DevOps Blog

How To Use & Manage Kubernetes DaemonSets

6 minute read
Toye Idowu, Shanika Wickramasinghe

Kubernetes is a leading open-source engine that orchestrates containerized applications.

In this article, we will have a look at the DaemonSet feature offered by Kubernetes. We’ll walk you through use cases and how to create, update, communicate with, and delete DaemonSets.

(This article is part of our Kubernetes Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)

What is a Kubernetes DaemonSet?

The DaemonSet feature is used to ensure that some or all of your pods are scheduled and running on every single available node. This essentially runs a copy of the desired pod across all nodes.

  • When a new node is added to a Kubernetes cluster, a new pod will be added to that newly attached node.
  • When a node is removed, the DaemonSet controller ensures that the pod associated with that node is garbage collected. Deleting a DaemonSet will clean up all the pods that DaemonSet has created.

DaemonSets are an integral part of the Kubernetes cluster facilitating administrators to easily configure services (pods) across all or a subset of nodes.

DaemonSet use cases

DaemonSets can improve the performance of a Kubernetes cluster by distributing maintenance tasks and support services via deploying Pods across all nodes. They are well suited for long-running services like monitoring or log collection. Following are some example use cases of DaemonSets:

  • To run a daemon for cluster storage on each node, such as glusterd and ceph.
  • To run a daemon for logs collection on each node, such as Fluentd and logstash.
  • To run a daemon for node monitoring on every note, such as Prometheus Node Exporter, collectd, or Datadog agent.

Depending on the requirement, you can set up multiple DaemonSets for a single type of daemon, with different flags, memory, CPU, etc. that supports multiple configurations and hardware types.

Scheduling DaemonSet pods

By default, the node that a pod runs on is decided by the Kubernetes scheduler. However, DaemonSet pods are created and scheduled by the DaemonSet controller. Using the DaemonSet controller can lead to Inconsistent Pod behavior and issues in Pod priority preemption.

To mitigate these issues, Kubernetes (ScheduleDaemonSetPods) allows users to schedule DaemonSets using the default scheduler instead of the DaemonSet controller. This is done by adding the NodeAffinity term to the DaemonSet pods instead of the .spec.nodeName term. The default scheduler is then used to bind the Pod to the target host.

The following is a sample NodeAffinity configuration:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
name: nginx
- matchExpressions:
# Key Name
- key: disktype
operator: In
# Value
- ssd            
- name: nginx
image: nginx
imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent

Above, we configured NodeAffinity so that a pod will only be created on a node that has the “disktype=ssd” label.

Additionally, DaemonSet pods adhere to taints and tolerations in Kubernetes. The toleration is automatically added to DaemonSet pods. (For more information about taints and tolerations, please refer to the official Kubernetes documentation.)

How to create a DaemonSet

As for every other component in Kubernetes, DaemonSets are configured using a YAML file. Let’s have a look at the structure of a DaemonSet file.

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: DaemonSet
name: test-daemonset
namespace: test-daemonset-namespace
app-type: test-app-type
name: test-daemonset-container
name: test-daemonset-container

As you can notice in the above structure, the apiVersion, kind, and metadata are required fields in every Kubernetes manifest. The DaemonSet specific fields come under the spec section—these fields are both mandatory.

  • template. This is the pod definition for the Pod that needs to be deployed across all the nodes. A pod template in a DaemonSet must have its RestartPolicy set to “Always,” and by default it will take “Always” if you havne’t specified a RestartPolicy.
  • selector. The selector for the pods managed by the DaemonSet. This value must be a label specified in the pod template. (In the above example, we have used the name: test-daemonset-container as the selector.) This value is fixed and cannot be changed after the initial creation of the DaemonSet. Changing this value will cause pods created via that DaemonSet to be orphaned. Kubernetes offers two ways to match matchLabels and matchExpressions for creating complex selectors.

Other optional fields

  • template.spec.nodeSelector – This can be used to specify a subset of nodes that will create the Pod matching the specified selector.
  • template.spec.affinity – This field can be configured to set the affinity that would run the pod only on nodes that match the configured affinity.

