Resource Quotas

When several users or teams share a cluster with a fixed number of nodes, there is a concern that one team could use more than its fair share of resources.

Resource quotas are a tool for administrators to address this concern.

A resource quota, defined by a ResourceQuota object, provides constraints that limit aggregate resource consumption per namespace. It can limit the quantity of objects that can be created in a namespace by type, as well as the total amount of compute resources that may be consumed by resources in that namespace.

Resource quotas work like this:

  • Different teams work in different namespaces. Currently this is voluntary, but support for making this mandatory via ACLs is planned.

  • The administrator creates one ResourceQuota for each namespace.

  • Users create resources (pods, services, etc.) in the namespace, and the quota system tracks usage to ensure it does not exceed hard resource limits defined in a ResourceQuota.

  • If creating or updating a resource violates a quota constraint, the request will fail with HTTP status code 403 FORBIDDEN with a message explaining the constraint that would have been violated.

  • If quota is enabled in a namespace for compute resources like cpu and memory, users must specify requests or limits for those values; otherwise, the quota system may reject pod creation. Hint: Use the LimitRanger admission controller to force defaults for pods that make no compute resource requirements.

    See the walkthrough for an example of how to avoid this problem.

The name of a ResourceQuota object must be a valid DNS subdomain name.

Examples of policies that could be created using namespaces and quotas are:

  • In a cluster with a capacity of 32 GiB RAM, and 16 cores, let team A use 20 GiB and 10 cores, let B use 10GiB and 4 cores, and hold 2GiB and 2 cores in reserve for future allocation.
  • Limit the "testing" namespace to using 1 core and 1GiB RAM. Let the "production" namespace use any amount.

In the case where the total capacity of the cluster is less than the sum of the quotas of the namespaces, there may be contention for resources. This is handled on a first-come-first-served basis.

Neither contention nor changes to quota will affect already created resources.

Enabling Resource Quota

Resource Quota support is enabled by default for many Kubernetes distributions. It is enabled when the API server --enable-admission-plugins= flag has ResourceQuota as one of its arguments.

A resource quota is enforced in a particular namespace when there is a ResourceQuota in that namespace.

Compute Resource Quota

You can limit the total sum of compute resources that can be requested in a given namespace.

The following resource types are supported:

Resource NameDescription
limits.cpuAcross all pods in a non-terminal state, the sum of CPU limits cannot exceed this value.
limits.memoryAcross all pods in a non-terminal state, the sum of memory limits cannot exceed this value.
requests.cpuAcross all pods in a non-terminal state, the sum of CPU requests cannot exceed this value.
requests.memoryAcross all pods in a non-terminal state, the sum of memory requests cannot exceed this value.
hugepages-<size>Across all pods in a non-terminal state, the number of
huge page requests of the specified size cannot exceed this value.
cpuSame as requests.cpu
memorySame as requests.memory

Resource Quota For Extended Resources

In addition to the resources mentioned above, in release 1.10, quota support for extended resources is added.

As overcommit is not allowed for extended resources, it makes no sense to specify both requests and limits for the same extended resource in a quota. So for extended resources, only quota items with prefix requests. is allowed for now.

Take the GPU resource as an example, if the resource name is nvidia.com/gpu, and you want to limit the total number of GPUs requested in a namespace to 4, you can define a quota as follows:

  • requests.nvidia.com/gpu: 4

See Viewing and Setting Quotas for more detail information.

Storage Resource Quota

You can limit the total sum of storage resources that can be requested in a given namespace.

In addition, you can limit consumption of storage resources based on associated storage-class.

Resource NameDescription
requests.storageAcross all persistent volume claims, the sum of storage requests cannot exceed this value.
persistentvolumeclaimsThe total number of PersistentVolumeClaims that can exist in the namespace.
<storage-class-name>.storageclass.storage.k8s.io/requests.storageAcross all persistent volume claims associated with the <storage-class-name>, the sum of storage requests cannot exceed this value.
<storage-class-name>.storageclass.storage.k8s.io/persistentvolumeclaimsAcross all persistent volume claims associated with the storage-class-name, the total number of persistent volume claims that can exist in the namespace.

