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Control CPU Management Policies on the Node

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.12 beta
This feature is currently in a beta state, meaning:

  • The version names contain beta (e.g. v2beta3).
  • Code is well tested. Enabling the feature is considered safe. Enabled by default.
  • Support for the overall feature will not be dropped, though details may change.
  • The schema and/or semantics of objects may change in incompatible ways in a subsequent beta or stable release. When this happens, we will provide instructions for migrating to the next version. This may require deleting, editing, and re-creating API objects. The editing process may require some thought. This may require downtime for applications that rely on the feature.
  • Recommended for only non-business-critical uses because of potential for incompatible changes in subsequent releases. If you have multiple clusters that can be upgraded independently, you may be able to relax this restriction.
  • Please do try our beta features and give feedback on them! After they exit beta, it may not be practical for us to make more changes.

Kubernetes keeps many aspects of how pods execute on nodes abstracted from the user. This is by design.  However, some workloads require stronger guarantees in terms of latency and/or performance in order to operate acceptably. The kubelet provides methods to enable more complex workload placement policies while keeping the abstraction free from explicit placement directives.

Before you begin

You need to have a Kubernetes cluster, and the kubectl command-line tool must be configured to communicate with your cluster. If you do not already have a cluster, you can create one by using Minikube, or you can use one of these Kubernetes playgrounds:

To check the version, enter kubectl version.

CPU Management Policies

By default, the kubelet uses CFS quota to enforce pod CPU limits.  When the node runs many CPU-bound pods, the workload can move to different CPU cores depending on whether the pod is throttled and which CPU cores are available at scheduling time.  Many workloads are not sensitive to this migration and thus work fine without any intervention.

However, in workloads where CPU cache affinity and scheduling latency significantly affect workload performance, the kubelet allows alternative CPU management policies to determine some placement preferences on the node.

Configuration

The CPU Manager is an alpha feature in Kubernetes v1.8. It was enabled by default as a beta feature since v1.10.

The CPU Manager policy is set with the --cpu-manager-policy kubelet option. There are two supported policies:

The CPU manager periodically writes resource updates through the CRI in order to reconcile in-memory CPU assignments with cgroupfs. The reconcile frequency is set through a new Kubelet configuration value --cpu-manager-reconcile-period. If not specified, it defaults to the same duration as --node-status-update-frequency.

None policy

The none policy explicitly enables the existing default CPU affinity scheme, providing no affinity beyond what the OS scheduler does automatically.  Limits on CPU usage for Guaranteed pods are enforced using CFS quota.

Static policy

The static policy allows containers in Guaranteed pods with integer CPU requests access to exclusive CPUs on the node. This exclusivity is enforced using the cpuset cgroup controller.

Note: System services such as the container runtime and the kubelet itself can continue to run on these exclusive CPUs.  The exclusivity only extends to other pods.
Note: The alpha version of this policy does not guarantee static exclusive allocations across Kubelet restarts.
Note: CPU Manager doesn’t support offlining and onlining of CPUs at runtime. Also, if the set of online CPUs changes on the node, the node must be drained and CPU manager manually reset by deleting the state file cpu_manager_state in the kubelet root directory.

This policy manages a shared pool of CPUs that initially contains all CPUs in the node. The amount of exclusively allocatable CPUs is equal to the total number of CPUs in the node minus any CPU reservations by the kubelet --kube-reserved or --system-reserved options. CPUs reserved by these options are taken, in integer quantity, from the initial shared pool in ascending order by physical core ID.  This shared pool is the set of CPUs on which any containers in BestEffort and Burstable pods run. Containers in Guaranteed pods with fractional CPU requests also run on CPUs in the shared pool. Only containers that are both part of a Guaranteed pod and have integer CPU requests are assigned exclusive CPUs.

Note: The kubelet requires a CPU reservation greater than zero be made using either --kube-reserved and/or --system-reserved when the static policy is enabled. This is because zero CPU reservation would allow the shared pool to become empty.

As Guaranteed pods whose containers fit the requirements for being statically assigned are scheduled to the node, CPUs are removed from the shared pool and placed in the cpuset for the container. CFS quota is not used to bound the CPU usage of these containers as their usage is bound by the scheduling domain itself. In others words, the number of CPUs in the container cpuset is equal to the integer CPU limit specified in the pod spec. This static assignment increases CPU affinity and decreases context switches due to throttling for the CPU-bound workload.

Consider the containers in the following pod specs:

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx

This pod runs in the BestEffort QoS class because no resource requests or limits are specified. It runs in the shared pool.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
      requests:
        memory: "100Mi"

This pod runs in the Burstable QoS class because resource requests do not equal limits and the cpu quantity is not specified. It runs in the shared pool.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"
      requests:
        memory: "100Mi"
        cpu: "1"

This pod runs in the Burstable QoS class because resource requests do not equal limits. It runs in the shared pool.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"
      requests:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"

This pod runs in the Guaranteed QoS class because requests are equal to limits. And the container’s resource limit for the CPU resource is an integer greater than or equal to one. The nginx container is granted 2 exclusive CPUs.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "1.5"
      requests:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "1.5"

This pod runs in the Guaranteed QoS class because requests are equal to limits. But the container’s resource limit for the CPU resource is a fraction. It runs in the shared pool.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"

This pod runs in the Guaranteed QoS class because only limits are specified and requests are set equal to limits when not explicitly specified. And the container’s resource limit for the CPU resource is an integer greater than or equal to one. The nginx container is granted 2 exclusive CPUs.