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Extending kube-linter To Build A Custom Template

Over the past few years, I have taken a keen interest in DevSecOps and software supply chain security in the Kubernetes space. One area that I have looked at from multiple tools is how to automate security practices and policies based on the resources being deployed. These investigations have led me to write multiple blogs on OPA [1] and Kyverno [2][3][4].

For this blog post, I will take a look at kube-linter and how a developer can write a custom template that will be used to check if a Route has TLS configured.

What Is kube-linter?

For those new to kube-linter, let’s firstly start off with a quick introduction and show an example.

So what is kube-linter? straight from the docs:

KubeLinter analyzes Kubernetes YAML files and Helm charts, and checks them against a variety of best practices, with a focus on production readiness and security.

KubeLinter runs sensible default checks, designed to give you useful information about your Kubernetes YAML files and Helm charts. This is to help teams check early and often for security misconfigurations and DevOps best practices. Some common examples of these include running containers as a non-root user, enforcing least privilege, and storing sensitive information only in secrets.

KubeLinter is configurable, so you can enable and disable checks, as well as create your own custom checks, depending on the policies you want to follow within your organization.

When a lint check fails, KubeLinter reports recommendations for how to resolve any potential issues and returns a non-zero exit code.

In simple terms; it’s a CLI tool that can be run against your Helm chart to validate if you are following well-defined best practices.

Let’s Give It A Little Play

Firstly, let’s install it. If a go install method is offered, I typically use it. But, if you haven’t got go installed and configured correctly there are a number of different options, such as a brew or docker.

The below presumes you’ve already installed go and configured $GOBIN as part of your $PATH correctly.

GO111MODULE=on go install golang.stackrox.io/kube-linter/cmd/kube-linter@0.2.6
kube-linter version

Now, let’s run an example that only runs the minimum-three-replicas check:

git clone https://github.com/garethahealy/kubelinter-extending-blog.git
cd kubelinter-extending-blog
kube-linter --config policy/kube-linter-config.yaml lint policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml

Which should show the below:

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) object has 1 replica but minimum required replicas is 3 (check: minimum-three-replicas, remediation: Increase be number of replicas in the deployment to at least three to increase the fault tolerancy of the deployment.)

Error: found 1 lint errors

Hopefully, from what kube-linter outputted you’ve worked out that the Deployment in our example only has .spec.replicas: 1 which if you want to run a highly available workload then this isn’t the best idea.

Since kube-linter comes with a variety of policies out of the box, we can run all the checks against our example:

kube-linter lint policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml

Which should show the below:

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) The container "bar" is using an invalid container image, "". Please use images that are not blocked by the `BlockList` criteria : [".*:(latest)$" "^[^:]*$" "(.*/[^:]+)$"] (check: latest-tag, remediation: Use a container image with a specific tag other than latest.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) object has no selector specified (check: mismatching-selector, remediation: Confirm that your deployment selector correctly matches the labels in its pod template.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" does not have a read-only root file system (check: no-read-only-root-fs, remediation: Set readOnlyRootFilesystem to true in the container securityContext.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" is not set to runAsNonRoot (check: run-as-non-root, remediation: Set runAsUser to a non-zero number and runAsNonRoot to true in your pod or container securityContext. Refer to https://kubernetes.io/docs/tasks/configure-pod-container/security-context/ for details.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" has cpu request 0 (check: unset-cpu-requirements, remediation: Set CPU requests and limits for your container based on its requirements. Refer to https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/#requests-and-limits for details.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" has cpu limit 0 (check: unset-cpu-requirements, remediation: Set CPU requests and limits for your container based on its requirements. Refer to https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/#requests-and-limits for details.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" has memory request 0 (check: unset-memory-requirements, remediation: Set memory requests and limits for your container based on its requirements. Refer to https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/#requests-and-limits for details.)

policy/pod-replicas-below-one/test_data/unit/list.yml: (object: <no namespace>/replicaisone apps/v1, Kind=Deployment) container "bar" has memory limit 0 (check: unset-memory-requirements, remediation: Set memory requests and limits for your container based on its requirements. Refer to https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/#requests-and-limits for details.)

