📚 / Dockerized Supervision / HowTo: Write a Unit / Kubernetes Resource

Detailed explanation of a Unit resource

This tutorial explains the structure of a Unit resource. For more information, read this document.

Resource metadata


The current version for Unit resources is v1. New fields may be added in the future, but there is a guarantee that no fields will be removed.

apiVersion: kubirds.com/v1
kind: Unit

If fields were to be removed, a new version v2 would be provided.


Unit resources are scoped to a Kubernetes namespace.

  name: mycheck
  namespace: default

The name of the Tekton resources will be based on the Unit’s name and namespaces:

  • Pipelines: unit-$(namespace)-$(name)
  • PipelineRuns: unitrun-$(namespace)-$(name)


Labels are used by Reactor and Inhibitor resources to select the Unit resources they apply to.

Labels should provide non-specific information so Reactor and Inhibitor resources can be re-used with many Unit resources.


  # ...
    app: myapp
    reactor-name: some-reactor


  # ...
    notify-slack: "true"
    notify-sms: "true"
    output-format: "json"

Resource specification


The schedule is configured with a Recurence Rule.

If Kubirds fails to parse a human readable RRule, it will try to parse it as a standard RRule string:

  # ...
  schedule: every week for 30 times


  # ...

It should then be possible to generate Unit resources from a standard iCalender event.

NB: If your Kubernetes cluster reached its maximum number of pod, it may delay the scheduling of the pipeline’s pods.

Docker image configuration

The Docker image will be pulled by a Kubernetes pod. This means that the Docker registry from where the image is pulled should be accessible to your Kubernetes cluster.

  # ...
    name: myapp/mycheck:1.2.3
    pullPolicy: IfNotPresent
    command: /usr/local/bin/mycheck

The spec.image.pullPolicy determines when the image will be pulled:

  • Always: every time a pod is scheduled, the image will be pulled
  • IfNotPresent: the image will be pulled only if it is not already present in the Docker host’s cache
  • Never: the image will never be pulled and should be in the Docker host’s cache

While it’s technically possible, we do not recommend using Always as a pull policy:

  • Docker image tags are not immutable, the image may have changed between 2 pulls
  • it increases bandwith usage every time a unit is scheduled

If you want real immutability of your Docker images, we recommend you to use digests: image-name:tag@sha256:digest.

NB: The spec.image.command field is encapsulated in a script:

set -e


This means you can write more complex scripts within the Unit resource:

  # ...
    # ...
    command: |
      echo "Before"
      curl https://example.com
      echo "After"      

Although, it is best to keep the Kubernetes resources simple and encapsulate the command in a single script.


If not specified, Kubirds will use the Kubernetes Service Account default to run the pods.

You can configure an alternate Service Account per Unit:

  # ...
  serviceAccountName: my-svc-account

Pull Secrets for private Docker registries must be added to the Service Account directly.


By default, Kubirds will keep only the last PipelineRun resource for a Unit and delete the older ones.

This behaviour can be configured per Unit resources:

  # ...
  history: 10

NB: Any number less than 1 will be ignored and the default behaviour will apply.

Try to keep this number reasonably low, too many resources may congest the Kubernetes API Server.

During the test phase of the operator, we tried to disable the history. After a few weeks, we had accumulated more than 12 000 PipelineRun resources. Every time the operator tried to list the resources, the Kubernetes master node tried to load gigabytes of data into memory and ended up crashing, making the whole cluster unreachable.

Configuring the environment

Each Unit resource can specify the environment variables to use, just like you would do with a Kubernetes Pod:

  # ...
    - name: FOO
      value: bar
    - name: DATABASE_URL
          name: my-secret
          key: DATABASE_URL
    - configMapRef:
        name: my-configmap

Credentials should be stored inside Secret resources.

If the number of environment variables starts to grow, you might want to consider storing them in a ConfigMap to reduce the complexity of your Unit.

Mounting files

Kubernetes ConfigMap and Secret resources can also be used to mount files inside the pod to be used by your Unit:

  # ...
    - name: templates
      mountPath: /templates
        name: my-templates
    - name: secret-data
      mountPath: /secret
        name: my-secret-files

The spec.volumes[].name property must be unique for all your volumes in this Unit.

The spec.volumes[].mountPath property specifies where inside the container your files will be mounted.

Persistent data

You can use Kubernetes Persistent Volumes in order to persist data between 2 executions of your Unit:

  # ...
    - name: workspace
      mountPath: /workspace
      hostPath: /path/on/host/node

Resource status

This part is filled by the Kubirds operator and should not be modified by the user.

Admission status

When you create or modify a Unit, the operator will ensure that it is valid.

Errors (if any) will be specified in those fields:

  # ...
  phase: Accepted
  failureReasons: []

If a new resource is Rejected, Kubirds will ignore it and not schedule it.

If an existing resource becomes Rejected after a modification, Kubirds will stop scheduling it.

Only Accepted resources will be scheduled.

Last state

After each Unit execution, Kubirds will update those fields with the result of the execution:

  # ...
  lastState: Succeeded
  lastStateSeen: "2022-01-01T09:00:00Z"


Kubirds will maintain status conditions on each Unit:

    - lastTransitionTime: "2022-01-01T09:00:00Z"
      status: "True"
      type: Completed
    - lastTransitionTime: "2022-01-01T09:00:00Z"
      status: "False"
      type: Pending

This can be used with the kubectl command to wait:

$ kubectl wait \
    --for=condition=Pending \
    --timeout=120s \
    unit/mycheck \
    -n default

$ kubectl wait \
    --for=condition=Completed \
    --timeout=120s \
    unit/mycheck \
    -n default