Deploying the Renku platform

This guide will help you deploying and customizing your own Renku instance in a cluster.

Cluster requirements

To deploy Renku in a cluster, you need to have the following prerequisites:

Optionally, you can choose to manage your own instances of the following:

Pre-deployment steps

1. (Optional) Stand-alone configurations

2. Create and configure Renku PVs and PVCs

All of Renku information is stored in three volumes needed by Jena, Postgresql and GitLab (if not stand-alone). To this end, persistent volumes and persistent volume claims need to be created. You can use the following yaml files as a base to execute the kubectl commands below.

$ kubectl create -f renku-pv.yaml
$ kubectl create ns renku
$ kubectl -n renku create -f renku-pvc.yaml

Ensure that PVs are added correctly and have the appropriate storage class.

3. Create a renku-values.yaml file

This step is very important as it will define the values that helm will use to install your Renku instance.

You can find a basic configuration file in: Renku values file

Ensure the following has been taken care of before deploying Renku:

  • variables_switchboard section has URLs and DNS names that correspond to your configuration
  • credentials section has correctly populated values. Please see the comments in the renku-values file for more information.
  • check the resources.requests.memory value makes sense
  • lfsObjects & registry require to setup your S3 back-ends, so you need to have that configuration handy and in place

Deploying Renku

1. (Optional) Step for stand-alone GitLab

To be able to support notebooks in private projects we need to insert the GitLab admin token as a secret so that docker can download the corresponding private images from the registry.

$ kubectl -n renku create secret docker-registry renku-notebooks-registry \\
--docker-server=<registryURL>:<port> --docker-username=root \\
--docker-password=<gitlabSudoToken> --docker-email=root@renku-mydomain

2. (Optional) Certificates

If you chose to create a certificate manually instead of using LetsEncrypt or similar, you can create the TLS secret with the following command:

$ kubectl -n renku create secret tls renku-mydomain-ch-tls --cert=certificate.crt --key=certificate.key

Note that renku-mydomain-ch-tls should correspond to the ingress TLS value in Renku values file

3. Deploy renku

Once all the pieces are in place, you can deploy Renku with the following commands:

$ helm init
$ helm repo add renku
$ helm upgrade --install renku renku/renku \
 --namespace renku \
 --version <renku-version> \
 -f renku-values.yaml \
 --timeout 1800

During deployment you can check the Renku pods being started.

4. Post deployment configuration

After Renku has been deployed you can make some post deployment configurations. For instance, make a user admin on GitLab.

  1. turn off automatic redirect to GitLab by setting redeploying with the value gitlab.oauth.autoSignIn: false
  2. log in as the root user using the password from gitlab.password
  3. modify any users you want to modify (e.g. to make them admin)
  4. turn the automatic redirect back on

5. (Optional) Notebooks for anonymous users

Logged-out users can be given the permission to launch interactive sessions from public notebooks. This feature is turned off by default. For details on how to enable this feature, see the dedicated section.

Verifying Renku

Check list:

  • After a while (around 5 minutes) Renku pods should be all running.
  • Verify logs of pods and check there are no errors.
  • Perform a quick check: 1. go to your Renku instance domain 2. login with a valid user 3. create a project 4. launch a notebook
  • You should be now able to follow “First steps”


If some Renku pods are not starting or present some errors please check the troubleshooting page.