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Learn about NUMA-aware scheduling and how you can use it to deploy high performance workloads in an OpenShift Container Platform cluster.

NUMA-aware scheduling is a Technology Preview feature only. Technology Preview features are not supported with Red Hat production service level agreements (SLAs) and might not be functionally complete. Red Hat does not recommend using them in 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 about the support scope of Red Hat Technology Preview features, see https://access.redhat.com/support/offerings/techpreview/.

The NUMA Resources Operator allows you to schedule high-performance workloads in the same NUMA zone. It deploys a node resources exporting agent that reports on available cluster node NUMA resources, and a secondary scheduler that manages the workloads.

About NUMA-aware scheduling

Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) is a compute platform architecture that allows different CPUs to access different regions of memory at different speeds. NUMA resource topology refers to the locations of CPUs, memory, and PCI devices relative to each other in the compute node. Co-located resources are said to be in the same NUMA zone. For high-performance applications, the cluster needs to process pod workloads in a single NUMA zone.

NUMA architecture allows a CPU with multiple memory controllers to use any available memory across CPU complexes, regardless of where the memory is located. This allows for increased flexibility at the expense of performance. A CPU processing a workload using memory that is outside its NUMA zone is slower than a workload processed in a single NUMA zone. Also, for I/O-constrained workloads, the network interface on a distant NUMA zone slows down how quickly information can reach the application. High-performance workloads, such as telecommunications workloads, cannot operate to specification under these conditions. NUMA-aware scheduling aligns the requested cluster compute resources (CPUs, memory, devices) in the same NUMA zone to process latency-sensitive or high-performance workloads efficiently. NUMA-aware scheduling also improves pod density per compute node for greater resource efficiency.

The default OpenShift Container Platform pod scheduler scheduling logic considers the available resources of the entire compute node, not individual NUMA zones. If the most restrictive resource alignment is requested in the kubelet topology manager, error conditions can occur when admitting the pod to a node. Conversely, if the most restrictive resource alignment is not requested, the pod can be admitted to the node without proper resource alignment, leading to worse or unpredictable performance. For example, runaway pod creation with Topology Affinity Error statuses can occur when the pod scheduler makes suboptimal scheduling decisions for guaranteed pod workloads by not knowing if the pod’s requested resources are available. Scheduling mismatch decisions can cause indefinite pod startup delays. Also, depending on the cluster state and resource allocation, poor pod scheduling decisions can cause extra load on the cluster because of failed startup attempts.

The NUMA Resources Operator deploys a custom NUMA resources secondary scheduler and other resources to mitigate against the shortcomings of the default OpenShift Container Platform pod scheduler. The following diagram provides a high-level overview of NUMA-aware pod scheduling.