Set Resource Limits

Karpenter automatically provisions instances from the cloud provider. This often incurs hard costs. To control resource utilization and cluster size, use resource limits.

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

For example, setting “spec.limits.resources.cpu” to “1000” limits the provisioner to a total of 1000 CPU cores across all instances. This prevents unwanted excessive growth of a cluster.

At this time, Karpenter only supports:

  • CPU
  • Memory

CPU limits are described with a DecimalSI value, usually a natural integer.

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

You can view the current consumption of cpu and memory on your cluster by running:

kubectl get provisioner -o=jsonpath='{.items[0].status}'

Review the Kubernetes core API ( for more information on resources.


Karpenter refuses to allocate new resources while at least one resource limit is exceeded. In other words, resource limits aren’t hard limits, they only apply once Karpenter detects that a limit has been crossed.


A resource limit of 1000 CPUs is set. 996 CPU cores are currently allocated. The resource limit is not met.

In response to pending pods, Karpenter calculates a new 6 core instance is needed. Karpenter creates the instance.

1002 CPU cores are now allocated. The resource limit is in now met/exceeded.

In response to a new set of pending pods, Karpenter calculates another 6 core instance is needed. Karpenter does not create the instance, because the resource limit has been met.

Example Provisioner:

kind: Provisioner
  name: default
    - key:
      operator: In
      values: ["spot"]
      cpu: 1000 
      memory: 1000Gi
Last modified February 7, 2022 : v0.6.1 (#1285) (8cca5e9a)