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Version: 0.8.0

Pluggable App Management

The Problem

Currently, we schedule and group an application is based on a label on the pod. This generic way works for any type of workload. It does however give us a limited information on the lifecycle and application. On the K8s side, operators have been introduced to provide more detail on the application and help scheduling. We cannot use them currently and want to add that functionality.

K8s Operator Pattern

K8s operator is a pattern in K8s to manage applications, it's a handy way to manage application's lifecycle out-of-box on K8s. You define several CRDs and some controllers to monitor and mutate the state of the application based on the CRD definition.

For example in spark-k8s-operator, it defines a CRD called SparkApplication, the controller watches the events of add/update/delete of this CRD and trigger corresponding actions on event notifications. The SparkApplication looks like this example. There are a lot more popular operators, such as flink-k8s-operator, tf-operator, pytorch-operator, etc.

Use Spark as an example. YuniKorn is able to schedule resources for all pods in K8s, that seamlessly supports Spark. It works with native Spark on K8s, or spark on K8s with operator, you'll find the difference from the design architecture chart from the given link. To support native Spark on K8s, YuniKorn reads pods' spec and group Spark pods by a label-selector, based on spark-app-selector. The operator approach gives us more context about the Spark job, such as a better understanding about job state. But all these info requires us to look at SparkApplication CRD, currently, there is no neat way to add such functionality. That's why we need to design a flexible approach to support 3rd party operators (retrieving info from their CRDs), so we can easily integrate with other operators with small effort.


The key issue here is we need a app-management interface, that can be easily extended. It needs to be decoupled with existing scheduling logic. For each operator, we create a service to manage this type app's lifecycle, and communicate with the scheduling cache independently. The high-level design looks like below:

Pluggable App Management


  • AppManagementService is a composite set of services that can be managed together.
  • AppManager is a specific app management service for a particular type of application. In each service, it has access to K8s clients, such as informers, listers, in order to monitor CRD events. And it collects necessary info and talk with scheduler cache through AMProtocol.
  • APIProvider encapsulate a set of useful APIs that can be shared, such as kube-client, pod/node/storage informers, etc. Each of such informers, it can be shared with multiple app managers, to avoid the overhead.
  • AMProtocol defines the basic interaction contract between app manager and the scheduler cache, that helps the cache to performs app lifecycle management without understanding what type of the application it is.

In the upon chart, the AppManagementService has 2 services, the general one is managing normal applications, that recognizes applications by pod labels; the spark-k8s-operator one watches SparkApplication CRD and manage jobs' lifecycle defined by this CRD.