When deploying applications to Kubernetes one of the most important things to specify are resource-requests and -limits. Having proper limits defined per Container makes it easier to optimize the hardware utilization for all worker nodes in a Kubernetes cluster.

When creating deployments, you can set resource-requests and -limits by using the resources property on each container as part of the podspec. See the official documentation for further information.

Unfortunately, those properties are not mandatory, so every developer has to remember providing requests and limits for both memory and cpu.

Introducing Limit Ranges

You can address the potential issue by defining so-called LimitRanges on Namespaces. The main purpose of a LimitRange is to ensure, requests and/or limits are automatically associated with containers based on its specification. For demonstrating purpose, let’s create two independent namespaces on a Kubernetes cluster.

# namespaces.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Namespace
  name: restricted
apiVersion: v1
kind: Namespace
    name: unrestricted

Deploy the namespaces using

$ kubectl create -f namespaces.yaml

Let’s move on and create a new yaml file called limitrange.yaml. Provide the following content:

# limitrange.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: LimitRange
  name: custom-limit-range
      memory: 512Mi
      cpu: "1"
      memory: 256Mi
      cpu: "0.5"
    type: Container

The LimitRange spec is pretty self-explaining. Limits are specified using spec.limits[0].default and Requests are defined in spec.limits[0].defaultRequest. In this sample, every container will request 0.5 CPU cores and 256 MB memory by default. The absolute usage limit per container will be set to 1 CPU core and 512 MB memory.

Deploy the LimitRange to the previously created Namespace restricted by executing:

kubectl create -f limitrange.yaml --namespace=restricted

Deploy Pods to verify LimitRanges

To verify the new LimitRange the same Pod will be deployed twice. First, it will be deployed to the unrestricted namespace, followed by the restricted namespace.

# pod.yaml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: demo-nginx
    purpose: demo
  - name: webapp
    image: nginx:alpine
    - containerPort: 80

The Pod spec above doesn’t provide any resource-requests or -limits. It’s perhaps the most simple Pod you can define.

Deploy the Pod to both namespaces by invoking

kubectl create -f pod.yaml --namespace=unrestricted

kubectl create -f pod.yaml --namespace=restricted

Examine each pod now using

kubectl describe pod demo-nginx --namespace=unrestricted

kubectl describe pod demo-nginx --namespace=restricted

The requests should only be applied to the Pod running in namespace restricted

Resource-Limits and -Requests automatically applied to all Containers in a dedicated namespace
Resource-Limits and -Requests automatically applied to all Containers in a dedicated namespace


As you can see, defining default resource-requests and -limits is quite easy using LimitRanges. If you don’t specify resource-requests or -limits for the containers you deploy, Kubernetes will automatically assign the pre-defined values from the LimitRange. That said, it’s only a default value.

Your custom requests and limits will always overrule the LimitRanges.