In resource-constrained environments, such as single-node OpenShift deployments, it is advantageous to reserve most of the CPU resources for your own workloads and configure OKD to run on a fixed number of CPUs within the host. In these environments, management workloads, including the control plane, need to be configured to use fewer resources than they might by default in normal clusters. You can isolate the OKD services, cluster management workloads, and infrastructure pods to run on a reserved set of CPUs.

When you use workload partitioning, the CPU resources used by OKD for cluster management are isolated to a partitioned set of CPU resources on a single-node cluster. This partitioning isolates cluster management functions to the defined number of CPUs. All cluster management functions operate solely on that cpuset configuration.

The minimum number of reserved CPUs required for the management partition for a single-node cluster is four CPU Hyper threads (HTs). The set of pods that make up the baseline OKD installation and a set of typical add-on Operators are annotated for inclusion in the management workload partition. These pods operate normally within the minimum size cpuset configuration. Inclusion of Operators or workloads outside of the set of accepted management pods requires additional CPU HTs to be added to that partition.

Workload partitioning isolates the user workloads away from the platform workloads using the normal scheduling capabilities of Kubernetes to manage the number of pods that can be placed onto those cores, and avoids mixing cluster management workloads and user workloads.

When applying workload partitioning, use the Node Tuning Operator to implement the performance profile:

  • Workload partitioning pins the OKD infrastructure pods to a defined cpuset configuration.

  • The performance profile pins the systemd services to a defined cpuset configuration.

  • This cpuset configuration must match.

Workload partitioning introduces a new extended resource of <workload-type>.workload.openshift.io/cores for each defined CPU pool, or workload-type. Kubelet advertises these new resources and CPU requests by pods allocated to the pool are accounted for within the corresponding resource rather than the typical cpu resource. When workload partitioning is enabled, the <workload-type>.workload.openshift.io/cores resource allows access to the CPU capacity of the host, not just the default CPU pool.

Maximizing CPU allocation with workload partitioning

During single-node OpenShift cluster installation, you must enable workload partitioning. This limits the cores allowed to run platform services, maximizing the CPU core for application payloads.

You can enable workload partitioning only during cluster installation. You cannot disable workload partitioning post-installation. However, you can reconfigure workload partitioning by updating the cpu value that you define in the performance profile, and in the related cpuset value in the MachineConfig custom resource (CR).

  • The base64-encoded CR that enables workload partitioning contains the CPU set that the management workloads are constrained to. Encode host-specific values for crio.conf and kubelet.conf in base64. This content must be adjusted to match the CPU set that is specified in the cluster performance profile and must be accurate for the number of cores in the cluster host.

    apiVersion: machineconfiguration.openshift.io/v1
    kind: MachineConfig
        machineconfiguration.openshift.io/role: master
      name: 02-master-workload-partitioning
          version: 3.2.0
          - contents:
              source: data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,W2NyaW8ucnVudGltZS53b3JrbG9hZHMubWFuYWdlbWVudF0KYWN0aXZhdGlvbl9hbm5vdGF0aW9uID0gInRhcmdldC53b3JrbG9hZC5vcGVuc2hpZnQuaW8vbWFuYWdlbWVudCIKYW5ub3RhdGlvbl9wcmVmaXggPSAicmVzb3VyY2VzLndvcmtsb2FkLm9wZW5zaGlmdC5pbyIKcmVzb3VyY2VzID0geyAiY3B1c2hhcmVzIiA9IDAsICJjcHVzZXQiID0gIjAtMSw1Mi01MyIgfQo=
            mode: 420
            overwrite: true
            path: /etc/crio/crio.conf.d/01-workload-partitioning
              name: root
          - contents:
              source: data:text/plain;charset=utf-8;base64,ewogICJtYW5hZ2VtZW50IjogewogICAgImNwdXNldCI6ICIwLTEsNTItNTMiCiAgfQp9Cg==
            mode: 420
            overwrite: true
            path: /etc/kubernetes/openshift-workload-pinning
              name: root
  • When configured in the cluster host, the contents of /etc/crio/crio.conf.d/01-workload-partitioning should look like this:

    activation_annotation = "target.workload.openshift.io/management"
    annotation_prefix = "resources.workload.openshift.io"
    cpushares = 0
    cpuset = "0-1, 52-53" (1)
    1 The cpuset value varies based on the installation.

    If Hyper-Threading is enabled, specify both threads for each core. The cpuset value must match the reserved CPUs that you define in the spec.cpu.reserved field in the performance profile.

  • When configured in the cluster, the contents of /etc/kubernetes/openshift-workload-pinning should look like this:

      "management": {
        "cpuset": "0-1,52-53" (1)
    1 The cpuset must match the cpuset value in /etc/crio/crio.conf.d/01-workload-partitioning.