Workspaces allow Tasks to declare parts of the filesystem that need to be provided at runtime by TaskRuns. A TaskRun can make these parts of the filesystem available in many ways: using a read-only ConfigMap or Secret, an existing PersistentVolumeClaim shared with other Tasks, create a PersistentVolumeClaim from a provided VolumeClaimTemplate, or simply an emptyDir that is discarded when the TaskRun completes.

Workspaces are similar to Volumes except that they allow a Task author to defer to users and their TaskRuns when deciding which class of storage to use.

Workspaces can serve the following purposes:

  • Storage of inputs and/or outputs
  • Sharing data among Tasks
  • A mount point for credentials held in Secrets
  • A mount point for configurations held in ConfigMaps
  • A mount point for common tools shared by an organization
  • A cache of build artifacts that speed up jobs

Workspaces in Tasks and TaskRuns

Tasks specify where a Workspace resides on disk for its Steps. At runtime, a TaskRun provides the specific details of the Volume that is mounted into that Workspace.

This separation of concerns allows for a lot of flexibility. For example, in isolation, a single TaskRun might simply provide an emptyDir volume that mounts quickly and disappears at the end of the run. In a more complex system, however, a TaskRun might use a PersistentVolumeClaim which is pre-populated with data for the Task to process. In both scenarios the Task's Workspace declaration remains the same and only the runtime information in the TaskRun changes.

Tasks can also share Workspaces with their Sidecars, though there’s a little more configuration involved to add the required volumeMount. This allows for a long-running process in a Sidecar to share data with the executing Steps of a Task.

Workspaces in Pipelines and PipelineRuns

A Pipeline can use Workspaces to show how storage will be shared through its Tasks. For example, Task A might clone a source repository onto a Workspace and Task B might compile the code that it finds in that Workspace. It’s the Pipeline's job to ensure that the Workspace these two Tasks use is the same, and more importantly, that the order in which they access the Workspace is correct.

PipelineRuns perform mostly the same duties as TaskRuns - they provide the specific Volume information to use for the Workspaces used by each Pipeline. PipelineRuns have the added responsibility of ensuring that whatever Volume type they provide can be safely and correctly shared across multiple Tasks.

Optional Workspaces

Both Tasks and Pipelines can declare a Workspace “optional”. When an optional Workspace is declared the TaskRun or PipelineRun may omit a Workspace Binding for that Workspace. The Task or Pipeline behaviour may change when the Binding is omitted. This feature has many uses:

  • A Task may optionally accept credentials to run authenticated commands.
  • A Pipeline may accept optional configuration that changes the linting or compilation parameters used.
  • An optional build cache may be provided to speed up compile times.

Configuring Workspaces

This section describes how to configure one or more Workspaces in a TaskRun.

Using Workspaces in Tasks

To configure one or more Workspaces in a Task, add a workspaces list with each entry using the following fields:

  • name - (required) A unique string identifier that can be used to refer to the workspace
  • description - An informative string describing the purpose of the Workspace
  • readOnly - A boolean declaring whether the Task will write to the Workspace. Defaults to false.
  • optional - A boolean indicating whether a TaskRun can omit the Workspace. Defaults to false.
  • mountPath - A path to a location on disk where the workspace will be available to Steps. Relative paths will be prepended with /workspace. If a mountPath is not provided the workspace will be placed by default at /workspace/<name> where <name> is the workspace’s unique name.

Note the following:

  • A Task definition can include as many Workspaces as it needs. It is recommended that Tasks use at most one writeable Workspace.
  • A readOnly Workspace will have its volume mounted as read-only. Attempting to write to a readOnly Workspace will result in errors and failed TaskRuns.
  • mountPath can be either absolute or relative. Absolute paths start with / and relative paths start with the name of a directory. For example, a mountPath of "/foobar" is absolute and exposes the Workspace at /foobar inside the Task's Steps, but a mountPath of "foobar" is relative and exposes the Workspace at /workspace/foobar.

