You can create a different machine set to serve a specific purpose in your OpenShift Container Platform cluster on Amazon Web Services (AWS). For example, you might create infrastructure machine sets and related machines so that you can move supporting workloads to the new machines.

Machine API overview

The Machine API is a combination of primary resources that are based on the upstream Cluster API project and custom OpenShift Container Platform resources.

For OpenShift Container Platform 4.5 clusters, the Machine API performs all node host provisioning management actions after the cluster installation finishes. Because of this system, OpenShift Container Platform 4.5 offers an elastic, dynamic provisioning method on top of public or private cloud infrastructure.

The two primary resources are:


A fundamental unit that describes the host for a Node. A machine has a providerSpec specification, which describes the types of compute nodes that are offered for different cloud platforms. For example, a machine type for a worker node on Amazon Web Services (AWS) might define a specific machine type and required metadata.

Machine sets

MachineSet resources are groups of machines. Machine sets are to machines as replica sets are to pods. If you need more machines or must scale them down, you change the replicas field on the machine set to meet your compute need.

The following custom resources add more capabilities to your cluster:

Machine autoscaler

The MachineAutoscaler resource automatically scales machines in a cloud. You can set the minimum and maximum scaling boundaries for nodes in a specified machine set, and the machine autoscaler maintains that range of nodes. The MachineAutoscaler object takes effect after a ClusterAutoscaler object exists. Both ClusterAutoscaler and MachineAutoscaler resources are made available by the ClusterAutoscalerOperator object.

Cluster autoscaler

This resource is based on the upstream cluster autoscaler project. In the OpenShift Container Platform implementation, it is integrated with the Machine API by extending the machine set API. You can set cluster-wide scaling limits for resources such as cores, nodes, memory, GPU, and so on. You can set the priority so that the cluster prioritizes pods so that new nodes are not brought online for less important pods. You can also set the scaling policy so that you can scale up nodes but not scale them down.

Machine health check

The MachineHealthCheck resource detects when a machine is unhealthy, deletes it, and, on supported platforms, makes a new machine.

In OpenShift Container Platform version 3.11, you could not roll out a multi-zone architecture easily because the cluster did not manage machine provisioning. Beginning with OpenShift Container Platform version 4.1, this process is easier. Each machine set is scoped to a single zone, so the installation program sends out machine sets across availability zones on your behalf. And then because your compute is dynamic, and in the face of a zone failure, you always have a zone for when you must rebalance your machines. The autoscaler provides best-effort balancing over the life of a cluster.

Sample YAML for a machine set custom resource on AWS

This sample YAML defines a machine set that runs in the us-east-1a Amazon Web Services (AWS) zone and creates nodes that are labeled with node-role.kubernetes.io/<role>: "".

In this sample, <infrastructureID> is the infrastructure ID label that is based on the cluster ID that you set when you provisioned the cluster, and <role> is the node label to add.

apiVersion: machine.openshift.io/v1beta1
kind: MachineSet
    machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-cluster: <infrastructureID> (1)
  name: <infrastructureID>-<role>-<zone> (2)
  namespace: openshift-machine-api
  replicas: 1
      machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-cluster: <infrastructureID> (1)
      machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machineset: <infrastructureID>-<role>-<zone> (2)
        machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-cluster: <infrastructureID> (1)
        machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machine-role: <role> (3)
        machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machine-type: <role> (3)
        machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machineset: <infrastructureID>-<role>-<zone> (2)
          node-role.kubernetes.io/<role>: "" (3)
            id: ami-046fe691f52a953f9 (4)
          apiVersion: awsproviderconfig.openshift.io/v1beta1
            - ebs:
                iops: 0
                volumeSize: 120
                volumeType: gp2
            name: aws-cloud-credentials
          deviceIndex: 0
            id: <infrastructureID>-worker-profile (1)
          instanceType: m4.large
          kind: AWSMachineProviderConfig
            availabilityZone: us-east-1a
            region: us-east-1
            - filters:
                - name: tag:Name
                    - <infrastructureID>-worker-sg (1)
              - name: tag:Name
                  - <infrastructureID>-private-us-east-1a (1)
            - name: kubernetes.io/cluster/<infrastructureID> (1)
              value: owned
            name: worker-user-data
1 Specify the infrastructure ID that is based on the cluster ID that you set when you provisioned the cluster. If you have the OpenShift CLI installed, you can obtain the infrastructure ID by running the following command:
$ oc -n openshift-machine-api \
    -o jsonpath='{.spec.template.spec.providerSpec.value.ami.id}{"\n"}' \
    get machineset/<infrastructureID>-worker-us-east-1a
2 Specify the infrastructure ID, node label, and zone.
3 Specify the node label to add.
4 Specify a valid Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS) AMI for your AWS zone for your OpenShift Container Platform nodes.

Creating a machine set

In addition to the ones created by the installation program, you can create your own machine sets to dynamically manage the machine compute resources for specific workloads of your choice.

  • Deploy an OpenShift Container Platform cluster.

  • Install the OpenShift CLI (oc).

  • Log in to oc as a user with cluster-admin permission.

  1. Create a new YAML file that contains the machine set custom resource (CR) sample and is named <file_name>.yaml.

    Ensure that you set the <clusterID> and <role> parameter values.

    1. If you are not sure about which value to set for a specific field, you can check an existing machine set from your cluster.

      $ oc get machinesets -n openshift-machine-api
      Example output
      NAME                                DESIRED   CURRENT   READY   AVAILABLE   AGE
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1a   1         1         1       1           55m
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1b   1         1         1       1           55m
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1c   1         1         1       1           55m
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1d   0         0                             55m
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1e   0         0                             55m
      agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1f   0         0                             55m
    2. Check values of a specific machine set:

      $ oc get machineset <machineset_name> -n \
           openshift-machine-api -o yaml
      Example output
              machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-cluster: agl030519-vplxk (1)
              machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machine-role: worker (2)
              machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machine-type: worker
              machine.openshift.io/cluster-api-machineset: agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1a
      1 The cluster ID.
      2 A default node label.
  2. Create the new MachineSet CR:

    $ oc create -f <file_name>.yaml
  3. View the list of machine sets:

    $ oc get machineset -n openshift-machine-api
    Example output
    NAME                                DESIRED   CURRENT   READY   AVAILABLE   AGE
    agl030519-vplxk-infra-us-east-1a    1         1         1       1           11m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1a   1         1         1       1           55m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1b   1         1         1       1           55m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1c   1         1         1       1           55m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1d   0         0                             55m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1e   0         0                             55m
    agl030519-vplxk-worker-us-east-1f   0         0                             55m

    When the new machine set is available, the DESIRED and CURRENT values match. If the machine set is not available, wait a few minutes and run the command again.

Next steps

If you need machine sets in other availability zones, repeat this process to create more machine sets.

Machine sets that deploy machines as Spot Instances

You can save on costs by creating a machine set running on AWS that deploys machines as non-guaranteed Spot Instances. Spot Instances use available AWS EC2 capacity and are less expensive than On-Demand Instances. You can use Spot Instances for workloads that can tolerate interruptions, such as batch or stateless, horizontally scalable workloads.

It is strongly recommended that control plane machines are not created on Spot Instances due to the increased likelihood of the instance being terminated. Manual intervention is required to replace a terminated control plane node.

AWS EC2 can terminate a Spot Instance at any time. AWS gives a two-minute warning to the user when an interruption occurs. OpenShift Container Platform begins to remove the workloads from the affected instances when AWS issues the termination warning.

Interruptions can occur when using Spot Instances for the following reasons:

  • The instance price exceeds your maximum price.

  • The demand for Spot Instances increases.

  • The supply of Spot Instances decreases.

When AWS terminates an instance, a termination handler running on the Spot Instance node deletes the machine resource. To satisfy the machine set replicas quantity, the machine set creates a machine that requests a Spot Instance.

Creating Spot Instances by using machine sets

You can launch a Spot Instance on AWS by adding spotMarketOptions to your machine set YAML file.

  • Add the following line under the providerSpec field:

        spotMarketOptions: {}

Optional: You can set the spotMarketOptions.maxPrice field to limit the cost of the Spot Instance. For example, you can set maxPrice: '2.50'.

If the maxPrice is set, this value is used as the hourly maximum spot price. If it is not set, the maximum price defaults to charge up to the On-Demand Instance price.

It is strongly recommended to use the default On-Demand price as the maxPrice value and to not set the maximum price for Spot Instances.