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13.2. Customizing nodes

Although directly making changes to OpenShift Container Platform nodes is discouraged, there are times when it is necessary to implement a required low-level security, networking, or performance feature. Direct changes to OpenShift Container Platform nodes can be done by:

  • Creating machine configs that are included in manifest files to start up a cluster during openshift-install.
  • Creating machine configs that are passed to running OpenShift Container Platform nodes via the Machine Config Operator.

The following sections describe features that you might want to configure on your nodes in this way.

13.2.1. Adding day-1 kernel arguments

Although it is often preferable to modify kernel arguments as a day-2 activity, you might want to add kernel arguments to all master or worker nodes during initial cluster installation. Here are some reasons you might want to add kernel arguments during cluster installation so they take effect before the systems first boot up:

  • You want to disable a feature, such as SELinux, so it has no impact on the systems when they first come up.
  • You need to do some low-level network configuration before the systems start.

To add kernel arguments to master or worker nodes, you can create a MachineConfig object and inject that object into the set of manifest files used by Ignition during cluster setup.

For a listing of arguments you can pass to a RHEL 8 kernel at boot time, see kernel parameters. It is best to only add kernel arguments with this procedure if they are needed to complete the initial OpenShift Container Platform installation.


  1. Generate the Kubernetes manifests for the cluster:

    $ ./openshift-install create manifests --dir=<installation_directory>
  2. Decide if you want to add kernel arguments to worker or master nodes.
  3. In the openshift directory, create a file (for example, 99-openshift-machineconfig-master-kargs.yaml) to define a MachineConfig object to add the kernel settings. This example adds a loglevel=7 kernel argument to master nodes:

    $ cat << EOF > 99-openshift-machineconfig-master-kargs.yaml
    kind: MachineConfig
      labels: master
      name: 99-openshift-machineconfig-master-kargs
        - 'loglevel=7'

    You can change master to worker to add kernel arguments to worker nodes instead. Create a separate YAML file to add to both master and worker nodes.

You can now continue on to create the cluster.