You can constrain a pod to only be able to run on particular nodes or to prefer to run on particular nodes. There are several ways to do this, and they all use label selectors to make the selection. Generally such constraints are unnecessary, as the scheduler will automatically do a reasonable placement (e.g. spread your pods across nodes, not place the pod on a node with insufficient free resources, etc.) but there are some circumstances where you may want more control on a node where a pod lands, e.g. to ensure that a pod ends up on a machine with an SSD attached to it, or to co-locate pods from two different services that communicate a lot into the same availability zone.
You can find all the files for these examples in our docs repo here.
nodeSelector is the simplest form of constraint.
nodeSelector is a field of PodSpec. It specifies a map of key-value pairs. For the pod to be eligible
to run on a node, the node must have each of the indicated key-value pairs as labels (it can have
additional labels as well). The most common usage is one key-value pair.
Let’s walk through an example of how to use
This example assumes that you have a basic understanding of Kubernetes pods and that you have turned up a Kubernetes cluster.
kubectl get nodes to get the names of your cluster’s nodes. Pick out the one that you want to add a label to, and then run
kubectl label nodes <node-name> <label-key>=<label-value> to add a label to the node you’ve chosen. For example, if my node name is ‘kubernetes-foo-node-1.c.a-robinson.internal’ and my desired label is ‘disktype=ssd’, then I can run
kubectl label nodes kubernetes-foo-node-1.c.a-robinson.internal disktype=ssd.
If this fails with an “invalid command” error, you’re likely using an older version of kubectl that doesn’t have the
label command. In that case, see the previous version of this guide for instructions on how to manually set labels on a node.
Also, note that label keys must be in the form of DNS labels (as described in the identifiers doc), meaning that they are not allowed to contain any upper-case letters.
You can verify that it worked by re-running
kubectl get nodes --show-labels and checking that the node now has a label.
Take whatever pod config file you want to run, and add a nodeSelector section to it, like this. For example, if this is my pod config:
apiVersion: v1 kind: Pod metadata: name: nginx labels: env: test spec: containers: - name: nginx image: nginx
Then add a nodeSelector like so:
When you then run
kubectl create -f pod.yaml, the pod will get scheduled on the node that you attached the label to! You can verify that it worked by running
kubectl get pods -o wide and looking at the “NODE” that the pod was assigned to.
In addition to labels you attach yourself, nodes come pre-populated with a standard set of labels. As of Kubernetes v1.4 these labels are
nodeSelector provides a very simple way to constrain pods to nodes with particular labels. The affinity/anti-affinity
feature, currently in beta, greatly expands the types of constraints you can express. The key enhancements are
The affinity feature consists of two types of affinity, “node affinity” and “inter-pod affinity/anti-affinity.”
Node affinity is like the existing
nodeSelector (but with the first two benefits listed above),
while inter-pod affinity/anti-affinity constrains against pod labels rather than node labels, as
described in the third item listed above, in addition to having the first and second properties listed above.
nodeSelector continues to work as usual, but will eventually be deprecated, as node affinity can express
nodeSelector can express.
Node affinity was introduced as alpha in Kubernetes 1.2.
Node affinity is conceptually similar to
nodeSelector – it allows you to constrain which nodes your
pod is eligible to schedule on, based on labels on the node.
There are currently two types of node affinity, called
preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution. You can think of them as “hard” and “soft” respectively,
in the sense that the former specifies rules that must be met for a pod to schedule onto a node (just like
nodeSelector but using a more expressive syntax), while the latter specifies preferences that the scheduler
will try to enforce but will not guarantee. The “IgnoredDuringExecution” part of the names means that, similar
nodeSelector works, if labels on a node change at runtime such that the affinity rules on a pod are no longer
met, the pod will still continue to run on the node. In the future we plan to offer
requiredDuringSchedulingRequiredDuringExecution which will be just like
except that it will evict pods from nodes that cease to satisfy the pods’ node affinity requirements.
Thus an example of
requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution would be “only run the pod on nodes with Intel CPUs”
and an example
preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution would be “try to run this set of pods in availability
zone XYZ, but if it’s not possible, then allow some to run elsewhere”.
Node affinity is specified as field
nodeAffinity of field
affinity in the PodSpec.
Here’s an example of a pod that uses node affinity:
This node affinity rule says the pod can only be placed on a node with a label whose key is
kubernetes.io/e2e-az-name and whose value is either
e2e-az2. In addition,
among nodes that meet that criteria, nodes with a label whose key is
another-node-label-key and whose
another-node-label-value should be preferred.
You can see the operator
In being used in the example. The new node affinity syntax supports the following operators:
There is no explicit “node anti-affinity” concept, but
DoesNotExist give that behavior.
If you specify both
nodeAffinity, both must be satisfied for the pod
to be scheduled onto a candidate node.
For more information on node affinity, see the design doc here.
Inter-pod affinity and anti-affinity were introduced in Kubernetes 1.4.
