How to switch from Docker to Containerd on a kubeadm-managed Kubernetes node:

  1. Install Containerd.

  2. Edit /etc/default/kubelet and add the following line:

    KUBELET_EXTRA_ARGS=--container-runtime=remote --runtime-request-timeout=15m --container-runtime-endpoint=unix:///run/containerd/containerd.sock

    If KUBELET_EXTRA_ARGS exists already, add the additional parameters to it instead.

  3. Restart kubelet.

  4. Uninstall Docker.

  5. To make kubeadm aware of the change (so that kubeadm upgrade apply works): Let ${NODE_NAME} be the name of your node. Run:

    kubeadm edit nodes/${NODE_NAME}

    Look for the annotation. Change its value to /run/containerd/containerd.sock.

Now everything should be set up for Containerd and you can do such fun things as running Kubernetes pods in Kata containers.

Presumably, these instructions will work for a migration to CRI-O and other container runtimes as well, but I have not tried.