Today we're proud to announce Kontena Pharos 2.3, the latest release of our Kubernetes distribution, is now available. This version is the first to ship with multi-cluster pod network and support for CRI-O container runtime on ARM64 architectures. In addition, we have improved existing features, squashed bugs and updated most of the core components to the latest stable upstream version.

Kontena Lens 1.5

Kontena Lens 1.5 comes with several very cool new features among several bug fixes and enhancements.

Kontena Lens 1.4 introduced integrated Helm charts. With Kontena Lens 1.5, it’s now possible to edit, upgrade and rollback created Helm releases. Also, it’s possible to give a name for a Helm release. Chart search function is searching now also from chart keywords, so you will now see, for example, mariadb chart when searching with mysql search term.


Kontena Lens 1.5 allows user to open a shell session into a node. Like you would connect to the node via SSH, you will enter into a shell prompt and you are ready to execute any commands.


With Kubernetes API it's hard to identify which Persistent Volume Claims are orphaned. To bring help for that issue, Kontena Lens shows now pods that are using the PVC and it’s easier to identify orphaned claims and delete those safely.


It’s now possible to assign Pharos PRO licenses directly on the dashboard and see the status of the assigned license.


This version also introduces a Zen Mode (aka fullscreen mode) which lets you focus on your terminal (or yaml editor) by hiding all UI elements except the terminal, going to full screen.

See Kontena Lens 1.5.0 full changelog.

System-Level Helm charts

Helm add-on now lets you provision "system-level" charts easily as part of the cluster bootstrapping process. You just need to define which charts to install in Helm add-on config and you're good to go:

    enabled: true
    - name: stable/prometheus
      values: ./prometheus.yaml

For more details see the Helm add-on docs.

Multi-Cluster Pod Network

Multi-cluster pod network is an essential feature for usecases like Istio Multicluster and edge deployments. Pharos 2.3 introduces experimental support for spawning a pod network across multiple clusters, datacenters and/or cloud providers. Network is configured to spawn across clusters using Weave Net and all the communication between clusters is secured using IPSec encryption. See the documentation for more information.

Calico 3.6

This release includes the latest Calico 3.6.0 version. The most notable change in Calico is that now it can fully utilize Kubernetes API as the datastore for its IPAM functionality. In practice this means that you can now more easily use even the advanced Calico IPAM features as you do not need to setup a dedicated etcd for Calico. See Calico release notes for more details.

Terraform Improvements

Pharos has included a simple Terraform integration since the early days. This release improves the integration by introducing pharos terraform apply and pharos terraform destroy commands. These commands will run Terraform commands behing the scenes and pass the Terraform output automatically to pharos up. These commands fully support Terraform workspaces, so it's really easy to spin-up multiple clusters from a single Terraform configuration. See examples on how to use these commands:

CRI-O on Arm64

This release ships with the latest stable CRI-O version, 1.13.3, which is now also built for the arm64 architecture. Arm64 CRI-O builds are supported on Ubuntu & Debian host operating systems.

Node Local DNS Cache

One of the most common issues in Kubernetes cluster are issues with DNS. One such example can be found in Kubernetes issue #56903 with lenghty discussions on the root causes. To mitigate these kind of issues Pharos now sets up a node local DNS cache and configures all the needed component properly to use it. It can be also disabled if it clashes with your current infrastructure setup.

Controlling Kubernetes Feature Gates

In the world of Kubernetes, all new major features are shipped quite early as disabled features and controlled by concept called feature gates. To enable such a feature one needs to be able to control which of these get enabled during the cluster configuration. Pharos 2.3 now allows users to configure these feature gates on cluster configuration. Pharos will then make sure each of the Kubernetes components is configured properly.

About Kontena Inc.

Kontena Inc. is specialized in creating the most developer friendly solutions for running containers. Kontena's products are built on open source technology developed and maintained by Kontena. Kontena was founded in 2015 and has offices in Helsinki, Finland and New York, USA. More information: