Provisioner API

Provisioner API reference page

Example Provisioner Resource

kind: Provisioner
  name: default
  # If omitted, the feature is disabled and nodes will never expire.  If set to less time than it requires for a node
  # to become ready, the node may expire before any pods successfully start.
  ttlSecondsUntilExpired: 2592000 # 30 Days = 60 * 60 * 24 * 30 Seconds;

  # If omitted, the feature is disabled, nodes will never scale down due to low utilization
  ttlSecondsAfterEmpty: 30

  # Provisioned nodes will have these taints
  # Taints may prevent pods from scheduling if they are not tolerated by the pod.
    - key:
      effect: NoSchedule

  # Provisioned nodes will have these taints, but pods do not need to tolerate these taints to be provisioned by this
  # provisioner. These taints are expected to be temporary and some other entity (e.g. a DaemonSet) is responsible for
  # removing the taint after it has finished initializing the node.
    - key:
      effect: NoSchedule

  # Labels are arbitrary key-values that are applied to all nodes
    billing-team: my-team

  # Requirements that constrain the parameters of provisioned nodes.
  # These requirements are combined with pod.spec.affinity.nodeAffinity rules.
  # Operators { In, NotIn } are supported to enable including or excluding values
    - key: ""
      operator: In
      values: ["m5.large", "m5.2xlarge"]
    - key: ""
      operator: In
      values: ["us-west-2a", "us-west-2b"]
    - key: "" # If not included, the webhook for the AWS Cloud Provider will default to amd64
      operator: In
      values: ["arm64", "amd64"]
    - key: "" # If not included, the webhook for the AWS cloud provider will default to on-demand
      operator: In
      values: ["spot", "on-demand"]

  # Karpenter provides the ability to specify a few additional Kubelet args.
  # These are all optional and provide support for additional customization and use cases.
    clusterDNS: [""]

  # Resource limits constrain the total size of the cluster.
  # Limits prevent Karpenter from creating new instances once the limit is exceeded.
      cpu: "1000"
      memory: 1000Gi

  # These fields vary per cloud provider, see your cloud provider specific documentation
  provider: {}

Node deprovisioning

If neither of these values are set, Karpenter will not delete instances. It is recommended to set the ttlSecondsAfterEmpty value, to enable scale down of the cluster.


Setting a value here enables Karpenter to delete empty/unnecessary instances. DaemonSets are excluded from considering a node “empty”. This value is in seconds.


Setting a value here enables node expiry. After nodes reach the defined age in seconds, they will be deleted, even if in use. This enables nodes to effectively be periodically “upgraded” by replacing them with newly provisioned instances.

Note that Karpenter does not automatically add jitter to this value. If multiple instances are created in a small amount of time, they will expire at very similar times. Consider defining a pod disruption budget to prevent excessive workload disruption.


Kubernetes defines the following Well-Known Labels, and cloud providers (e.g., AWS) implement them. They are defined at the “spec.requirements” section of the Provisioner API.

These well known labels may be specified at the provisioner level, or in a workload definition (e.g., nodeSelector on a pod.spec). Nodes are chosen using both the provisioner’s and pod’s requirements. If there is no overlap, nodes will not be launched. In other words, a pod’s requirements must be within the provisioner’s requirements. If a requirement is not defined for a well known label, any value available to the cloud provider may be chosen.

For example, an instance type may be specified using a nodeSelector in a pod spec. If the instance type requested is not included in the provisioner list and the provisioner has instance type requirements, Karpenter will not create a node or schedule the pod.

📝 None of these values are required.

Instance Types

  • key:

Generally, instance types should be a list and not a single value. Leaving this field undefined is recommended, as it maximizes choices for efficiently placing pods.

☁️ AWS

Review AWS instance types.

The default value includes all instance types with the exclusion of metal (non-virtualized), non-HVM, and GPU instances.

View the full list of instance types with aws ec2 describe-instance-types.


Set Default with provisioner.yaml

    - key:
      operator: In
      values: ["m5.large", "m5.2xlarge"]

Override with workload manifest (e.g., pod)

      nodeSelector: m5.large

Availability Zones

  • key:
  • value example: us-east-1c

☁️ AWS

  • value list: aws ec2 describe-availability-zones --region <region-name>

Karpenter can be configured to create nodes in a particular zone. Note that the Availability Zone us-east-1a for your AWS account might not have the same location as us-east-1a for another AWS account.

Learn more about Availability Zone IDs.


  • key:
  • values
    • amd64 (default)
    • arm64

Karpenter supports amd64 nodes, and arm64 nodes.

Capacity Type

  • key:

☁️ AWS

  • values
    • spot
    • on-demand (default)

Karpenter supports specifying capacity type, which is analogous to EC2 purchase options.

Karpenter prioritizes Spot offerings if the provisioner allows Spot and on-demand instances. If the provider API (e.g. EC2 Fleet’s API) indicates Spot capacity is unavailable, Karpenter caches that result across all attempts to provision EC2 capacity for that instance type and zone for the next 45 seconds. If there are no other possible offerings available for Spot, Karpenter will attempt to provision on-demand instances, generally within milliseconds.

Karpenter also allows to be used as a topology key for enforcing topology-spread.


Karpenter provides the ability to specify a few additional Kubelet args. These are all optional and provide support for additional customization and use cases. Adjust these only if you know you need to do so.

    clusterDNS: [""]
    containerRuntime: containerd

☁️ AWS

You can specify the container runtime to be either dockerd or containerd.

  • dockerd will be chosen by default for Inferentia instanceTypes. For all other instances containerd is the default.
  • You can only use containerd with the Bottlerocket AMI Family.


The provisioner spec includes a limits section (spec.limits.resources), which constrains the maximum amount of resources that the provisioner will manage.

Karpenter supports limits of any resource type that is reported by your cloud provider.

CPU limits are described with a DecimalSI value. Note that the Kubernetes API will coerce this into a string, so we recommend against using integers to avoid GitOps skew.

Memory limits are described with a BinarySI value, such as 1000Gi.

Karpenter limits instance types when scheduling to those that will not exceed the specified limits. If a limit has been exceeded, nodes provisioning is prevented until some nodes have been terminated.

Review the resource limit task for more information.


This section is cloud provider specific. Reference the appropriate documentation: