How to monitor Kubernetes control plane

By Carlos Arilla - NOVEMBER 10, 2020


The control plane is the brain and heart of Kubernetes. All of its components are key to the proper working and efficiency of the cluster. Monitor Kubernetes control plane is just as important as monitoring the status of the nodes or the applications running inside. It may be even more important, because an issue with the control plane will affect all of the applications and cause potential outages.

Kubernetes control plane explained

The main components of the control plane are:

Graph with the kubernetes control plane and where are they positioned on the Kubernetes control plane. Most of the components are in the master node, kube-proxy and kubelet are on every node, and all components use the API server to communicate.


All of the services running inside the cluster use this interface to communicate between each other. The entirety of user interaction is handled through the API server as well, since kubectl is a wrapper to send requests to the API.


Kubelet is the component that checks that the containers described by Pods are running in the nodes. Kubelet works in a declarative way by receiving PodSpecs and ensuring that the current state matches desired pods.


It stores your cluster desired state (e.g., pods, secrets, deployments, etc.), among other things. If this service isn’t running, you won’t be able to deploy anything and the cluster can’t self-heal.

Controller manager

Kube-controller-manager runs in master nodes and takes care of the different controller processes. These controllers watch the status of the different services deployed through the API and take corrective actions in case real and desired status don’t match.


Kube-proxy is an implementation of a network proxy and a load balancer, and is the link of each node with the api-server. It runs in each node of your cluster, and allows you to connect each pod from inside or outside of the cluster.


This service receives all of the name resolution requests in the cluster, and makes available the internal names for all the applications and services.

How to monitor Kubernetes control plane components

We have analyzed in several articles the different components in the control plane.

In them, you can find instructions to configure these services to offer Prometheus metrics. Additionally, they explain what values will help you detect issues, and contain some example PromQL alerts:


Monitoring Kubernetes control plane is essential to maintain your clusters in good condition. Detecting issues in the control plane will speed up your incident response, and will reduce outages in the applications running in the cluster.

Visit to find resources to easily monitor the Kubernetes control plane, including dashboard and alert templates that are ready to import into Sysdig Monitor and other monitoring tools.

You can also check out our Kubernetes Monitoring Guide. This comprehensive PDF guide is packed with explanations, best practices, and examples that you can use for reference.

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