A Julia cluster manager for Kubernetes
Author beacon-biosignals
24 Stars
Updated Last
1 Year Ago
Started In
December 2020


CI codecov Docs: stable Docs: development

A Julia cluster manager for provisioning workers in a Kubernetes (K8s) cluster.


The K8sClusterManager can be used both inside and outside of a Kubernetes cluster. To get started you'll need access to a K8s cluster and have configured your machine with access to the cluster. If you're new to K8s we recommend you use use minikube to quickly setup a local Kubernetes cluster.

Running outside K8s

A distributed Julia cluster where the manager runs outside of K8s while the workers run in the cluster can quickly be created via:

julia> using K8sClusterManagers, Distributed

julia> addprocs(K8sClusterManager(2))

When using the manager outside of Kubernetes cluster the manager will connect to workers within the cluster using port-forwarding. Performance between the manager and workers will be impacted by the network connection between the manager and the cluster.

Running inside K8s

A Julia process running within a K8s cluster can also be used as a Julia distributed manager.

To see this in action we'll create an interactive Julia REPL session running within the cluster by executing:

kubectl run -it example-manager-pod --image julia:1

or equivalently, using a K8s manifest named example-manager-pod.yaml containing:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: example-manager-pod
  - name: manager
    image: julia:1
    stdin: true
    tty: true

and running the following commands will also create a Julia REPL running inside a Kubernetes Pod:

kubectl apply -f example-manager-pod.yaml

# Once the pod is running
kubectl attach -it pod/example-driver-pod

Now in this Julia REPL session, you can do add two workers via:

julia> using Pkg; Pkg.add("K8sClusterManagers")

julia> using K8sClusterManagers, Distributed

julia> addprocs(K8sClusterManager(2))

Advanced configuration

K8sClusterManager exposes a configure keyword argument that can be used to make modifications to the Pod manifest when defining workers.

When launching the cluster the function configure(pod) will be called where pod is an dict-object representing the YAML/JSON Pod manifest. The function must return an object of the same type. For example if you wanted to change the workers to require GPU resources you could write the following:

function my_gpu_configurator(pod)
    worker_container = pod["spec"]["containers"][1]
    worker_container["resources"]["limits"]["nvidia.com/gpu"] = 1
    return pod

To get an example instance of pod objects that might be passed into the configure, call

using K8sClusterManagers, JSON
pod = K8sClusterManagers.worker_pod_spec(manager_name="example", image="julia", cmd=`julia`)
JSON.print(pod, 4)

Useful Commands

Monitor the status of all your Pods

watch kubectl get pods,services

Stream the stdout of the worker "example-driver-pod-worker-9001":

kubectl logs -f pod/example-driver-pod-worker-9001

Currently cleaning up after / killing all your pods can be slow / ineffective from a Julia context, especially if the driver Julia session dies unexpectedly. It may be necessary to kill your workers from the command line.

kubectl delete pod/example-driver-pod-worker-9001 --grace-period=0 --force=true

It may be convenient to set a common label in your worker podspecs, so that you can select them all with -l='...' by label, and kill all the worker Pods in a single invocation.

Display info about a Pod -- this is especially useful to troubleshoot a Pod that is taking longer than expected to get up and running.

kubectl describe pod/example-driver-pod


If you get deserialize errors during interations between driver and worker processes, make sure you are using the same version of Julia on the driver as on all the workers!

If you aren't sure what went wrong, check the logs! The syntax is

kubectl logs -f pod/pod_name

where the Pod name pod_name you can get from kubectl get pods.


The K8sClusterManagers package includes tests that are expect to have access to a Kubernetes cluster. The tests should be able to be run in any Kubernetes cluster but have only been run with minikube.


  1. Install Docker or Docker Desktop
  2. If using Docker Desktop: set the resources to a minimum of 3 CPUs and 2.25 GB Memory
  3. Install minikube
  4. Start the Kubernetes cluster: minikube start
  5. Use the in-cluster Docker daemon for image builds: eval $(minikube docker-env) (Note: only works with single-node clusters)
  6. Run the K8sClusterManagers.jl tests

Used By Packages

No packages found.