Development Guide


The following tools are required for contributing to the Karpenter project.

Package Version Install
go v1.15.3+ Instructions
kubectl brew install kubectl
helm brew install helm
Other tools make toolchain


Setup / Teardown

Based on how you are running your Kubernetes cluster, follow the Environment specific setup to configure your environment before you continue. Once you have your environment set up, to install Karpenter in the Kubernetes cluster specified in your ~/.kube/config run the following commands.

make apply # Install Karpenter
make delete # Uninstall Karpenter

Developer Loop

  • Make sure dependencies are installed
    • Run make codegen to make sure yaml manifests are generated
    • Run make toolchain to install cli tools for building and testing the project
  • You will need a personal development image repository (e.g. ECR)
    • Make sure you have valid credentials to your development repository.
    • $KO_DOCKER_REPO must point to your development repository
    • Your cluster must have permissions to read from the repository
  • If you created your cluster on version 1.19 or above, you may need to tag your subnets as mentioned here. This is a temporary problem with our subnet discovery system, and is being tracked here.

Build and Deploy

make dev                                  # build and test code
kubectl create namespace karpenter        # create target namespace for deployment
make apply                                # deploy local changes to cluster
CLOUD_PROVIDER=<YOUR_PROVIDER> make apply # deploy for your cloud provider


make test       # E2e correctness tests
make battletest # More rigorous tests run in CI environment

Verbose Logging

kubectl patch configmap config-logging -n karpenter --patch '{"data":{"loglevel.controller":"debug"}}'

Debugging Metrics


open http://localhost:8080/metrics && kubectl port-forward service/karpenter-metrics -n karpenter 8080


gio open http://localhost:8080/metrics && kubectl port-forward service/karpenter-metrics -n karpenter 8080

Environment specific setup


Set the CLOUD_PROVIDER environment variable to build cloud provider specific packages of Karpenter.


For local development on Karpenter you will need a Docker repo which can manage your images for Karpenter components. You can use the following command to provision an ECR repository.

aws ecr create-repository \
    --repository-name karpenter/controller \
    --image-scanning-configuration scanOnPush=true \
    --region ${AWS_DEFAULT_REGION}
aws ecr create-repository \
    --repository-name karpenter/webhook \
    --image-scanning-configuration scanOnPush=true \
    --region ${AWS_DEFAULT_REGION}

Once you have your ECR repository provisioned, configure your Docker daemon to authenticate with your newly created repository.

aws ecr get-login-password --region ${AWS_DEFAULT_REGION} | docker login --username AWS --password-stdin $KO_DOCKER_REPO