For example, if an operator wants to quota storage with gold storage class separate from bronze storage class, the operator can define a quota as follows:

  • gold.storageclass.storage.k8s.io/requests.storage: 500Gi
  • bronze.storageclass.storage.k8s.io/requests.storage: 100Gi

In release 1.8, quota support for local ephemeral storage is added as an alpha feature:

Resource NameDescription
requests.ephemeral-storageAcross all pods in the namespace, the sum of local ephemeral storage requests cannot exceed this value.
limits.ephemeral-storageAcross all pods in the namespace, the sum of local ephemeral storage limits cannot exceed this value.
ephemeral-storageSame as requests.ephemeral-storage.

Object Count Quota

You can set quota for the total number of certain resources of all standard, namespaced resource types using the following syntax:

  • count/<resource>.<group> for resources from non-core groups
  • count/<resource> for resources from the core group

Here is an example set of resources users may want to put under object count quota:

  • count/persistentvolumeclaims
  • count/services
  • count/secrets
  • count/configmaps
  • count/replicationcontrollers
  • count/deployments.apps
  • count/replicasets.apps
  • count/statefulsets.apps
  • count/jobs.batch
  • count/cronjobs.batch

The same syntax can be used for custom resources. For example, to create a quota on a widgets custom resource in the example.com API group, use count/widgets.example.com.

When using count/* resource quota, an object is charged against the quota if it exists in server storage. These types of quotas are useful to protect against exhaustion of storage resources. For example, you may want to limit the number of Secrets in a server given their large size. Too many Secrets in a cluster can actually prevent servers and controllers from starting. You can set a quota for Jobs to protect against a poorly configured CronJob. CronJobs that create too many Jobs in a namespace can lead to a denial of service.

It is also possible to do generic object count quota on a limited set of resources. The following types are supported:

Resource NameDescription
configmapsThe total number of ConfigMaps that can exist in the namespace.
persistentvolumeclaimsThe total number of PersistentVolumeClaims that can exist in the namespace.
podsThe total number of Pods in a non-terminal state that can exist in the namespace. A pod is in a terminal state if .status.phase in (Failed, Succeeded) is true.
replicationcontrollersThe total number of ReplicationControllers that can exist in the namespace.
resourcequotasThe total number of ResourceQuotas that can exist in the namespace.
servicesThe total number of Services that can exist in the namespace.
services.loadbalancersThe total number of Services of type LoadBalancer that can exist in the namespace.
services.nodeportsThe total number of Services of type NodePort that can exist in the namespace.
secretsThe total number of Secrets that can exist in the namespace.

For example, pods quota counts and enforces a maximum on the number of pods created in a single namespace that are not terminal. You might want to set a pods quota on a namespace to avoid the case where a user creates many small pods and exhausts the cluster's supply of Pod IPs.

Quota Scopes

Each quota can have an associated set of scopes. A quota will only measure usage for a resource if it matches the intersection of enumerated scopes.

When a scope is added to the quota, it limits the number of resources it supports to those that pertain to the scope. Resources specified on the quota outside of the allowed set results in a validation error.

ScopeDescription
TerminatingMatch pods where .spec.activeDeadlineSeconds >= 0
NotTerminatingMatch pods where .spec.activeDeadlineSeconds is nil
BestEffortMatch pods that have best effort quality of service.
NotBestEffortMatch pods that do not have best effort quality of service.
PriorityClassMatch pods that references the specified priority class.

The BestEffort scope restricts a quota to tracking the following resource:

  • pods

The Terminating, NotTerminating, NotBestEffort and PriorityClass scopes restrict a quota to tracking the following resources:

  • pods
  • cpu
  • memory
  • requests.cpu
  • requests.memory
  • limits.cpu
  • limits.memory

Note that you cannot specify both the Terminating and the NotTerminating scopes in the same quota, and you cannot specify both the BestEffort and NotBestEffort scopes in the same quota either.

The scopeSelector supports the following values in the operator field:

  • In
  • NotIn
  • Exists
  • DoesNotExist

When using one of the following values as the scopeName when defining the scopeSelector, the operator must be Exists.

