Security, Kubernetes, Container Management, Enterprise Kubernetes, Air-Gapped Deployments

Deploying Kubernetes in Air-Gapped Environments | D2iQ

Discover How the United States Air Force Deployed Air-Gapped Kubernetes with Zero Downtime

Apr 11, 2022

Alex Hisaka


5 min read

To learn more about how DKP helps security-conscious customers in air-gapped environments, visit
Many federal and public sector organizations seek to capitalize on the benefits of a production-grade Kubernetes distribution in their own private data centers, which are often highly restricted and air-gapped environments. However, deploying and operating Kubernetes and other technologies in air-gapped environments is incredibly complex. Teams maintaining Kubernetes in these environments contend with restrictive network access and software supply chain security concerns. 

Before D2iQ, the United States Air Force (USAF) ran into roadblocks deploying pure upstream Kubernetes to different DoD networks, many of which were operating in air-gapped environments that were not behind a common access guardrail. Despite months of significant engineering effort, they were unsuccessful in demonstrating repeatable and automated deployments to these nuanced environments.

To add to the complexity, the USAF did not have the resources to ramp up quickly. Because of the limited bandwidth and number of security policies in place, projects would take months to years to get into production. The USAF partnered with D2iQ because of its proven track record for delivering reliable, scalable, secure cloud-native technologies for mission critical applications.

“We were looking for a partner who could meet our unique requirements and contribute to the open-source community on our behalf,” explained Jeff McCoy, CTO at DoD USAF Platform One. “From a Kubernetes perspective, D2iQ’s distribution was aligned with what we were already doing so it was an easy lift to move over.”

With the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) and other building blocks, the USAF was able to deliver fully automated and repeatable deployments within any environment in a matter of days. And because DKP is infrastructure agnostic, it provided flexibility and modularity for many different programs of record and mission owners.

“We wanted a stripped down version of a Kubernetes distribution so we could deploy our own stack, and the D2iQ team was very accommodating to that,” said Jeff McCoy, CTO at DoD USAF Platform One. “The fact that they were able to strip out all the bells and whistles from DKP and have it still work was a huge advantage because other platforms can’t do that.”

To learn more about how DKP helps security-conscious customers in air-gapped environments, visit

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