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Control Topology Management Policies on a node

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.18 [beta]

An increasing number of systems leverage a combination of CPUs and hardware accelerators to support latency-critical execution and high-throughput parallel computation. These include workloads in fields such as telecommunications, scientific computing, machine learning, financial services and data analytics. Such hybrid systems comprise a high performance environment.

In order to extract the best performance, optimizations related to CPU isolation, memory and device locality are required. However, in Kubernetes, these optimizations are handled by a disjoint set of components.

Topology Manager is a Kubelet component that aims to co-ordinate the set of components that are responsible for these optimizations.

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:

Your Kubernetes server must be at or later than version v1.18. To check the version, enter kubectl version.

How Topology Manager Works

Prior to the introduction of Topology Manager, the CPU and Device Manager in Kubernetes make resource allocation decisions independently of each other. This can result in undesirable allocations on multiple-socketed systems, performance/latency sensitive applications will suffer due to these undesirable allocations. Undesirable in this case meaning for example, CPUs and devices being allocated from different NUMA Nodes thus, incurring additional latency.

The Topology Manager is a Kubelet component, which acts as a source of truth so that other Kubelet components can make topology aligned resource allocation choices.

The Topology Manager provides an interface for components, called Hint Providers, to send and receive topology information. Topology Manager has a set of node level policies which are explained below.

The Topology manager receives Topology information from the Hint Providers as a bitmask denoting NUMA Nodes available and a preferred allocation indication. The Topology Manager policies perform a set of operations on the hints provided and converge on the hint determined by the policy to give the optimal result, if an undesirable hint is stored the preferred field for the hint will be set to false. In the current policies preferred is the narrowest preferred mask. The selected hint is stored as part of the Topology Manager. Depending on the policy configured the pod can be accepted or rejected from the node based on the selected hint. The hint is then stored in the Topology Manager for use by the Hint Providers when making the resource allocation decisions.

Enable the Topology Manager feature

Support for the Topology Manager requires TopologyManager feature gate to be enabled. It is enabled by default starting with Kubernetes 1.18.

Topology Manager Scopes and Policies

The Topology Manager currently:

  • Aligns Pods of all QoS classes.
  • Aligns the requested resources that Hint Provider provides topology hints for.

If these conditions are met, the Topology Manager will align the requested resources.

In order to customise how this alignment is carried out, the Topology Manager provides two distinct knobs: scope and policy.

The scope defines the granularity at which you would like resource alignment to be performed (e.g. at the pod or container level). And the policy defines the actual strategy used to carry out the alignment (e.g. best-effort, restricted, single-numa-node, etc.).

Details on the various scopes and policies available today can be found below.

Note: To align CPU resources with other requested resources in a Pod Spec, the CPU Manager should be enabled and proper CPU Manager policy should be configured on a Node. See control CPU Management Policies.

Topology Manager Scopes

The Topology Manager can deal with the alignment of resources in a couple of distinct scopes:

  • container (default)
  • pod

Either option can be selected at a time of the kubelet startup, with --topology-manager-scope flag.

container scope

The container scope is used by default.

Within this scope, the Topology Manager performs a number of sequential resource alignments, i.e., for each container (in a pod) a separate alignment is computed. In other words, there is no notion of grouping the containers to a specific set of NUMA nodes, for this particular scope. In effect, the Topology Manager performs an arbitrary alignment of individual containers to NUMA nodes.

The notion of grouping the containers was endorsed and implemented on purpose in the following scope, for example the pod scope.

pod scope

To select the pod scope, start the kubelet with the command line option --topology-manager-scope=pod.

This scope allows for grouping all containers in a pod to a common set of NUMA nodes. That is, the Topology Manager treats a pod as a whole and attempts to allocate the entire pod (all containers) to either a single NUMA node or a common set of NUMA nodes. The following examples illustrate the alignments produced by the Topology Manager on different occasions:

  • all containers can be and are allocated to a single NUMA node;
  • all containers can be and are allocated to a shared set of NUMA nodes.

The total amount of particular resource demanded for the entire pod is calculated according to effective requests/limits formula, and thus, this total value is equal to the maximum of:

  • the sum of all app container requests,
  • the maximum of init container requests, for a resource.

Using the pod scope in tandem with single-numa-node Topology Manager policy is specifically valuable for workloads that are latency sensitive or for high-throughput applications that perform IPC. By combining both options, you are able to place all containers in a pod onto a single NUMA node; hence, the inter-NUMA communication overhead can be eliminated for that pod.

In the case of single-numa-node policy, a pod is accepted only if a suitable set of NUMA nodes is present among possible allocations. Reconsider the example above:

  • a set containing only a single NUMA node - it leads to pod being admitted,
  • whereas a set containing more NUMA nodes - it results in pod rejection (because instead of one NUMA node, two or more NUMA nodes are required to satisfy the allocation).

