IBM is deploying the open-source software Kubernetes to manage container-based applications in the Bluemix environment. This article follows on from the first article in this series, and describes how to build and deploy a basic IBM Integration Bus (IIB) node in a Bluemix environment, using Kubernetes as a management tool for the IIB containers.

There is already a large and extensive set of Kubernetes documentation available. This article provides a basic implementation of IIB using Kubernetes, so if you are not familiar with Kubernetes, we recommend you review some of the many available articles. A good starting point would be the Bluemix Container Service website, at, and specifically the paragraph “Tutorials for clusters” will be helpful.

Schematic for this article

This document describes the basic minimum set of tasks to configure a Kubernetes cluster to allow an IIB integration node to run. The schematic below shows the main components that will be used and built in this article.

This article was generated on a Linux ubuntu system, so some of the commands will reflect this environment.

Linux commands are shown in italics, like this: cd /home/iibadmin.

Install the pre-requisite components on the ubuntu system

The ubuntu system that will be used to define and configure the Kubernetes and Container Registry require some software components to be available, as follows. Run the following commands in a Linux terminal:

  • Install curl. You may already have this installed, but if not:
    sudo apt-get install -y curl
  • In a browser, download the Bluemix CLI from current version for Linux is Bluemix_CLI_0.5.6_amd64.tar.gz
  • Unzip the downloaded Bluemix CLI installation file Bluemix_CLI_0.5.5_amd64.tar.gz.
    For this article, we unzipped into /home/iibadmin, creating the Bluemix_CLI directory.
  • In the Linux terminal, navigate to /Bluemix_CLI, and then install the Bluemix CLI:
    • cd Bluemix_CLI
    • sudo ./install_bluemix_cli
  • Install the Kubernetes CLI (required to deploy apps to Kubernetes and run the local Kubernetes dashboard proxy). This is described for all platforms on this page:, but for the Linux ubuntu system that we used for this article, all you need to do is run these commands:
    • curl -LO$(curl -s
    • chmod +x ./kubectl
    • sudo mv ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl
  • Confirm the Kubernetes installation:
    kubectl version
    At the time of writing this article, the Kubernetes CLI was at version 1.7.3
  • Install Bluemix Container Service plugin. Run the command:
    bx plugin install container-service -r Bluemix
  • Confirm the Container Service plugin installation is OK:
    bx plugin show container-service
  • Install the Container Registry plugin. Run the command:
    bx plugin install container-registry -r Bluemix
  • Check the Bluemix Container Registry plugin is OK:
    bx plugin show container-registry
  • Check Bluemix plugins
    bx plugin list
    This will show your installed Bluemix plugins:

Define a Kubernetes Cluster

In this article, we have used the US-South region of Bluemix, so we will login to “”, and push docker images to “”. If you are going to use other Bluemix regions, for example UK, you will need to adjust the commands to reflect those regions (for example “”).

  • Login to Bluemix CLI:
    bx login -a – if you have a federated Bluemix ID, you have to include the -sso parameter, and obtain a one-time passcode, using this variation of the above command:
    bx login -sso -a

    Note the cursor does not move when you type the passcode, so be sure you type (or paste) correctly.

  • Login to the Container Registry:
    sudo bx cr loginNote – on my system, I required the “sudo” prefix, to ensure the correct local credentials were used for CR authentication.
  • Initialise the Bluemix Container Service plugin:
    bx cs init
  • Create a Kubernetes cluster (provide a suitable name; this example uses “iibcluster”):
    bx cs cluster-create –name iibcluster
  • Check the cluster has been created (this could take some time to complete – minimum 15 minutes, but possibly longer). This should show “normal” when fully available.bx cs clusters
  • Check the cluster workers for the new cluster:
    bx cs workers iibcluster
  • Get the cluster configuration details (required in order to set local configuration context):
    bx cs cluster-config iibclusterThis will respond with a generated EXPORT command.

    Copy this (highlight the entire EXPORT command, right-click, copy), and then paste into the command prompt. Then press return to execute. The EXPORT will have a format similar to this:
    export KUBECONFIG=/home/iibadmin/.bluemix/plugins/container-service/clusters/iibcluster/kube-config-hou02-iibcluster.yml
  • Confirm the KUBECONFIG variable has been set correctly:
    echo $KUBECONFIG
  • Start the kubectl web admin proxy. It’s a good idea to execute this proxy in a second Linux terminal (it performs a blocked wait in the terminal), so open a new terminal and run the following commands (the export can be copy/pasted from the previous step).
    export KUBECONFIG= . . . as aboveThen run the command:
    kubectl proxy

    Tip – if you get the message that port 8001 is in use elsewhere, switch to port 8002, with this command:

    kubectl proxy ––port=8002

    Point a local browser at localhost:8001/ui. You should see the Kubernetes dashboard pages.

