Install Kubeflow on IKS

Instructions for deploying Kubeflow on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service

This guide describes how to use the kustomize + kubectl to deploy Kubeflow on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS).


  • Authenticate with IBM Cloud

    Log into IBM Cloud using the IBM Cloud Command Line Interface (CLI) as follows:

    ibmcloud login

    Or, if you have federated credentials, run the following command:

    ibmcloud login --sso  
  • Create and access a Kubernetes cluster on IKS

    To deploy Kubeflow on IBM Cloud, you need a cluster running on IKS. If you don’t have a cluster running, follow the Create an IBM Cloud cluster guide.

    Run the following command to switch the Kubernetes context and access the cluster:

    ibmcloud ks cluster config --cluster <cluster_name>

    Replace <cluster_name> with your cluster name.

  • kustomize (version 3.2.0) (download link)

  • Python 3 with passlib and bcrypt packages installed

Storage setup for a Classic IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster

Note: This section is only required when the worker nodes provider WORKER_NODE_PROVIDER is set to classic. For other infrastructures, IBM Cloud Storage with Group ID support is already set up as the cluster’s default storage class.

When you use the classic worker node provider of an IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster, it uses the regular IBM Cloud File Storage based on NFS as the default storage class. File Storage is designed to run RWX (read-write multiple nodes) workloads with proper security built around it. Therefore, File Storage does not allow fsGroup securityContext unless it’s configured with Group ID, which is needed for the OIDC authentication service and Kubeflow Jupyter server.

Therefore, you’re recommended to set up the default storage class with Group ID support so that you can get the best experience from Kubeflow.

  1. Set the File Storage with Group ID support as the default storage class.

    OLD_STORAGE_CLASS=$(kubectl get sc -o jsonpath='{.items[?(@.metadata.annotations.storageclass\.kubernetes\.io\/is-default-class=="true")]}')
    kubectl patch storageclass ${NEW_STORAGE_CLASS} -p '{"metadata": {"annotations":{"":"true"}}}'
    # List all the (default) storage classes
    kubectl get storageclass | grep "(default)"

    Example output:

    ibmc-file-gold-gid (default)    Delete          Immediate           false                  14h
  2. Make sure ibmc-file-gold-gid is the only (default) storage class. If there are two or more rows in the above output, unset the previous (default) storage classes with the command below:

    kubectl patch storageclass ${OLD_STORAGE_CLASS} -p '{"metadata": {"annotations":{"":"false"}}}'

Storage setup for vpc-gen2 IBM Cloud Kubernetes cluster

Note: To deploy Kubeflow, you don’t need to change the storage setup for vpc-gen2 Kubernetes cluster.

Currently, there is no option available for setting up RWX (read-write multiple nodes) type of storages. RWX is not a mandatory requirement to run Kubeflow and most pipelines. It is required by certain sample jobs/pipelines where multiple pods write results to a common storage. A job or a pipeline can also write to a common object storage like minio, so the absence of this feature is not a blocker for working with Kubeflow. Examples of jobs/pipelines that will not work, are: Distributed training with Kubeflow TFJob

If you are on vpc-gen2 and still need RWX, you may try portworx enterprise product. To set it up on IBM Cloud use the portworx install with IBM Cloud guide.


Choose either single user or multi-tenant section based on your usage.

If you’re experiencing issues during the installation because of conflicts on your Kubeflow deployment, you can uninstall Kubeflow and install it again.

Single user

Using kustomize together with kubectl to deploy kubeflow:

  1. Clone the manifest repo as follows:

    git clone -b v1.5-branch ibm-manifests-150
  2. Change directory to ibm-manifests-150:

    cd ibm-manifests-150
  3. Generate password for default user:

    python3 -c 'from passlib.hash import bcrypt; import getpass; print(bcrypt.using(rounds=12, ident="2y").hash(getpass.getpass()))'

    Type your password and press <Enter> after you see Password: prompt. Copy the hash code for next step.

  4. Edit dist/stacks/ibm/application/dex-auth/custom-env.yaml and fill the relevant field with the hash code from previous step:

    - email:
      hash: <enter the generated hash here>

    You can also change the email value if needed.

  5. Apply the kustomize file under iks-single folder for single user deployment:

    while ! kustomize build iks-single | kubectl apply -f -; do echo "Retrying to apply resources"; sleep 10; done

Accessing your cluster

The Kubeflow endpoint is exposed with NodePort 30380. To get a static ip, you can expose the Kubeflow endpoint as a LoadBalancer and access the EXTERNAL_IP.

For single-user Kubeflow, IBM Cloud uses Dex authentication by default. You can access the cluster using the email and password you specified in step 3 and 4 of Single User

Multi-user, auth-enabled

Run the following steps to deploy Kubeflow with IBM Cloud AppID as an authentication provider.

The scenario is a Kubeflow cluster admin configures Kubeflow as a web application in AppID and manages user authentication with builtin identity providers (Cloud Directory, SAML, social log-in with Google or Facebook etc.) or custom providers.


For authentication, IBM Cloud uses AppID

  1. Follow the Creating an App ID service instance on IBM Cloud guide to learn about Kubeflow authentication. You can also learn how to use App ID with different authentication methods.

  2. Follow the Registering your app section of the App ID guide to create an application with type regularwebapp under the provisioned AppID instance. Make sure the scope contains email. Then retrieve the following configuration parameters from your AppID:

    • clientId
    • secret
    • oAuthServerUrl

    You will be using these information in the subsequent sections.

