Using the Cluster Autoscaler

Cluster Autoscaler is a tool that automatically adjusts the size of the Kubernetes cluster based on the utilization of Pods and Nodes in your cluster. For more general information about the Cluster Autoscaler, please see the project documentation.

The following instructions are a reproduction of the Cluster API provider specific documentation from the Autoscaler project documentation.

Cluster Autoscaler on Cluster API

The cluster autoscaler on Cluster API uses the cluster-api project to manage the provisioning and de-provisioning of nodes within a Kubernetes cluster.

Kubernetes Version

The cluster-api provider requires Kubernetes v1.16 or greater to run the v1alpha3 version of the API.

Starting the Autoscaler

To enable the Cluster API provider, you must first specify it in the command line arguments to the cluster autoscaler binary. For example:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi

Please note, this example only shows the cloud provider options, you will most likely need other command line flags. For more information you can invoke cluster-autoscaler --help to see a full list of options.

Configuring node group auto discovery

If you do not configure node group auto discovery, cluster autoscaler will attempt to match nodes against any scalable resources found in any namespace and belonging to any Cluster.

Limiting cluster autoscaler to only match against resources in the blue namespace

--node-group-auto-discovery=clusterapi:namespace=blue

Limiting cluster autoscaler to only match against resources belonging to Cluster test1

--node-group-auto-discovery=clusterapi:clusterName=test1

Limiting cluster autoscaler to only match against resources matching the provided labels

--node-group-auto-discovery=clusterapi:color=green,shape=square

These can be mixed and matched in any combination, for example to only match resources in the staging namespace, belonging to the purple cluster, with the label owner=jim:

--node-group-auto-discovery=clusterapi:namespace=staging,clusterName=purple,owner=jim

Connecting cluster-autoscaler to Cluster API management and workload Clusters

You will also need to provide the path to the kubeconfig(s) for the management and workload cluster you wish cluster-autoscaler to run against. To specify the kubeconfig path for the workload cluster to monitor, use the --kubeconfig option and supply the path to the kubeconfig. If the --kubeconfig option is not specified, cluster-autoscaler will attempt to use an in-cluster configuration. To specify the kubeconfig path for the management cluster to monitor, use the --cloud-config option and supply the path to the kubeconfig. If the --cloud-config option is not specified it will fall back to using the kubeconfig that was provided with the --kubeconfig option.

Use in-cluster config for both management and workload cluster:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi

Use in-cluster config for workload cluster, specify kubeconfig for management cluster:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi --cloud-config=/mnt/kubeconfig

Use in-cluster config for management cluster, specify kubeconfig for workload cluster:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi --kubeconfig=/mnt/kubeconfig --clusterapi-cloud-config-authoritative

Use separate kubeconfigs for both management and workload cluster:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi --kubeconfig=/mnt/workload.kubeconfig --cloud-config=/mnt/management.kubeconfig

Use a single provided kubeconfig for both management and workload cluster:

cluster-autoscaler --cloud-provider=clusterapi --kubeconfig=/mnt/workload.kubeconfig

Enabling Autoscaling

To enable the automatic scaling of components in your cluster-api managed cloud there are a few annotations you need to provide. These annotations must be applied to either MachineSet or MachineDeployment resources depending on the type of cluster-api mechanism that you are using.

There are two annotations that control how a cluster resource should be scaled:

  • cluster.x-k8s.io/cluster-api-autoscaler-node-group-min-size - This specifies the minimum number of nodes for the associated resource group. The autoscaler will not scale the group below this number. Please note that currently the cluster-api provider will not scale down to zero nodes.

  • cluster.x-k8s.io/cluster-api-autoscaler-node-group-max-size - This specifies the maximum number of nodes for the associated resource group. The autoscaler will not scale the group above this number.

The autoscaler will monitor any MachineSet or MachineDeployment containing both of these annotations.

Specifying a Custom Resource Group

By default all Kubernetes resources consumed by the Cluster API provider will use the group cluster.x-k8s.io, with a dynamically acquired version. In some situations, such as testing or prototyping, you may wish to change this group variable. For these situations you may use the environment variable CAPI_GROUP to change the group that the provider will use.

Sample manifest

A sample manifest that will create a deployment running the autoscaler is available. It can be deployed by passing it through envsubst, providing these environment variables to set the namespace to deploy into as well as the image and tag to use:

export AUTOSCALER_NS=kube-system
export AUTOSCALER_IMAGE=us.gcr.io/k8s-artifacts-prod/autoscaling/cluster-autoscaler:v1.20.0
envsubst < examples/deployment.yaml | kubectl apply -f-

A note on permissions

The cluster-autoscaler-management role for accessing cluster api scalable resources is scoped to ClusterRole. This may not be ideal for all environments (eg. Multi tenant environments). In such cases, it is recommended to scope it to a Role mapped to a specific namespace.