NetApp Kubernetes Services On-Prem a first look

By | 30. August 2019

Some time ago, NetApp officially launched its Kubernetes Services (NKS). This makes it possible to quickly and easily deploy Kubernetes services to the cloud via a web interface.

Don’t worry, this will not be another blog about NetApp’s “normal” Kubernetes services. Other people have already written their fingers sore on that topic.

Today I’m going one step further and showing you how NKS On-Prem works on NetApp HCI with cloud services in your own data center.

But why should I want native cloud services like Kubernetes On-Prem?

Easy. Some companies do not want or cannot store and process their development data in “the cloud.” Often a so-called “shadow IT” arises when developers decide to simply enter a credit card in order to quickly develop something in the cloud. As a result, IT departments are losing control of infrastructure and, even worse, control over data that is migrating to the cloud.

Or maybe you’ve lost control of public cloud costs, and after doing a TCO review, you realize that on-premises storage is much cheaper than public cloud. 😉

Where do I start with NKS?

On you have the opportunity to create a new Kubernetes cluster.

After you click “ADD A CLUSTER”, you get a selection of providers where you can roll out Kubernetes services. You can also select NetApp HCI now.

First, you have to do a little bit of work in advance.

Before we start…

Before we can really get started, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • You have an active account (90-day demo is enough).
  • Your internal network, where your NetApp HCI is located, has an active DHCP server. The DHCP range must NOT overlap with the network segment
  • The NDE 1.6 has passed through successfully. (And of course, you should deploy a VMware environment)
  • You have set up your NetApp HCI installation with Distributed vSwitch. (Standard vSwitches are not supported)
  • The datastore called “NetApp-HCI-Datastore-02” exists in your HCI environment.
  • The HCI has direct access to the Internet. (No proxy in between)

Prepare your NKS account

First, go to the settings of your profile on and click on “Edit Profile”

At the bottom of the profile page, click “ADD tokens” and let a new token generate. Copy it to the clipboard or a text file.

(Token no longer exists, created for demo purposes only)

Now let’s go!

In a browser, enter the IP address of the HCI mNode. In my case: A login mask from NetApp Hybrid Cloud Control appears. There, you need to authenticate with the HCI Storage Cluster credentials.

After that, you have the choice between four menu items: Upgrade Installation, Enable Cloud Services, Expand Installation, and Monitor Installation. Click on “Enable NetApp Cloud Services.”

Now you can activate NetApp Kubernetes Services. Cloud Volumes and Cloud Insight will arrive later this year. Click “Continue.”

Now enter the previously copied token and click “connect.”

Congratulations! Your HCI is connected to NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud Services. No worries, NetApp does not have access to your systems or even your data. It is just a kind of “connection service” that you consume.

Select the organization (specified by NetApp) and select a region (for example, “MyDC”).

Now choose your datacenter and cluster. Because the mNode is connected to the vCenter, it knows which vCenter you are using for deployment.

Next, select the networks that can use the Kubernetes services. These correspond to the distributed switches that the NDE automatically generated during installation.

Now you can check your entries again. Click “Enable Services.”

In case of errors…

If you encounter a bug after this step, it is worth taking a look at your browser’s developer tools. In my case, Google Chrome. Here we can see what failed in the setup process. In my case, my NetApp Cloud Central account has expired (support is your friend).

If everything went fine…

….you can see a progress bar. As the description says it can take up to 30 minutes.

While you are waiting it´s worth to have a look into your vCenter. You can see that a few VM´s are generated in the background.

A few minutes later your NetApp HCI Cloud Services are enabled.

Your NetApp HCI is now ready for using NetApp Kubernetes Services. Now you can start to Create your first NetApp Kubernetes Cluster On-Prem.

Creating your first NKS Cluster On-Prem

To create your first NKS Cluster visit and select “Add Cluster”

Now select “NetApp HCI”

As you can see, the region and some nodes are shown. Just leave everything in default and click Submit.

Now you can select a name for your cluster and change some network settings. Then click “Submit”

And now your first Kubernetes cluster will be rolled out on your local NetApp HCI in your data center.

How the NetApp Kubernetes Services “feel” and what you can do with them, I describe in one of my next blog posts.

Have fun trying it out.

Best regards


DISCLAIMER: This post represents my personal observations and is not officially by NetApp or other authorized. Subject to misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.