Below is an example Task definition that includes a Workspace called messages to which the Task writes a message:

  - name: write-message
    image: ubuntu
    script: |
      #!/usr/bin/env bash
      set -xe
      if [ "$(workspaces.messages.bound)" == "true" ] ; then
        echo hello! > $(workspaces.messages.path)/message
  - name: messages
    description: |
      The folder where we write the message to. If no workspace
      is provided then the message will not be written.
    optional: true
    mountPath: /custom/path/relative/to/root

Sharing Workspaces with Sidecars

A Task's Sidecars are also able to access the Workspaces the Task defines but must have their volumeMount configuration set explicitly. Below is an example Task that shares a Workspace between its Steps and its Sidecar. In the example a Sidecar sleeps for a short amount of time and then writes a ready file which the Step is waiting for:

  - name: signals
  - image: alpine
    script: |
      while [ ! -f "$(workspaces.signals.path)/ready" ]; do
        echo "Waiting for ready file..."
        sleep 1
      echo "Saw ready file!"
  - image: alpine
    # Note: must explicitly include volumeMount for the workspace to be accessible in the Sidecar
    - name: $(workspaces.signals.volume)
      mountPath: $(workspaces.signals.path)
    script: |
      sleep 3
      touch "$(workspaces.signals.path)/ready"

Note: Sidecars must explicitly opt-in to receiving the Workspace volume. Injected Sidecars from non-Tekton sources will not receive access to Workspaces.

Setting a Default TaskRun Workspace Binding

An organization may want to specify default Workspace configuration for TaskRuns. This allows users to use Tasks without having to know the specifics of Workspaces - they can simply rely on the platform to use the default configuration when a Workspace is missing. To support this Tekton allows a default Workspace Binding to be specified for TaskRuns. When the TaskRun executes, any Workspaces that a Task requires but which are not provided by the TaskRun will be bound with the default configuration.

The configuration for the default Workspace Binding is added to the config-defaults ConfigMap, under the default-task-run-workspace-binding key. For an example, see the Customizing basic execution parameters section of the install doc.

Note: the default configuration is used for any required Workspace declared by a Task. Optional Workspaces are not populated with the default binding. This is because a Task’s behaviour will typically differ slightly when an optional Workspace is bound.

Using Workspace variables in Tasks

The following variables make information about Workspaces available to Tasks:

  • $(workspaces.<name>.path) - specifies the path to a Workspace where <name> is the name of the Workspace. This will be an empty string when a Workspace is declared optional and not provided by a TaskRun.
  • $(workspaces.<name>.bound) - either true or false, specifies whether a workspace was bound. Always true if the workspace is required.
  • $(workspaces.<name>.claim) - specifies the name of the PersistentVolumeClaim used as a volume source for the Workspace where <name> is the name of the Workspace. If a volume source other than PersistentVolumeClaim is used, an empty string is returned.
  • $(workspaces.<name>.volume)- specifies the name of the Volume provided for a Workspace where <name> is the name of the Workspace.

Mapping Workspaces in Tasks to TaskRuns

A TaskRun that executes a Task containing a workspaces list must bind those workspaces to actual physical Volumes. To do so, the TaskRun includes its own workspaces list. Each entry in the list contains the following fields:

  • name - (required) The name of the Workspace within the Task for which the Volume is being provided
  • subPath - An optional subdirectory on the Volume to store data for that Workspace

The entry must also include one VolumeSource. See Specifying VolumeSources in Workspaces for more information.

Caution: - The Workspaces declared in a Task must be available when executing the associated TaskRun. Otherwise, the TaskRun will fail.

Examples of TaskRun definition using Workspaces

The following example illustrate how to specify Workspaces in your TaskRun definition, an emptyDir is provided for a Task’s workspace called myworkspace:

kind: TaskRun
  generateName: example-taskrun-
    name: example-task
    - name: myworkspace # this workspace name must be declared in the Task
      emptyDir: {}      # emptyDir volumes can be used for TaskRuns,
                        # but consider using a PersistentVolumeClaim for PipelineRuns

For examples of using other types of volume sources, see Specifying VolumeSources in Workspaces. For a more in-depth example, see Workspaces in a TaskRun.

Using Workspaces in Pipelines

While individual Tasks declare the Workspaces they need to run, the Pipeline decides which Workspaces are shared among its Tasks. To declare shared Workspaces in a Pipeline, you must add the following information to your Pipeline definition:

  • A list of Workspaces that your PipelineRuns will be providing. Use the workspaces field to specify the target Workspaces in your Pipeline definition as shown below. Each entry in the list must have a unique name.
  • A mapping of Workspace names between the Pipeline and the Task definitions.

