Understanding the Kubernetes Control Plane Cluster

Even though I’ve been working with Kubernetes for the better part of a year, I’ve only recently come across a helpful analogy for understanding the control plane cluster in a way that makes sense in every day (layperson) terms.

It’s the Shipping Analogy. Perhaps more pertinent today with all the shipping delays going on. Either way, let’s dive in.

Ship analogy

There are two main parts to a Kubernetes cluster. The master node and the worker nodes.

The master node is like the dock, which is responsible for all the management, logistics, communications and operations of everything. It’s the control center. It’s where the magic happens.

The worker nodes are like the “ships” that come into dock to receive and transport containers.

Control Plane Components

There are various aspects to a dock’s operations that allow it to run smoothly. Let’s think of the dock as the master node.


Moving on from the master node, let’s take a look at what runs on the worker nodes.