Kubernetes Dashboard: Installation and Usage Guide

Kubernetes Dashboard: Installation and Usage Guide

Welcome to the vast universe of containerized applications! We’re about to embark on a journey through the world of Kubernetes, an open-source platform designed to automate deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. Kubernetes is like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring each musician, or in this case, container, ‘plays’ in harmony.

Our journey doesn’t stop there. We’ll also delve into the user-friendly Kubernetes Dashboard, a game-changing tool for managing complex applications. The Kubernetes Dashboard isn’t just a pretty interface; it’s a powerful tool that brings tangible benefits to managing containerized applications. However, like any powerful tool, it’s crucial to secure it properly. We’ll guide you through not only deploying and utilizing the Kubernetes Dashboard but also securing it. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

TL;DR: What is Kubernetes and its Dashboard?

Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. The Kubernetes Dashboard is a user-friendly interface that provides a visual overview of everything happening in a Kubernetes cluster, allowing users to control and troubleshoot their applications effectively. It’s crucial to secure the Dashboard properly to ensure the safety of your applications. Read on for more advanced methods, background, tips, and tricks.

For more information on all things Kubernetes, Docker, and containerization, check out our Ultimate Kubernetes Tutorial.

Embracing the World of Containerization

In today’s software development landscape, containerization is the buzzword. But what does it signify? In simple terms, containerization is the process of bundling an application along with its related configuration files, libraries, and dependencies. This packaging ensures the application runs efficiently and without bugs across various computing environments. The star player in this realm is Kubernetes.

Kubernetes, often abbreviated as K8s, is an open-source platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. To grasp the concept, imagine an orchestra where each musician plays a unique role. Kubernetes acts as the conductor, ensuring all containers ‘play’ harmoniously together.

Example of a simple Kubernetes deployment:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: nginx-deployment
      app: nginx
  replicas: 3
        app: nginx
      - name: nginx
        image: nginx:1.14.2
        - containerPort: 80

The Evolution of Kubernetes

The journey of Kubernetes began in 2014 when Google engineers developed it. Leveraging their experience of running billions of containers per week, Google gave birth to Kubernetes. Since then, it has grown and evolved, becoming a project hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

The Power of the Kubernetes Dashboard

The Kubernetes Dashboard is a user-friendly interface that offers a comprehensive overview of all activities within a Kubernetes cluster. This powerful tool allows users to control and troubleshoot their applications effectively. Imagine having a bird’s eye view of all your containerized applications along with the power to manage them seamlessly.

The Dashboard provides real-time information on the state of resources and the cluster, along with any errors that may have occurred. You can use it to inspect your deployments and services, scale your applications, or even roll back deployments.

Example of inspecting deployments, scaling applications, and rolling back deployments using kubectl:

# Inspect deployments
kubectl get deployments

# Scale applications
kubectl scale deployment nginx-deployment --replicas=4

# Roll back deployments
kubectl rollout undo deployment/nginx-deployment

It’s a versatile tool that simplifies application management across various platforms.

In essence, the Kubernetes Dashboard is not just an attractive interface. It’s a robust, functional tool that simplifies the complex task of managing containerized applications. It’s akin to having a map and compass while navigating the often confusing landscape of containerization.

Did you know there are alternatives to Kubernetes Dashboard?. Although Kubernetes Dashboard is popular, it’s not the only option! You might consider using Rancher, for example.

Deploying the Kubernetes Dashboard: Setting Sail

Having understood what Kubernetes and its Dashboard are all about, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the deployment process. There are two primary methods to deploy the Kubernetes Dashboard: the direct method and using Helm. Let’s delve into both.

Deploying Directly

The direct method of deploying the Kubernetes Dashboard involves leveraging kubectl, the command-line interface for executing commands against Kubernetes clusters. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can accomplish this:

kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/dashboard/v2.0.0-beta8/aio/deploy/recommended.yaml

Executing this command deploys the Kubernetes Dashboard under the recommended setup.

Deploying with Helm

Helm is akin to the Kubernetes package manager. It’s a tool that simplifies installing and managing Kubernetes applications, much like yum or apt, but specifically for Kubernetes.

To deploy the Kubernetes Dashboard using Helm, you first need to add the official Helm stable charts repository, update the repository, and then install the dashboard. Here’s how you can do it:

helm repo add stable https://kubernetes-charts.storage.googleapis.com/
helm repo update
helm install stable/kubernetes-dashboard --name my-release --set=image.repository=kubernetesui/dashboard,volumePermissions.enabled=true

Uninstalling the Helm Chart

If for any reason you need to uninstall the Kubernetes Dashboard chart on Helm, you can achieve this with the following command:

helm delete my-release

This command eliminates all the Kubernetes components associated with the chart and deletes the release.

The Role of Helm

When deploying the Kubernetes Dashboard, Helm brings unmatched flexibility and control to the table. It empowers you to define, install, and upgrade even the most complex Kubernetes applications, making it an indispensable tool in your Kubernetes toolkit.

In essence, deploying the Kubernetes Dashboard, whether directly or using Helm, is a pivotal step in managing your Kubernetes applications effectively. It offers a visual interface that transforms managing your applications from a chore into a breeze.

Advanced Options: Mastering the Dashboard

With the Kubernetes Dashboard up and running, it’s time to delve deeper into its ‘Advanced options’. These options offer customization and fine-tuning of application settings, giving you more control over your deployments.

