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Version: 3.1


This topic explains how to install Portworx with Kubernetes on Anthos.


By default, Google includes Kernel version 5.15 from Anthos version 1.14 for vSphere. Therefore, upgrading to Anthos version 1.14 or newer can result in Kernel performance issues, leading to a drop in the sequential write operations. Avoid using this Anthos version and Kernel version until the issue is fixed. See the bug description for more information.


The following diagram gives an overview of the Portworx architecture on vSphere using shared datastores.

  • Portworx runs on each Kubernetes minion/worker.
  • Based on the given spec by the end user, Portworx on each node will create its disk on the configured shared datastores or datastore clusters.
  • Portworx will aggregate all of the disks and form a single storage cluster. End users can carve PVCs (Persistent Volume Claims), PVs (Persistent Volumes) and Snapshots from this storage cluster.
  • Portworx tracks and manages the disks that it creates. In a failure event, if a new VM spins up, Portworx on the new VM will be able to attach to the same disk that was previously created by the node on the failed VM.

Portworx architecture for PKS on vSphere using shared datastores or datastore clusters


Prepare your environment

Follow the instructions below to configure your environment before installing Portworx.

Step 1: vCenter user for Portworx

Provide Portworx with a vCenter server user that has the following minimum vSphere privileges using your vSphere console:

  • Datastore

    • Allocate space
    • Browse datastore
    • Low level file operations
    • Remove file
  • Host

    • Local operations
    • Reconfigure virtual machine
  • Virtual machine

    • Change Configuration

    • Add existing disk

    • Add new disk

    • Add or remove device

    • Advanced configuration

    • Change Settings

    • Extend virtual disk

    • Modify device settings

    • Remove disk

      If you create a custom role as above, make sure to select Propagate to children when assigning the user to the role.

      Why select Propagate to Children ?

      In vSphere, resources are organized hierarchically. By selecting "Propagate to Children," you ensure that the permissions granted to the custom role are automatically applied not just to the targeted object, but also to all objects within its sub-tree. This includes VMs, datastores, networks, and other resources nested under the selected resource.


All commands in the subsequent steps need to be run on a machine with kubectl access.

Step 2: Create a Kubernetes secret with your vCenter user and password

  1. Get VCenter user and password by running the following commands:

    • For VSPHERE_USER: echo '<vcenter-server-user>' | base64
    • For VSPHERE_PASSWORD: echo '<vcenter-server-password>' | base64

    Note the output of both commands for use in the next step.

  2. Update the following Kubernetes Secret template by using the values obtained in step 1 for VSPHERE_USER and VSPHERE_PASSWORD.

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    name: px-vsphere-secret
    namespace: <px-namespace>
    type: Opaque
  3. Apply the above spec to update the spec with your VCenter username and password:

    kubectl apply -f <updated-secret-template.yaml>

Step 3: Generate the specs

vSphere environment details

Export the following environment variables based on your vSphere environment. These variables will be used in a later step when generating the YAML spec.

# Hostname or IP of your vCenter server

# Prefix of your shared ESXi datastore(s) names. Portworx will use datastores who names match this prefix to create disks.
export VSPHERE_DATASTORE_PREFIX=mydatastore-

# Change this to the port number vSphere services are running on if you have changed the default port 443

Disk templates

A disk template defines the VMDK properties that Portworx will use as a reference for creating the actual disks out of which Portworx will create the virtual volumes for your PVCs.

The template adheres to the following format:

type=<vmdk type>,size=<size of the vmdk>
  • type: Supported types are thin, eagerzeroedthick, and lazyzeroedthick
  • size: This is the size of the VMDK in GiB

The following example will create a 150GB EagerZeroedThick VMDK on each VM:

export VSPHERE_DISK_TEMPLATE=type=eagerzeroedthick,size=150

Set max storage nodes

Anthos cluster management operations, such as upgrades, recycle cluster nodes by deleting and recreating them. During this process, the cluster momentarily scales up to more nodes than initially installed. For example, a 3-node cluster may increase to a 4-node cluster.

