Pod Security#

Kubernetes defines three different Pod Security Standards, including privileged, baseline, and restricted, to broadly cover the security spectrum. The privileged standard allows users to do known privilege escalations, and thus it is not safe enough for security-critical applications.

This document describes how to configure RayCluster YAML file to apply restricted Pod security standard. The following references can help you understand this document better:


Please clone the KubeRay repository and checkout the master branch. This tutorial requires several files in the repository.

Step 1: Create a Kind cluster#

# Path: kuberay/
kind create cluster --config ray-operator/config/security/kind-config.yaml --image=kindest/node:v1.26.0

The kind-config.yaml enables audit logging with the audit policy defined in audit-policy.yaml. The audit-policy.yaml defines an auditing policy to listen to the Pod events in the namespace pod-security. With this policy, we can check whether our Pods violate the policies in restricted standard or not.

The feature Pod Security Admission is firstly introduced in Kubernetes v1.22 (alpha) and becomes stable in Kubernetes v1.25. In addition, KubeRay currently supports Kubernetes from v1.19 to v1.24. (At the time of writing, we have not tested KubeRay with Kubernetes v1.25). Hence, I use Kubernetes v1.24 in this step.

Step 2: Check the audit logs#

docker exec kind-control-plane cat /var/log/kubernetes/kube-apiserver-audit.log

The log should be empty because the namespace pod-security does not exist.

Step 3: Create the pod-security namespace#

kubectl create ns pod-security
kubectl label --overwrite ns pod-security \
  pod-security.kubernetes.io/warn=restricted \
  pod-security.kubernetes.io/warn-version=latest \
  pod-security.kubernetes.io/audit=restricted \
  pod-security.kubernetes.io/audit-version=latest \
  pod-security.kubernetes.io/enforce=restricted \

With the pod-security.kubernetes.io labels, the built-in Kubernetes Pod security admission controller will apply the restricted Pod security standard to all Pods in the namespace pod-security. The label pod-security.kubernetes.io/enforce=restricted means that the Pod will be rejected if it violate the policies defined in restricted security standard. See Pod Security Admission for more details about the labels.

Step 4: Install the KubeRay operator#

# Update the field securityContext in helm-chart/kuberay-operator/values.yaml
  allowPrivilegeEscalation: false
    drop: ["ALL"]
  runAsNonRoot: true
    type: RuntimeDefault

# Path: kuberay/helm-chart/kuberay-operator
helm install -n pod-security kuberay-operator .

Step 5: Create a RayCluster (Choose either Step 5.1 or Step 5.2)#

  • If you choose Step 5.1, no Pod will be created in the namespace pod-security.

  • If you choose Step 5.2, Pods can be created successfully.

Step 5.1: Create a RayCluster without proper securityContext configurations#

# Path: kuberay/ray-operator/config/samples
kubectl apply -n pod-security -f ray-cluster.complete.yaml

# Wait 20 seconds and check audit logs for the error messages.
docker exec kind-control-plane cat /var/log/kubernetes/kube-apiserver-audit.log

# Example error messagess
# "pods \"raycluster-complete-head-fkbf5\" is forbidden: violates PodSecurity \"restricted:latest\": allowPrivilegeEscalation != false (container \"ray-head\" must set securityContext.allowPrivilegeEscalation=false) ...

kubectl get pod -n pod-security
# NAME                               READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
# kuberay-operator-8b6d55dbb-t8msf   1/1     Running   0          62s

# Clean up the RayCluster
kubectl delete rayclusters.ray.io -n pod-security raycluster-complete
# raycluster.ray.io "raycluster-complete" deleted

No Pod will be created in the namespace pod-security, and check audit logs for error messages.

Step 5.2: Create a RayCluster with proper securityContext configurations#

# Path: kuberay/ray-operator/config/security
kubectl apply -n pod-security -f ray-cluster.pod-security.yaml

# Wait for the RayCluster convergence and check audit logs for the messages.
docker exec kind-control-plane cat /var/log/kubernetes/kube-apiserver-audit.log

# Forward the dashboard port
kubectl port-forward svc/raycluster-pod-security-head-svc -n pod-security 8265:8265

# Log in to the head Pod
kubectl exec -it -n pod-security ${YOUR_HEAD_POD} -- bash

# (Head Pod) Run a sample job in the Pod
python3 samples/xgboost_example.py

# Check the job status in the dashboard on your browser.
# => The job status should be "SUCCEEDED".

# (Head Pod) Make sure Python dependencies can be installed under `restricted` security standard 
pip3 install jsonpatch
echo $? # Check the exit code of `pip3 install jsonpatch`. It should be 0.

# Clean up the RayCluster
kubectl delete -n pod-security -f ray-cluster.pod-security.yaml
# raycluster.ray.io "raycluster-pod-security" deleted
# configmap "xgboost-example" deleted

One head Pod and one worker Pod will be created as specified in ray-cluster.pod-security.yaml. First, we log in to the head Pod, run a XGBoost example script, and check the job status in the dashboard. Next, we use pip to install a Python dependency (i.e. jsonpatch), and the exit code of the pip command should be 0.