When running an EKS cluster, you might face two issues:
- Running out of IP addresses assigned to pods.
- Low pod count per node (due to ENI limits).
In this article, you will learn how to overcome those.
Before we start, here is some background on how intra-node networking works in Kubernetes.
When a node is created, the kubelet delegates:
- Creating the container to the Container Runtime.
- Attaching the container to the network to the CNI.
- Mounting volumes to the CSI.
Let's focus on the CNI part.
Each pod has its own isolated Linux network namespace and is attached to a bridge.
The CNI is responsible for creating the bridge, assigning the IP and connecting veth0 to the cni0.
This usually happens, but different CNIs might use other means to connect the container to the network.
As an example, there might not be a cni0 bridge.
The AWS-CNI is an example of such a CNI.
In AWS, each EC2 instance can have multiple network interfaces (ENIs).
You can assign a limited number of IPs to each ENI.
For example, an
m5.large can have up to 10 IPs for ENI.
Of those 10 IPs, you have to assign one to the network interface.
The rest you can give away.
Previously, you could use the extra IPs and assign them to Pods.
But there was a big limit: the number of IP addresses.
Let's have a look at an example.
m5.large, you have up to 3 ENIs with 10 IP private addresses each.
Since one IP is reserved, you're left with 9 per ENI (or 27 in total).
That means that your
m5.large could run up to 27 Pods.
Not a lot.
But AWS released a change to EC2 that allows "prefixes" to be assigned to network interfaces.
In simple words, ENIs now support a range instead of a single IP address.
If before you could have 10 private IP addresses, now you can have 10 slots of IP addresses.
And how big is the slot?
By default, 16 IP addresses.
With 10 slots, you could have up to 160 IP addresses.
That's a rather significant change!
Let's have a look at an example.
m5.large, you have 3 ENIs with 10 slots (or IPs) each.
Since one IP is reserved for the ENI, you're left with 9 slots.
Each slot is 16 IPs, so
Since there are 3 ENIs,
You can have up to 432 Pods now (vs 27 before).
The AWS-CNI support slots and caps the max number of Pods to 110 or 250, so you won't be able to run 432 Pods on an
It's also worth pointing out that this is not enabled by default — not even in newer clusters.
Perhaps because only nitro instances support it.
Assigning slots it's great until you realize that the CNI gives 16 IP addresses at once instead of only 1, which has the following implications:
- Quicker IP space exhaustion.
Let's review those.
A pod is scheduled to a node.
The AWS-CNI allocates 1 slot (16 IPs), and the pod uses one.
Now imagine having 5 nodes and a deployment with 5 replicas.
The Kubernetes scheduler prefers to spread the pods across the cluster.
Likely, each node receives 1 pod, and the AWS-CNI allocates 1 slot (16 IPs).
5*15=75 IPs from your network, but only 5 are used.
But there's more.
Slots allocate a contiguous block of IP addresses.
If a new IP is assigned (e.g. a node is created), you might have an issue with fragmentation.
How can you solve those?
- You can assign a secondary CIDR to EKS.
- You can reserve IP space within a subnet for exclusive use by slots.
And finally, if you've enjoyed this thread, you might also like:
- The Kubernetes workshops that we run at Learnk8s https://learnk8s.io/training
- This collection of past threads https://twitter.com/danielepolencic/status/1298543151901155330
- The Kubernetes newsletter I publish every week https://learnk8s.io/learn-kubernetes-weekly