  3. Register the Kubeflow OIDC redirect page. The Kubeflow REDIRECT_URL URL is [http|https]://<kubeflow-FQDN>/login/oidc, depends on if you enable the HTTPS or not. <kubeflow-FQDN> is the endpoint for accessing Kubeflow. By default, the <kubeflow-FQDN> on IBM Cloud is <worker_node_external_ip>:30380. To get a static ip, you can expose the Kubeflow endpoint as a LoadBalancer and use the EXTERNAL_IP for your <kubeflow-FQDN>. Or use ibmcloud ks nlb-dns command to map the EXTERNAL_IP to the generated FQDN for your cluster. In this case, you use the generated FQDN as kubeflow-FQDN. If you enable HTTPS, you shall use generated FQDN.

  4. Then, you need to place the Kubeflow OIDC REDIRECT_URL under Manage Authentication > Authentication settings > Add web redirect URLs.

    APP ID Redirect Settings


Deploy: Using kustomize together with kubectl

  1. Clone the manifest repo as follows:

    git clone -b v1.5-branch ibm-manifests-150
  2. Change directory to ibm-manifests-150:

    cd ibm-manifests-150
  3. Update the dist/stacks/ibm/application/oidc-authservice-appid/params.env with values collected in Prereq section. You will need the following values:

    • <oAuthServerUrl> - replace <APP_ID_oauthServerUrl>
    • <kubeflow-FQDN> - fill in the FQDN of Kubeflow, if you don’t know yet, just give a dummy one like localhost. Then change it after you got one. Or get default FQDN of your cluster by this command: ibmcloud ks nlb-dns ls -c <cluster name> (replace <cluter name> with your cluster name)


  4. Update the dist/stacks/ibm/application/oidc-authservice-appid/secret_params.env with values collected in Prereq section. You will need the following values:

    • <clientId> - replace the <APP_ID_clientId>
    • <secret> - replace the <APP_ID_secret>


  5. You can apply the kustomize file in iks-multi folder:

    while ! kustomize build iks-multi | kubectl apply -f -; do echo "Retrying to apply resources"; sleep 10; done
  6. If at any point the values change and you have to change them, you can either patch the configmap and secret or change the content in the files and apply the kustomize again. You will need to restart authservice with kubectl delete pod -l app=authservice -n istio-system .

    To apply just the oidc-authservice-appid you can use this command:

    kustomize build dist/stacks/ibm/application/oidc-authservice-appid | kubectl apply -f -
    kubectl delete pod -l app=authservice -n istio-system

Verify mutli-user installation

Check the pod authservice-0 is in running state in namespace istio-system:

kubectl get pod -l app=authservice -n istio-system

Extra network setup requirement for vpc-gen2 clusters only

Note: These steps are not required for classic clusters, i.e. where WORKER_NODE_PROVIDER is set to classic.

A vpc-gen2 cluster does not assign a public IP address to the Kubernetes master node by default. It provides access via a Load Balancer, which is configured to allow only a set of ports over public internet. Access the cluster’s resources in a vpc-gen2 cluster, using one of the following options,

  • Load Balancer method: To configure via a Load Balancer, go to Expose the Kubeflow endpoint as a LoadBalancer. This method is recommended when you have Kubeflow deployed with Multi-user, auth-enabled support — otherwise it will expose cluster resources to the public.

  • Socks proxy method: If you need access to nodes or NodePort in the vpc-gen2 cluster, this can be achieved by starting another instance in the same vpc-gen2 cluster and assigning it a public IP (i.e. the floating IP). Next, use SSH to log into the instance or create an SSH socks proxy, such as ssh -D9999 root@new-instance-public-ip.

Then, configure the socks proxy at localhost:9999 and access cluster services.

  • kubectl port-forward method: To access Kubeflow dashboard, run kubectl -n istio-system port-forward service/istio-ingressgateway 7080:http2. Then in a browser, go tohttp://

Important notice: Exposing cluster/compute resources publicly without setting up a proper user authentication mechanism is very insecure and can have very serious consequences(even legal). If there is no need to expose cluster services publicly, Socks proxy method or kubectl port-forward method are recommended.

Next steps: secure the Kubeflow dashboard with HTTPS


For both classic and vpc-gen2 cluster providers, make sure you have Multi-user, auth-enabled Kubeflow set up.


Follow the steps in Exposing the Kubeflow dashboard with DNS and TLS termination. Then, you will have the required DNS name as Kubeflow FQDN to enable the OIDC flow for AppID:

  1. Follow the step Adding redirect URIs to fill a URL for AppID to redirect to Kubeflow. The URL should look like https://<kubeflow-FQDN>/login/oidc.

  2. Update the secret appid-application-configuration with the updated Kubeflow FQDN to replace <kubeflow-FQDN> in below command:

    export REDIRECT_URL=https://<kubeflow-FQDN>/login/oidc
    export PATCH=$(printf '{"data": {"REDIRECT_URL": "%s"}}' "$REDIRECT_URL")
    kubectl patch configmap/oidc-authservice-parameters -n istio-system -p="$PATCH"
  3. Restart the pod authservice-0:

    kubectl delete pod -l app=authservice -n istio-system

Then, visit https://<kubeflow-FQDN>/. The page should redirect you to AppID for authentication.


Expose the Kubeflow endpoint as a LoadBalancer

By default, the Kubeflow deployment on IBM Cloud only exposes the endpoint as NodePort 31380. If you want to expose the endpoint as a LoadBalancer, run:

kubectl patch svc istio-ingressgateway -n istio-system -p '{"spec": {"type": "LoadBalancer"}}'

Then, you can locate the LoadBalancer in the EXTERNAL_IP column when you run the following command:

kubectl get svc istio-ingressgateway -n istio-system

There is a small delay, usually ~5 mins, for above commands to take effect.

Authservice pod taking too long to restart

You might see the authservice-0 pod taking some time to restart. If that happens you can delete to pod which will kick off restart from kubernetes reconciler.

kubectl delete pod -l app=authservice -n istio-system


Was this page helpful?