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vSphere FIPS Air-gapped: Create the Management Cluster

The instructions on this page will generate a self-managed air-gapped cluster to be used as the Management cluster. A self-managed cluster refers to one in which the CAPI resources and controllers that describe and manage it are running on the same cluster they are managing.

Deploying a Cluster in FIPS mode

In order to create a cluster in FIPS mode, we must inform the bootstrap controllers of the appropriate image repository and version tags of the official D2iQ FIPS builds of Kubernetes.

Supported FIPS Builds








Name your Cluster

  1. Give your cluster a unique name suitable for your environment.

  2. Set the CLUSTER_NAME environment variable with the command:

export CLUSTER_NAME=<my-vsphere-cluster>

DKP uses the vsphere CSI driver as the default storage provider. Use a Kubernetes CSI compatible storage that is suitable for production.

Create a New vSphere Kubernetes Cluster

The below instructions tell you how to create a cluster and have it automatically attach to the workspace you set above.
If you do not set a workspace, it will be created in the default workspace, and you need to take additional steps to attach to a workspace later. For instructions on how to do this, see Attach a Kubernetes Cluster.

Use the following steps to create a new, air-gapped vSphere cluster.

  1. Configure your cluster to use an existing local registry as a mirror when attempting to pull images:
    IMPORTANT: The image must be created by Konvoy Image Builder in order to use the registry mirror feature.

    export REGISTRY_URL=<https/http>://<registry-address>:<registry-port>
    export REGISTRY_CA=<path to the CA on the bastion>
    export REGISTRY_USERNAME=<username>
    export REGISTRY_PASSWORD=<password>
    • REGISTRY_URL: the address of an existing local registry accessible in the VPC that the new cluster nodes will be configured to use a mirror registry when pulling images.

    • REGISTRY_CA: (optional) the path on the bastion machine to the registry CA. Konvoy will configure the cluster nodes to trust this CA. This value is only needed if the registry is using a self-signed certificate and the AMIs are not already configured to trust this CA.

    • REGISTRY_USERNAME: optional, set to a user that has pull access to this registry.

    • REGISTRY_PASSWORD: optional if username is not set.

  2. Load the image, using either the docker or podman command:

    docker load -i konvoy-bootstrap-image-v2.6.0.tar


    podman load -i konvoy-bootstrap-image-v2.6.0.tar

  3. Create a Kubernetes cluster by copying the following command and substituting the valid values for your environment:

dkp create cluster vsphere
  --cluster-name ${CLUSTER_NAME} \
  --network <NETWORK_NAME> \
  --control-plane-endpoint-host <CONTROL_PLANE_IP> \
  --data-center <DATACENTER_NAME> \
  --data-store <DATASTORE_NAME> \
  --folder <FOLDER_NAME> \
  --ssh-public-key-file </path/to/> \
  --resource-pool <RESOURCE_POOL_NAME> \
  --vm-template konvoy-ova-vsphere-os-release-k8s_release-vsphere-timestamp \
  --virtual-ip-interface <ip_interface_name> \
  --extra-sans "" \
  --registry-mirror-url=${REGISTRY_URL} \
  --registry-mirror-cacert=${REGISTRY_CA} \
  --registry-mirror-username=${REGISTRY_USERNAME} \
  --registry-mirror-password=${REGISTRY_PASSWORD} \
  --kubernetes-version=v1.26.6+fips.0 \ \ --etcd-version=3.5.6+fips.0 \

If your environment uses HTTP/HTTPS proxies, you must include the flags --http-proxy, --https-proxy, and --no-proxy and their related values in this command for it to be successful. More information is available in Configuring an HTTP/HTTPS Proxy.

For bootstrap and custom YAML cluster creation, refer to the Custom Installation and Additional Infrastructure Tools section of the documentation for vSphere: Install vSphere Air-Gapped or FIPS 140-2 Compliance for more FIPS details.

Cluster Verification

If you want to monitor or verify the installation of your clusters, refer to:

Verify your Cluster and DKP Installation.

As they progress, the controllers create Events, which you can also monitor using the command:

kubectl get events | grep ${CLUSTER_NAME}

For brevity, this example uses grep. You can also use separate commands to get Events for specific objects, such as kubectl get events --field-selector involvedObject.kind="VSphereCluster" and kubectl get events --field-selector involvedObject.kind="VSphereMachine".

Next Step:

vSphere Air-gapped FIPS: Configure Metal LB

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