K3s and MicroK8s What’s the Difference?

3 min readMay 6, 2021



In this short post, I would like to introduce the K3S and the MicroK8s. K3s which is developed by Rancher, has become a hot topic as lightweight Kubernetes, but Ubuntu Canonical also develops a lightweight Kubernetes called Micro K8s because it is attached with Micro, it is lighter than normal Kubernetes. Both allow you to run Kubernetes without using a virtual machine like Minikube. I would like to compared what kind of function it has and how it differs.

General Information

k3s — Lightweight Kubernetes

k3s is developed by Rancher Labs, as Rancher says it is good for small devices such as IoT. I think the point is that the binary size is 40MB and it works even on devices with few resources such as Raspberry Pi. Rancher also sells where it runs on Egde computing and ARM binaries. Although various functions have been removed, it runs on Master and Node, and the original distributed management as Kubernetes remains firmly.

  • Official website:


microK8s is developed by Canonical, we can say that canonical is suitable for the development environment of developers. Size is not small, it does not focus on resource reduction like k3s, but seems to sell that Kubernetes can create an execution environment with one command.

In MicroK8s there is distributed operation of Master and Node, and redundancy such as a distributed environment. Specializing in running single Kubernetes for development, you can easily enable Itsio and jaeger. In that sense, it seems that it is aimed at CI / CD applications and places that can be easily deployed.

  • Official website:

Systems on which we can run

  • For k3s binaries are available for amd64 and arm. K3s OS this is single binary, and works properly on n Ubuntu, RancherOS, CentOS, etc.
  • For Microk8s binaries are available for amd64, arm and ppc64el. MicroK8s will work on Ubuntu and CentOS as long as it supports Snap.

Functions to which we can use it

Below is a list of functions that we could use K3S and MicroK8s.


It turns out that k3s and Micro K8s are completely different concepts.
In my opinion k3s is currently suitable for IoT and edge computing applications. Also, cooperation with Rancher is a key point in the future. In MicroK8s we can turn various options on and off with a single command, so I think it is good for use as a developer environment. Both products have docker built in, and seems to show a new horizon in the container system, such as not requiring Docker installation or Virtualbox.




DevOps Consultant. I’m strongly focused on automation, security, and reliability.