Expose Pod information to Containers using the Downward API

The Downward API contains such information as the pod’s name, project, and resource values. Containers can consume information from the downward API using environment variables or a volume plug-in.

Fields within the pod are selected using the FieldRef API type. FieldRef has two fields:

Field Description

fieldPath

The path of the field to select, relative to the pod.

apiVersion

The API version to interpret the fieldPath selector within.

Currently, the valid selectors in the v1 API include:

Selector Description

metadata.name

The pod’s name. This is supported in both environment variables and volumes.

metadata.namespace

The pod’s namespace.This is supported in both environment variables and volumes.

metadata.labels

The pod’s labels. This is only supported in volumes and not in environment variables.

metadata.annotations

The pod’s annotations. This is only supported in volumes and not in environment variables.

status.podIP

The pod’s IP. This is only supported in environment variables and not volumes.

The apiVersion field, if not specified, defaults to the API version of the enclosing pod template.

Understanding how to consume container values using the downward API

You containers can consume API values using environment variables or a volume plug-in. Depending on the method you choose, containers can consume:

  • Pod name

  • Pod project/namespace

  • Pod annotations

  • Pod labels

Annotations and labels are available using only a volume plug-in.

Consuming container values using environment variables

When using a container’s environment variables, use the EnvVar type’s valueFrom field (of type EnvVarSource) to specify that the variable’s value should come from a FieldRef source instead of the literal value specified by the value field.

Only constant attributes of the pod can be consumed this way, as environment variables cannot be updated once a process is started in a way that allows the process to be notified that the value of a variable has changed. The fields supported using environment variables are:

  • Pod name

  • Pod project/namespace

Procedure

To use environment variables

  1. Create a pod.yaml file:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
    metadata:
      name: dapi-env-test-pod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: env-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          env:
            - name: MY_POD_NAME
              valueFrom:
                fieldRef:
                  fieldPath: metadata.name
            - name: MY_POD_NAMESPACE
              valueFrom:
                fieldRef:
                  fieldPath: metadata.namespace
      restartPolicy: Never
  2. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml
  3. Check the container’s logs for the MY_POD_NAME and MY_POD_NAMESPACE values:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-env-test-pod

Consuming container values using a volume plug-in

You containers can consume API values using a volume plug-in.

Containers can consume:

  • Pod name

  • Pod project/namespace

  • Pod annotations

  • Pod labels

Procedure

To use the volume plug-in:

  1. Create a volume-pod.yaml file:

    kind: Pod
    apiVersion: v1
    metadata:
      labels:
        zone: us-east-coast
        cluster: downward-api-test-cluster1
        rack: rack-123
      name: dapi-volume-test-pod
      annotations:
        annotation1: "345"
        annotation2: "456"
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: volume-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: ["sh", "-c", "cat /tmp/etc/pod_labels /tmp/etc/pod_annotations"]
          volumeMounts:
            - name: podinfo
              mountPath: /tmp/etc
              readOnly: false
      volumes:
      - name: podinfo
        downwardAPI:
          defaultMode: 420
          items:
          - fieldRef:
              fieldPath: metadata.name
            path: pod_name
          - fieldRef:
              fieldPath: metadata.namespace
            path: pod_namespace
          - fieldRef:
              fieldPath: metadata.labels
            path: pod_labels
          - fieldRef:
              fieldPath: metadata.annotations
            path: pod_annotations
      restartPolicy: Never
  2. Create the pod from the volume-pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f volume-pod.yaml
  3. Check the container’s logs and verify the presence of the configured fields:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-volume-test-pod
    cluster=downward-api-test-cluster1
    rack=rack-123
    zone=us-east-coast
    annotation1=345
    annotation2=456
    kubernetes.io/config.source=api

Understanding how to consume container resources using the downward API

When creating pods, you can use the downward API to inject information about computing resource requests and limits so that image and application authors can correctly create an image for specific environments.

You can do this using environment variable or a volume plug-in.

Consuming container resources using environment variables

When creating pods, you can use the downward API to inject information about computing resource requests and limits using environment variables.

Procedure

To use environment variables:

  1. When creating a pod configuration, specify environment variables that correspond to the contents of the resources field in the spec.container field:

    ....
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox:1.24
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          resources:
            requests:
              memory: "32Mi"
              cpu: "125m"
            limits:
              memory: "64Mi"
              cpu: "250m"
          env:
            - name: MY_CPU_REQUEST
              valueFrom:
                resourceFieldRef:
                  resource: requests.cpu
            - name: MY_CPU_LIMIT
              valueFrom:
                resourceFieldRef:
                  resource: limits.cpu
            - name: MY_MEM_REQUEST
              valueFrom:
                resourceFieldRef:
                  resource: requests.memory
            - name: MY_MEM_LIMIT
              valueFrom:
                resourceFieldRef:
                  resource: limits.memory
    ....

