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documentation.suse.com / Layered Stack Deployment of K3s / Component model
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1, K3s 1.20.14

4 Component model

This section describes the various components being used to create a K3s solution deployment, in the perspective of top to bottom ordering. When completed, the K3s instance can be used as the application infrastructure for cloud-native workloads and can be imported into SUSE Rancher for management.

4.1 Component overview

By using:

  • Software

    • Kubernetes Platform - K3s

    • Linux Operating System - SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro

  • Compute Platform

    • Ampere Altra Family

you can create the necessary infrastructure and services. Further details for these components are described in the following sections.

4.2 Software - K3s

K3s is packaged as a single binary, which is about 50 megabytes in size. Bundled in that single binary is everything needed to run Kubernetes anywhere, including low-powered IoT and Edge-based devices. The binary includes:

  • the container runtime

  • important host utilities such as iptables, socat and du

The only OS dependencies are the Linux kernel itself and a proper dev, proc and sysfs mounts (this is done automatically on all modern Linux distributions). K3s bundles the Kubernetes components:

  • kube-apiserver,

  • kube-controller-manager,

  • kube-scheduler,

  • kubelet and

  • kube-proxy

into combined processes that are presented as a simple server and agent model, as represented in the following figure:

K3s overview
Figure 4.1: Component Overview - K3s

K3s can run as a complete cluster on a single node or can be expanded into a multi-node cluster. Besides the core Kubernetes components, these are also included:

  • containerd,

  • Flannel,

  • CoreDNS,

  • ingress controller and

  • a simple host port-based service load balancer.

All of these components are optional and can be swapped out for your implementation of choice. With these included components, you get a fully functional and CNCF-conformant cluster so you can start running apps right away. K3s is now a CNCF Sandbox project, being the first Kubernetes distribution ever to be adopted into sandbox.


Learn more information about K3s

As K3s can be deployed on a single or multiple nodes, the next sections describe the suggested component layering approach.

4.3 Software - SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro

SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro combines the assurance of enterprise-grade security and compliance with the immutability and portability of a modern, lightweight operating system. The top 4 features are:

Immutable OS

Immutable design ensures the OS is not altered during runtime and runs reliably every single time. Security signed and verified transactional updates are easy to rollback if things go wrong.

Security and Compliance

Fully open source and built using open standards, SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro leverages SUSE Linux Enterprise common code base, to provide FIPS 140-2, DISA SRG/STIG, integration with CIS and Common Criteria certified configurations. Includes fully supported security framework (SELinux) with policies.

Architectural Flexibility

Both Arm and x86-64 architectures are supported so you can deploy edge applications with confidence across multiple architectures.


You can easily combine SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro with the latest cloud-native technologies including SUSE Rancher, Rancher Kubernetes Engine, Longhorn persistent block storage, and K3s, the world’s most popular Kubernetes distribution for use in low resource, distributed edge locations.

As a result, you get an ultra-reliable infrastructure platform that is also simple to use and comes out-of-the-box with best-in-class compliance. Furthermore, SUSE’s flexible subscription model ensures enterprise assurance for any edge, embedded or IoT deployment without vendor lock-in. A free, evaluation copy can be downloaded or if the organization already has subscriptions, both install media and updates can be obtained from SUSE Customer Center.

4.4 Compute Platform

Leveraging the enterprise grade functionality of the operating system mentioned in the previous section, many compute platforms can be the foundation of the deployment:

  • Virtual machines on supported hypervisors or hosted on cloud service providers

  • Physical, baremetal or single-board computers, either on-premises or hosted by cloud service providers


To complete self-testing of hardware with SUSE YES Certified Process, you can download and install the respective SUSE operating system support-pack version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the YES test suite. Then run the tests per the instructions in the test kit, fixing any problems encountered and when corrected, re-run all tests to obtain clean test results. Submit the test results into the SUSE Bulletin System (SBS) for audit, review and validation.


Certified systems and hypervisors can be verified via SUSE YES Certified Bulletins and then can be leveraged as supported nodes for this deployment, as long as the certification refers to the respective version of the underlying SUSE operating system required.

4.4.1 Ampere Altra Family

The Ampere Altra Arm v8.2 processor portfolio of world’s first cloud native processors is widely available with data center ready configurations from our systems partners and for use with many Cloud Service Providers. Explore the Ampere Computing Platforms offered from our partners. These systems are flexible enough to meet the needs of any cloud deployment and come packed with Ampere 80-core Altra or 128-core Altra Max processors.

The specific processor models that offer relevant choices for Enterprise Kubernetes are designed to meet the requirements of modern data centers, deliver predictable performance, high scalability, and power efficiency for data center deployments from hyperscale cloud to the edge cloud. These processorst that drive efficiency in your data center infrastructure workloads, including data analytics, artificial intelligence, database storage, telco stacks, edge computing, and Web hosting, are:

  • Ampere Altra 64-Bit Multi-Core Processor

    • Predictable Performance - Ampere Altra offers up to 80 cores at up to 3.30 GHz speed maximum. Each core is single-threaded by design with its own 64 KB L1 I-cache, 64 KB L1 D-cache, and a huge 1 MB L2 cache, delivering predictable performance all along by eliminating the noisy neighbor challenge within each core.

    • Power Efficiency - provides industry-leading power efficiency/core, while packing 80 cores in a single-socket and 160 cores in a dual-socket platform, establishing new levels of power efficiency with scalability to meet the most strenuous application infrastructure needs.

  • Ampere Altra Max 64-Bit Multi-Core Processor

    • Predictable Performance - Ampere Altra Max offers up to 128 cores operating at a maximum of 3.0 GHz. Each core is single-threaded by design with its own 64 KB L1 I-cache, 64 KB L1 D-cache, and a huge 1 MB L2 cache, delivering predictable performance 100% of the time by eliminating the noisy neighbor challenge within each core.

    • Power Efficiency - provides industry-leading power efficiency/core, while packing 128 cores in a single-socket and 256 cores in a dual-socket platform, establishing new levels of power efficiency with scalability.

Furthermore, each of these processors features:

  • High Scalability - With leading power/core, and multi-socket support, it provides the scalability to maximize the number of servers per rack, unparalleled in the industry.

  • Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS) - provides extensive enterprise-class RAS capabilities. Data in memory is protected with advanced ECC in addition to standard DDR4 RAS features. End-to-end data poisoning ensures corrupted data is tagged and any attempt to use it is flagged as an error. The SLC is also ECC protected, and the processor supports background scrubbing of the SLC cache and DRAM to locate and correct single-bit errors before they accumulate into uncorrectable errors.


A sample bill of materials, in the Chapter 9, Appendix, cites the necessary quantites of all components, along with a reference to the minimum resource requirements needed by the software components.