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Kubernetes Scalability thresholds

Background

As described in How we define scalability document, it is impossible to provide guarantees in a generic situation. One of the prerequisites for SLOs being satisfied is keeping the load in the cluster within recommended limits. This document is trying to explicitly summarize dimensions and limits themselves.

Kubernetes thresholds

Scalability dimensions and thresholds are very complex topic. In fact, configurations that Kubernetes supports create Scalability Envelope:

Scalability Envelope

Some the properties of the envelope:

  1. It's NOT a kube, because dimensions are sometimes not independent.
  2. It's NOT convex.
  3. As you move farther along one dimension, your cross-section wrt other dimensions gets smaller.
  4. It's bounded.
  5. It's decomposable into smaller envelopes.

You can learn more about it in this Kubecon talk (or Kubecon slides).

There are couple caveats to the thresholds we are presenting below:

  1. In majority of cases, thresholds are NOT hard limits - crossing the limit results in degraded performance and doesn't mean cluster immediately fails over.
  2. Many of the tresholds (for cluster scope) are given for the largest possible cluster. For smaller clusters, the limits are proportionally lower.
  3. The thresholds may differ (hopefully be non-decreasing) across Kubernetes releases. The threshold below are given for Kubernetes head.
    TODO: We are planning to start versioning the table below, but we are not there yet.
  4. Given that configuration influences thresholds, we are assuming vanilla Kubernetes setup.

The table below is NOT exhaustive - more content is coming soon.

Quantity Threshold scope=namespace Threshold: scope=cluster
#Nodes n/a 5000
#Namespaces n/a 10000
#Pods 3000 150000
#Pods per node min(110, 10*#cores) min(110, 10*#cores)
#Services 5000 10000
#All service endpoints TBD TBD
#Endpoints per service 250 n/a
#Secrets TBD TBD
#ConfigMaps TBD TBD
#Deployments 2000 TBD
#DaemonSets TBD TBD
#Jobs TBD TBD
#StatefulSets TBD TBD

There are also thresholds that depend on environment/cloud provider. The NOT exhaustive list includes:

Quantity Threshold scope=namespace Threshold: scope=cluster
#Ingresses TBD TBD
#PersistentVolumes n/a TBD
#PersistentVolumeClaims TBD TBD
#PersistentVolumeClaims per node TBD TBD
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