It’s sometimes necessary to prepare a container running in a pod. For example, you might want to wait for a service being available, want to configure things at runtime, or init some data in a database. In all of these cases, init containers are useful. Note that Kubernetes will execute all init containers (and they must all exit successfully) before the main container(s) are executed.

So let’s create an deployment consisting of an init container that writes a message into a file at /ic/this and the main (long-running) container reading out this file, then:

kubectl apply -f

Now we can check the output of the main container:

kubectl get deploy,po
NAME                              DESIRED   CURRENT   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
deployment.extensions/ic-deploy   1         1         1            1           11m

NAME                            READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
pod/ic-deploy-bf75cbf87-8zmrb   1/1     Running   0          59s
kubectl logs ic-deploy-bf75cbf87-8zmrb -f

Send a break signal (Ctrl-C) when you’re ready to disconnect from the log stream:


Now we can cleanup after we are done as follows:

kubectl delete -f

If you want to learn more about init containers and related topics, check out the blog post Kubernetes: A Pod’s Life.

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