To prevent Portworx from creating storage on these additional nodes, you must cap the number of Portworx nodes that will act as storage nodes. You can do this by setting the MAX_NUMBER_OF_NODES_PER_ZONE environment variable according to the following requirements:

  • If your Anthos cluster does not have zones configured, this number should be your initial number of cluster nodes
  • If your Anthos cluster has zones configured, this number should be an initial number of cluster nodes per zone

In the command above, 3 is an example. Change this number to suit your cluster.

Install Portworx

Perform the following steps to install Portworx with Kubernetes on Anthos. Run the commands on this page from the Anthos admin station or any other machine which has kubectl access to your cluster.

Install the Portworx Operator

curl -fsL -o px-operator.yaml ""

Apply the Portworx Operator spec

kubectl apply -f px-operator.yaml

Set the Portworx version

Set an environment variable to the latest major version of Portworx:

export PXVER=<portworx-version>

Generate the spec file

Now generate the storage cluster spec with the following command:

curl -fsL -o px-spec.yaml "$PXVER?operator=true&mz=$MAX_NUMBER_OF_NODES_PER_ZONE&csida=true&c=portworx-demo-cluster&b=true&st=k8s&csi=true&vsp=true&ds=$VSPHERE_DATASTORE_PREFIX&vc=$VSPHERE_VCENTER&s=%22$VSPHERE_DISK_TEMPLATE%22&misc=-rt_opts%20kvdb_failover_timeout_in_mins=25,wait-before-retry-period-in-secs=360&ctl=true&b=true”

Apply specs

Apply the Operator and StorageCluster specs you generated in the section above using the kubectl apply command:

  1. Deploy the Operator:

    kubectl apply -f '<version-number>?comp=pxoperator'
    serviceaccount/portworx-operator created
    podsecuritypolicy.policy/px-operator created created created
    deployment.apps/portworx-operator created
  2. Deploy the StorageCluster:

    kubectl apply -f '<version-number>?operator=true&mc=false&kbver=&b=true&kd=type%3Dgp2%2Csize%3D150&s=%22type%3Dgp2%2Csize%3D150%22&c=px-cluster-XXXX-XXXX&eks=true&stork=true&csi=true&mon=true&tel=false&st=k8s&e==AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID%3XXXX%2CAWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY%3XXXX&promop=true' created
Monitor the Portworx pods
  1. Enter the following kubectl get command, waiting until all Portworx pods show as ready in the output:

    kubectl get pods -o wide -n kube-system -l name=portworx
  2. Enter the following kubectl describe command with the ID of one of your Portworx pods to show the current installation status for individual nodes:

    kubectl -n kube-system describe pods <portworx-pod-id>
    Type Reason Age From Message
    ---- ------ ---- ---- -------
    Normal Scheduled 7m57s default-scheduler Successfully assigned kube-system/portworx-qxtw4 to k8s-node-2
    Normal Pulling 7m55s kubelet, k8s-node-2 Pulling image "portworx/oci-monitor:2.5.0"
    Normal Pulled 7m54s kubelet, k8s-node-2 Successfully pulled image "portworx/oci-monitor:2.5.0"
    Normal Created 7m53s kubelet, k8s-node-2 Created container portworx
    Normal Started 7m51s kubelet, k8s-node-2 Started container portworx
    Normal PortworxMonitorImagePullInPrgress 7m48s portworx, k8s-node-2 Portworx image portworx/px-enterprise:2.5.0 pull and extraction in progress
    Warning NodeStateChange 5m26s portworx, k8s-node-2 Node is not in quorum. Waiting to connect to peer nodes on port 9002.
    Warning Unhealthy 5m15s (x15 over 7m35s) kubelet, k8s-node-2 Readiness probe failed: HTTP probe failed with statuscode: 503
    Normal NodeStartSuccess 5m7s portworx, k8s-node-2 PX is ready on this node

    In your output, the image pulled will differ based on your chosen Portworx license type and version.

Monitor the cluster status

Use the pxctl status command to display the status of your Portworx cluster:

PX_POD=$(kubectl get pods -l name=portworx -n kube-system -o jsonpath='{.items[0]}')
kubectl exec $PX_POD -n kube-system -- /opt/pwx/bin/pxctl status
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