The example below defines a Pipeline with a single Workspace named pipeline-ws1. This Workspace is bound in two Tasks - first as the output workspace declared by the gen-code Task, then as the src workspace declared by the commit Task. If the Workspace provided by the PipelineRun is a PersistentVolumeClaim then these two Tasks can share data within that Workspace.

    - name: pipeline-ws1 # Name of the workspace in the Pipeline
    - name: pipeline-ws2
      optional: true
    - name: use-ws-from-pipeline
        name: gen-code # gen-code expects a workspace named "output"
        - name: output
          workspace: pipeline-ws1
    - name: use-ws-again
        name: commit # commit expects a workspace named "src"
        - name: src
          workspace: pipeline-ws1
        - use-ws-from-pipeline # important: use-ws-from-pipeline writes to the workspace first

Include a subPath in the workspace binding to mount different parts of the same volume for different Tasks. See a full example of this kind of Pipeline which writes data to two adjacent directories on the same Volume.

The subPath specified in a Pipeline will be appended to any subPath specified as part of the PipelineRun workspace declaration. So a PipelineRun declaring a Workspace with subPath of /foo for a Pipeline who binds it to a Task with subPath of /bar will end up mounting the Volume’s /foo/bar directory.

Specifying Workspace order in a Pipeline and Affinity Assistants

Sharing a Workspace between Tasks requires you to define the order in which those Tasks write to or read from that Workspace. Use the runAfter field in your Pipeline definition to define when a Task should be executed. For more information, see the runAfter documentation.

When a PersistentVolumeClaim is used as volume source for a Workspace in a PipelineRun, an Affinity Assistant will be created. The Affinity Assistant acts as a placeholder for TaskRun pods sharing the same Workspace. All TaskRun pods within the PipelineRun that share the Workspace will be scheduled to the same Node as the Affinity Assistant pod. This means that Affinity Assistant is incompatible with e.g. other affinity rules configured for the TaskRun pods. If the PipelineRun has a custom PodTemplate configured, the NodeSelector and Tolerations fields will also be set on the Affinity Assistant pod. The Affinity Assistant is deleted when the PipelineRun is completed. The Affinity Assistant can be disabled by setting the disable-affinity-assistant feature gate to true.

Note: Affinity Assistant use Inter-pod affinity and anti-affinity that require substantial amount of processing which can slow down scheduling in large clusters significantly. We do not recommend using them in clusters larger than several hundred nodes

Note: Pod anti-affinity requires nodes to be consistently labelled, in other words every node in the cluster must have an appropriate label matching topologyKey. If some or all nodes are missing the specified topologyKey label, it can lead to unintended behavior.

Specifying Workspaces in PipelineRuns

For a PipelineRun to execute a Pipeline that includes one or more Workspaces, it needs to bind the Workspace names to volumes using its own workspaces field. Each entry in this list must correspond to a Workspace declaration in the Pipeline. Each entry in the workspaces list must specify the following:

  • name - (required) the name of the Workspace specified in the Pipeline definition for which a volume is being provided.
  • subPath - (optional) a directory on the volume that will store that Workspace's data. This directory must exist at the time the TaskRun executes, otherwise the execution will fail.

The entry must also include one VolumeSource. See Using VolumeSources with Workspaces for more information.

Note: If the Workspaces specified by a Pipeline are not provided at runtime by a PipelineRun, that PipelineRun will fail.

Example PipelineRun definition using Workspaces

In the example below, a volumeClaimTemplate is provided for how a PersistentVolumeClaim should be created for a workspace named myworkspace declared in a Pipeline. When using volumeClaimTemplate a new PersistentVolumeClaim is created for each PipelineRun and it allows the user to specify e.g. size and StorageClass for the volume.

kind: PipelineRun
  generateName: example-pipelinerun-
    name: example-pipeline
    - name: myworkspace # this workspace name must be declared in the Pipeline
            - ReadWriteOnce # access mode may affect how you can use this volume in parallel tasks
              storage: 1Gi

For examples of using other types of volume sources, see Specifying VolumeSources in Workspaces. For a more in-depth example, see the Workspaces in PipelineRun YAML sample.

