Table of Contents

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Services beyond the fundamental components of Kubernetes.

  • Core Add-ons: Addons that are required to deploy a Kubernetes-conformant cluster: DNS, kube-proxy, CNI.
  • Additional Add-ons: Addons that are not required for a Kubernetes-conformant cluster (e.g. metrics/Heapster, Dashboard).



The process of turning a server into a Kubernetes node. This may involve assembling data to provide when creating the server that backs the Machine, as well as runtime configuration of the software running on that server.

Bootstrap cluster

A temporary cluster that is used to provision a Target Management cluster.



Cluster API Enhancement Proposal - patterned after KEP. See template


Core Cluster API


Cluster API Provider AWS


Cluster API Bootstrap Provider Kubeadm


Cluster API Provider CloudStack


Cluster API Provider Docker


Cluster API Provider DigitalOcean


Cluster API Google Cloud Provider


Cluster API Provider Hetzner


Cluster API Provider IBM Cloud


Cluster API Provider Metal3


Cluster API Provider Nested


Cluster API Provider Nutanix


Cluster API Provider Kubevirt


Cluster API Provider OpenStack


Cluster API Provider Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)


Cluster API Provider vSphere


Cluster API Provider vcluster


Cluster API Provider VMware Cloud Director


Cluster API Provider Azure


A full Kubernetes deployment. See Management Cluster and Workload Cluster.


A collection of templates that define a topology (control plane and workers) to be used to continuously reconcile one or more Clusters. See ClusterClass

Cluster API

Or Cluster API project

The Cluster API sub-project of the SIG-cluster-lifecycle. It is also used to refer to the software components, APIs, and community that produce them.

Cluster API Runtime

The Cluster API execution model, a set of controllers cooperating in managing the Kubernetes cluster lifecycle.

Control plane

The set of Kubernetes services that form the basis of a cluster. See also There are two variants:

  • Self-provisioned: A Kubernetes control plane consisting of pods or machines wholly managed by a single Cluster API deployment.
  • External: A control plane offered and controlled by some system other than Cluster API (e.g., GKE, AKS, EKS, IKS).


Default implementation

A feature implementation offered as part of the Cluster API project, infrastructure providers can swap it out for a different one.


External patch

Patch generated by an external component using Runtime SDK. Alternative to inline patch.

External patch extension

A [runtime extension] that implements a [topology mutation hook]

See Runtime Extension, topology mutation hook


Horizontal Scaling

The ability to add more machines based on policy and well defined metrics. For example, add a machine to a cluster when CPU load average > (X) for a period of time (Y).


see Server


Infrastructure provider

A source of computational resources (e.g. machines, networking, etc.). Examples for cloud include AWS, Azure, Google, etc.; for bare metal include VMware, MAAS,, etc. When there is more than one way to obtain resources from the same infrastructure provider (e.g. EC2 vs. EKS) each way is referred to as a variant.

Inline patch

A patch defined inline in a ClusterClass. An alternative to an external patch.


see Server


A resource that does not mutate. In kubernetes we often state the instance of a running pod is immutable or does not change once it is run. In order to make a change, a new pod is run. In the context of Cluster API we often refer to a running instance of a Machine as being immutable, from a Cluster API perspective.



Or Kubernetes-compliant

A cluster that passes the Kubernetes conformance tests.


Refers to the main Kubernetes git repository or the main Kubernetes project.


Kubeadm Control plane Provider


Lifecycle hook

A Runtime Hook that allows external components to interact with the lifecycle of a Cluster.

See Implementing Lifecycle Hooks



Or Machine Resource

The Custom Resource for Kubernetes that represents a request to have a place to run kubelet.

See also: Server

Manage a cluster

Perform create, scale, upgrade, or destroy operations on the cluster.

Management cluster

The cluster where one or more Infrastructure Providers run, and where resources (e.g. Machines) are stored. Typically referred to when you are provisioning multiple workload clusters.


Multi tenancy in Cluster API defines the capability of an infrastructure provider to manage different credentials, each one of them corresponding to an infrastructure tenant.

Please note that up until v1alpha3 this concept had a different meaning, referring to the capability to run multiple instances of the same provider, each one with its own credentials; starting from v1alpha4 we are disambiguating the two concepts.

See Multi-tenancy and Support multiple instances.


Node pools

A node pool is a group of nodes within a cluster that all have the same configuration.


Operating system


A generically understood combination of a kernel and system-level userspace interface, such as Linux or Windows, as opposed to a particular distribution.



A set of instructions describing modifications to a Kubernetes object. Examples include JSON Patch and JSON Merge Patch.


Pivot is a process for moving the provider components and declared cluster-api resources from a Source Management cluster to a Target Management cluster.

The pivot process is also used for deleting a management cluster and could also be used during an upgrade of the management cluster.


See Infrastructure Provider

Provider components

Refers to the YAML artifact a provider publishes as part of their releases which is required to use the provider components, it usually contains Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs), Deployments (to run the controller manager), RBAC, etc.

Provider implementation

Existing Cluster API implementations consist of generic and infrastructure provider-specific logic. The infrastructure provider-specific logic is currently maintained in infrastructure provider repositories.


Runtime Extension

An external component which is part of a system built on top of Cluster API that can handle requests for a specific Runtime Hook.

See Runtime SDK

Runtime Hook

A single, well identified, extension point allowing applications built on top of Cluster API to hook into specific moments of the Cluster API Runtime, e.g. BeforeClusterUpgrade, TopologyMutationHook.

See Runtime SDK

Runtime SDK

A developer toolkit required to build Runtime Hooks and Runtime Extensions.

See Runtime SDK



Unless otherwise specified, this refers to horizontal scaling.

Stacked control plane

A control plane node where etcd is colocated with the Kubernetes API server, and is running as a static pod.


The infrastructure that backs a Machine Resource, typically either a cloud instance, virtual machine, or physical host.



A field in the Cluster object spec that allows defining and managing the shape of the Cluster’s control plane and worker machines from a single point of control. The Cluster’s topology is based on a ClusterClass.

See ClusterClass

Topology Mutation Hook

A Runtime Hook that allows external components to generate patches for customizing Kubernetes objects that are part of a Cluster topology.

See Topology Mutation


Workload Cluster

A cluster created by a ClusterAPI controller, which is not a bootstrap cluster, and is meant to be used by end-users, as opposed to by CAPI tooling.


A collection of templates that define a set of worker nodes in the cluster. A ClusterClass contains zero or more WorkerClass definitions.

See ClusterClass