OKD Machine Roles

OKD assigns hosts different roles. These roles define the function of the machine within the cluster. The cluster contains definitions for the standard master and worker role types.

Cluster workers

In a Kubernetes cluster, the worker nodes are where the actual workloads requested by Kubernetes users run and are managed. The worker nodes advertise their capacity and the scheduler, which is part of the master services, determines on which nodes to start containers and pods. Important services run on each worker node, including CRI-O, which is the container engine, Kubelet, which is the service that accepts and fulfills requests for running and stopping container workloads, and a service proxy, which manages communication for pods across workers.

In OKD, machine sets control the worker machines. Machines with the worker role drive compute workloads that are governed by a specific machine pool that autoscales them. Because OKD has the capacity to support multiple machine types, the worker machines are classed as compute machines. In this release, the terms worker machine and compute machine are used interchangeably because the only default type of compute machine is the worker machine. In future versions of OKD, different types of compute machines, such as infrastructure machines, might be used by default.

Cluster masters

In a Kubernetes cluster, the master nodes run services that are required to control the Kubernetes cluster. In OKD, the master machines are the control plane. They contain more than just the Kubernetes services for managing the OKD cluster. Because all of the machines with the control plane role are master machines, the terms master and control plane are used interchangeably to describe them. Instead of being grouped into a machine set, master machines are defined by a series of standalone machine API resources. Extra controls apply to master machines to prevent you from deleting all master machines and breaking your cluster.

Services that fall under the Kubernetes category on the master include the Kubernetes API server, etcd, the Kubernetes controller manager, and the Kubernetes scheduler.

Component Description
Kubernetes API server The Kubernetes API server validates and configures the data for pods, services, and replication controllers. It also provides a focal point for the shared state of the cluster.
etcd etcd stores the persistent master state while other components watch etcd for changes to bring themselves into the specified state.
Kubernetes controller manager The Kubernetes controller manager watches etcd for changes to objects such as replication, namespace, and service account controller objects, and then uses the API to enforce the specified state. Several such processes create a cluster with one active leader at a time.
Kubernetes scheduler The Kubernetes scheduler watches for newly created pods without an assigned node and selects the best node to host the pod.


There are also OpenShift services that run on the control plane, which include the OpenShift API server, OpenShift controller manager, OpenShift OAuth API server, and OpenShift OAuth server.

Component Description
OpenShift API server The OpenShift API server validates and configures the data for OpenShift resources, such as projects, routes, and templates. The OpenShift API server is managed by the OpenShift API Server Operator.
OpenShift controller manager The OpenShift controller manager watches etcd for changes to OpenShift objects, such as project, route, and template controller objects, and then uses the API to enforce the specified state. The OpenShift controller manager is managed by the OpenShift Controller Manager Operator.
OpenShift OAuth API server The OpenShift OAuth API server validates and configures the data to authenticate to OpenShift Container Platform, such as users, groups, and OAuth tokens. The OpenShift OAuth API server is managed by the Cluster Authentication Operator.
OpenShift OAuth server Users request tokens from the OpenShift OAuth server to authenticate themselves to the API. The OpenShift OAuth server is managed by the Cluster Authentication Operator.


Some of these services on the master machines run as systemd services, while others run as static pods.

Systemd services are appropriate for services that you need to always come up on that particular system shortly after it starts. For master machines, those include sshd, which allows remote login. It also includes services such as:

  • The CRI-O container engine (crio), which runs and manages the containers. OKD 4 uses CRI-O instead of the Docker Container Engine.
  • Kubelet (kubelet), which accepts requests for managing containers on the machine from master services.

CRI-O and Kubelet must run directly on the host as systemd services because they need to be running before you can run other containers.

The installer-* and revision-pruner-* control plane pods must run with root permissions because they write to the /etc/kubernetes directory, which is owned by the root user. These pods are in the following namespaces:

  • openshift-etcd
  • openshift-kube-apiserver
  • openshift-kube-controller-manager
  • openshift-kube-scheduler
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