  • Terminating
  • NotTerminating
  • BestEffort
  • NotBestEffort

If the operator is In or NotIn, the values field must have at least one value. For example:

  scopeSelector:
    matchExpressions:
      - scopeName: PriorityClass
        operator: In
        values:
          - middle

If the operator is Exists or DoesNotExist, the `values field must NOT be specified.

Resource Quota Per PriorityClass

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.17 [stable]

Pods can be created at a specific priority. You can control a pod's consumption of system resources based on a pod's priority, by using the scopeSelector field in the quota spec.

A quota is matched and consumed only if scopeSelector in the quota spec selects the pod.

When quota is scoped for priority class using scopeSelector field, quota object is restricted to track only following resources:

  • pods
  • cpu
  • memory
  • ephemeral-storage
  • limits.cpu
  • limits.memory
  • limits.ephemeral-storage
  • requests.cpu
  • requests.memory
  • requests.ephemeral-storage

This example creates a quota object and matches it with pods at specific priorities. The example works as follows:

  • Pods in the cluster have one of the three priority classes, "low", "medium", "high".
  • One quota object is created for each priority.

Save the following YAML to a file quota.yml.

apiVersion: v1
kind: List
items:
- apiVersion: v1
  kind: ResourceQuota
  metadata:
    name: pods-high
  spec:
    hard:
      cpu: "1000"
      memory: 200Gi
      pods: "10"
    scopeSelector:
      matchExpressions:
      - operator : In
        scopeName: PriorityClass
        values: ["high"]
- apiVersion: v1
  kind: ResourceQuota
  metadata:
    name: pods-medium
  spec:
    hard:
      cpu: "10"
      memory: 20Gi
      pods: "10"
    scopeSelector:
      matchExpressions:
      - operator : In
        scopeName: PriorityClass
        values: ["medium"]
- apiVersion: v1
  kind: ResourceQuota
  metadata:
    name: pods-low
  spec:
    hard:
      cpu: "5"
      memory: 10Gi
      pods: "10"
    scopeSelector:
      matchExpressions:
      - operator : In
        scopeName: PriorityClass
        values: ["low"]

Apply the YAML using kubectl create.

kubectl create -f ./quota.yml
resourcequota/pods-high created
resourcequota/pods-medium created
resourcequota/pods-low created

Verify that Used quota is 0 using kubectl describe quota.

kubectl describe quota
Name:       pods-high
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         0     1k
memory      0     200Gi
pods        0     10


Name:       pods-low
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         0     5
memory      0     10Gi
pods        0     10


Name:       pods-medium
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         0     10
memory      0     20Gi
pods        0     10

Create a pod with priority "high". Save the following YAML to a file high-priority-pod.yml.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: high-priority
spec:
  containers:
  - name: high-priority
    image: ubuntu
    command: ["/bin/sh"]
    args: ["-c", "while true; do echo hello; sleep 10;done"]
    resources:
      requests:
        memory: "10Gi"
        cpu: "500m"
      limits:
        memory: "10Gi"
        cpu: "500m"
  priorityClassName: high

Apply it with kubectl create.

kubectl create -f ./high-priority-pod.yml

Verify that "Used" stats for "high" priority quota, pods-high, has changed and that the other two quotas are unchanged.

kubectl describe quota
Name:       pods-high
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         500m  1k
memory      10Gi  200Gi
pods        1     10


Name:       pods-low
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         0     5
memory      0     10Gi
pods        0     10


Name:       pods-medium
Namespace:  default
Resource    Used  Hard
--------    ----  ----
cpu         0     10
memory      0     20Gi
pods        0     10

Requests compared to Limits

When allocating compute resources, each container may specify a request and a limit value for either CPU or memory. The quota can be configured to quota either value.

If the quota has a value specified for requests.cpu or requests.memory, then it requires that every incoming container makes an explicit request for those resources. If the quota has a value specified for limits.cpu or limits.memory, then it requires that every incoming container specifies an explicit limit for those resources.

