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Kubernetes Operator in teleport-cluster Helm chart

  • Available for:
  • OpenSource
  • Enterprise

This guide explains how to run the Teleport Kubernetes Operator alongside a Teleport cluster deployed via the teleport-cluster Helm chart.


If your Teleport cluster is not deployed using the teleport-cluster Helm chart (Teleport Cloud, manually deployed, deployed via Terraform, ...), you need to follow the standalone operator guide instead.


  • Kubernetes cluster (with or without teleport-cluster Helm chart already deployed);
  • Helm
  • kubectl

Validate Kubernetes connectivity by running the following command:

kubectl cluster-info

Kubernetes control plane is running at

CoreDNS is running at

Metrics-server is running at


Users wanting to experiment locally with the operator can use minikube to start a local Kubernetes cluster:

minikube start

Step 1/2. Install teleport-cluster Helm chart with the operator

Set up the Teleport Helm repository.

Allow Helm to install charts that are hosted in the Teleport Helm repository:

helm repo add teleport

Update the cache of charts from the remote repository so you can upgrade to all available releases:

helm repo update

Install the Helm chart for the Teleport Cluster with operator.enabled=true in the teleport-cluster namespace:

helm install teleport-cluster teleport/teleport-cluster \ --create-namespace --namespace teleport-cluster \ --set clusterName=teleport-cluster.teleport-cluster.svc.cluster.local \ --set operator.enabled=true \ --version 15.1.1

Create a namespace for your Teleport cluster resources:

kubectl create namespace teleport-cluster

The Teleport Auth Service reads a license file to authenticate your Teleport Enterprise account.

To obtain your license file, navigate to your Teleport account dashboard and log in. You can start at and enter your Teleport account name (e.g. my-company). After logging in you will see a "GENERATE LICENSE KEY" button, which will generate a new license file and allow you to download it.

Create a secret called "license" in the namespace you created:

kubectl -n teleport-cluster create secret generic license --from-file=license.pem

Deploy your Teleport cluster and the Teleport Kubernetes Operator:

helm install teleport-cluster teleport/teleport-cluster \ --namespace teleport-cluster \ --set enterprise=true \ --set clusterName=teleport-cluster.teleport-cluster.svc.cluster.local \ --set operator.enabled=true \ --version 15.1.1

This command installs the required Kubernetes CRDs and deploys the Teleport Kubernetes Operator next to the Teleport cluster. All resources (except CRDs, which are cluster-scoped) are created in the teleport-cluster namespace.

Step 2/2. Validate the cluster and operator are running and healthy

kubectl get deployments -n teleport-cluster

kubectl get pods -n teleport-cluster

Next steps

Follow the user and role IaC guide to use your newly deployed Teleport Kubernetes Operator to create Teleport users and grant them roles.

Helm Chart parameters are documented in the teleport-cluster Helm chart reference.

See the Helm Deployment guides detailing specific setups like running Teleport on AWS or GCP.


The CustomResources (CRs) are not reconciled

The Teleport Operator watches for new resources or changes in Kubernetes. When a change happens, it triggers the reconciliation loop. This loop is in charge of validating the resource, checking if it already exists in Teleport and making calls to the Teleport API to create/update/delete the resource. The reconciliation loop also adds a status field on the Kubernetes resource.

If an error happens and the reconciliation loop is not successful, an item in status.conditions will describe what went wrong. This allows users to diagnose errors by inspecting Kubernetes resources with kubectl:

kubectl describe teleportusers myuser

For example, if a user has been granted a nonexistent role the status will look like:

kind: TeleportUser
# [...]
  - lastTransitionTime: "2022-07-25T16:15:52Z"
    message: Teleport resource has the Kubernetes origin label.
    reason: OriginLabelMatching
    status: "True"
    type: TeleportResourceOwned
  - lastTransitionTime: "2022-07-25T17:08:58Z"
    message: 'Teleport returned the error: role my-non-existing-role is not found'
    reason: TeleportError
    status: "False"
    type: SuccessfullyReconciled

Here SuccessfullyReconciled is False and the error is role my-non-existing-role is not found.

If the status is not present or does not give sufficient information to solve the issue, check the operator logs:

The CR doesn't have a status

  1. Check if the CR is in the same namespace as the operator. The operator only watches for resource in its own namespace.

  2. Check if the operator pods are running and healthy:

    kubectl get pods -n "$OPERATOR_NAMESPACE"`
  3. Check the operator logs:


    In case of multi-replica deployments, only one operator instance is running the reconciliation loop. This operator is called the leader and is the only one producing reconciliation logs. The other operator instances are waiting with the following log:

    leaderelection.go:248] attempting to acquire leader lease teleport/

    To diagnose reconciliation issues, you will have to inspect all pods to find the one reconciling the resources.

I cannot delete the Kubernetes CR

The operator protects Kubernetes CRs from deletion with a finalizer. It will not allow the CR to be deleted until the Teleport resource is deleted as well, this is a safety to avoid leaving dangling resources and potentially grant unintentional access.

There might be some reasons causing Teleport to refuse a resource deletion, the most frequent one is if another resource depends on it. For example: you cannot delete a role if it is still assigned to a user.

If this happens, the operator will report the error sent by Teleport in its log.

To resolve this lock, you can either:

  • resolve the dependency issue so the resource gets successfully deleted in Teleport. In the role example, this would imply removing any mention of the role from the various users who had it.

  • patch the Kubernetes CR to remove the finalizers. This will tell Kubernetes to stop waiting for the operator deletion and remove the CR. If you do this, the CR will be removed but the Teleport resource will remain. The operator will never attempt to remove it again.

    For example, if the role is named my-role:

    kubectl patch TeleportRole my-role -p '{"metadata":{"finalizers":null}}' --type=merge