Concepts

Detailed explanations of Kubernetes system concepts and abstractions.

Edit This Page

Taints and Tolerations

Node affinity, described here, 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.

Concepts

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 key, value value, and taint effect NoSchedule. 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 node1:

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:

Operator defaults to Equal if not specified.

NOTE: There are two special cases:

tolerations:
- operator: "Exists"
tolerations:
- key: "key"
  operator: "Exists"

The above example used effect of NoSchedule. Alternatively, you can use effect of PreferNoSchedule. 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 effect is 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,

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 an optional 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.

Example Use Cases

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

Taint based Evictions

Earlier we mentioned the NoExecute taint effect, which affects pods that are already running on the node as follows

The above behavior is a beta feature. In addition, Kubernetes 1.6 has alpha support for representing node problems. In other words, the node controller automatically taints a node when certain condition is true. The built-in taints currently include:

When the TaintBasedEvictions alpha feature is enabled (you can do this by including TaintBasedEvictions=true in --feature-gates for Kubernetes controller manager, such as --feature-gates=FooBar=true,TaintBasedEvictions=true), the taints are automatically added by the NodeController (or kubelet) 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

Note that Kubernetes automatically adds a toleration for node.kubernetes.io/not-ready with tolerationSeconds=300 unless the pod configuration provided by the user already has a toleration for node.kubernetes.io/not-ready. Likewise it adds a toleration for node.alpha.kubernetes.io/unreachable with tolerationSeconds=300 unless the pod configuration provided by the user already has a toleration for node.alpha.kubernetes.io/unreachable.

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 the following taints with no tolerationSeconds:

This ensures that DaemonSet pods are never evicted due to these problems, which matches the behavior when this feature is disabled.

Taint Nodes by Condition

Version 1.8 introduces an alpha feature that causes the node controller to create taints corresponding to Node conditions. When this feature is enabled (you can do this by including TaintNodesByCondition=true in the --feature-gates command line flag to the scheduler, such as --feature-gates=FooBar=true,TaintNodesByCondition=true), the scheduler does not check Node conditions; instead the scheduler checks taints. This assures that Node conditions don’t affect what’s scheduled onto the Node. The user can choose to ignore some of the Node’s problems (represented as Node conditions) by adding appropriate Pod tolerations.

To make sure that turning on this feature doesn’t break DaemonSets, starting in version 1.8, the DaemonSet controller automatically adds the following NoSchedule tolerations to all daemons:

The above settings ensure backward compatibility, but we understand they may not fit all user’s needs, which is why cluster admin may choose to add arbitrary tolerations to DaemonSets.

Analytics

Create an Issue Edit this Page