Creating a DaemonSet

Now let’s go ahead with creating a sample DaemonSet. Here, we will be using a “fluentd-elasticsearch” image that will run on every node in a Kubernetes cluster. Each pod would then collect logs and send the data to ElasticSearch.


apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: DaemonSet
name: fluentd-elasticsearch-test
namespace: default # Name Space
k8s-app: fluentd-logging
selector: # Selector
name: fluentd-elasticsearch-test-deamonset
template: # Pod Template
name: fluentd-elasticsearch-test-deamonset
tolerations: # Tolerations
- key:
effect: NoSchedule
containers: # Container Details
- name: fluentd-elasticsearch
memory: 200Mi
cpu: 100m
memory: 200Mi
- name: varlog
mountPath: /var/log
- name: varlibdockercontainers
mountPath: /var/lib/docker/containers
readOnly: true
terminationGracePeriodSeconds: 30
- name: varlog
path: /var/log
- name: varlibdockercontainers
path: /var/lib/docker/containers

First, let’s create the DaemonSet using the kubectl create command and retrieve the DaemonSet and pod information as follows:

kubectl create -f daemonset-example.yaml

Demonstate Example

kubectl get daemonset


kubectl get pod -o wide

Pod Wide

As you can see from the above output, our DaemonSet has been successfully deployed.

Depending on the nodes available on the cluster, it will scale automatically to match the number of nodes or a subset of nodes on the configuration. (Here, the number of nodes will be one as we are running this on a test environment with a single node Kubernetes cluster.)

Updating DaemonSets

When it comes to updating DaemonSets, if a node label is changed, DaemonSet will automatically add new pods to matching nodes while deleting pods from non-matching nodes. We can use the “kubectl apply” command to update a DaemonSet, as shown below.

Apply Demonstate

There are two strategies that can be followed when updating DaemonSets:

  • The default strategy in Kubernetes, this will delete old DaemonSet pods and automatically create new pods when a DaemonSet template is updated.
  • When using this option, new DaemonSet pods are created only after a user manually deletes old DaemonSet pods.

These strategies can be configured using the spec.updateStrategy.type option.

Deleting DaemonSets

Deleting a DaemonSet is a simple task. To do that, simply run the kubectl delete command with the DaemonSet. This would delete the DaemonSet with all the underlying pods it has created.

Delete Demonstate

We can use the cascade=false flag in the kubectl delete command to only delete the DaemonSet without deleting the pods.

Communicating with pods created by DaemonSet

There are multiple methods to communicate with pods created by DaemonSets. Here are some available options:

  • Push. This way, pods can be configured to send information to other services (monitoring service, stats database). However, they do not receive any data.
  • NodeIP & Known Port. Pods are reachable via the node IPs using hostPort. Users can then utilize the known ports and the node IP to communicate with the pods.
  • DNS. In this method, users can configure a headless service with the same pod selector to discover DaemonSet using the endpoints resource.
  • Service. To select a random node in a DaemonSet, which we can use to create a service with the same pod selector.

DaemonSet summary

In this article, we learned about Kubernetes DaemonSets. These configurations can easily facilitate monitoring, storage, or logging services that can be used to increase the performance and reliability of both the Kubernetes cluster and the containers.

Related reading

Beginning Kubernetes: Knowledge & Tutorials for Getting Started

In this comprehensive e-book, we take a deep dive into the distributed computing platform Kubernetes, also known as K8s.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Toye Idowu

Olatoye is a Certified Kubernetes Administrator and experienced DevOps/Platform engineering Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the Information Technology and Services industry.

About the author

Shanika Wickramasinghe

Shanika Wickramasinghe is a software engineer by profession and a graduate in Information Technology. Her specialties are Web and Mobile Development. Shanika considers writing the best medium to learn and share her knowledge. She is passionate about everything she does, loves to travel, and enjoys nature whenever she takes a break from her busy work schedule. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.