Deploy BinderHub on top of Kubernetes on Jetstream 2


November 15, 2022

Deploy BinderHub on top of Kubernetes on Jetstream 2

This work has been supported by Indiana University and is cross-posted on the Jetstream 2 official documentation website.

BinderHub is a kubernetes-based cloud service that allows users to share reproducible interactive computing environments from code repositories. See for example

When pointed to a Github repository, it builds a Docker container from the metadata in that repository (for example a requirements.txt file), then it gives the user a live Jupyter Notebook session with this custom computing environment and the checked-out repository. The user can then browse the repository and execute Notebooks.

On top of Kubernetes, it also needs a Container Registry to store the Docker containers it builds, in the following tutorial we rely on Google Cloud.

Setup Kubernetes

The first step is to have a Kubernetes deployment on Jetstream 2, for example deployed with Kubespray using this tutorial

Enable the Google Container registry

We first need to activate the Google Container Registry in the Google Cloud account:

  • Go to the API Library
  • Search for Google Container Registry API
  • Click on Enable
  • It will ask to configure billing
  • It will ask for credit card information, but you will have $300 free credits for 90 days and the card won’t be charged unless you manually switch to a paid account
  • Go to the Google Container registry settings, set the images to public, so that they can be pulled back from BinderHub to the container dedicated to execution

Setup permissions on the Google Container Registry

Follow the instructions on “Zero to BinderHub” to setup the Google Container Registry some notes:

  • Better to create a dedicated project just for BinderHub
  • “Create key” is under “Actions”->“Manage keys”

Setup ingress with HTTPS support

On Jetstream 2 we do not have a Load Balancer service like public clouds, therefore we need to use Ingress.

First we need to setup Cert-Manager to provide HTTPS certificates via Letsencrypt.

Follow the instructions at to install a cluster issuer

Configure the domains

BinderHub requires 2 subdomains, one for BinderHub and one for JupyterHub. For the initial testing I recommend to use Jetstream 2 provided domains, once they are working it is easy to replace them with custom domains.

Login to the Jetstream 2 Horizon instance, choose the right allocation, click on DNS, Zones, choose the Zone which starts with tg, then click on “Create Record Set”.

Create a “A” record where name is and record is the IP of your master instance. Create a second A record with the name and the same record.

These should be ready to be used in a few minutes.

Install BinderHub with Helm

Checkout the repository with the configuration files:

git clone

Enter the binderhub folder.

Follow the instructions on how to create just the secret.yaml file.

The repository provides a template named config_template.yaml to create config.yaml, this file contains all of the configuration items needed to setup the following items, see the links for the relevant documentation:

Create a file named in the same folder which defines your Jetstream allocation and Google Project IDs:

export ALLOCATION=xxx000000
export GOOGLE_PROJECT=binderhub-000000

Then deploy BinderHub running:


This script first creates config.yaml (and overwrites it, so keep your changes in config_template.yaml), then deploys or updates the deploy of BinderHub via Helm.

Test the deployment

Connect to, you should see the binder login page:

Binder login page

You can then test with one of the binder examples:

This should build the container using the Docker-in-Docker pod, push it to the registry on Google Cloud, then spawn a Jupyter Notebook instance inside JupyterHub and redirect you to