Delete a StatefulSet

This task shows you how to delete a StatefulSet.

Before you begin

  • This task assumes you have an application running on your cluster represented by a StatefulSet.

Deleting a StatefulSet

You can delete a StatefulSet in the same way you delete other resources in Kubernetes: use the kubectl delete command, and specify the StatefulSet either by file or by name.

kubectl delete -f <file.yaml>
kubectl delete statefulsets <statefulset-name>

You may need to delete the associated headless service separately after the StatefulSet itself is deleted.

kubectl delete service <service-name>

When deleting a StatefulSet through kubectl, the StatefulSet scales down to 0. All Pods that are part of this workload are also deleted. If you want to delete only the StatefulSet and not the Pods, use --cascade=orphan. For example:

kubectl delete -f <file.yaml> --cascade=orphan

By passing --cascade=orphan to kubectl delete, the Pods managed by the StatefulSet are left behind even after the StatefulSet object itself is deleted. If the pods have a label, you can then delete them as follows:

kubectl delete pods -l

Persistent Volumes

Deleting the Pods in a StatefulSet will not delete the associated volumes. This is to ensure that you have the chance to copy data off the volume before deleting it. Deleting the PVC after the pods have terminated might trigger deletion of the backing Persistent Volumes depending on the storage class and reclaim policy. You should never assume ability to access a volume after claim deletion.

Complete deletion of a StatefulSet

To delete everything in a StatefulSet, including the associated pods, you can run a series of commands similar to the following:

grace=$(kubectl get pods <stateful-set-pod> --template '{{.spec.terminationGracePeriodSeconds}}')
kubectl delete statefulset -l
sleep $grace
kubectl delete pvc -l

In the example above, the Pods have the label; substitute your own label as appropriate.

Force deletion of StatefulSet pods

If you find that some pods in your StatefulSet are stuck in the 'Terminating' or 'Unknown' states for an extended period of time, you may need to manually intervene to forcefully delete the pods from the apiserver. This is a potentially dangerous task. Refer to Force Delete StatefulSet Pods for details.

What's next

Learn more about force deleting StatefulSet Pods.

Last modified March 14, 2023 at 8:12 PM PST: Tweak line wrappings in run-application (8b527bab7e)