Best Practices for Redpanda in Kubernetes

This topic explains Redpanda’s tips and recommendations for Kubernetes deployments.

Use separate YAML files to override Helm chart defaults

Redpanda recommends creating separate YAML files for each configuration block that you need to override in the Helm chart. The Redpanda documentation follows this best practice. This way, it’s clearer to understand what you’ve overridden from the helm command. For example, if you override the storage.persistentVolume.storageClass configuration in a file called custom-storage-class.yaml, the helm command might look something like the following:

helm upgrade --install redpanda redpanda/redpanda \
    --namespace redpanda --create-namespace \
    --values custom-storage-class.yaml --reuse-values

The custom-storage-class.yaml filename gives you a hint about how the Helm chart has been customized.

You can pass more than one --values option in the same command. For example, if you also wanted to override the TLS configuration, you could put those overrides in a separate file called enable-tls.yaml and run the following:

helm upgrade --install redpanda redpanda/redpanda \
    --namespace redpanda --create-namespace \
    --values custom-storage-class.yaml
    --values enable-tls.yaml --reuse-values

Deploy at least three Pod replicas

Redpanda recommends at least three Pod replicas (Redpanda brokers) to use as seed servers. Seed servers are used to bootstrap the gossip process for new brokers joining a cluster. When a new broker joins, it connects to the seed servers to find out the topology of the Redpanda cluster. A larger number of seed servers makes consensus more robust and minimizes the chance of unwanted clusters forming when brokers are restarted without any data.

By default, the Helm chart deploys a StatefulSet with three Redpanda brokers. You can specify the number of Redpanda brokers in the statefulset.replicas configuration.

Use PersistentVolumes

Redpanda recommends using PersistentVolumes that are backed by NVMe SSD disks. For scalability, it’s best to use a StorageClass with a dynamic provisioner. Dynamic provisioners make it easier to scale your Redpanda clusters because they provision new volumes when new Redpanda brokers are added to the cluster. Without a dynamic provisioner, you would need to create each PersistentVolume manually in order to bind it to the corresponding PersistentVolumeClaim.

PersistentVolumes should be one of the following types:

PersistentVolume Description Best Use

Local (recommended)

Storage is located on the worker node

High throughput and low latency


Storage is mounted to the node through the network

High availability

Local PersistentVolumes can be accessed only by the worker nodes to which they are physically connected. To delay the binding of the PersistentVolumeClaim until the Pod is scheduled, set volumeBindingMode to WaitForFirstConsumer on the StorageClass.

PersistentVolumeClaims are not deleted when Redpanda brokers are removed from a cluster. It is your responsibility to delete PersistentVolumeClaims when they are no longer needed. As a result, it’s important to consider your volume’s reclaim policy when creating your StorageClass:

  • Delete - The volume is deleted when you delete the PersistentVolumeClaim.

  • Reclaim - The volume is not deleted when you delete the PersistentVolumeClaim, allowing you to reclaim it with a new PersistentVolumeClaim.

Local PersistentVolumes

Local PersistentVolumes store Redpanda data on a local disk that’s attached to the worker node. Redpanda reads and writes data faster on a local disk. However, local disks are tied to the lifecycle of the worker node. If the worker node fails for any reason, you may lose access to the Redpanda data.

Because Redpanda uses the Raft protocol to replicate data, it is safe to store data on local disks as long as your Redpanda cluster consists of the following:

  • At least three brokers

  • Topics configured with a replication factor of at least 3

This way, even if a worker node fails and you lose its local disk, the data still exists on at least two other worker nodes.

For greater reliability, Redpanda recommends enabling rack awareness to minimize data loss in the event of a rack failure.

Redpanda recommends the Rancher Local Path Provisioner, which provides a dynamic provisioner for local volumes.

kind: StorageClass
  name: local-path
reclaimPolicy: Delete
volumeBindingMode: WaitForFirstConsumer

Remote storage

Remote storage persists data outside of the worker node so that the data is not tied to a specific worker node and it can be recovered.