To recap, Topology Manager first computes a set of NUMA nodes and then tests it against Topology Manager policy, which either leads to the rejection or admission of the pod.

Topology Manager Policies

Topology Manager supports four allocation policies. You can set a policy via a Kubelet flag, --topology-manager-policy. There are four supported policies:

  • none (default)
  • best-effort
  • restricted
  • single-numa-node
Note: If Topology Manager is configured with the pod scope, the container, which is considered by the policy, is reflecting requirements of the entire pod, and thus each container from the pod will result with the same topology alignment decision.

none policy

This is the default policy and does not perform any topology alignment.

best-effort policy

For each container in a Pod, the kubelet, with best-effort topology management policy, calls each Hint Provider to discover their resource availability. Using this information, the Topology Manager stores the preferred NUMA Node affinity for that container. If the affinity is not preferred, Topology Manager will store this and admit the pod to the node anyway.

The Hint Providers can then use this information when making the resource allocation decision.

restricted policy

For each container in a Pod, the kubelet, with restricted topology management policy, calls each Hint Provider to discover their resource availability. Using this information, the Topology Manager stores the preferred NUMA Node affinity for that container. If the affinity is not preferred, Topology Manager will reject this pod from the node. This will result in a pod in a Terminated state with a pod admission failure.

Once the pod is in a Terminated state, the Kubernetes scheduler will not attempt to reschedule the pod. It is recommended to use a ReplicaSet or Deployment to trigger a redeploy of the pod. An external control loop could be also implemented to trigger a redeployment of pods that have the Topology Affinity error.

If the pod is admitted, the Hint Providers can then use this information when making the resource allocation decision.

single-numa-node policy

For each container in a Pod, the kubelet, with single-numa-node topology management policy, calls each Hint Provider to discover their resource availability. Using this information, the Topology Manager determines if a single NUMA Node affinity is possible. If it is, Topology Manager will store this and the Hint Providers can then use this information when making the resource allocation decision. If, however, this is not possible then the Topology Manager will reject the pod from the node. This will result in a pod in a Terminated state with a pod admission failure.

Once the pod is in a Terminated state, the Kubernetes scheduler will not attempt to reschedule the pod. It is recommended to use a Deployment with replicas to trigger a redeploy of the Pod. An external control loop could be also implemented to trigger a redeployment of pods that have the Topology Affinity error.

Pod Interactions with Topology Manager Policies

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.

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

This pod runs in the Burstable QoS class because requests are less than limits.

If the selected policy is anything other than none, Topology Manager would consider these Pod specifications. The Topology Manager would consult the Hint Providers to get topology hints. In the case of the static, the CPU Manager policy would return default topology hint, because these Pods do not have explicitly request CPU resources.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"
        example.com/device: "1"
      requests:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "2"
        example.com/device: "1"

This pod with integer CPU request runs in the Guaranteed QoS class because requests are equal to limits.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "300m"
        example.com/device: "1"
      requests:
        memory: "200Mi"
        cpu: "300m"
        example.com/device: "1"

This pod with sharing CPU request runs in the Guaranteed QoS class because requests are equal to limits.

spec:
  containers:
  - name: nginx
    image: nginx
    resources:
      limits:
        example.com/deviceA: "1"
        example.com/deviceB: "1"
      requests:
        example.com/deviceA: "1"
        example.com/deviceB: "1"

This pod runs in the BestEffort QoS class because there are no CPU and memory requests.

The Topology Manager would consider the above pods. The Topology Manager would consult the Hint Providers, which are CPU and Device Manager to get topology hints for the pods.

In the case of the Guaranteed pod with integer CPU request, the static CPU Manager policy would return topology hints relating to the exclusive CPU and the Device Manager would send back hints for the requested device.

In the case of the Guaranteed pod with sharing CPU request, the static CPU Manager policy would return default topology hint as there is no exclusive CPU request and the Device Manager would send back hints for the requested device.

In the above two cases of the Guaranteed pod, the none CPU Manager policy would return default topology hint.

In the case of the BestEffort pod, the static CPU Manager policy would send back the default topology hint as there is no CPU request and the Device Manager would send back the hints for each of the requested devices.

Using this information the Topology Manager calculates the optimal hint for the pod and stores this information, which will be used by the Hint Providers when they are making their resource assignments.

Known Limitations

  1. The maximum number of NUMA nodes that Topology Manager allows is 8. With more than 8 NUMA nodes there will be a state explosion when trying to enumerate the possible NUMA affinities and generating their hints.

  2. The scheduler is not topology-aware, so it is possible to be scheduled on a node and then fail on the node due to the Topology Manager.

  3. The Device Manager and the CPU Manager are the only components to adopt the Topology Manager's HintProvider interface. This means that NUMA alignment can only be achieved for resources managed by the CPU Manager and the Device Manager. Memory or Hugepages are not considered by the Topology Manager for NUMA alignment.

Last modified January 24, 2021 at 4:27 PM PST: Fix some spell checking (234658156)