The easiest way to manage docker’s configuration is using the file /etc/docker/daemon.json where we are going to expose the daemon using the remote machine IP and we will also leave the UNIX socket to still working with docker CLI from the remote machine:

  "debug": true,
  "hosts": ["tcp://", "unix:///var/run/docker.sock"]

And check that ExecStart field within file /lib/systemd/system/docker.service is like:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd  --containerd=/run/containerd/containerd.sock

Finally, restart the service and add your user to the docker group to avoid using sudo (it will work after finishing the session):

ubuntu@remote:~$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
ubuntu@remote:~$ sudo systemctl restart docker
ubuntu@remote:~$ sudo gpasswd -a $USER docker

And we can work with docker:

ubuntu@remote:~$ docker pull kindest/node:v1.23.0
v1.23.0: Pulling from kindest/node
cef70b0687d2: Pull complete 
1a0fe9cf114d: Pull complete 
Digest: sha256:49824ab1727c04e56a21a5d8372a402fcd32ea51ac96a2706a12af38934f81ac
Status: Downloaded newer image for kindest/node:v1.23.0

ubuntu@remote:~$ docker images
kindest/node   v1.23.0   b3dd68fe0a8c   2 days ago   1.46GB

Let’s go back to our local machine.

Pointing Remote Docker Daemon

Docker CLI uses environment variable DOCKER_HOST to build their requests, so:

export DOCKER_HOST="tcp://"

Now, all the docker cli requests will go to the remote machine

ubuntu@local:~$ docker images
kindest/node   v1.23.0   b3dd68fe0a8c   2 days ago   1.46GB


The first step is installing Kind. Check how to install it here.

Check Kind Version

ubuntu@local:~$ kind --version
kind v0.11.1

Launch a Remote Kind Cluster

Kind offers a very flexible configuration, but for our case, we will be focus on the API Server.

ubuntu@local:~$ cat <<EOF | kind create cluster --image=kindest/node:v1.23.0 --name remote --config=-
kind: Cluster
  apiServerAddress: ""
  apiServerPort: 6443
Creating cluster "remote" ...
 ✓ Ensuring node image (kindest/node:v1.23.0) 🖼
 ✓ Preparing nodes 📦  
 ✓ Writing configuration 📜 
 ✓ Starting control-plane 🕹️ 
 ✓ Installing CNI 🔌 
 ✓ Installing StorageClass 💾 
Set kubectl context to "kind-remote"
You can now use your cluster with:

kubectl cluster-info --context kind-remote

Have a question, bug, or feature request? Let us know! 🙂

Check your current context

ubuntu@local:~$ kubectl config current-context

Check the Nodes

As we said, Kind’s nodes are Docker containers therefore, let’s check them:

ubuntu@local:~$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                  COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                          NAMES
e9e6723bf875        kindest/node:v1.23.0   "/usr/local/bin/entr…"   2 minutes ago       Up 2 minutes>6443/tcp   remote-control-plane
ubuntu@local:~$ kubectl get nodes
NAME                   STATUS   ROLES                  AGE     VERSION
remote-control-plane   Ready    control-plane,master   2m36s   v1.23.0

Deploy Applications

Kind is ready to run your applications.

ubuntu@local:~$ kubectl run nginx --image=nginx:alpine
pod/nginx created

ubuntu@local:~$ kubectl get po
nginx   1/1     Running   0          22s

Let’s check the app:

ubuntu@local:~$ kubectl port-forward nginx 8080:80 &
[1] 587897
Forwarding from -> 80
Forwarding from [::1]:8080 -> 80

ubuntu@local:~$ curl localhost:8080
Handling connection for 8080
<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Welcome to nginx!</title>
html { color-scheme: light dark; }
body { width: 35em; margin: 0 auto;
font-family: Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; }
<h1>Welcome to nginx!</h1>
<p>If you see this page, the nginx web server is successfully installed and
working. Further configuration is required.</p>

<p>For online documentation and support please refer to
<a href=""></a>.<br/>
Commercial support is available at
<a href=""></a>.</p>

<p><em>Thank you for using nginx.</em></p>