virtual Kubernetes CLuster

Virtual clusters have their own API server, which makes them much more powerful and better isolated than namespaces. They are also much cheaper than separately created, «real» Kubernetes clusters.

Advantages at a Glance



Much better isolated than namespaces


Low costs

Cheaper than separate «real» Kubernetes clusters



More powerful thanks to its own API server



Safe Multi-Tenancy

vCluster offer a unique developer experience for anyone developing against Kubernetes as a deployment target



When scalability limits of k8s are reached due to large multi-tenant clusters, clusters can be split into vClusters and effectively shared




New ingress controller tests can be virtually simulated without affecting cluster operation

Product details

 Virtual clusters are executed within namespaces of other clusters. They have a separate API server and a separate data store so that every Kubernetes object created in the vCluster only exists within this vCluster.

Use Cases

Use cases for a vCluster:
  • CI/CD: Due to the fast creation and deletion times of a vCluster as well as the low costs, they are suitable for use in CI/CD pipelines for testing end-to-end deployments of your applications.
  • Testing new Kubernetes API versions: We always try to deploy the latest Kubernetes versions within vCluster so you can test your applications against new API versions early.
  • Well-isolated and cost-effective environments: Staging and development environments can use their own vCluster to be better isolated from production instead of using multiple namespaces on a single NKE cluster.
  • Testing new CRD versions and operators: New CRDs and/or operators can easily be tested on a temporary vCluster. You want to upgrade cert-manager and find out if your certificates are still signed? A vCluster can help you with this.


Comparison to NKE

We see vCluster as a complementary tool to our fully managed NKE clusters. The API server of a vCluster does not have the same reliability as a complete Kubernetes cluster such as NKE. However, a brief failure of the API server does not usually cause your application to fail. The comparison table shown below provides an overview of the main differences:
  NKE vCluster
Service Type Load Balancer
Persistent Storage (RWO)
Argo CD Integration
NKE Machine Type
Dedicated Worker Nodes
Dedicated HA Control-Plane Nodes
Cluster Add-ons
Automatic Backup
Guaranteed Availability (SLA)
Cluster Fee
Fast Creation Time (< 2 min)
Cluster Admin



Additionally Available Products

Blog Posts & Case Studies on the Subject


Blog post – vCluster: A virtual Kubernetes Cluster

As more developers get familiar with deploying to Kubernetes, the need for better isolation between tenants becomes more important. Is it enough to just have access to a namespace in a cluster? I would argue for most use-cases to deploy your production apps, yes.


Go to Cockpit


Questions about vCluster? Contact us