The Power of ‘Advanced options’

The ‘Advanced options’ on the Kubernetes Dashboard serve as a control panel for your application settings. It offers various settings like Description, Labels, Namespace, Image Pull Secret, CPU requirement, Memory requirement, and more. It’s akin to having a set of dials and switches that you can adjust to optimize your application’s performance and behavior.

Fine-Tuning Settings

DescriptionProvide a succinct yet informative description of your application’s purpose.
LabelsOrganize and categorize objects with key/value pairs.
NamespaceKubernetes supports multiple virtual clusters backed by the same physical cluster, known as namespaces.
Image Pull SecretIf your Docker image is hosted on a private registry requiring login credentials, you can create a secret with these credentials and attach it to the namespace.
CPU requirement and Memory requirementAllocate resources to your containers by specifying the amount of CPU and memory each container in your application needs.

Reaping the Benefits of ‘Advanced options’

Employing ‘Advanced options’ for detailed application settings allows you to tailor your applications to your specific requirements. It’s akin to tweaking your car’s settings for optimal performance.

The Role of kubectl in Dashboard Management

The kubectl command-line interface plays a pivotal role in the installation and management of the Kubernetes Dashboard. It enables you to execute commands against Kubernetes clusters, simplifying application management.

In essence, the ‘Advanced options’ on the Kubernetes Dashboard boost its usability. It empowers you to fine-tune your application settings, transforming the Dashboard from a mere monitoring tool into a robust control panel for your Kubernetes applications.

Ensuring Safety: Securing the Kubernetes Dashboard

With the Kubernetes Dashboard deployed and its functionalities explored, it’s time to address a vital aspect – security. Like any system, it’s not just important to secure your Kubernetes Dashboard, it’s essential.

The Need to Secure the Kubernetes Dashboard

Consider your Kubernetes Dashboard as a control room. It’s the hub where you manage and monitor all your containerized applications. Unauthorized access to this control room could lead to significant havoc. Therefore, securing the Kubernetes Dashboard is of paramount importance.

Recognizing Potential Threats to the Kubernetes Dashboard

The Kubernetes Dashboard could be a potential target for attackers as it provides a visual interface to your Kubernetes cluster. An unauthorized individual gaining access to the dashboard could view sensitive information, modify resources, or even disrupt services. Hence, it’s critical to secure the dashboard to protect your applications and data.

Implementing Security Measures

Securing the Kubernetes Dashboard involves a series of steps.

Example of securing the Kubernetes Dashboard:

# Create a service account for the dashboard
kubectl create serviceaccount dashboard-admin-sa

# Bind the service account to the cluster-admin role
kubectl create clusterrolebinding dashboard-admin-sa --clusterrole=cluster-admin --serviceaccount=default:dashboard-admin-sa

# Start a proxy server to access the dashboard
kubectl proxy

Initially, you need to restrict access to the dashboard by setting up authentication and authorization.

kubectl create serviceaccount dashboard-admin-sa
kubectl create clusterrolebinding dashboard-admin-sa --clusterrole=cluster-admin --serviceaccount=default:dashboard-admin-sa

These commands create a service account for the dashboard and bind it to the cluster-admin role.

To access the dashboard, you need to initiate the following command:

kubectl proxy

This command starts a proxy server, making the dashboard accessible at http://localhost:8001/api/v1/namespaces/kubernetes-dashboard/services/https:kubernetes-dashboard:/proxy/.

Broadening Dashboard Accessibility

By default, the Kubernetes Dashboard is accessible only within the cluster. However, you can modify the service type to NodePort or LoadBalancer to extend its accessibility beyond the cluster. This can be advantageous if you need to access the dashboard from a different network.

The Significance of Security in Kubernetes Dashboard

Security plays a pivotal role in the effective utilization of the Kubernetes Dashboard. A secure dashboard guarantees the safety of your applications and data, providing peace of mind as you manage your containerized applications.

In essence, securing the Kubernetes Dashboard is not just about warding off potential threats. It’s about ensuring the smooth operation of your applications and the safety of your data. It’s about transforming the Kubernetes Dashboard from a powerful tool into a secure one.


Our journey began with understanding Kubernetes as an open-source platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. We discovered the Kubernetes Dashboard as a powerful tool that offers a visual overview of everything happening within a Kubernetes cluster, enabling effective control and troubleshooting of our applications.

Next, we dived into the deployment process of the Kubernetes Dashboard, exploring two methods – the direct method and using Helm. We experienced the flexibility and control offered by Helm, a tool akin to a package manager for Kubernetes, in managing Kubernetes applications.

We then navigated through the ‘Advanced options’ on the Kubernetes Dashboard, learning how to modify various settings to customize and optimize our application’s performance and behavior. We witnessed how these options enhance the usability of the Kubernetes Dashboard, transforming it into a powerful control panel for our Kubernetes applications.

Lastly, we discussed the critical aspect of securing the Kubernetes Dashboard. We learned about potential threats and understood why the Dashboard could be a target for attackers. We walked through the steps to secure the Kubernetes Dashboard, appreciating the crucial role of security in the successful utilization of the Dashboard.

In essence, the Kubernetes Dashboard is more than just an aesthetic interface. It’s a robust, functional, and secure tool that simplifies the intricate task of managing containerized applications. Whether you’re a seasoned Kubernetes user or a beginner, the Kubernetes Dashboard is a tool that can smoothen your journey. With the knowledge you’ve gained from this guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate the Kubernetes universe!