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Configure Minimum and Maximum Memory Constraints for a Namespace

This page shows how to set minimum and maximum values for memory used by Containers running in a namespace. You specify minimum and maximum memory values in a LimitRange object. If a Pod does not meet the constraints imposed by the LimitRange, it cannot be created in the namespace.

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:

Each node in your cluster must have at least 1 GiB of memory.

Create a namespace

Create a namespace so that the resources you create in this exercise are isolated from the rest of your cluster.

kubectl create namespace constraints-mem-example

Create a LimitRange and a Pod

Here’s the configuration file for a LimitRange:

memory-constraints.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: LimitRange
metadata:
  name: mem-min-max-demo-lr
spec:
  limits:
  - max:
      memory: 1Gi
    min:
      memory: 500Mi
    type: Container

Create the LimitRange:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints.yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

View detailed information about the LimitRange:

kubectl get limitrange cpu-min-max-demo --namespace=constraints-mem-example --output=yaml

The output shows the minimum and maximum memory constraints as expected. But notice that even though you didn’t specify default values in the configuration file for the LimitRange, they were created automatically.

  limits:
  - default:
      memory: 1Gi
    defaultRequest:
      memory: 1Gi
    max:
      memory: 1Gi
    min:
      memory: 500Mi
    type: Container

Now whenever a Container is created in the constraints-mem-example namespace, Kubernetes performs these steps:

Here’s the configuration file for a Pod that has one Container. The Container manifest specifies a memory request of 600 MiB and a memory limit of 800 MiB. These satisfy the minimum and maximum memory constraints imposed by the LimitRange.

memory-constraints-pod.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: constraints-mem-demo
spec:
  containers:
  - name: constraints-mem-demo-ctr
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "800Mi"
      requests:
        memory: "600Mi"

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod.yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

Verify that the Pod’s Container is running:

kubectl get pod constraints-mem-demo --namespace=constraints-mem-example

View detailed information about the Pod:

kubectl get pod constraints-mem-demo --output=yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

The output shows that the Container has a memory request of 600 MiB and a memory limit of 800 MiB. These satisfy the constraints imposed by the LimitRange.

resources:
  limits:
     memory: 800Mi
  requests:
    memory: 600Mi

Delete your Pod:

kubectl delete pod constraints-mem-demo --namespace=constraints-mem-example

Attempt to create a Pod that exceeds the maximum memory constraint

Here’s the configuration file for a Pod that has one Container. The Container specifies a memory request of 800 MiB and a memory limit of 1.5 GiB.

memory-constraints-pod-2.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: constraints-mem-demo-2
spec:
  containers:
  - name: constraints-mem-demo-2-ctr
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "1.5Gi"
      requests:
        memory: "800Mi"

Attempt to create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod-2.yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

The output shows that the Pod does not get created, because the Container specifies a memory limit that is too large:

Error from server (Forbidden): error when creating "docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod-2.yaml":
pods "constraints-mem-demo-2" is forbidden: maximum memory usage per Container is 1Gi, but limit is 1536Mi.

Attempt to create a Pod that does not meet the minimum memory request

Here’s the configuration file for a Pod that has one Container. The Container specifies a memory request of 200 MiB and a memory limit of 800 MiB.

memory-constraints-pod-3.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: constraints-mem-demo-3
spec:
  containers:
  - name: constraints-mem-demo-3-ctr
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "800Mi"
      requests:
        memory: "100Mi"

Attempt to create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod-3.yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

The output shows that the Pod does not get created, because the Container specifies a memory request that is too small:

Error from server (Forbidden): error when creating "docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod-3.yaml":
pods "constraints-mem-demo-3" is forbidden: minimum memory usage per Container is 500Mi, but request is 100Mi.

Create a Pod that does not specify any memory request or limit

Here’s the configuration file for a Pod that has one Container. The Container does not specify a memory request, and it does not specify a memory limit.

memory-constraints-pod-4.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: constraints-mem-demo-4
spec:
  containers:
  - name: constraints-mem-demo-4-ctr
    image: nginx

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/administer-cluster/memory-constraints-pod-4.yaml --namespace=constraints-mem-example

View detailed information about the Pod:

kubectl get pod constraints-mem-demo-4 --namespace=constraints-mem-example --output=yaml

The output shows that the Pod’s Container has a memory request of 1 GiB and a memory limit of 1 GiB. How did the Container get those values?

resources:
  limits:
    memory: 1Gi
  requests:
    memory: 1Gi

Because your Container did not specify its own memory request and limit, it was given the default memory request and limit from the LimitRange.

At this point, your Container might be running or it might not be running. Recall that a prerequisite for this task is that your Nodes have at least 1 GiB of memory. If each of your Nodes has only 1 GiB of memory, then there is not enough allocatable memory on any Node to accommodate a memory request of 1 GiB. If you happen to be using Nodes with 2 GiB of memory, then you probably have enough space to accommodate the 1 GiB request.

Delete your Pod:

kubectl delete pod constraints-mem-demo-4 --namespace=constraints-mem-example

Enforcement of minimum and maximum memory constraints

The maximum and minimum memory constraints imposed on a namespace by a LimitRange are enforced only when a Pod is created or updated. If you change the LimitRange, it does not affect Pods that were created previously.

Motivation for minimum and maximum memory constraints

As a cluster administrator, you might want to impose restrictions on the amount of memory that Pods can use. For example:

Clean up

Delete your namespace:

kubectl delete namespace constraints-mem-example

What’s next

For cluster administrators

For app developers

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