This topic describes the key elements and concepts of a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid deployment.

Management Cluster

The management cluster is the first element that you deploy when you create a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instance. The management cluster is a Kubernetes cluster that performs the role of the primary management and operational center for the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instance. This is where Cluster API runs to create Tanzu Kubernetes clusters, and where you configure the shared and in-cluster services that the clusters use.

When you deploy a management cluster, networking with Calico is automatically enabled in the management cluster. The management cluster is purpose-built for operating the platform and managing the lifecycle of Tanzu Kubernetes clusters. As such, the management cluster should not be used as a general purpose compute environment for end-user workloads.

Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters

Tanzu Kubernetes clusters are the clusters that you deploy from the management cluster by using the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid CLI. Tanzu Kubernetes clusters can run different versions of Kubernetes, depending on the needs of the applications they run. You can manage the entire lifecycle of Tanzu Kubernetes clusters by using the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid CLI. Tanzu Kubernetes clusters implement Calico for pod-to-pod networking by default.

Tanzu Kubernetes Cluster Plans

A cluster plan is the blueprint that describes the configuration with which to deploy a Tanzu Kubernetes cluster. It provides a set of configurable values that describe settings like the number of control plane machines, worker machines, VM types, and so on.

This release of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid provides two default templates, dev and prod. If you have Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus support, you can engage with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus Customer Reliability Engineers, who can help you to develop your own custom plans by following the Cluster API provider specs.

Shared and In-Cluster Services

Shared and in-cluster services are services that run in the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instance, to provide authentication and authorization of Tanzu Kubernetes clusters, logging, and ingress control.

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Instance

A Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instance is a full deployment of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, including the management cluster, the deployed Tanzu Kubernetes clusters, and the shared and in-cluster services that you configure. You can operate many instances of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, for different environments, such as production, staging, and test; for different IaaS providers, such as vSphere and Amazon EC2; and for different failure domains, for example Datacenter-1, AWS us-east-2, or AWS us-west-2.

Bootstrap Environment

The bootstrap environment is the laptop, host, or server on which you download and run the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid CLI. This is where the initial bootstrapping of a management cluster occurs, before it is pushed to the platform where it will run.

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Installer

The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid installer is a graphical wizard that you start up by running the tkg init --ui command. The installer wizard runs locally on the bootstrap environment machine, and provides a user interface to guide you through the process of deploying a management cluster.

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