Managing Machine Config Pools

This component allows you to manage machine config pools and all related configuration, including MachineConfigs, KubeletConfigs, and ContainerRuntimeConfigs. If you wan to get a better understanding of machine config pools, please read the upstream documentation or this blog post from RedHat.

On this page we’ll provide some explanations and examples which demonstrate how to configure existing machine config pools and how to add new machine config pools.

Default Machine Config Pools

On a default APPUiO OpenShift 4 cluster there are five machine config pools.

There are two that are always present and managed by OpenShift directly. These can’t be removed or modified through the component.

  • The master pool contains all master nodes.

  • The worker pool contains all other nodes.

On an APPUiO OpenShift 4 cluster the worker pool is further split into different sub-pools

  • The app pool contains the actual worker nodes that are used to run the users applications.

  • The infra pool contains the infra nodes that run OpenShift 4 workloads, such as Prometheus or Elasticsearch,

  • The storage pool contains the Ceph cluster deployed by component rook ceph. These nodes aren’t always present, but the pool always exists.

Being a sub-pool of the worker pool means it will inherit all configuration of the worker pool, but it will still count as a separate pool.

Configuring Machine Config Pools

The component allows you to configure machine config pools and their related resources through the machineConfigPools parameter.

  • The MachineConfigPool resource itself can be managed through the spec parameter. The component provides sane defaults for machine config and node selectors, which you generally shouldn’t need to change.

    This can’t be changed for the master or worker pool.
  • There is one KubeletConfig resource per machine config pool that can be managed through the kubelet parameter. The parameter contains the complete spec of the KubeletConfig. The machineConfigPoolSelector is set by the component and doesn’t need to be modified.

  • There is also one ContainerRuntimeConfig resource per machine config pool that can be managed through the containerRuntime parameter. The parameter contains the complete spec of the ContainerRuntimeConfig. The machineConfigPoolSelector is again set by the component and doesn’t need to be modified.

  • An arbitrary number of MachineConfig resources can be managed through the machineConfigs parameter. The component handles selectors and labels so that these machine configs are assigned to the corresponding pool.

Changes that impact a nodes configuration, such as modifying kubelet config or container runtime config, will restart all nodes in the machine config pool.

Below you can see a few example configurations that should illustrate how you can manage existing machine config pools.

Example: Modifying App Pool

Let’s assume that we’re running a large cluster with more than 10 large app nodes. Although there are enough resources available, we run into the pod limit and we’d need to add another node. At the same time maintenance is starting to take a long time, as each node is restarted sequentially. We decided to do two changes:

  • Increase the maximum number of pods per node to 200

  • Allow OpenShift to restart two app nodes in parallel during upgrades

This allow us to better utilize the available resources and reduces the maintenance time. We can achieve this with the following configuration.

        maxUnvailable: 2 (1)
          maxPods: 200 (2)
1 Allows OpenShift to reboot two app nodes at the same time
2 Schedules up to 200 pods per node

Example: Configuring Master Nodes

The master and worker pools are managed by OpenShift and come with default configuration. This component doesn’t directly manage these MachineConfigPool resources, but we can still add additional machine configs.

Let’s say we want to configure chrony on the master nodes to use our own NTP server.

  1. First encode the chrony configuration as base64

    cat << EOF | base64
        pool iburst (1)
        driftfile /var/lib/chrony/drift
        makestep 1.0 3
        logdir /var/log/chrony
    1 Specify any valid, reachable time source, such as the one provided by your DHCP server
  2. Then add this to all master nodes using the following configuration

                  version: 3.2.0
                  - contents: (1)
                      source: data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,ICAgIHBvb2wgbnRwLmV4YW1wbGUuY29tIGlidXJzdCA8MT4KICAgIGRyaWZ0ZmlsZSAvdmFyL2xpYi9jaHJvbnkvZHJpZnQKICAgIG1ha2VzdGVwIDEuMCAzCiAgICBydGNzeW5jCiAgICBsb2dkaXIgL3Zhci9sb2cvY2hyb255Cg==
                    mode: 420
                    overwrite: true
                    path: /etc/chrony.conf
    1 Base64 encoded chrony configuration

Adding new Machine Config Pools

This component allows you to add an arbitrary number of machine config pools. All custom machine config pools will be sub-pools of the worker machine config pool. Therefore, they’ll all inherit all configuration of the worker pool.

Currently the component doesn’t provide support for adding and labeling the nodes themselves.

Example: Add GPU Nodes

We want to add special nodes that have access to to a GPU. We handle these nodes in a different machine config pool, as we anticipate that they’ll need different configuration.

  1. Let’s say we added two new worker nodes with GPUs. We currently need to manually label these two nodes to give them the correct role.

    $ kubectl get nodes
    gpu-32ac    Ready    worker       1h   v1.23.5+8471591
    gpu-e226    Ready    worker       1h   v1.23.5+8471591
    kubectl label node gpu-32ac""
    kubectl label node gpu-e226""
    $ kubectl get nodes
    gpu-32ac    Ready    gpu,worker   1h   v1.23.5+8471591
    gpu-e226    Ready    gpu,worker   1h   v1.23.5+8471591
  2. With the nodes labeled we can add another machine config pool with the following configuration

        gpu: {}
  3. After a few minutes you should see that the machine config pool has adopted the two nodes

    $ kubectl get
    x-gpu    rendered-x-gpu-9b16524c1512d9327f940e736f322ef1    True      False      False      2              2                   2                     0                      20m

A node can only belong to the worker pool and up to one other pool. Sub-pools for master nodes or adding a node to more than one sub-pool isn’t supported.

If you add a node to more than one sub-pool it’ll be removed from all pools and won’t be managed by OpenShift.

You have the option to remove added machine config pools or even remove the three default pools app, infra, and storage. However, before doing so you need to make sure that no node is assigned to the to-be removed machine config pool.

You can do this by removing the associated label or by modifying the node selector of the machine config pool before removing the pool. If you don’t do this, OpenShift will be confused and the nodes won’t be assigned to any machine config pool.