K3s is a certified lightweight Kubernetes distribution specifically tailored for IoT and Edge computing environments. It is optimized for unattended, resource-constrained, and remote locations or within IoT appliances. K3s is packaged as a compact binary of less than 70MB, streamlining the installation, operation, and automatic updates of a production Kubernetes cluster.
This distribution supports both ARM64 and ARMv7 architectures, offering binaries and multiarch images for compatibility across various hardware, from small-scale devices like Raspberry Pi to more substantial servers such as AWS a1.4xlarge with 32GiB of memory.
K3s combines several key technologies into a unified package, including Containerd, Flannel for Container Network Interface (CNI), CoreDNS, Metrics Server, Traefik for ingress, Klipper-lb as a service load balancer provider, Kube-router for network policy, Helm-controller for Custom Resource Definition (CRD)-driven Helm deployments, Kine as a datastore shim, Local-path-provisioner for local storage volume provisioning, and various host utilities like iptables/nftables, ebtables, ethtool, and socat.
Importantly, these technologies are flexible and can be customized or replaced to suit specific needs.
K3s further simplifies Kubernetes operations by managing TLS certificates for Kubernetes components, handling connections between worker and server nodes, and facilitating the real-time deployment of Kubernetes resources from local manifests. It also has a work-in-progress feature for managing an embedded etcd cluster.
Overall, K3s is a powerful, lightweight, and versatile Kubernetes distribution designed for the unique requirements of IoT and Edge computing, making it an excellent choice for these challenging environments.