The Driver Toolkit is a container image in the OKD payload used as a base image on which you can build driver containers. The Driver Toolkit image includes the kernel packages commonly required as dependencies to build or install kernel modules, as well as a few tools needed in driver containers. The version of these packages will match the kernel version running on the Fedora CoreOS (FCOS) nodes in the corresponding OKD release.
Driver containers are container images used for building and deploying out-of-tree kernel modules and drivers on container operating systems like FCOS. Kernel modules and drivers are software libraries running with a high level of privilege in the operating system kernel. They extend the kernel functionalities or provide the hardware-specific code required to control new devices. Examples include hardware devices like Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) or GPUs, and software-defined storage (SDS) solutions, such as Lustre parallel file systems, which require kernel modules on client machines. Driver containers are the first layer of the software stack used to enable these technologies on Kubernetes.
The list of kernel packages in the Driver Toolkit includes the following and their dependencies:
In addition, the Driver Toolkit also includes the corresponding real-time kernel packages:
The Driver Toolkit also has several tools that are commonly needed to build and install kernel modules, including:
Prior to the Driver Toolkit’s existence, users would install kernel packages in a pod or build config on OKD using entitled builds or by installing from the kernel RPMs in the hosts
machine-os-content. The Driver Toolkit simplifies the process by removing the entitlement step, and avoids the privileged operation of accessing the machine-os-content in a pod. The Driver Toolkit can also be used by partners who have access to pre-released OKD versions to prebuild driver-containers for their hardware devices for future OKD releases.
The Driver Toolkit is also used by the Kernel Module Management (KMM), which is currently available as a community Operator on OperatorHub. KMM supports out-of-tree and third-party kernel drivers and the support software for the underlying operating system. Users can create modules for KMM to build and deploy a driver container, as well as support software like a device plugin, or metrics. Modules can include a build config to build a driver container-based on the Driver Toolkit, or KMM can deploy a prebuilt driver container.