Integrating Avesha's KubeSlice with Dell PowerFlex for Multi-Cluster Connectivity

Integrating avesha kube slice.jpg
Ryan Wallner.jpeg
Ryan Wallner

Lead Developer Advocate, Dell

Rob Croteau
Rob Croteau

Director of Enablement, Avesha

8 November, 2023

10 min read



This blog is written as a joint effort between Ryan Wallner from Dell Technologies and Rob Croteau of Avesha.

In today's rapidly evolving tech landscape, the ability to seamlessly connect and manage multiple Kubernetes clusters is paramount. This is where Avesha's KubeSlice comes into play, offering a robust solution for multi-cluster connectivity. In our recent endeavors, we explored the integration of KubeSlice with Dell PowerFlex storage across multiple Kubernetes environments.  


Dell, with its forward-thinking approach, is keen on establishing a robust ecosystem around its Cloud Platforms such as its recent release of ACP for OpenShift. The goal of the project outlined in this blog post was to understand the value-add Avesha brings to the table in Kubernetes environments, especially in the context of ACP platforms and use cases. 

The Experiments 

In our quest to delve deep into the capabilities of multi-cluster connectivity, we've embarked on two distinct yet equally compelling experiments. The first experiment is set within the vast expanse of AWS (Amazon Web Services), where we aim to demonstrate multi-cluster connectivity across regions. This endeavor is amplified by harnessing the robust capabilities of Dell's PowerFlex platform, further enriched by the integrative strengths of Dell’s CSI (Container Storage Interface) and CSM (Container Storage Modules)

For our second experiment, we venture into a more diverse setup, bridging the world of Google's GKE cluster with an OpenShift cluster configured in a hybrid configuration. This experiment is not just about connectivity; it's about identity and access. By integrating Google's IDP and leveraging OpenShift's OIDC, we aim to showcase KubeSlice's prowess in RBAC controls and its ability to segment workloads and teams effectively. 

Experiment One: 

 In our first experiment with multi-cluster connectivity, the setup involving two OpenShift clusters on VMs in AWS, connected cross-region, stood out prominently. This configuration showcased the power of seamless inter-region communication without the need for traditional AWS networking adjustments, such as peering or STS gateways. Here's a detailed breakdown: 

AWS Cross-Region Connectivity: 

  • Detail: The two OpenShift clusters, each situated in a different AWS region, communicated effortlessly. This was achieved without making any intricate AWS network changes, highlighting the efficiency of the setup. At the heart of this seamless communication was a "Slice" from KubeSlice, a specialized construct designed to encapsulate and manage a segment of resources across multiple clusters, ensuring consistent and efficient multi-cluster operations. 
  • Impact: By bypassing the need for traditional AWS networking solutions like peering or STS gateways, businesses can achieve faster, more streamlined multi-cluster connectivity with kubernetes-native workflows, reducing both time and potential costs. 

The Connectivity Diagram:

Connecting Diagram.png

Unveiling the Power of KubeSlice Manager UI:

In the dynamic world of Kubernetes, the KubeSlice Manager UI stands out as a game-changer. Crafted for simplicity and efficiency, this interface streamlines the process of connecting multiple Kubernetes clusters. With just a few clicks, users can effortlessly link clusters and deploy slices across them. This ease of deployment empowers customers to strategically position their workloads in locations that best suit their operational needs. Beyond its connectivity prowess, the UI offers a comprehensive dashboard for monitoring, resource management, and advanced networking functionalities. By making complex tasks feel straightforward, the KubeSlice Manager UI ensures that users can fully leverage the versatility of Kubernetes without the usual intricacies. 

Kubeslice Manager(UI).png

Creating and Configuring a Slice

Using the KubeSlice Manager UI, users can seamlessly create an application slice and onboard namespaces.  

Slice Creation: 


image (1).png

Add namespace to Slice: 


Upon adding the namespace(s) you can configure namespace sameness which ensures consistent naming and configuration across multiple clusters for unified management. 

Configure Namespace.png

Deployment of the Web and Postgres applications:

Then, with the kubectl command, you can deploy the application onto the slice. In this case, the application is a Postgres Database using a PowerFlex volume storage class and a NodeJS web front end to interact with the database. 


Configure the Service Export:

Once a service export is created, KubeSlice automatically imports the service into all connected clusters within that slice. 

Testing the multi-cluster connectivity:

Using iperf on Kubernetes provides a tool to measure network bandwidth performance between pods, helping diagnose connectivity and speed issues within the cluster.  Iperf is set up with a server pod on one cluster and a sleep pod on another. The diagrams below illustrate the status of iperf. They also depict the process of accessing the sleep pod and initiating a connection to the server pod using the slice's DNS name to test communication. 

