Ben Bergstein

Intro to Kubernetes Deployment on DigitalOcean

June 08, 2020

Reading my posts, it doesn’t take long to see that I use Docker constantly. One area where Docker’s benefits are undeniable are in combination with Kubernetes. According to []:

Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.

Kubernetes is nearly synonymous with both service-oriented architecture and the Infrastucture-as-Code pattern. These patterns really go hand-in-hand. Service-oriented architecture means dozens (if not more) small, domain-driven applications. Orchestrating the deployment and scale of these services is simplified by representing their infrastructure in a version-control system like git (“Infrastructure-as-Code”).

In the past, infrastructure changes meant running specific and intricate commands, or wrangling with complicated management interfaces. In the world of Infrastructure-as-Code, scaling, modifying and healing your infrastructure becomes a matter of fiddling with YAML or JSON files. Not only does this leave


Step 1 – Prerequisites

Sign up for a DigitalOcean account

Before starting, you need to sign up for a DigitalOcean (DO) account and add a payment method. In this tutorial, we will create a Kubernetes cluster with a single node, which is equivalent to a single Droplet (“Droplets” are the DO equivalent to AWS EC2 instances). As long as you complete the cleanup, this tutorial should cost less than $1.

Set up DigitalOcean CLI (doctl)

Install doctl

Before getting started, you need to set up doctl. You can find installation instructions here.

On macOS, you can use brew:

brew install doctl

Authenticate doctl

In order for the doctl tool to manage resources in your DO account, you need to authorize it using an API key.

Create a “Personal account token” on the “API” page of the DO dashboard, or click here.

Create token personal account token



Copy the token once created, then run:

$ doctl auth init
DigitalOcean access token: token-above
Validating token: OK

Create DO project

Now that doctl is installed and configured, we can create a project to contain resources we will create.

To create a project, run the following command:

doctl projects create --name kubernetes-deploy --purpose "deploy kubernetes"

Clone kubernetes-deploy repository

Now that doctl is set up, let’s clone the kubernetes-deploy repo, which contains commands and templates used for creating Kubernetes resources:

$ git clone
$ cd kubernetes-deploy

Set up kubectl

We also need to install the kubectl command. Find installation instructions here.

Once again, if you are using macOS, you can simply use brew:

brew install kubectl

Test that kubectl has successfully installed by running:

$ kubectl version –client
Client Version: version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"18", GitVersion:"v1.18.3", GitCommit:"2e7996e3e2712684bc73f0dec0200d64eec7fe40", GitTreeState:"clean", BuildDate:"2020-05-20T12:52:00Z", GoVersion:"go1.13.9", Compiler:"gc", Platform:"linux/amd64"}

Now we are ready to get started with our Kubernetes cluster!

Step 2 – Create Kubernetes Cluster

The kubernetes-deploy repository cloned earlier includes make targets for the rest of the tutorial. To create the cluster, simply run:

$ CLUSTER_NAME=example-cluster make -C cluster deploy
doctl k8s cluster create example-cluster \
        --auto-upgrade \
        --count 1 \
Notice: Cluster is provisioning, waiting for cluster to be running

Then wait for the cluster to become available.

Step 3 – Deploy Dummy Application to Kubernetes Cluster

Deploying the dummy application is achieved by invoking a make target as well:

$ PROJECT=example make -C deployments deploy

Now, wait for the load balancer to become available, at which point it will have a public IP address:

$ kubectl get services
NAME                    TYPE           CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP       PORT(S)        AGE
example-production-lb   LoadBalancer   10.XXX.XXX.XX 80:30002/TCP   3m49s
kubernetes              ClusterIP      10.XXX.XXX.XX      <none>            443/TCP        13m

Navigate to that IP address ( in this case) in a web browser:


The hashicorp/http-echo image is now running within the Kubernetes cluster.

If you want to dive into the YAML templates that launch the Kubernetes LoadBalancer and Pod, take a look at deployment/example/production.yml:


apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: "example-production"
  namespace: default
  replicas: 1
      example-production: web
        example-production: web
      - name: "example-production-container"
        image: "hashicorp/http-echo"
        args: ["-listen=:8080", "-text=hello world"]
      - name: regcred
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: "example-production-lb"
    example-production: web
  type: LoadBalancer
    - port: 80
      targetPort: 8080

Step 4 – Cleanup

Cleanup is again a matter of running a few make targets:

# Destroy the LoadBalancer and Pod
PROJECT=example make -C deployment destroy
# Destroy the cluster
CLUSTER_NAME=example-cluster make -C cluster destroy

Step 5 – Deploy your own application!

Now that you have the ability to create a Kubernetes cluster on DigitalOcean infrastructure, and deploy a dockerized application to that cluster, the sky’s the limit 💫!

To deploy your application, simply duplicate the deployment/example directory, modify the template to use your docker image and command. Then follow the directions in Step 3 to deploy your application. You will need to dockerize your project.


In the above guide, we deployed a single pod of a dummy application to a single-node cluster on DigitalOcean. Kubernetes is capable of managing thousands of nodes and dozens of applications, so I hope this helps you take the first steps of playing with Kubernetes, demystifying it a bit.

© 2020 - 2021 Benjamin Bergstein