Scaling the Percona Kubernetes Operator for Percona XtraDB Cluster

Scaling Percona Kubernetes Operator

Scaling Percona Kubernetes OperatorYou got yourself a Kubernetes cluster and are now testing our Percona Kubernetes Operator for Percona XtraDB Cluster. Everything is working great and you decided that you want to increase the number of Percona XtraDB Cluster (PXC) pods from the default 3, to let’s say, 5 pods.

It’s just a matter of running the following command:

kubectl patch pxc cluster1 --type='json' -p='[{"op": "replace", "path": "/spec/pxc/size", "value": 5 }]'

Good, you run the command without issues and now you will have 5 pxc pods! Right? Let’s check out how the pods are being replicated:

kubectl get pods | grep pxc
cluster1-pxc-0                                     1/1     Running   0          25m
cluster1-pxc-1                                     1/1     Running   0          23m
cluster1-pxc-2                                     1/1     Running   0          22m
cluster1-pxc-3                                     0/1     Pending   0          13m

You not only see 4 pods instead of 5 but also the one new pod is stuck in the “Pending” state. Further info shows that the kube scheduler wasn’t able to find a node to deploy the pod:

kubectl describe pod cluster1-pxc-3
Name:           cluster1-pxc-3
Namespace:      pxc
Priority:       0
  Type     Reason            Age                  From               Message
  ----     ------            ----                 ----               -------
  Warning  FailedScheduling  69s (x5 over 5m28s)  default-scheduler  0/3 nodes are available: 3 node(s) didn't match pod affinity/anti-affinity, 3 node(s) didn't satisfy existing pods anti-affinity rules.

From that output, we can see what’s the issue: Affinity. Or more specifically: Anti-affinity

Affinity defines eligible pods that can be scheduled (can run) on the node which already has pods with specific labels. Anti-affinity defines pods that are not eligible.

The operator provides an option called “antiAffinityTopologyKey” which can have several values:

  • – Pods will avoid residing within the same host.
  • – Pods will avoid residing within the same zone.
  • – Pods will avoid residing within the same region.
  • none – No constraints are applied. It means that all PXC pods can be scheduled on one Node and you can lose all your cluster because of one Node failure.

The default value is which pretty much means: “only one Pod per node”

In this case, the kubernetes cluster is running on top of 3 aws instances, hence when one tries to increase the number of pods, the scheduler will have trouble finding where to put that new pod.


There are several options. One plain and simple (and obvious) one can be to add new nodes to the k8s cluster.

Another option is to set the anti-affinity to “none”. Now, why one would want to remove the guarantee of having POD distribute among the available nodes? Well, think about lower environments like QA or Staging, where the HA requirements are not hard and you just need to deploy the operator in a couple of nodes (control plane/worker).

Now, here’s how the affinity setting can be changed:

Edit the cluster configuration. My cluster is called “cluster1” so the command is:

kubectl edit pxc/cluster1

Find the line where “antiAffinityTopologyKey” is defined and change “” to “none” and save the changes. This modification will be applied immediately.

Delete the old pods ONE BY ONE. Kubernetes will spawn a new one, so don’t worry about it. For example, to delete the pod named “cluster1-pxc-0”, run:

kubectl delete pod cluster1-pxc-0

You will see how the Pods are recreated and the one that was on “pending” moves on:

kubectl get pod
NAME                                               READY   STATUS              RESTARTS   AGE
cluster1-pxc-0                                     0/1     ContainerCreating   0          8s
cluster1-pxc-1                                     1/1     Running             0          4h55m
cluster1-pxc-2                                     1/1     Running             0          4h53m
cluster1-pxc-3                                     0/1     ContainerCreating   0          8m25s

Finally, the goal of having 5 pods is achieved:

kubectl get pod
NAME                                               READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
cluster1-pxc-0                                     1/1     Running   0          39m
cluster1-pxc-1                                     1/1     Running   0          36m
cluster1-pxc-2                                     1/1     Running   0          37m
cluster1-pxc-3                                     1/1     Running   0          47m
cluster1-pxc-4                                     1/1     Running   0          38m

But what if one needs a more sophisticated option? One with some degree of guarantee that HA will be met? For those cases, the operator Affinity can use an advanced approach, by using the NodeAffinity with “preferredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution”

The whole description and configuration is available in the Operator documentation “Binding Percona XtraDB Cluster components to Specific Kubernetes/OpenShift Nodes”

And also, in the future, the operator will make use of the “topologySpreadConstraints” spec to control the degree to which Pods may be unevenly distributed.

Thanks to Ivan Pylypenko and Mykola Marzhan from the Percona Engineer Team for the guidance.

by Daniel Guzmán Burgos via Percona Database Performance Blog