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Safely Drain a Node

This page shows how to safely drain a node, optionally respecting the PodDisruptionBudget you have defined.

Before you begin

Your Kubernetes server must be at or later than version 1.5. To check the version, enter kubectl version.

This task also assumes that you have met the following prerequisites:

  1. You do not require your applications to be highly available during the node drain, or
  2. You have read about the PodDisruptionBudget concept, and have configured PodDisruptionBudgets for applications that need them.

(Optional) Configure a disruption budget

To ensure that your workloads remain available during maintenance, you can configure a PodDisruptionBudget.

If availability is important for any applications that run or could run on the node(s) that you are draining, configure a PodDisruptionBudgets first and then continue following this guide.

Use kubectl drain to remove a node from service

You can use kubectl drain to safely evict all of your pods from a node before you perform maintenance on the node (e.g. kernel upgrade, hardware maintenance, etc.). Safe evictions allow the pod's containers to gracefully terminate and will respect the PodDisruptionBudgets you have specified.

When kubectl drain returns successfully, that indicates that all of the pods (except the ones excluded as described in the previous paragraph) have been safely evicted (respecting the desired graceful termination period, and respecting the PodDisruptionBudget you have defined). It is then safe to bring down the node by powering down its physical machine or, if running on a cloud platform, deleting its virtual machine.

First, identify the name of the node you wish to drain. You can list all of the nodes in your cluster with

kubectl get nodes

Next, tell Kubernetes to drain the node:

kubectl drain <node name>

Once it returns (without giving an error), you can power down the node (or equivalently, if on a cloud platform, delete the virtual machine backing the node). If you leave the node in the cluster during the maintenance operation, you need to run

kubectl uncordon <node name>

afterwards to tell Kubernetes that it can resume scheduling new pods onto the node.

Draining multiple nodes in parallel

The kubectl drain command should only be issued to a single node at a time. However, you can run multiple kubectl drain commands for different nodes in parallel, in different terminals or in the background. Multiple drain commands running concurrently will still respect the PodDisruptionBudget you specify.

For example, if you have a StatefulSet with three replicas and have set a PodDisruptionBudget for that set specifying minAvailable: 2, kubectl drain only evicts a pod from the StatefulSet if all three replicas pods are ready; if then you issue multiple drain commands in parallel, Kubernetes respects the PodDisruptionBudget and ensure that only 1 (calculated as replicas - minAvailable) Pod is unavailable at any given time. Any drains that would cause the number of ready replicas to fall below the specified budget are blocked.

The Eviction API

If you prefer not to use kubectl drain (such as to avoid calling to an external command, or to get finer control over the pod eviction process), you can also programmatically cause evictions using the eviction API.

For more information, see API-initiated eviction.

What's next

Last modified March 30, 2022 at 9:03 PM PST: typo: "the" --> "then" (8df0736acb)