Upload your IIB docker image to the Container Registry

The Kubernetes environment uses Docker containers to run your application. The use of IIB in Docker containers has been described elsewhere, so we will not cover this here. A good starting point for further background on the use of IIB in Docker containers is Geza Geleji’s excellent article: – if you get a “permission denied” response to these “bx cr” commands with the local config.json file, you may need to prefix the command with sudo.

  • Add a Container Registry namespace. This article will use the value “namespace”. Adjust each command as required.
    bx cr namespace-add namespace
  • Confirm (or retrieve) your Bluemix namespace:
    bx cr namespace-list
  • Obtain the IMAGE ID of your local docker image, by using this command:
    sudo docker images
  • Tag your local docker image with details of your Bluemix container registry. This article will use a local docker image called iib10009.
    • Set the value of “namespace” as required.
    • Set the Bluemix region to your own region (for example, replace “ng” with “eu-gb” … etc).
    • Set the value of “dockerImageID” to the ID of your own image (a68145644fc6 in the example show below).

    sudo docker tag dockerImageID

    Check it worked:
    sudo docker images

    You should see a new image, with the tag that you just specified.

  • Push the image to Bluemix (again, set “namespace” and Bluemix region to your own values):
    sudo docker push on your network bandwidth, this will take some time, typically 5-15 minutes. Future uploads of the docker images which contain incremental changes will be much quicker, due to the layered construction of docker images.
  • Check the uploaded docker images:
    bx cr images

Create a Kubernetes deployment and service for the IIB node

To run an IIB integration node in a basic Kubernetes cluster, you define a Kubernetes deployment and a Kubernetes service:

  • Create a Kubernetes deployment for the IIB node by running a command similar to this (the example below assumes your Docker container is expecting environment variables LICENSE and NODENAME):
    kubectl run iib10009-deployment
  • Create a Kubernetes service for the IIB webadmin port, 4414:
    kubectl expose deployment/iib10009-deployment
    In this example, for readability, we have named this service ib10node-svc-4414; this service only exposes port 4414 for IIB webadmin.

    Using this command, Kubernetes will generate a value for the external port (known as the NodePort) in the range 30000-32767 that maps to the IIB internal port of 4414.

  • Retrieve service details (ports):
    kubectl describe service ib10node-svc-4414The NodePort value is the external port on which the IIB web admin is available.
  • Get the Public IP address of your Kubernetes cluster:
    bx cs workers iibcluster
  • In a browser, connect to the IIB web admin with “PublicIP”:”NodePort”.
  • You can use the exposed web admin IP address and port to connect an Integration Toolkit or the Integration API to this IIB node, using the IIB facilities for connecting to remote nodes.
  • Finally, return to the Kubernetes dashboard. You can see details of the IIB deployment and service by clicking the appropriate links in the navigator. Clicking “ib10node-svc-4414” on the screen below will drill down to the service details.

Login to the bash shell of the IIB container

You can login directly to the command interface for the IIB node (ie. the bash shell for the Linux docker container). To do this, run the following commands in the Linux terminal:

  • Retrieve the Kubernetes pod ID of the IIB deployment:
    kubectl get pods
  • Run the “kubectl exec” command to open a bash shell:
    kubectl exec -it podID –– /bin/bash (where podID is the value of the NAME output of the above command – use copy/paste to get this value)
  • Now run your favourite IIB commands, for example:
    • cd /opt/ibm/iib- (adjust to your installation directory for IIB)
    • . ./mqsiprofile
    • mqsilist


This article has shown you how to define and configure a basic Kubernetes environment in the Bluemix system, how to upload a IIB docker image to the Container Registry, and use this image to start an IIB container, managed by Kubernetes. We used the basic Kubernetes command interface to define a deployment and a service, which allow IIB ports to be exposed and accessed by the IIB web admin browser and the integration toolkit.As you move to more sophisticated Kubernetes configurations, you would normally start to use file-based definitions for your deployments, services and other Kubernetes components. We plan to look at this, and the use of Helm charts, in future articles in this series.

11 comments on"IBM Integration Bus, Kubernetes and the Bluemix Container Service"

  1. these are the main 3 steps I used:

    1. Pulled the IIB image from bx registery using docker
    docker pull

    2. kubectl run iibv10-deployment – –env=”LICENSE=accept” –env=”NODENAME=IIB10NODE”

    3. kubectl expose deployment/iibv10-deployment –type=NodePort –port=4414 –target-port=4414 –name=iibservice

    After this I see logs of kubernetes dashboard.

