The SKA adopts Kubernetes as the orchestration layer. The Kubernetes Clusters Managed by the Systems Team serve multiple projects and can host multiple deployments of the same project at the same time. Those clusters are thus configured to ensure that each job runs isolated from the others and that the cluster resources are fairly allocated among the different jobs. This is what is called multitenancy.

Multitenancy implemented at the Namespace level

An important characteristic of a Namespace in a Kubernetes Cluster is that it is isolated from other Namespaces in the cluster. This means that you can isolate each separate job and its Kubernetes resources by deploying to a different Namespace. Within a given Namespace we constrain resource usage by defining Limit Ranges and Resource Quotas.

A Resource Quota constrains aggregate resource usage. It can limit:

  • the quantity of objects that can be created in a namespace by type

  • the total amount of compute resources available in that namespace including:

    • total cpu

    • total memory

    • total ephemeral storage

An example of the content of a yaml file defining Resource Quotas is:

ResourceQuota description

apiVersion: v1
kind: ResourceQuota
  name: compute-resources
    pods: "250"
    requests.cpu: 12000m
    requests.memory: 16Gi
    requests.ephemeral-storage: 25Gi
    limits.cpu: 24000m
    limits.memory: 32Gi
    limits.ephemeral-storage: 50Gi

Enabling a Resource Quota in a namespace means that users must specify requests and limits for all the containers inside the pods deployed in that Namespace. If requests or limits are not defined in the Helm Charts used for deployment, we can nonetheless prevent the quota system from rejecting pod creation by specifying default values at the container level, the Limit Ranges. An example of the content of a yaml file defining Limit Ranges for a Namespace is:

LimitRange description

apiVersion: v1
kind: LimitRange
  name: limit-range
  - default:
      memory: 256Mi
      cpu: 200m
      ephemeral-storage: 256Mi
      memory: 64Mi
      cpu: 65m
      ephemeral-storage: 256Mi
    type: Container

If requests and limits are defined in the Helm Charts used for deployment they will override the values in the Limit Ranges for those containers.

Currently in the Kubernetes Clusters maintained by the Systems Team multitenancy is implemented only in the SKAMPI pipelines, but the scripts developed for the SKAMPI project can be easily adapted for use with other pipelines. Multitenancy is implemented for SKAMPI not only in the permanent namespaces used to run the integration and staging environments, but also on the temporary pipelines used in feature branch development.

Access Pipeline Namespaces

Branch pipelines in the Kubernetes Clusters maintained by the System Team are short lived; they are erased after 24 hours. Also, they are named automatically and as such users must be aware of the naming scheme. The name for the pipeline Namespace is of the form ci-<project name>-<branch name>. For SKAMPI a -low or a -mid is appended at the end of the name depending on the telescope. For example, for a SKAMPI project branch named at-51 and for a deployment involving the MID telescope the corresponding Namespace name would be ci-skampi-at-51-mid. We note that it is important to keep branch names reasonably short since Kubernates truncates Namespace names at 63 characters.


It is important for users to develop appropriately for the multitenant environment. The Helm Charts used for deploying SKAMPI should avoid accessing resources such as Ingresses, PersistentVolumes, and CustomResourceDefinitions in other namespaces. Cluster globals should also be avoided, for example ingress hostnames should be globally unique. This can be achieved by using a url which includes the namespace designation.

url: "http://$INGRESS_HOST/ci-$CI_PROJECT_NAME/taranta" is not multitenant, all namespaces would share the same url. url: "http://$INGRESS_HOST/ci-$CI_PROJECT_NAME-$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH-mid/taranta" insures multitenancy.

Multitenancy of the branch pipelines allows for the owners of a given job to access logs, investigate problems, test things, without worrying that the performance of other jobs running in the cluster is affected. In order to achieve this users need to be able to retrieve a kubeconfig file giving access to the cluster. Such a file is generated automatically by the pipelines running on SKAMPI providing access only to the namespace specific for that pipeline, thus assuring that users will not interfere with other jobs running in the cluster.

Retrieving the kubeconfig file is easy, you’ll see a curl in the job output in gitlab towards the end:


You can get the kubeconfig file from the url:
with the following command into your current directory in a file called KUBECONFIG:
       curl https:// --output KUBECONFIG

Once this file is copied to your local machine, and the adequate enviroment variables are set you should be able to access the namespace within the kubernetes cluster. A more detailed description on how this is implemented in the pipeline and how it works is found in the README file at the SKAMPI project repository

Assumptions/Additional Notes

  • SERVICE_ACCOUNT and KUBE_NAMESPACE variables must be set.

  • CI_PROJECT_NAME and CI_COMMIT_BRANCH variables must be accessible. Note: These are already available in gitlab pipelines.

  • The namespaces are deleted 24 hours after they are created hence the kubeconfig is only valid for 24 hours

  • The namespaces are deleted if there is a recent commit on the branch; the previous namespaces for the same branch/MR are deleted so that there is only one namespace which is pointing to the recent commit in the branch