To avoid losing Redpanda brokers in cloud deployments, it’s best to host your remote storage in the same availability zone as the Pods that are running the Redpanda brokers. This way, if an availability zone suffers an outage, any Redpanda brokers outside of that availability zone do not lose access to their remote storage and can continue running.

  • Amazon AWS

  • Google GCP

Redpanda recommends the io2 or gp3 volume types due to their performance characteristics. For details about Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volume types, see the AWS documentation.

If you use Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and you want to use EBS, make sure to install the Amazon EBS CSI driver. This driver is required to allow EKS to create PersistentVolumes.

Redpanda recommends the Balance PD, Performance (PD-SSD), or Extreme PD disk types due to their performance characteristics. For details about Google persistent disks, see the Google documentation.

Use a NodePort Service for external networking

Redpanda recommends using a NodePort Service to expose worker nodes and to give external clients access to the Redpanda brokers running on them. The NodePort Service provides the lowest latency of all the Services because it does not include any unnecessary routing or middleware. Client connections go to the Redpanda brokers in the most direct way possible, through the worker nodes.

Depending on your deployment and security policies, you may not be able to access worker nodes through a NodePort Service. If you choose to use another Service, consider the impact on the cost and performance of your deployment:

  • LoadBalancer Service - To make each Redpanda broker accessible with LoadBalancer Services, you need one LoadBalancer Service for each Redpanda broker so that requests can be routed to specific brokers rather than balancing requests across all brokers. Load balancers are expensive, add latency and occasional packet loss, and add an unnecessary layer of complexity.

  • Ingress - To make each Redpanda broker accessible with Ingress, you need to run an Ingress controller and set up routing to each Redpanda broker. Routing adds latency and can be a throughput bottleneck.

Use ExternalDNS for external access

Redpanda recommends using ExternalDNS to manage DNS records for your Pods' domains. ExternalDNS synchronizes exposed Kubernetes Services with various DNS providers, rendering Kubernetes resources accessible through DNS servers.

Benefits of ExternalDNS include:

  • Automation: ExternalDNS automatically configures public DNS records when you create, update, or delete Kubernetes Services or Ingresses. This eliminates the need for manual DNS configuration which can be error-prone.

  • Compatibility: ExternalDNS is compatible with a wide range of DNS providers, including major cloud providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure, and DNS servers like CoreDNS and PowerDNS.

  • Integration with other tools: ExternalDNS can be used in conjunction with other Kubernetes tools, such as ingress controllers or cert-manager for managing TLS certificates.

You can use ExternalDNS with the default NodePort Service and LoadBalancer Services.

Secure your cluster

To protect your Kubernetes cluster, do the following:

  • Deploy Redpanda in a separate namespace to protect your data from other resources in your Kubernetes cluster.

    kubectl create namespace redpanda
  • If you’re using a cloud platform, use IAM roles to restrict access to resources in your cluster.

To protect your Redpanda cluster, enable and configure the following security features in the Helm chart:

Set resource requests and limits for memory and CPU

In a production cluster, the resources you allocate to Redpanda should be proportionate to your machine type. Redpanda recommends that you determine and set these values before deploying the cluster, but you can also update the values on a running cluster.

In a running Redpanda cluster, you cannot decrease the number of CPU cores. You can only increase the number of CPU cores.

Redpanda recommends that you allocate the following memory and CPU resources:

  • At least 4 CPU cores.

  • At least 2GiB (2Gi) of memory per core for Redpanda.

  • Memory min and max configurations set to the same values.

    Setting the min and max configurations to the same values makes sure that Kubernetes assigns a Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) class to your Pods. Kubernetes uses QoS classes to decide which Pods to evict from a node that runs out of resources. When a node runs out of resources, Kubernetes evicts Pods with a Guaranteed QoS last. For more details about QoS, see the Kubernetes documentation.

For example:

    cores: 4
      min: 8Gi
      max: 8Gi
If you omit the resources.memory.container.min configuration, it is set to the same value as the resources.memory.container.max configuration.

To determine how many resources are available on your worker nodes, run:

kubectl describe nodes

For instructions on setting Pod resources, see Manage Pod Resources in Kubernetes.