Quality of Service(QoS):

KubeSlice's Quality of Service (QoS) rate limiting feature stands as a testament to its advanced capabilities in ensuring consistent and optimal service delivery. This feature allows administrators to set specific bandwidth limits for different services or workloads, ensuring that no single service monopolizes the network resources. By dynamically allocating bandwidth based on predefined rules, KubeSlice ensures that critical services receive the necessary resources they need, even during peak times. This not only guarantees smooth and uninterrupted service delivery but also provides a mechanism to prevent network congestion, ensuring that all services within the cluster operate at their peak efficiency. 

In the displayed iperf test screenshot above, one can observe the bandwidth fluctuating between 93 and 209 Mbits/sec, ultimately settling at 134 Mbits/sec. 

To further explore KubeSlice's capabilities, we'll introduce a constraint. We'll set a high watermark of 20 Mbits/sec on the slice and initiate the test once more. To achieve this, we'll modify the slice settings, adjusting the QoS profile to cap the bandwidth at 20 Mbits/sec. 

Upon executing the Iperf test again, we'll closely monitor the traffic behavior:

From the results of our tests the bandwidth has been limited to 20 Mbits/sec, it's evident that KubeSlice's QoS rate limiting feature offers precise control over bandwidth, ensuring that resources are utilized optimally. This level of granularity not only guarantees consistent performance but also underscores the platform's adaptability and efficiency in diverse scenarios.

AWS Cross-Region Connectivity Conclusion:

In our AWS multi-cluster communication test, the seamless integration and performance were evident. By leveraging platforms like Dell PowerFlex storage in tandem with Kubernetes, and harnessing the capabilities of Dell's CSI and CSM integrations, we were able to achieve optimal storage and networking efficiencies. KubeSlice was the catalyst in the configuration, effortlessly bridging the clusters and illuminating the dynamic capabilities of multi-cluster deployments.  

Experiment Two:

In our quest to explore the capabilities of multi-cluster Kubernetes deployments, we embarked on a unique experiment that brought together the strengths of Google Cloud's GKE and an on-premise OpenShift cluster. This experiment was not just about connectivity; it was about showcasing the power of integration, resource management, security, and team segregation in a hybrid environment. Here's a deep dive into our findings: 

Google GKE Cluster: 

  • Role: This cluster played a dual role, serving as both a controller and a worker. 
  • Configuration: Nestled within Google Cloud, the GKE cluster tapped into Google's state-of-the-art infrastructure, ensuring seamless orchestration and management of containerized applications. 
  • Connectivity: The GKE cluster was adeptly configured to establish a smooth communication channel with the on-premise OpenShift cluster. This seamless connection was made possible by KubeSlice's sophisticated networking capabilities, guaranteeing low-latency and fortified data transfers. 

OpenShift Cluster: 

  • Role: Situated in the datacenter, this cluster functioned as a counterpart to the GKE cluster, running on dedicated virtual machines. 
  • Configuration Hosted within the secure confines of the datacenter, the OpenShift cluster leveraged the robustness of enterprise-grade features, ensuring optimal performance and reliability. 
  • Integration with GKE: The OpenShift cluster was intricately woven with the GKE cluster, creating a unified environment. This harmonized setup allowed applications to be deployed, managed, and scaled across the two clusters, blurring the lines between cloud and on-premise deployments. 

Experiment Highlights: Delving into Multi-Cluster Synergy 

 1. Multi-Cluster Connectivity: 

  • Detail At the heart of KubeSlice is its unparalleled capability to weave together diverse environments, be it within a single cloud provider, spanning multiple providers, or bridging on-premise setups with cloud platforms. In our hybrid scenario, it effortlessly connected Google Cloud's GKE with an on-premise OpenShift cluster, making them operate in harmony. 
  • Impact: Such fluid integration not only speeds up deployments but also streamlines management processes, amplifying the agility and efficiency of the entire infrastructure. 

2.  Workload Resource Management: 

  • Detail: KubeSlice offers intelligent resource allocation, ensuring that each cluster receives the resources it needs based on the workload. This dynamic allocation prevents resource wastage and ensures that applications run smoothly. 
  • Impact: Businesses can achieve cost savings and ensure that their applications are always performing at their peak. 


KubeSlice's resource management empowers users to allocate and monitor resources at the slice level, ensuring optimal performance and efficient utilization across multi-cluster deployments. 

 4.Network Policies: 

  • Detail: With KubeSlice, defining and implementing network policies is a breeze. These policies dictate how pods communicate with each other and with external entities, ensuring data security and compliance. 
  • Impact: Businesses can have peace of mind knowing that their data traffic is secure and adheres to best practices. 


KubeSlice's network policy isolation ensures granular control over pod communication, enhancing security and data integrity within multi-cluster environments. 