    Here are some logs:

    2017-09-16T05:27:58.568144019Z Sourcing profile
    2017-09-16T05:27:58.606164291Z Set environment variable LICENSE=accept to indicate acceptance of license terms and conditions.
    2017-09-16T05:27:58.606216970Z License agreements and information can be viewed by running this image with the environment variable LICENSE=view. You can also set the LANG environment variable to view the license in a different language.

    I can see these logs in loop on the pod:

    1. Created container with docker id 9342a11d029a; Security:[seccomp=unconfined]
    2. Started container with docker id 9342a11d029a
    3. Back-off restarting failed docker container
    4. Error syncing pod, skipping: failed to “StartContainer” for “iib-deployment” with CrashLoopBackOff: “Back-off 10s restarting failed container=iib-deployment pod=iib-deployment-2933641920-tf90k_default(51395781-9a9e-11e7-836d-325b12a74bc6)”

    then logs 1,2,4 repeats…

  2. Whenever I run
    kubectl proxy
    I get “I0909 22:35:46.776846 94318 logs.go:41] http: proxy error: dial tcp [::1]:8080: getsockopt: connection refused” and proxy failed to start..
    Any particular reason you can think of…

    • David Hardcastle September 11, 2017

      Hi – not really I’m afraid… I haven’t seen problems like this with the Bluemix Kubernetes service, but i can’t speak for other K8S environments. Presumably you are able to issue other kubectl commands without problems. You could try using the non-default port for the proxy, although it looks like this is a more fundamental problems than simply ports. I might be inclined to reinstall the kubectl plugins ….

      • The problem I am facing is with kubectl run command.

        bash-3.2$ kubectl run iibv10image-deployment –
        Error from server (Forbidden): the server does not allow access to the requested resource (post deployments.extensions)

        Also, when I start the kubectl dashboard and open I get Forbidden: “/ui”

        Whereas shows this response.

        “kind”: “APIVersions”,
        “versions”: [
        “serverAddressByClientCIDRs”: [
        “clientCIDR”: “”,
        “serverAddress”: “”

        Here is my kubectl version

        bash-3.2$ kubectl version –short
        Client Version: v1.5.6
        Server Version: v1.5.6-4+abe34653415733

        • Did you follow the above step: Get the cluster configuration details (required in order to set local configuration context)? I get the same error as you when I forget this step.

          • There was some issue with my access to bluemix account, once I fixed that I get passed that error. Now I have followed and completed all steps. i am able to open kubectl proxy but I can’t get to web admin console of the broker.

            When I look at the k8s dashboard I get this error for the pod:

            Back-off restarting failed docker container
            Error syncing pod, skipping: failed to “StartContainer” for “iibv10-deployment” with CrashLoopBackOff: “Back-off 5m0s restarting failed container=iibv10-deployment pod=iibv10-deployment-1930939146-0zcgx_default(6c48b4d7-998e-11e7-99d7-6e8d2d79eadc)”

          • David Hardcastle September 15, 2017

            I’m speculating a bit here (from personal experience), but it’s possible you may not have included the environment variable LICENSE=accept in your Kubernetes deployment. To view the IIB logs in the Kubernetes admin tool, select Pods, and then the Log viewer (three line menu, on the right hand side). That should show you where the IIB node has reached in its startup.

          • Thanks David! I got stuck with the same error as Pankai and I did include the License environment variable, however I pasted the text from your example above and the quotation marks did not translate properly. Examining the logs as you suggested brought this to light and after typing them manually it worked fine. Strangely an earlier error I got was with the image name, that error too was sloved when I typed it manually… and there were no quatation marks in that, so lesson learned is do not copy paste from webpage in bash shell 🙂

          • Hi David, I now have IIB running in Bluemix as you describe so many thanks for this article! I have also created a REST client application in IIB to play with, and I have deployed this application on the Integration Node in Bluemix. But I do not know what IP-address and Port I should use to talk to the REST client. When testing on a local Integration Node on my laptop I can send a POST request to my REST client at http://localhost:7800/REST/getForecast When I use the remote/Bluemix IP address I use for the IIB web admin with PORT 7800 the request times out. When I read the documentation for the HTTP Input node ( then it states PORT 7800 is the default port for the embedded integration server listener, but I can change that by using the mqsichangeproperties command. However I do not know what port I should use and/or if I also have to expose that port in the container/kubernetes. I hope you can point me in the right direction!

          • Hi David, I was a bit quick with my question. Too many new things to learn… I just needed to expose port 7800 the same way as port 4414 as you explained in the article. So, you saved me once again!

    • I got it resolved..
      The problem was with the env variables while creating deployment. Somehow it was not getting properly set in YAML file when I add that to command line. I manually edit the yaml file and it worked.

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *