What Device Manager Does

Device Manager is a Technology Preview feature. Technology Preview features are not supported with Red Hat production service level agreements (SLAs), might not be functionally complete, and Red Hat does not recommend to use them for production. These features provide early access to upcoming product features, enabling customers to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process.

For more information on Red Hat Technology Preview features support scope, see https://access.redhat.com/support/offerings/techpreview/.

Device Manager is a Kubelet feature that provides a mechanism for advertising specialized node hardware resources with the help of Kubelet plug-ins known as device plug-ins.

Any vendor can implement a device plug-in to advertise their specialized hardware without requiring any upstream code changes.

Device Manager advertises devices as Extended Resources. User pods can consume devices, advertised by Device Manager, using the same Limit/Request mechanism, which is used for requesting any other Extended Resource.


Upon start, the device plug-in registers itself with Device Manager invoking Register on the /var/lib/kubelet/device-plugins/kubelet.sock and starts a gRPC service at /var/lib/kubelet/device-plugins/<plugin>.sock for serving Device Manager requests.

Device Discovery and Health Monitoring

Device Manager, while processing a new registration request, invokes ListAndWatch remote procedure call (RPC) at the device plug-in service. In response, Device Manger gets a list of Device objects from the plug-in over a gRPC stream. Device Manager will keep watching on the stream for new updates from the plug-in. On the plug-in side, the plug-in will also keep the stream open and whenever there is a change in the state of any of the devices, a new device list is sent to the Device Manager over the same streaming connection.

Device Allocation

While handling a new pod admission request, Kubelet passes requested Extended Resources to the Device Manager for device allocation. Device Manager checks in its database to verify if a corresponding plug-in exists or not. If the plug-in exists and there are free allocatable devices as well as per local cache, Allocate RPC is invoked at that particular device plug-in.

Additionally, device plug-ins can also perform several other device-specific operations, such as driver installation, device initialization, and device resets. These functionalities vary from implementation to implementation.

Enabling Device Manager

Enable Device Manager to implement a device plug-in to advertise specialized hardware without any upstream code changes.

  1. Enable Device Manager support on the target node or nodes:

    # cat /etc/origin/node/node-config.yaml
      - DevicePlugins=true
    # systemctl restart atomic-openshift-node
  2. Ensure that Device Manager was actually enabled by confirming that /var/lib/kubelet/device-plugins/kubelet.sock is created on the node. This is the UNIX domain socket on which the Device Manager gRPC server listens for new plug-in registrations. This sock file is created when the Kubelet is started only if Device Manager is enabled.