 6.Integration with Google's IDP: 

  • Detail: KubeSlice's integration capabilities were showcased when it was seamlessly integrated with Google's Identity Provider (IDP). This integration allowed for OpenID Connect (OIDC) authentication, streamlining user management. 
  • Impact: With OIDC integration, businesses can centralize user management, enhance security, and simplify access control. 


OpenShift's OAuth configuration offers versatile authentication options; while we opted for Google IDP in our setup, it seamlessly supports a wide range of other identity providers for flexible integration. 

7. Team Segregation: 

  • Detail: Leveraging the power of OIDC, RBAC, and KubeSlice's native features, we demonstrated the ability to segregate teams based on their roles and responsibilities. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) played a pivotal role in this, allowing us to define specific permissions for each team or even individual members. These permissions, combined with KubeSlice's slicing capabilities, ensured that teams or members were assigned to specific slices, granting them access only to relevant resources. 
  • Impact: This level of granularity in access control, powered by RBAC, not only enhances security but also ensures compliance. It fosters a more organized, efficient, and role-centric working environment, where each member knows their scope and boundaries. 

Configuration :

KubeSlice offers a seamless process for role creation, allowing not only the definition of new roles but also the import of pre-existing ones, ensuring flexibility and continuity in multi-cluster environments.

Role Creation:  dell-deployment-role

KubeSlice streamlines role assignment, ensuring that users and teams are granted precise permissions tailored to their responsibilities within the multi-cluster environment. 


Dell Role Assignment:  User has a role assignment added. 

Engineering Role Assignment:  User has NOT been added.  

Slice Namespace Assignments:  


KubeSlice facilitates namespace assignment, maintaining namespace sameness across clusters, ensuring consistency and simplifying multi-cluster management.  


Dell Slice:  dell-dev-space  

Configured with namespace sameness across both clusters.  

Engineering Slice:  engineering  

Configured with namespace sameness across both clusters. 

Team Segregation Testing:   

Logged in as user  This user only is assigned a role to access the dell slice with the dell-dev-space configured.   

Attempting to list pod resources in the “default” namespace of the cluster:

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n default  
Error from server (Forbidden): pods is forbidden: User 
"" cannot list resource "pods" in API 
group "" in the namespace "default"  

Result:  Action Forbidden    

Attempting to list pod resources in the “engineering” namespace of the cluster on the engineering slice:  

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n engineering  
Error from server (Forbidden): pods is forbidden: 
User "" cannot list resource "pods" in API 
group "" in the namespace "engineering"

Result:  Action Forbidden    

Attempting to list pod resources in the “dell-dev-space” namespace of the cluster on the dell slice:  

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space  
nginx   2/2     Running   0          5m1s  

Result:  Action Permitted  

Attempting to delete a pod resources in the “dell-dev-space” namespace of the cluster on the dell slice:  

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k delete pod nginx -n dell-dev-space  
pod "nginx" deleted  
Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space          
No resources found in dell-dev-space namespace.  

Result:  Action Permitted  

Attempting to create a pod resources in the “dell-dev-space” namespace of the cluster on the dell slice:  

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space          
No resources found in dell-dev-space namespace.  
Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % kubectl run nginx --image=nginx -n dell-dev-space  
pod/nginx created  
Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space                       
nginx   0/2     Init:0/1   0          5s  
Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space  
nginx   0/2     Init:0/1   0          8s  
Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % k get pods -n dell-dev-space  
nginx   2/2     Running   0          15s  

Result:  Action Permitted  

 Attempting to create a pod resource in the “engineering” namespace of the cluster on the engineering slice:  

Roberts-MacBook-Pro-2 .kube % kubectl run nginx --image=nginx -n \
Error from server (Forbidden): pods is forbidden: User 
"" cannot create resource "pods" in API 
group "" in the namespace "engineering"  

Result:  Action Forbidden  

In concluding our hybrid experiment, it's evident that KubeSlice's capabilities, when combined with the strengths of both Google Cloud's GKE and an on-premise OpenShift cluster, offer a transformative approach to multi-cluster management. This synergy not only streamlines operations but also paves the way for innovative deployment strategies, setting a new benchmark for hybrid Kubernetes deployments.  


In our comprehensive exploration spanning both the AWS and hybrid experiments, the collaboration between Avesha's KubeSlice and Dell PowerFlex storage stood out as a valued integration. These experiments highlighted the seamless integration capabilities of KubeSlice, further amplified by the robustness of Dell's CSI and CSM integrations. As businesses evolve and expand their multi-cluster strategies, the combined strengths of KubeSlice and Dell PowerFlex will undeniably be at the forefront, ensuring cohesive, secure, and efficient operations across varied deployment scenarios.