Kubernetes Affinities and Tolerations

Managing which Kubernetes nodes workloads get deployed to

This document describes how the administrator may influence how the various workloads that are part of KubeCF will get deployed onto their Kuberntes cluster.


Kubernetes will attempt to schedule work based on their affinities and anti-affinities; by default, KubeCF will request for each instance group to be scheduled away from other replicas of the same instance group. Additionally, by default the router instance group and the diego-cell instance group will have an anti-affinity towards each other.

The affinities can be overridden on a per-instance-group basis, using helm configuration values such as the following:

        - labelSelector:
            - key: quarks.cloudfoundry.org/quarks-statefulset-name
              operator: In
              - uaa
              - api

This will request uaa pods to avoid any other uaa or api pods; this may be helpful if your UAA instances consume resources to the point where they slow down API access. Note that if any affinity or anti-affinity options are given, they will override the default anti-affinities; it is recommended that they be specified explicitly as well, as given in the example above.

Note that it is also possible to declare nodeAffinity and podAffinity, as the whole affinity block is assumed to be a valid Kubernetes affinity block.


Kubernetes has a concept of taints and tolerations, which can be used to prevent workloads from running on a given node, and then whitelist some workloads on it again; this can be used to do things such as ensuring the physical host has the appropriate kinds of resources, or to evict work from nodes that will be removed.

Tolerations can be configured in KubeCF on an instance group level, by providing the appropriate configuration in the helm values. For example, to allocate a Kubernetes node such that it will only run digeo-cell, we could do:

# This marks the node "beefy-node" with a taint of "instance-group"
# with a value of "diego-cell", and prevents scheduling workloads that
# do not have a matching taint.
kubectl taint nodes beefy-node instance-group=diego-cell:NoSchedule

We could then allow diego-cell to be scheduled onto that node by deploying KubeCF with a helm values.yaml that contains the toleration:

    - key: instance-group
      operator: Equal
      value: diego-cell
      effect: NoSchedule

Then any diego-cell containers will be allowed to run on the beefy-node node. This, of course, does not guarantee that those containers will actually run on that node; it is also available to run on any other node. In order to enforce placement, we will also need to add a node label:

kubectl label nodes beefy-node instance-group-label=diego-cell

It is then possible to add a node affinity term to the instane group, so that it will always be scheduled on nodes with the given label:

    # tolerations: as above
          - matchExpressions:
            - key: instance-group-label
              operator: In
              - diego-cell
      # podAntiAffinity term, as above; the defaults will be lost.
Last modified September 8, 2020: fix: tolerations: adjust wording (9262035)