Getting Started on Kubernetes#


To connect and use a Kubernetes cluster, SkyPilot needs:

  • An existing Kubernetes cluster running Kubernetes v1.20 or later.

  • A Kubeconfig file containing access credentials and namespace to be used.

Supported Kubernetes deployments:

  • Hosted Kubernetes services (EKS, GKE)

  • On-prem clusters (Kubeadm, Rancher, K3s)

  • Local development clusters (KinD, minikube)

In a typical workflow:

  1. A cluster administrator sets up a Kubernetes cluster. Refer to admin guides for Kubernetes cluster setup for different deployment environments (Amazon EKS, Google GKE, On-Prem and local debugging).

  2. Users who want to run SkyPilot tasks on this cluster are issued Kubeconfig files containing their credentials (kube-context). SkyPilot reads this Kubeconfig file to communicate with the cluster.

Launching your first task#

Once your cluster administrator has setup a Kubernetes cluster and provided you with a kubeconfig file:

  1. Make sure kubectl, socat and nc (netcat) are installed on your local machine.

    $ # MacOS
    $ brew install kubectl socat netcat
    $ # Linux (may have socat already installed)
    $ sudo apt-get install kubectl socat netcat
  2. Place your kubeconfig file at ~/.kube/config.

    $ mkdir -p ~/.kube
    $ cp /path/to/kubeconfig ~/.kube/config

    You can verify your credentials are setup correctly by running kubectl get pods.


    If your cluster administrator has also provided you with a specific service account to use, set it in your ~/.sky/config.yaml file:

      remote_identity: your-service-account-name
  3. Run sky check and verify that Kubernetes is enabled in SkyPilot.

    $ sky check
    Checking credentials to enable clouds for SkyPilot.
    Kubernetes: enabled


    sky check will also check if GPU support is available on your cluster. If GPU support is not available, it will show the reason. To setup GPU support on the cluster, refer to the Kubernetes cluster setup guide.

  1. You can now run any SkyPilot task on your Kubernetes cluster.

    $ sky launch --cpus 2+ task.yaml
    == Optimizer ==
    Target: minimizing cost
    Estimated cost: $0.0 / hour
    Considered resources (1 node):
     Kubernetes   2CPU--2GB         2       2         -              kubernetes    0.00          ✔
     AWS          m6i.large         2       8         -              us-east-1     0.10
     Azure        Standard_D2s_v5   2       8         -              eastus        0.10
     GCP          n2-standard-2     2       8         -              us-central1   0.10
     IBM          bx2-8x32          8       32        -              us-east       0.38
     Lambda       gpu_1x_a10        30      200       A10:1          us-east-1     0.60


SkyPilot will use the cluster and namespace set in the current-context in the kubeconfig file. To manage your current-context:

$ # See current context
$ kubectl config current-context

$ # Switch current-context
$ kubectl config use-context mycontext

$ # Set a specific namespace to be used in the current-context
$ kubectl config set-context --current --namespace=mynamespace

Using Custom Images#

By default, we use and maintain a SkyPilot container image that has conda and a few other basic tools installed.

To use your own image, add image_id: docker:<your image tag> to the resources section of your task YAML.

  image_id: docker:myrepo/myimage:latest

Your image must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Image must be debian-based and must have the apt package manager installed.

  • The default user in the image must have root privileges or passwordless sudo access.


If your cluster runs on non-x86_64 architecture (e.g., Apple Silicon), your image must be built natively for that architecture. Otherwise, your job may get stuck at Start streaming logs .... See GitHub issue for more.

Using Images from Private Repositories#

To use images from private repositories (e.g., Private DockerHub, Amazon ECR, Google Container Registry), create a secret in your Kubernetes cluster and edit your ~/.sky/config.yaml to specify the secret like so:

        - name: your-secret-here


If you use Amazon ECR, your secret credentials may expire every 12 hours. Consider using k8s-ecr-login-renew to automatically refresh your secrets.

Opening Ports#

Opening ports on SkyPilot clusters running on Kubernetes is supported through two modes:

  1. LoadBalancer services (default)

  2. Nginx IngressController

One of these modes must be supported and configured on your cluster. Refer to the setting up ports on Kubernetes guide on how to do this.


On Google GKE, Amazon EKS or other cloud-hosted Kubernetes services, the default LoadBalancer services mode is supported out of the box and no additional configuration is needed.

Once your cluster is configured, launch a task which exposes services on a port by adding ports to the resources section of your task YAML.

# task.yaml
  ports: 8888

run: |
  python -m http.server 8888

After launching the cluster with sky launch -c myclus task.yaml, you can get the URL to access the port using sky status --endpoints myclus.

# List all ports exposed by the cluster
$ sky status --endpoints myclus

# curl a specific port's endpoint
$ curl $(sky status --endpoint 8888 myclus)


To learn more about opening ports in SkyPilot tasks, see Opening Ports.


  • Are autoscaling Kubernetes clusters supported?

    To run on an autoscaling cluster, you may need to adjust the resource provisioning timeout (Kubernetes.TIMEOUT in clouds/ to a large value to give enough time for the cluster to autoscale. We are working on a better interface to adjust this timeout - stay tuned!

  • Can SkyPilot provision a Kubernetes cluster for me? Will SkyPilot add more nodes to my Kubernetes clusters?

    The goal of Kubernetes support is to run SkyPilot tasks on an existing Kubernetes cluster. It does not provision any new Kubernetes clusters or add new nodes to an existing Kubernetes cluster.

  • I have multiple users in my organization who share the same Kubernetes cluster. How do I provide isolation for their SkyPilot workloads?

    For isolation, you can create separate Kubernetes namespaces and set them in the kubeconfig distributed to users. SkyPilot will use the namespace set in the kubeconfig for running all tasks.

  • How do I view the pods created by SkyPilot on my Kubernetes cluster?

    You can use your existing observability tools to filter resources with the label parent=skypilot (kubectl get pods -l 'parent=skypilot'). As an example, follow the instructions here to deploy the Kubernetes Dashboard on your cluster.

  • How can I specify custom configuration for the pods created by SkyPilot?

    You can override the pod configuration used by SkyPilot by setting the pod_config key in ~/.sky/config.yaml. The value of pod_config should be a dictionary that follows the Kubernetes Pod API.

    For example, to set custom environment variables and attach a volume on your pods, you can add the following to your ~/.sky/config.yaml file:

            - env:
              - name: MY_ENV_VAR
                value: MY_ENV_VALUE
              volumeMounts:       # Custom volume mounts for the pod
                - mountPath: /foo
                  name: example-volume
            - name: example-volume
                path: /tmp
                type: Directory

    For more details refer to Advanced Configurations.