Viewing and Setting Quotas

Kubectl supports creating, updating, and viewing quotas:

kubectl create namespace myspace
cat <<EOF > compute-resources.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: ResourceQuota
metadata:
  name: compute-resources
spec:
  hard:
    requests.cpu: "1"
    requests.memory: 1Gi
    limits.cpu: "2"
    limits.memory: 2Gi
    requests.nvidia.com/gpu: 4
EOF
kubectl create -f ./compute-resources.yaml --namespace=myspace
cat <<EOF > object-counts.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: ResourceQuota
metadata:
  name: object-counts
spec:
  hard:
    configmaps: "10"
    persistentvolumeclaims: "4"
    pods: "4"
    replicationcontrollers: "20"
    secrets: "10"
    services: "10"
    services.loadbalancers: "2"
EOF
kubectl create -f ./object-counts.yaml --namespace=myspace
kubectl get quota --namespace=myspace
NAME                    AGE
compute-resources       30s
object-counts           32s
kubectl describe quota compute-resources --namespace=myspace
Name:                    compute-resources
Namespace:               myspace
Resource                 Used  Hard
--------                 ----  ----
limits.cpu               0     2
limits.memory            0     2Gi
requests.cpu             0     1
requests.memory          0     1Gi
requests.nvidia.com/gpu  0     4
kubectl describe quota object-counts --namespace=myspace
Name:                   object-counts
Namespace:              myspace
Resource                Used    Hard
--------                ----    ----
configmaps              0       10
persistentvolumeclaims  0       4
pods                    0       4
replicationcontrollers  0       20
secrets                 1       10
services                0       10
services.loadbalancers  0       2

Kubectl also supports object count quota for all standard namespaced resources using the syntax count/<resource>.<group>:

kubectl create namespace myspace
kubectl create quota test --hard=count/deployments.apps=2,count/replicasets.apps=4,count/pods=3,count/secrets=4 --namespace=myspace
kubectl create deployment nginx --image=nginx --namespace=myspace --replicas=2
kubectl describe quota --namespace=myspace
Name:                         test
Namespace:                    myspace
Resource                      Used  Hard
--------                      ----  ----
count/deployments.apps        1     2
count/pods                    2     3
count/replicasets.apps        1     4
count/secrets                 1     4

Quota and Cluster Capacity

ResourceQuotas are independent of the cluster capacity. They are expressed in absolute units. So, if you add nodes to your cluster, this does not automatically give each namespace the ability to consume more resources.

Sometimes more complex policies may be desired, such as:

  • Proportionally divide total cluster resources among several teams.
  • Allow each tenant to grow resource usage as needed, but have a generous limit to prevent accidental resource exhaustion.
  • Detect demand from one namespace, add nodes, and increase quota.

Such policies could be implemented using ResourceQuotas as building blocks, by writing a "controller" that watches the quota usage and adjusts the quota hard limits of each namespace according to other signals.

Note that resource quota divides up aggregate cluster resources, but it creates no restrictions around nodes: pods from several namespaces may run on the same node.

Limit Priority Class consumption by default

It may be desired that pods at a particular priority, eg. "cluster-services", should be allowed in a namespace, if and only if, a matching quota object exists.

With this mechanism, operators are able to restrict usage of certain high priority classes to a limited number of namespaces and not every namespace will be able to consume these priority classes by default.

To enforce this, kube-apiserver flag --admission-control-config-file should be used to pass path to the following configuration file:

apiVersion: apiserver.config.k8s.io/v1
kind: AdmissionConfiguration
plugins:
- name: "ResourceQuota"
  configuration:
    apiVersion: apiserver.config.k8s.io/v1
    kind: ResourceQuotaConfiguration
    limitedResources:
    - resource: pods
      matchScopes:
      - scopeName: PriorityClass
        operator: In
        values: ["cluster-services"]

Now, "cluster-services" pods will be allowed in only those namespaces where a quota object with a matching scopeSelector is present. For example:

    scopeSelector:
      matchExpressions:
      - scopeName: PriorityClass
        operator: In
        values: ["cluster-services"]

What's next

Last modified September 08, 2020 at 8:13 PM PST: Improve resource quota concepts (a42b44058)