Managing machines with the Cluster API is a Technology Preview feature only. Technology Preview features are not supported with Red Hat production service level agreements (SLAs) and might not be functionally complete. Red Hat does not recommend using them in production. These features provide early access to upcoming product features, enabling customers to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process.

For more information about the support scope of Red Hat Technology Preview features, see Technology Preview Features Support Scope.

The Cluster API is an upstream project that is integrated into OKD as a Technology Preview for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Cluster API overview

You can use the Cluster API to create and manage compute machine sets and compute machines in your OKD cluster. This capability is in addition or an alternative to managing machines with the Machine API.

For OKD 4.13 clusters, you can use the Cluster API to perform node host provisioning management actions after the cluster installation finishes. This system enables an elastic, dynamic provisioning method on top of public or private cloud infrastructure.

With the Cluster API Technology Preview, you can create compute machines and compute machine sets on OKD clusters for supported providers. You can also explore the features that are enabled by this implementation that might not be available with the Machine API.

Cluster API benefits

By using the Cluster API, OKD users and developers gain the following advantages:

  • The option to use upstream community Cluster API infrastructure providers that might not be supported by the Machine API.

  • The opportunity to collaborate with third parties who maintain machine controllers for infrastructure providers.

  • The ability to use the same set of Kubernetes tools for infrastructure management in OKD.

  • The ability to create compute machine sets by using the Cluster API that support features that are not available with the Machine API.

Cluster API limitations

Using the Cluster API to manage machines is a Technology Preview feature and has the following limitations:

  • To use this feature, you must enable the TechPreviewNoUpgrade feature set.

    Enabling this feature set cannot be undone and prevents minor version updates.

  • Only AWS and GCP clusters can use the Cluster API.

  • You must manually create the primary resources that the Cluster API requires. For more information, see "Getting started with the Cluster API".

  • You cannot use the Cluster API to manage control plane machines.

  • Migration of existing compute machine sets created by the Machine API to Cluster API compute machine sets is not supported.

  • Full feature parity with the Machine API is not available.

  • For clusters that use the Cluster API, OpenShift CLI (oc) commands prioritize Cluster API objects over Machine API objects. This behavior impacts any oc command that acts upon any object that is represented in both the Cluster API and the Machine API.

    For more information and a workaround for this issue, see "Referencing the intended objects when using the CLI" in the troubleshooting content.

Cluster API architecture

The OKD integration of the upstream Cluster API is implemented and managed by the Cluster CAPI Operator. The Cluster CAPI Operator and its operands are provisioned in the openshift-cluster-api namespace, in contrast to the Machine API, which uses the openshift-machine-api namespace.

The Cluster CAPI Operator

The Cluster CAPI Operator is an OKD Operator that maintains the lifecycle of Cluster API resources. This Operator is responsible for all administrative tasks related to deploying the Cluster API project within an OKD cluster.

If a cluster is configured correctly to allow the use of the Cluster API, the Cluster CAPI Operator installs the Cluster API Operator on the cluster.

The Cluster CAPI Operator is distinct from the upstream Cluster API Operator.

For more information, see the entry for the "Cluster CAPI Operator" in the Cluster Operators reference content.

Additional resources

Cluster API primary resources

The Cluster API is comprised of the following primary resources. For the Technology Preview of this feature, you must create these resources manually in the openshift-cluster-api namespace.


A fundamental unit that represents a cluster that is managed by the Cluster API.


A provider-specific resource that defines properties that are shared by all the compute machine sets in the cluster, such as the region and subnets.

Machine template

A provider-specific template that defines the properties of the machines that a compute machine set creates.

Machine set

A group of machines.

Compute machine sets are to machines as replica sets are to pods. To add machines or scale them down, change the replicas field on the compute machine set custom resource to meet your compute needs.

With the Cluster API, a compute machine set references a Cluster object and a provider-specific machine template.


A fundamental unit that describes the host for a node.

The Cluster API creates machines based on the configuration in the machine template.