Again, from the output we can see that we don’t have any requests or limits set, which again, could cause problems for the stability of the platform if the application starts to become overloaded or thrash the system and starve the kubelet process.

So What Are Checks And Templates? Huh?!

Currently, kube-linter supports two concepts. A check and a template.

  • check is an input to a template.
  • template is the parser that works on the resource to validate the check.

OK, but what does that look like in the real world? A check could be that you only want to allow a Role to be able to create certain resources, such as a Deployment. The template then looks at the specific Role and checks that the input (i.e.: the check) is not being violated.

Currently, all templates need to be written in go so developers who want to write policies for kube-linter need to follow a fork, commit, build and carry model. In the future, it is planned to allow users to write policies using other methods.

If you want to see what comes out of the box, you can simply run:

kube-linter checks list

And:

kube-linter templates list

Let’s Get Into The Coding!

In the intro, I said we’d extend kube-linter to support the OCP Route resource so that we could write a policy to check that TLS was configured. For those that just want to jump into the repository and have a dig around themselves, all the code is pushed to:

For those that are new to go or unsure of the kube-linter codebase, I’ll step through the changes to enable you to write your own policies.

So let’s get into it!

  1. As we are adding a new schema resource to kube-linter, we need to tell it how to parse the YAML of the Route. So let’s add the go package to the schema builder via commit/516bcf3c3d407177bd0f995d4b72fdf04b8bc65d.
  2. kube-linter makes use of object kind matcher functions that decides if the resource input matches what the template can work against. For our template, we’ll create an IngressLike matcher via commit/4335e829d570a81ef8a9069cd9a4a91077b9b772. Currently, it only supports a Route but in the future, it could be extended to support networking.k8s.io/v1/Ingress or if you are on the cutting edge, a gateway.networking.k8s.io/v1alpha2/Gateway.
  3. Now the meat of the policy; the template that implements the check. We need to create two objects, the params and the template via commit/112b7f2beb09714a1ce971ee894ec1f6b1e03307. Currently, we don’t have any parameters to pass into our template as our policy is binary; we have TLS defined or not. The template follows a standard pattern of implementing check.Template. The main body of code goes in the Instantiate parameter. As you can see from the WrapInstantiateFunc body, we:
    1. Retrieve the Route object.
    2. Check if TLS is null/nil and Termination is empty.
    3. Return message.
  4. OK, so that looks quite simple so far. But how do we know it works correctly? we write tests! The unit tests via commit/f662b2968d51a42163301083d0d8ba274879c41b check for matching and non-matching inputs, as we don’t want the policy firing incorrectly.
  5. We are now at the point of knowing our new template works correctly but if we were to compile the binary and attempt to run the template via kube-linter lint --include route-termination --do-not-auto-add-defaults route-termination.ymlkube-linter would complain it does not include a check called route-termination. There is some minor plumbing work required via commit/b811a542fba36a7d99ab24abfba6b3c8cc4cbb01 to let the CLI know if a user wants to run route-termination then it is for the template we have just written.
  6. Now the bulk of the code is done, we just need to write a simple BATS integration test to validate the end-to-end process and that if we provide a YAML file containing a Route without TLS defined, we get the expected error message back via commit/37d267cfaa7ea2b2c95e7ec85a88a86d26eb20cd.
  7. And finally, let’s build our new binary and execute the tests!
    1. make go-generated-srcs
    2. make test
    3. make e2e-test
    4. make e2e-bats

At this point, you’ve built a new template that has both unit and integration tests and is ready to be used within your DevSecOps pipelines.

What’s Next?

Have a policy that is not currently implemented by kube-linter that you think could be of benefit to the wider OCP/k8s community? get contributing!

Thanks For Reviewing

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