July 22, 2024


In case you run workloads on Kubernetes, chances are high you’ve skilled a “chilly begin”: a delay in launching an utility that occurs when workloads are scheduled to nodes that haven’t hosted the workload earlier than and the pods must spin up from scratch. The prolonged startup time can result in longer response instances and a worse expertise to your customers — particularly when the appliance is autoscaling to deal with a surge in visitors.

What’s occurring throughout a chilly begin? Deploying a containerized utility on Kubernetes usually includes a number of steps, together with pulling container photos, beginning containers, and initializing the appliance code. These processes all add to the time earlier than a pod can begin serving visitors, ensuing in elevated latency for the primary requests served by a brand new pod. The preliminary startup time might be considerably longer as a result of the brand new node has no pre-existing container picture. For subsequent requests, the pod is already up and heat, so it might probably rapidly serve requests with out further startup time. 

Chilly begins are frequent when pods are constantly being shut down and restarted, as that forces requests to be routed to new, chilly pods. A standard resolution is to maintain heat swimming pools of pods prepared to scale back the chilly begin latency.

Nevertheless, with bigger workloads like AI/ML, and particularly on costly and scarce GPUs, the nice and cozy pool observe might be very expensive. So chilly begins are particularly prevalent for AI/ML workloads, the place it’s widespread to close down pods after accomplished requests.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is Google Cloud’s managed Kubernetes service, and may make it simpler to deploy and keep complicated containerized workloads. On this publish, we’ll talk about 4 completely different methods to scale back chilly begin latency on GKE, so you’ll be able to ship responsive companies.

Methods to beat the chilly begin problem

Use ephemeral storage with native SSDs or bigger boot disks

Nodes mount the Kubelet and container runtime (docker or containerd) root directories on an area SSD. In consequence, the container layer is backed by the native SSD, with the IOPS and throughput documented on About native SSDs. That is normally more cost effective than growing the PD measurement

The next desk compares the choices and demonstrates that for a similar price, LocalSSD has ~3x extra throughput than PD, permitting the picture pull to run sooner and scale back the workload’s startup latency.

With the identical price


PD Balanced

Throughput Comparability

$ per thirty days

Cupboard space (GB)

Throughput(MB/s) R W

Cupboard space (GB)

Throughput (MB/s) R+W

LocalSSD / PD (Learn)

LocalSSD / PD (Write)



660   350







1320 700







1980 1050







2650 1400





You’ll be able to create a node pool that makes use of ephemeral storage with native SSDs in an present cluster operating on GKE model 1.25.Three-gke.1800 or later.


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