Detailed explanations of Kubernetes system concepts and abstractions.

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StatefulSets are a beta feature in 1.5. This feature replaces the PetSets feature from 1.4. Users of PetSets are referred to the 1.5 Upgrade Guide for further information on how to upgrade existing PetSets to StatefulSets.

A StatefulSet is a Controller that provides a unique identity to its Pods. It provides guarantees about the ordering of deployment and scaling.

Using StatefulSets

StatefulSets are valuable for applications that require one or more of the following.

In the above, stable is synonymous with persistence across Pod (re)schedulings. If an application doesn’t require any stable identifiers or ordered deployment, deletion, or scaling, you should deploy your application with a controller that provides a set of stateless replicas. Controllers such as Deployment or ReplicaSet may be better suited to your stateless needs.



The example below demonstrates the components of a StatefulSet.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: nginx
    app: nginx
  - port: 80
    name: web
  clusterIP: None
    app: nginx
apiVersion: apps/v1beta1
kind: StatefulSet
  name: web
  serviceName: "nginx"
  replicas: 3
        app: nginx
      terminationGracePeriodSeconds: 10
      - name: nginx
        - containerPort: 80
          name: web
        - name: www
          mountPath: /usr/share/nginx/html
  - metadata:
      name: www
      accessModes: [ "ReadWriteOnce" ]
          storage: 1Gi

Pod Identity

StatefulSet Pods have a unique identity that is comprised of an ordinal, a stable network identity, and stable storage. The identity sticks to the Pod, regardless of which node it’s (re)scheduled on.

Ordinal Index

For a StatefulSet with N replicas, each Pod in the StatefulSet will be assigned an integer ordinal, in the range [0,N), that is unique over the Set.

Stable Network ID

Each Pod in a StatefulSet derives its hostname from the name of the StatefulSet and the ordinal of the Pod. The pattern for the constructed hostname is $(statefulset name)-$(ordinal). The example above will create three Pods named web-0,web-1,web-2. A StatefulSet can use a Headless Service to control the domain of its Pods. The domain managed by this Service takes the form: $(service name).$(namespace).svc.cluster.local, where “cluster.local” is the cluster domain. As each Pod is created, it gets a matching DNS subdomain, taking the form: $(podname).$(governing service domain), where the governing service is defined by the serviceName field on the StatefulSet.

Here are some examples of choices for Cluster Domain, Service name, StatefulSet name, and how that affects the DNS names for the StatefulSet’s Pods.

Cluster Domain Service (ns/name) StatefulSet (ns/name) StatefulSet Domain Pod DNS Pod Hostname
cluster.local default/nginx default/web nginx.default.svc.cluster.local web-{0..N-1}.nginx.default.svc.cluster.local web-{0..N-1}
cluster.local foo/nginx foo/web web-{0..N-1} web-{0..N-1}
kube.local foo/nginx foo/web web-{0..N-1} web-{0..N-1}

Note that Cluster Domain will be set to cluster.local unless otherwise configured.

Stable Storage

Kubernetes creates one PersistentVolume for each VolumeClaimTemplate. In the nginx example above, each Pod will receive a single PersistentVolume with a storage class of anything and 1 Gib of provisioned storage. When a Pod is (re)scheduled onto a node, its volumeMounts mount the PersistentVolumes associated with its PersistentVolume Claims. Note that, the PersistentVolumes associated with the Pods’ PersistentVolume Claims are not deleted when the Pods, or StatefulSet are deleted. This must be done manually.

Deployment and Scaling Guarantee

The StatefulSet should not specify a pod.Spec.TerminationGracePeriodSeconds of 0. This practice is unsafe and strongly discouraged. For further explanation, please refer to force deleting StatefulSet Pods.

When the nginx example above is created, three Pods will be deployed in the order web-0, web-1, web-2. web-1 will not be deployed before web-0 is Running and Ready, and web-2 will not be deployed until web-1 is Running and Ready. If web-0 should fail, after web-1 is Running and Ready, but before web-2 is launched, web-2 will not be launched until web-0 is successfully relaunched and becomes Running and Ready.

If a user were to scale the deployed example by patching the StatefulSet such that replicas=1, web-2 would be terminated first. web-1 would not be terminated until web-2 is fully shutdown and deleted. If web-0 were to fail after web-2 has been terminated and is completely shutdown, but prior to web-1’s termination, web-1 would not be terminated until web-0 is Running and Ready.


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