Inter-pod affinity and anti-affinity allow you to constrain which nodes your pod is eligible to schedule on based on
labels on pods that are already running on the node rather than based on labels on nodes. The rules are of the form “this pod should (or, in the case of
anti-affinity, should not) run in an X if that X is already running one or more pods that meet rule Y.” Y is expressed
as a LabelSelector with an associated list of namespaces (or “all” namespaces); unlike nodes, because pods are namespaced
(and therefore the labels on pods are implicitly namespaced),
a label selector over pod labels must specify which namespaces the selector should apply to. Conceptually X is a topology domain
like node, rack, cloud provider zone, cloud provider region, etc. You express it using a
topologyKey which is the
key for the node label that the system uses to denote such a topology domain, e.g. see the label keys listed above
in the section Interlude: built-in node labels.
As with node affinity, there are currently two types of pod affinity and anti-affinity, called
preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution which denote “hard” vs. “soft” requirements.
See the description in the node affinity section earlier.
An example of
requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution affinity would be “co-locate the pods of service A and service B
in the same zone, since they communicate a lot with each other”
and an example
preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution anti-affinity would be “spread the pods from this service across zones”
(a hard requirement wouldn’t make sense, since you probably have more pods than zones).
Inter-pod affinity is specified as field
podAffinity of field
affinity in the PodSpec.
And inter-pod anti-affinity is specified as field
podAntiAffinity of field
affinity in the PodSpec.
Here’s an example of a pod that uses pod affinity:
The affinity on this pod defines one pod affinity rule and one pod anti-affinity rule. Both
must be satisfied for the pod to schedule onto a node. The
pod affinity rule says that the pod can schedule onto a node only if that node is in the same zone
as at least one already-running pod that has a label with key “security” and value “S1”. (More precisely, the pod is eligible to run
on node N if node N has a label with key
failure-domain.beta.kubernetes.io/zone and some value V
such that there is at least one node in the cluster with key
value V that is running a pod that has a label with key “security” and value “S1”.) The pod anti-affinity
rule says that the pod cannot schedule onto a node if that node is already running a pod with label
having key “security” and value “S2”. (If the
it would mean that the pod cannot schedule onto a node if that node is in the same zone as a pod with
label having key “security” and value “S2”.) See the design doc.
for many more examples of pod affinity and anti-affinity, both the
flavor and the
As with node affinity, the legal operators for pod affinity and anti-affinity are
In principle, the
topologyKey can be any legal label value. However,
for performance reasons, only a limited set of topology keys are allowed.
By default the allowed topology keys are:
In addition to
topologyKey, you can optionally specify a list
of namespaces which the
labelSelector should match against (this goes at the same level of the definition as
If omitted, it defaults to the namespace of the pod where the affinity/anti-affinity definition appears.
If defined but empty, it means “all namespaces.”
matchExpressions associated with
requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution affinity and anti-affinity
must be satisfied for the pod to schedule onto a node.
For more information on inter-pod affinity/anti-affinity, see the design doc here.
Node affinity, described earlier, is a property of pods that attracts them to a set of nodes (either as a preference or a hard requirement). Taints are the opposite – they allow a node to repel a set of pods.
Taints and tolerations work together to ensure that pods are not scheduled onto inappropriate nodes. One or more taints are applied to a node; this marks that the node should not accept any pods that do not tolerate the taints. Tolerations are applied to pods, and allow (but do not require) the pods to schedule onto nodes with matching taints.
You add a taint to a node using kubectl taint. For example,
kubectl taint nodes node1 key=value:NoSchedule
places a taint on node
node1. The taint has key
value, and taint effect
This means that no pod will be able to schedule onto
node1 unless it has a matching toleration.
You specify a toleration for a pod in the PodSpec. Both of the following tolerations “match” the
taint created by the
kubectl taint line above, and thus a pod with either toleration would be able
to schedule onto
tolerations: - key: "key" operator: "Equal" value: "value" effect: "NoSchedule"
tolerations: - key: "key" operator: "Exists" effect: "NoSchedule"
A toleration “matches” a taint if the
keys are the same and the
effects are the same, and:
Exists(in which case no
valueshould be specified), or
values are equal
Operator defaults to
Equal if not specified.)
As a special case, an empty
key with operator
Exists matches all keys and all values.
Also as a special case, empty
effect matches all effects.
The above example used
NoSchedule. Alternatively, you can use
This is a “preference” or “soft” version of
NoSchedule – the system will try to avoid placing a
pod that does not tolerate the taint on the node, but it is not required. The third kind of
NoExecute, described later.
You can put multiple taints on the same node and multiple tolerations on the same pod. The way Kubernetes processes multiple taints and tolerations is like a filter: start with all of a node’s taints, then ignore the ones for which the pod has a matching toleration; the remaining un-ignored taints have the indicated effects on the pod. In particular,
NoSchedulethen Kubernetes will not schedule the pod onto that node
NoSchedulebut there is at least one un-ignored taint with effect
PreferNoSchedulethen Kubernetes will try to not schedule the pod onto the node
NoExecutethen the pod will be evicted from the node (if it is already running on the node), and will not be scheduled onto the node (if it is not yet running on the node).
