Prepare User Clusters

Connecting clusters to Loft is the first step to making these clusters available to your engineers.

1. Connect Clusters

You succesfully installed Loft to a Kubernetes cluster. You can now either give engineers access to this cluster OR you can connect separate Kubernetes clusters for your team.

Small teams with a low budget may prefer to run Loft in a Kubernetes cluster and make the same Kubernetes cluster available to their engineers.

In this case, you will not have to do anything because the cluster that you installed Loft to has already been automatically connected to Loft during the installation process.

If you click on the Cluster view in the UI, you will be able to see this cluster as loft-cluster.

Add Clusters Later

If you want to just run a proof-of-concept project with Loft or you just want to keep it simple in the beginning, you can use the single-cluster approach and then switch to the multi-cluster setup at any time by simply adding additional clusters later on.

2. Add Shared Services (optional)

While your engineers will be able to deploy their own Helm charts and other applications to the namespaces and virtual clusters that they create, you may want to provide a certain set of shared services that a majority of your engineers need.

Common examples of shared service you may want to install into each connected cluster are:

  • ingress-nginx as an ingress controller for incoming traffic via (sub-)domains
  • cert-manager + cert-issuer for automatically provisioning SSL certificates for ingresses

2.1 Ingress Controller

To install ingress-nginx as an ingress controller, go to Clusters > [CLUSTER_NAME] > Cluster (Tab) and click on the app ingress-nginx to install it.

Installing apps essentially runs helm install.

Loft UI - Cluster Overview: Apps

2.2 Cluster Subdomain

An ingress controller alone is not doing much if there is no domain pointing to the ingress controller. Loft provides a service for free wildcard subdomains.

Make sure you open the UI view Clusters > [CLUSTER_NAME] > Cluster (Tab) and then:

  1. Enter a subdomain prefix under Cluster Subdomain for Spaces (e.g. use your company name)
  2. Enter the external IP address of the Kubernetes service of your ingress controller (see info below)
  3. Click the Update button and confirm the operation
Ingress Controller External-IP

If you installed the recommended app ingress-nginx via the Loft UI (see above), the input field named Ingress Controller External-IP will be filled automatically. If this input is empty, wait a couple of minutes and then reload the page in your browser.

After configuring a cluster subdomain, you will be able to create Kubernetes ingresses in this cluster with any subdomain in the form of [subdomain]

Custom Subdomain

If you want to use your custom subdomain, you have 2 options:

  1. Take the value shown as Cluster Subdomain for Spaces and set a DNS A-record (for IPs) or CNAME-record (for subdomains) to this value.
  2. Create a subdomain (follow instructions above) and then set a CNAME record from your custom subdomain to

Option 2 allows you to update the DNS for your custom subdomain by clicking a single button in the Loft UI.

2.3 Cert Manager + Issuer

To automatically provision SSL certificates with Let's Encrypt, you need to install the apps:

  • cert-manager
  • cert-issuer (make sure to provide a valid email address in the Chart Values textarea on the right)

Installing apps essentially runs helm install.

Loft UI - Cluster Overview: Apps

After installing the cert-manager and cert-issuer apps, you will automatically get valid SSL certificates for all ingresses that:

  • have the annotation lets-encrypt-http-issuer
  • define a tls section for the appropricate ingress rules

For more information on how to configure your ingresses, take a look at the cert-manager documentation.