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Version: 2.3

First steps with MiniConstellation

With the constellation mini command, you can deploy and test Constellation locally without a cloud subscription. This mode is called MiniConstellation. Conceptually, MiniConstellation is similar to MicroK8s, K3s, and minikube.

MiniConstellation uses virtualization to create a local cluster with one control-plane node and one worker node. It doesn't require hardware with Confidential VM (CVM) support. For attestation, MiniConstellation currently uses a software-based vTPM provided by KVM/QEMU.


MiniConstellation has specific soft- and hardware requirements such as a Linux OS running on an x86-64 CPU. Pay attention to all prerequisites when setting up.


Since MiniConstellation runs on your local system, cloud features such as load balancing, attaching persistent storage, or autoscaling aren't available.


  • A Linux OS with the following components installed

  • Other system requirements

    • An x86-64 CPU with at least 4 cores (6 cores are recommended)

    • At least 4 GB RAM (6 GB are recommended)

    • 20 GB of free disk space

    • Hardware virtualization enabled in the BIOS/UEFI (often referred to as Intel VT-x or AMD-V/SVM)

    • iptables rules configured to not drop forwarded packages. If running the following command returns no error, please follow the troubleshooting guide:

      sudo iptables -S | grep -q -- '-P FORWARD DROP'

Create your cluster

The following creates your MiniConstellation cluster (may take up to 10 minutes to complete):

constellation mini up

This will configure your current directory as the workspace for this cluster. All constellation commands concerning this cluster need to be issued from this directory.

Connect kubectl

Configure kubectl to connect to your local Constellation cluster:

export KUBECONFIG="$PWD/constellation-admin.conf"

Your cluster initially consists of a single control-plane node:

$ kubectl get nodes
control-plane-0 Ready control-plane 66s v1.24.6

A worker node will request to join the cluster shortly. Before the new worker node is allowed to join the cluster, its state is verified using remote attestation by the JoinService. If verification passes successfully, the new node receives keys and certificates to join the cluster.

You can follow this process by viewing the logs of the JoinService:

$ kubectl logs -n kube-system daemonsets/join-service -f
{"level":"INFO","ts":"2022-10-14T09:32:20Z","caller":"cmd/main.go:48","msg":"Constellation Node Join Service","version":"2.1.0","cloudProvider":"qemu"}
{"level":"INFO","ts":"2022-10-14T09:32:20Z","logger":"validator","caller":"watcher/validator.go:96","msg":"Updating expected measurements"}

Once the worker node has joined your cluster, it may take a couple of minutes for all resources to become available. You can check on the state of your cluster by running the following:

$ kubectl get nodes
control-plane-0 Ready control-plane 2m59s v1.24.6
worker-0 Ready <none> 32s v1.24.6

Deploy a sample application

  1. Deploy the emojivoto app

    kubectl apply -k
  2. Expose the frontend service locally

    kubectl wait --for=condition=available --timeout=60s -n emojivoto --all deployments
    kubectl -n emojivoto port-forward svc/web-svc 8080:80 &
    curl http://localhost:8080
    kill %1

Terminate your cluster

Once you are done, you can clean up the created resources using the following command:

constellation mini down

This will destroy your cluster and clean up your workspace. The VM image and cluster configuration file (constellation-conf.yaml) will be kept and may be reused to create new clusters.


VMs have no internet access

iptables rules may prevent your VMs from accessing the internet. Make sure your rules aren't dropping forwarded packages.

List your rules:

sudo iptables -S

The output may look similar to the following:


If your FORWARD chain is set to DROP, you need to update your rules:

sudo iptables -P FORWARD ACCEPT