Kata Confidential Containers

Documentation about Kata Containers in the context of Confidential Computing

CI | Publish Kata Containers payload Kata Containers Nightly CI

Welcome to Kata Containers!

This repository is the home of the Kata Containers code for the 2.0 and newer releases.

If you want to learn about Kata Containers, visit the main Kata Containers website.


Kata Containers is an open source project and community working to build a standard implementation of lightweight Virtual Machines (VMs) that feel and perform like containers, but provide the workload isolation and security advantages of VMs.


The code is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license. See the license file for further details.

Platform support

Kata Containers currently runs on 64-bit systems supporting the following technologies:

Architecture Virtualization technology
x86_64, amd64 Intel VT-x, AMD SVM
aarch64 ("arm64") ARM Hyp
ppc64le IBM Power
s390x IBM Z & LinuxONE SIE

Hardware requirements

The Kata Containers runtime provides a command to determine if your host system is capable of running and creating a Kata Container:

kata-runtime check


  • This command runs a number of checks including connecting to the network to determine if a newer release of Kata Containers is available on GitHub. If you do not wish this to check to run, add the --no-network-checks option.

  • By default, only a brief success / failure message is printed. If more details are needed, the --verbose flag can be used to display the list of all the checks performed.

  • If the command is run as the root user additional checks are run (including checking if another incompatible hypervisor is running). When running as root, network checks are automatically disabled.

Getting started

See the installation documentation.


See the official documentation including:


Kata Containers uses a single configuration file which contains a number of sections for various parts of the Kata Containers system including the runtime, the agent and the hypervisor.


See the hypervisors document and the Hypervisor specific configuration details.


To learn more about the project, its community and governance, see the community repository. This is the first place to go if you wish to contribute to the project.

Getting help

See the community section for ways to contact us.

Raising issues

Please raise an issue in this repository.

Note: If you are reporting a security issue, please follow the vulnerability reporting process


See the developer guide.


Main components

The table below lists the core parts of the project:

Component Type Description
runtime core Main component run by a container manager and providing a containerd shimv2 runtime implementation.
runtime-rs core The Rust version runtime.
agent core Management process running inside the virtual machine / POD that sets up the container environment.
dragonball core An optional built-in VMM brings out-of-the-box Kata Containers experience with optimizations on container workloads
documentation documentation Documentation common to all components (such as design and install documentation).
tests tests Excludes unit tests which live with the main code.

Additional components

The table below lists the remaining parts of the project:

Component Type Description
packaging infrastructure Scripts and metadata for producing packaged binaries
(components, hypervisors, kernel and rootfs).
kernel kernel Linux kernel used by the hypervisor to boot the guest image. Patches are stored here.
osbuilder infrastructure Tool to create “mini O/S” rootfs and initrd images and kernel for the hypervisor.
kata-debug infrastructure Utility tool to gather Kata Containers debug information from Kubernetes clusters.
agent-ctl utility Tool that provides low-level access for testing the agent.
kata-ctl utility Tool that provides advanced commands and debug facilities.
log-parser-rs utility Tool that aid in analyzing logs from the kata runtime.
trace-forwarder utility Agent tracing helper.
runk utility Standard OCI container runtime based on the agent.
ci CI Continuous Integration configuration files and scripts.
katacontainers.io Source for the katacontainers.io site.

Packaging and releases

Kata Containers is now available natively for most distributions.

Metrics tests

See the metrics documentation.

Glossary of Terms

See the glossary of terms related to Kata Containers.

Last modified October 19, 2023: website: Add initial scaffold (a16919d)