    If the resource limits are not included in the container configuration, the downward API defaults to the node’s CPU and memory allocatable values.

  2. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml

Consuming container resources using a volume plug-in

When creating pods, you can use the downward API to inject information about computing resource requests and limits using a volume plug-in.

Procedure

To use the Volume Plug-in:

  1. When creating a pod configuration, use the spec.volumes.downwardAPI.items field to describe the desired resources that correspond to the spec.resources field:

    ....
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: client-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox:1.24
          command: ["sh", "-c", "while true; do echo; if [[ -e /etc/cpu_limit ]]; then cat /etc/cpu_limit; fi; if [[ -e /etc/cpu_request ]]; then cat /etc/cpu_request; fi; if [[ -e /etc/mem_limit ]]; then cat /etc/mem_limit; fi; if [[ -e /etc/mem_request ]]; then cat /etc/mem_request; fi; sleep 5; done"]
          resources:
            requests:
              memory: "32Mi"
              cpu: "125m"
            limits:
              memory: "64Mi"
              cpu: "250m"
          volumeMounts:
            - name: podinfo
              mountPath: /etc
              readOnly: false
      volumes:
        - name: podinfo
          downwardAPI:
            items:
              - path: "cpu_limit"
                resourceFieldRef:
                  containerName: client-container
                  resource: limits.cpu
              - path: "cpu_request"
                resourceFieldRef:
                  containerName: client-container
                  resource: requests.cpu
              - path: "mem_limit"
                resourceFieldRef:
                  containerName: client-container
                  resource: limits.memory
              - path: "mem_request"
                resourceFieldRef:
                  containerName: client-container
                  resource: requests.memory
    ....

    If the resource limits are not included in the container configuration, the downward API defaults to the node’s CPU and memory allocatable values.

  2. Create the pod from the volume-pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f volume-pod.yaml

Consuming secrets using the downward API

When creating pods, you can use the downward API to inject Secrets so image and application authors can create an image for specific environments.

Procedure
  1. Create a secret.yaml file:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    metadata:
      name: mysecret
    data:
      password: cGFzc3dvcmQ=
      username: ZGV2ZWxvcGVy
    type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
  2. Create a Secret from the secret.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f secret.yaml
  3. Create a pod.yaml file that references the username field from the above Secret:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
    metadata:
      name: dapi-env-test-pod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: env-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          env:
            - name: MY_SECRET_USERNAME
              valueFrom:
                secretKeyRef:
                  name: mysecret
                  key: username
      restartPolicy: Never
  4. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml
  5. Check the container’s logs for the MY_SECRET_USERNAME value:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-env-test-pod

Consuming configuration maps using the downward API

When creating pods, you can use the downward API to inject configuration map values so image and application authors can create an image for specific environments.

Procedure
  1. Create a configmap.yaml file:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ConfigMap
    metadata:
      name: myconfigmap
    data:
      mykey: myvalue
  2. Create a ConfigMap from the configmap.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f configmap.yaml
  3. Create a pod.yaml file that references the above ConfigMap:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
    metadata:
      name: dapi-env-test-pod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: env-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          env:
            - name: MY_CONFIGMAP_VALUE
              valueFrom:
                configMapKeyRef:
                  name: myconfigmap
                  key: mykey
      restartPolicy: Always
  4. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml
  5. Check the container’s logs for the MY_CONFIGMAP_VALUE value:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-env-test-pod

Referencing environment variables

When creating pods, you can reference the value of a previously defined environment variable by using the $() syntax. If the environment variable reference can not be resolved, the value will be left as the provided string.

Procedure
  1. Create a pod.yaml file that references an existing environment variable:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
    metadata:
      name: dapi-env-test-pod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: env-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          env:
            - name: MY_EXISTING_ENV
              value: my_value
            - name: MY_ENV_VAR_REF_ENV
              value: $(MY_EXISTING_ENV)
      restartPolicy: Never
  2. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml
  3. Check the container’s logs for the MY_ENV_VAR_REF_ENV value:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-env-test-pod

Escaping environment variable references

When creating a pod, you can escape an environment variable reference by using a double dollar sign. The value will then be set to a single dollar sign version of the provided value.

Procedure
  1. Create a pod.yaml file that references an existing environment variable:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Pod
    metadata:
      name: dapi-env-test-pod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: env-test-container
          image: gcr.io/google_containers/busybox
          command: [ "/bin/sh", "-c", "env" ]
          env:
            - name: MY_NEW_ENV
              value: $$(SOME_OTHER_ENV)
      restartPolicy: Never
  2. Create the pod from the pod.yaml file:

    $ oc create -f pod.yaml
  3. Check the container’s logs for the MY_NEW_ENV value:

    $ oc logs -p dapi-env-test-pod