Virtual Kubernetes clusters with Palette Virtual Clusters

Spin up a fully featured Kubernetes experience for your developers, without the delays.

Running vms on top of K8s

How do you build clusters for your dev teams?

Ops teams face a conundrum when provisioning clusters for different development teams and applications:

Do you give each developer or team their own isolated cluster or single namespace, with all the cost overhead and delays that entails?

Do you operate persistent multi-tenant shared clusters or namespaces, which creates potential risks in terms of availability and security?

There is a better alternative. 

The quick and easy way to deploy clusters on demand

With Palette Virtual Clusters you can give app developers a new, full-featured K8s cluster, complete with all enterprise guardrails, in just minutes — self-service.

What is a virtual cluster? In short, it’s a lightweight partition running on a host Kubernetes cluster, similar to how virtualization creates logically isolated virtual machines on top of physical servers.

Virtual clusters share resources from the host cluster, such as CPU, memory, and storage, container network interface (CNI), and container storage interface (CSI).

Most importantly, they give users access to a cluster almost instantly, improving developer productivity and reducing costs. Typically, a new cluster is ready for use in under two minutes.

What Virtual Clusters can do for you

Palette Virtual Clusters are:


Lightweight and very fast to fire up, which means they’re ideal to give developers the access they need without delays.


Much more secure than using namespaces to isolate different workloads or development teams, because they have their own API server.


Full-featured real clusters, with the look and feel of a production environment with all the tooling and policies, unlike running a home lab on your laptop.


Cost-effective, because they can be oversubscribed on host clusters and torn down on demand, maximizing utilization.

How Virtual Clusters work

We’ve built Palette’s Virtual Clusters feature on an open-source foundation, using the vcluster project from Loft Labs and by default the K3s Kubernetes distribution.

But we’ve wrapped vcluster with Palette’s enterprise-grade declarative orchestration, day two operations, and fine-grained RBAC and security normally provided for conventional clusters.

You can deploy Virtual Clusters from the Palette UI, CLI or API, and deploy to any host cluster that you manage with Palette, including both public cloud and in the data center.

With Palette, Virtual Clusters can be paused, resumed, backed up and restored, and resized as needed — which helps keep your costs low. You can monitor usage, cost and troubleshooting from your usual Palette dashboards.

Learn more

Check out our blog about Palette Virtual Clusters

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Watch our webinar on Virtual Clusters in CI/CD pipelines

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Read our documentation on Virtual Clusters

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See Palette
in action

Request a quick 30-minute live demo with us.