Author: Jonathan Dobson (Red Hat)
CSI Inline Volumes were introduced as an alpha feature in Kubernetes 1.15 and have been beta since 1.16. We are happy to announce that this feature has graduated to General Availability (GA) status in Kubernetes 1.25.
CSI Inline Volumes are similar to other ephemeral volume types, such as
secret. The important difference is that the storage is provided by a CSI driver, which allows the use of ephemeral storage provided by third-party vendors. The volume is defined as part of the pod spec and follows the lifecycle of the pod, meaning the volume is created once the pod is scheduled and destroyed when the pod is destroyed.
There are a couple of new bug fixes related to this feature in 1.25, and the CSIInlineVolume feature gate has been locked to
True with the graduation to GA. There are no new API changes, so users of this feature during beta should not notice any significant changes aside from these bug fixes.
- #89290 - CSI inline volumes should support fsGroup
- #79980 - CSI volume reconstruction does not work for ephemeral volumes
CSI inline volumes are meant for simple local volumes that should follow the lifecycle of the pod. They may be useful for providing secrets, configuration data, or other special-purpose storage to the pod from a CSI driver.
A CSI driver is not suitable for inline use when:
- The volume needs to persist longer than the lifecycle of a pod
- Volume snapshots, cloning, or volume expansion are required
- The CSI driver requires
volumeAttributesthat should be restricted to an administrator
In order to use this feature, the
CSIDriver spec must explicitly list
Ephemeral as one of the supported
volumeLifecycleModes. Here is a simple example from the Secrets Store CSI Driver.
Any pod spec may then reference that CSI driver to create an inline volume, as in this example.
- name: my-frontend
- name: secrets-store-inline
command: ["sleep", "1000000"]
- name: secrets-store-inline
If the driver supports any volume attributes, you can provide these as part of the
spec for the Pod as well:
Two existing CSI drivers that support the
Ephemeral volume lifecycle mode are the Secrets Store CSI Driver and the Cert-Manager CSI Driver.
The Secrets Store CSI Driver allows users to mount secrets from external secret stores into a pod as an inline volume. This can be useful when the secrets are stored in an external managed service or Vault instance.
The Cert-Manager CSI Driver works along with cert-manager to seamlessly request and mount certificate key pairs into a pod. This allows the certificates to be renewed and updated in the application pod automatically.
Special consideration should be given to which CSI drivers may be used as inline volumes.
volumeAttributes are typically controlled through the
StorageClass, and may contain attributes that should remain restricted to the cluster administrator. Allowing a CSI driver to be used for inline ephmeral volumes means that any user with permission to create pods may also provide
volumeAttributes to the driver through a pod spec.
Cluster administrators may choose to omit (or remove)
volumeLifecycleModes in the CSIDriver spec to prevent the driver from being used as an inline ephemeral volume, or use an admission webhook to restrict how the driver is used.
For more information on this feature, see: