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Step-By-Step Guide: Installing K3s on a Raspberry Pi 4 Cluster

Published: at 12:00 AM

In this guide, share some useful tips to help you seamlessly install K3s on a Raspberry Pi 4 cluster. Let’s dive in and start the installation process.

Raspberry Pi4 CLuster Illustration.

Before beginning the installation process, let’s take a moment to review the cluster setup and the corresponding IP addresses assigned to each node in our Raspberry Pi 4 cluster.

In our configuration, we have three Raspberry Pi 4 units connected to a switch. This switch, in turn, is connected to the router supplied by my internet service provider. Additionally, I have been provided with a static public IP address for internet access.

The table below outlines the specific IP configuration for each of the nodes in our Raspberry Pi cluster:

IP Table Diagram

I will pick the Pi running at as my master mode and start the installation as below instructions.

K3s Installation

Pi Os installation

Given our project’s need for a k3s cluster, I selected the Raspberry Pi OS Lite 64Bit which can be downloaded from the Raspberry PI Imager. This particular OS variant doesn’t include a desktop environment. Thus, SSH will be our primary method for node installation.

Raspberry Pi OS Selection

Before you flash the OS onto the SD Card, it’s crucial to configure the node name and login details for each node.

Pi Configuration

Once the OS preparation for each node is complete, I set up the following cluster:

I use Termius as my tool of choice for establishing a connection to the cluster for installation purposes. You can download it for free from here.

I. Config static IP for Pi

By default, Pi OS will use DHCP to receive random Ip from the router, so to ensure the stable connectivity between the node We will config the status IP for each node by using the following steps.

# 1. Open the file dhcpcd.conf
sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

# 2. update the below parameters according to your router ip-address.
interface eth0
static ip_address=
static routers=

# 3. select control + X and save the changes.

II. Disable swap

When installing Kubernetes on Linux, it’s recommended to disable swap because of how Kubernetes manages resources.

To disable swap on Linux, you can use the following command:

# 1. Turn off swap temporary.
sudo swapoff -a

# 2. To turn of swap permanently we need to update the `CONF_SWAPSIZE` in `dphys-swapfile` file to `0`
sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile

# 3. set

# 4. select control + X and save the changes.

III. Cgroup configuration

If a FATA[0000] failed to find memory cgroup (v2) error surfaces during the installation of k3s, it is likely because the Pi OS lacks the required cgroup configuration. Below are the steps needed to resolve this issue:

# 1. Open the cmdline.txt file
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

#2. Add below into THE END of the current line
cgroup_enable=cpuset cgroup_memory=1 cgroup_enable=memory

# 3. Save the file and reboot
sudo reboot

IV. Master node installation

Execute the following command to install the K3s master node. Make sure to replace the IP address according to your cluster configuration:

curl -sfL | INSTALL_K3S_EXEC="server --disable=traefik --flannel-backend=host-gw --tls-san= --bind-address= --advertise-address= --node-ip= --cluster-init" sh -s -

K3s parameters examination:

Once installed, the k3s configuration should be located in /etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yaml. Using this configuration with K8s Lend allows access to the K3s cluster.

Here’s a snapshot of how it should look:


V. Worker nodes installation

To install the worker nodes, we first need to obtain the K3S_TOKEN from the master node. Execute the command shown below to retrieve it:

# get node-token from master node
sudo cat /var/lib/rancher/k3s/server/node-token

# The result is something likes this

Upon retrieval of the node token, it is necessary to inject it into the script shown below. This script should be executed on all the Pi nodes specified previously. Please ensure to update the IP address associated with K3S_URL, as required.

# Execute this to install the nodes
curl -sfL | K3S_URL= \
  K3S_TOKEN="THIS19937008cbde678aeaf200517f07c0ccd67dc80bdf4df6f746IS4780e15ebcd::server:40fc2cc2fnode81cdacc0b9bb1231token" sh -

Congratulations, your K3s cluster is now ready to be utilized.


Thank you for your time! If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. 🌟✨🎁

Steven GitHub