For example, imagine you taint a node like this
kubectl taint nodes node1 key1=value1:NoSchedule kubectl taint nodes node1 key1=value1:NoExecute kubectl taint nodes node1 key2=value2:NoSchedule
And a pod has two tolerations:
tolerations: - key: "key1" operator: "Equal" value: "value1" effect: "NoSchedule" - key: "key1" operator: "Equal" value: "value1" effect: "NoExecute"
In this case, the pod will not be able to schedule onto the node, because there is no toleration matching the third taint. But it will be able to continue running if it is already running on the node when the taint is added, because the third taint is the only one of the three that is not tolerated by the pod.
Normally, if a taint with effect
NoExecute is added to a node, then any pods that do
not tolerate the taint will be evicted immediately, and any pods that do tolerate the
taint will never be evicted. However, a toleration with
NoExecute effect can specify
tolerationSeconds field that dictates how long the pod will stay bound
to the node after the taint is added. For example,
tolerations: - key: "key1" operator: "Equal" value: "value1" effect: "NoExecute" tolerationSeconds: 3600
means that if this pod is running and a matching taint is added to the node, then the pod will stay bound to the node for 3600 seconds, and then be evicted. If the taint is removed before that time, the pod will not be evicted.
Taints and tolerations are a flexible way to steer pods away from nodes or evict pods that shouldn’t be running. A few of the use cases are
dedicated nodes: If you want to dedicate a set of nodes for exclusive use by
a particular set of users, you can add a taint to those nodes (say,
kubectl taint nodes nodename dedicated=groupName:NoSchedule) and then add a corresponding
toleration to their pods (this would be done most easily by writing a custom
The pods with the tolerations will then be allowed to use the tainted (dedicated) nodes as
well as any other nodes in the cluster. If you want to dedicate the nodes to them and
ensure they only use the dedicated nodes, then you should additionally add a label similar
to the taint to the same set of nodes (e.g.
dedicated=groupName), and the admission
controller should additionally add a node affinity to require that the pods can only schedule
onto nodes labeled with
nodes with special hardware: In a cluster where a small subset of nodes have specialized
hardware (for example GPUs), it is desirable to keep pods that don’t need the specialized
hardware off of those nodes, thus leaving room for later-arriving pods that do need the
specialized hardware. This can be done by tainting the nodes that have the specialized
kubectl taint nodes nodename special=true:NoSchedule or
kubectl taint nodes nodename special=true:PreferNoSchedule) and adding a corresponding
toleration to pods that use the special hardware. As in the dedicated nodes use case,
it is probably easiest to apply the tolerations using a custom
For example, the admission controller could use
some characteristic(s) of the pod to determine that the pod should be allowed to use
the special nodes and hence the admission controller should add the toleration.
To ensure that the pods that need
the special hardware only schedule onto the nodes that have the special hardware, you will need some
additional mechanism, e.g. you could represent the special resource using
opaque integer resources
and request it as a resource in the PodSpec, or you could label the nodes that have
the special hardware and use node affinity on the pods that need the hardware.
per-pod-configurable eviction behavior when there are node problems (alpha feature), which is described in the next section.
Earlier we mentioned the
NoExecute taint effect, which affects pods that are already
running on the node as follows
tolerationSecondsin their toleration specification remain bound forever
tolerationSecondsremain bound for the specified amount of time
The above behavior is a beta feature. In addition, Kubernetes 1.6 has alpha
support for representing node problems (currently only “node unreachable” and
“node not ready”, corresponding to the NodeCondition “Ready” being “Unknown” or
“False” respectively) as taints. When the
TaintBasedEvictions alpha feature
is enabled (you can do this by including
--feature-gates, such as
--feature-gates=FooBar=true,TaintBasedEvictions=true), the taints are automatically
added by the NodeController and the normal logic for evicting pods from nodes
based on the Ready NodeCondition is disabled.
(Note: To maintain the existing rate limiting)
behavior of pod evictions due to node problems, the system actually adds the taints
in a rate-limited way. This prevents massive pod evictions in scenarios such
as the master becoming partitioned from the nodes.)
This alpha feature, in combination with
tolerationSeconds, allows a pod
to specify how long it should stay bound to a node that has one or both of these problems.
For example, an application with a lot of local state might want to stay bound to node for a long time in the event of network partition, in the hope that the partition will recover and thus the pod eviction can be avoided. The toleration the pod would use in that case would look like
tolerations: - key: "node.alpha.kubernetes.io/unreachable" operator: "Exists" effect: "NoExecute" tolerationSeconds: 6000
(For the node not ready case, change the key to
Note that Kubernetes automatically adds a toleration for
unless the pod configuration provided
by the user already has a toleration for
Likewise it adds a toleration for
unless the pod configuration provided
by the user already has a toleration for
These automatically-added tolerations ensure that the default pod behavior of remaining bound for 5 minutes after one of these problems is detected is maintained. The two default tolerations are added by the DefaultTolerationSeconds admission controller.
DaemonSet pods are created with
NoExecute tolerations for
tolerationSeconds. This ensures that DaemonSet pods are never evicted due
to these problems, which matches the behavior when this feature is disabled.