Specifying VolumeSources in Workspaces

You can only use a single type of VolumeSource per Workspace entry. The configuration options differ for each type. Workspaces support the following fields:

Using PersistentVolumeClaims as VolumeSource

PersistentVolumeClaim volumes are a good choice for sharing data among Tasks within a Pipeline. Beware that the access mode configured for the PersistentVolumeClaim effects how you can use the volume for parallel Tasks in a Pipeline. See Specifying workspace order in a Pipeline and Affinity Assistants for more information about this. There are two ways of using PersistentVolumeClaims as a VolumeSource.


The volumeClaimTemplate is a template of a PersistentVolumeClaim volume, created for each PipelineRun or TaskRun. When the volume is created from a template in a PipelineRun or TaskRun it will be deleted when the PipelineRun or TaskRun is deleted.

- name: myworkspace
      - ReadWriteOnce
          storage: 1Gi

The persistentVolumeClaim field references an existing persistentVolumeClaim volume. The example exposes only the subdirectory my-subdir from that PersistentVolumeClaim

- name: myworkspace
    claimName: mypvc
  subPath: my-subdir

Using other types of VolumeSources


The emptyDir field references an emptyDir volume which holds a temporary directory that only lives as long as the TaskRun that invokes it. emptyDir volumes are not suitable for sharing data among Tasks within a Pipeline. However, they work well for single TaskRuns where the data stored in the emptyDir needs to be shared among the Steps of the Task and discarded after execution.

- name: myworkspace
  emptyDir: {}

The configMap field references a configMap volume. Using a configMap as a Workspace has the following limitations:

  • configMap volume sources are always mounted as read-only. Steps cannot write to them and will error out if they try.
  • The configMap you want to use as a Workspace must exist prior to submitting the TaskRun.
  • configMaps are size-limited to 1MB.
- name: myworkspace
    name: my-configmap

The secret field references a secret volume. Using a secret volume has the following limitations:

  • secret volume sources are always mounted as read-only. Steps cannot write to them and will error out if they try.
  • The secret you want to use as a Workspace must exist prior to submitting the TaskRun.
  • secret are size-limited to 1MB.
- name: myworkspace
    secretName: my-secret

If you need support for a VolumeSource type not listed above, open an issue or a pull request.

Using Persistent Volumes within a PipelineRun

When using a workspace with a PersistentVolumeClaim as VolumeSource, a Kubernetes Persistent Volumes is used within the PipelineRun. There are some details that are good to know when using Persistent Volumes within a PipelineRun.

Storage Class

PersistentVolumeClaims specify a Storage Class for the underlying Persistent Volume. Storage Classes have specific characteristics. If a StorageClassName is not specified for your PersistentVolumeClaim, the cluster defined default Storage Class is used. For regional clusters - clusters that typically consist of Nodes located in multiple Availability Zones - it is important to know whether your Storage Class is available to all Nodes. Default Storage Classes are typically only available to Nodes within one Availability Zone. There is usually an option to use a regional Storage Class, but they have trade-offs, e.g. you need to pay for multiple volumes since they are replicated and your volume may have substantially higher latency.

When using a workspace backed by a PersistentVolumeClaim (typically only available within a Data Center) and the TaskRun pods can be scheduled to any Availability Zone in a regional cluster, some techniques must be used to avoid deadlock in the Pipeline.

Tekton provides an Affinity Assistant that schedules all TaskRun Pods sharing a PersistentVolumeClaim to the same Node. This avoids deadlocks that can happen when two Pods requiring the same Volume are scheduled to different Availability Zones. A volume typically only lives within a single Availability Zone.

Access Modes

A PersistentVolumeClaim specifies an Access Mode. Available Access Modes are ReadWriteOnce, ReadWriteMany and ReadOnlyMany. What Access Mode you can use depend on the storage solution that you are using.

  • ReadWriteOnce is the most commonly available Access Mode. A volume with this Access Mode can only be mounted on one Node at a time. This can be problematic for a Pipeline that has parallel Tasks that access the volume concurrently. The Affinity Assistant helps with this problem by scheduling all Tasks that use the same PersistentVolumeClaim to the same Node.

  • ReadOnlyMany is read-only and is less common in a CI/CD-pipeline. These volumes often need to be “prepared” with data in some way before use. Dynamically provided volumes can usually not be used in read-only mode.

  • ReadWriteMany is the least commonly available Access Mode. If you use this access mode and these volumes are available to all Nodes within your cluster, you may want to disable the Affinity Assistant.

More examples

See the following in-depth examples of configuring Workspaces:

Last modified January 1, 0001