Kubernetes Node Not Ready Error and How to Fix It

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What Is the Kubernetes Node Not Ready Error? 

The Node Not Ready error in Kubernetes indicates a situation where a node within a Kubernetes cluster is not in a healthy state to accept pods for execution. This status is a crucial indicator for cluster administrators, as it signifies that the Kubernetes scheduler will not assign new pods to the affected node until it returns to a Ready state. 

To quickly check if any of your nodes are experiencing the Node Not Ready error, run this kubectl command:

The output will list all the nodes in your cluster along with their statuses. For example, in the following output, you can see that node2 has a Node Not Ready error:

NAME            STATUS     ROLES    AGE    VERSION
node1           Ready      <none>   18d    v1.20.4
node2           NotReady   <none>   12d    v1.20.4
node3           Ready      <none>   20d    v1.20.4

Nodes may enter a Not Ready state for a variety of reasons, ranging from network issues, resource exhaustion, misconfigurations, or underlying hardware problems. Understanding and resolving the root cause of this error is essential to maintain the operational efficiency and reliability of a Kubernetes cluster.

This is part of a series of articles about Kubernetes troubleshooting.

Understanding Node States in Kubernetes 

In Kubernetes, node states are critical for managing the cluster’s health and workload distribution. Nodes can be in one of several states, reflecting their current status and ability to accept workloads:

  • A node in the Ready state is healthy and capable of accepting new pods. 
  • A node in the Not Ready state has encountered an issue that prevents it from functioning correctly. 
  • The Unknown state indicates that the Kubernetes master has lost communication with the node, and its status cannot be determined.

Diagnosing the Kubernetes Node Not Ready Error 

To determine if a node is experiencing a Node Not Ready error, and obtain the information necessary to solve the problem, follow these steps:

1. Checking Node State

The first step is to check the state of the nodes in the cluster. This can be done using the kubectl get nodes command, which lists all nodes and their statuses. A node marked as NotReady requires further investigation to understand the underlying issues.

2. Obtaining Node Details

The kubectl describe node <node-name> command provides comprehensive details about the node, including its conditions, events, and configuration. This information is useful for diagnosing the root cause of the Not Ready status, offering insights into any errors or warnings that the node might be experiencing. Analyzing the output of this command helps pinpoint specific issues, guiding the troubleshooting and resolution processes.

Here’s a simplified example of the output for a node experiencing issues:

Name:               node2
Roles:              <none>
Labels:             beta.kubernetes.io/os=linux
Annotations:        node.alpha.kubernetes.io/ttl=0
CreationTimestamp:  Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:00:00 +0000
  Type             Status    LastHeartbeatTime                 LastTransitionTime                Reason              Message
  ----             ------    -----------------                 ------------------                ------              -------
  MemoryPressure   False     Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:30:00 +0000   Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:00:00 +0000   KubeletHasSufficientMemory   kubelet has sufficient memory available
  DiskPressure     False     Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:30:00 +0000   Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:00:00 +0000   KubeletHasNoDiskPressure     kubelet has no disk pressure
  PIDPressure      False     Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:30:00 +0000   Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:00:00 +0000   KubeletHasSufficientPID      kubelet has sufficient PID available
  Ready            False     Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:30:00 +0000   Thu, 12 Aug 2021 12:20:00 +0000   KubeletNotReady              PLEG is not healthy: pleg was last seen active 3m0s ago; threshold is 3m0s
  Type     Reason                  Age                From                Message
  ----     ------                  ----               ----                -------
  Normal   Starting                12m                kubelet, node2      Starting kubelet.
  Warning  NodeNotReady            3m                 kubelet, node2      Node node2 status is now: NodeNotReady
  Warning  ContainerdStartFail     2m                 kubelet, node2      Failed to start container runtime: Error

Here are a few things to notice in the output, which could indicate the cause of the problem:

  • Conditions section: This section lists various node health indicators. In our example, the conditions MemoryPressure and DiskPressure are false, indicating this is not the problem. However, the message PLEG is not healthy indicates the Pod Lifecycle Event Generator (PLEG), which monitors the lifecycle events of the containers in the pod, is not functioning correctly.
  • Events section: This section records significant events in the life of the node. Here, you see a NodeNotReady warning, which is our primary concern. The ContainerdStartFail event indicates that the container runtime failed to start, which could be the reason why PLEG is not healthy.

3. Checking System Logs

Logs from the kubelet, the primary component running on each node that communicates with the Kubernetes master, can provide insights into any errors or issues it is encountering. 

You can access kubelet logs using journalctl or other logging utilities, depending on the node’s operating system:

Reviewing these logs can reveal issues related to resource constraints, network problems, or errors in the kubelet itself, offering clues to the underlying cause of the Not Ready status.

Possible Causes of the Node Not Ready Error and How to Troubleshoot Them 

There are several conditions that can result in a node having a Not Ready status.

Scarcity of Resources

One common cause of the Node Not Ready error is the scarcity of resources, such as CPU or memory exhaustion. Monitoring resource usage can help identify if this is the cause. The following commands can be used to check resource allocations and usage on a node:

This command displays the amount of CPU and memory resources allocated and used by the pods running on the node. If the node is over-allocated, consider scaling down workloads or adding more nodes to the cluster.

Here is another command you can use to show the current CPU and memory usage of the node, helping to identify if resource scarcity is impacting the node’s readiness:

kubectl top node <node-name>

Network Misconfiguration

Checking network settings and connectivity is crucial for investigating Node Not Ready errors. 

For example, this command checks connectivity to the Kubernetes master node, ensuring the affected node can communicate with the rest of the cluster:

This command traces the path packets take to reach the master node, helping to identify any network hops that may be causing delays or connectivity issues.

traceroute <master-node-ip>

Issues with the kubelet Process

Restarting the kubelet might resolve some issues in the kubelet process. The command to restart the kubelet varies depending on the system manager in use. In a Linux system, the command is typically:

sudo systemctl restart kubelet

This command restarts the kubelet service, potentially resolving issues that prevent the node from reaching a Ready state.

Issues with kube-proxy

Issues with kube-proxy, the network proxy running on each node, can also affect node readiness. Checking the status of kube-proxy and restarting it if necessary can help:

sudo systemctl status kube-proxy

This command checks the status of the kube-proxy service. If it’s not running as expected, it can be restarted with:

sudo systemctl restart kube-proxy

Restarting kube-proxy can resolve network-related issues affecting the node’s ability to communicate with the cluster, potentially resolving the Not Ready error.

Kubernetes Troubleshooting with Lumigo

Lumigo is a troubleshooting platform, purpose-built for microservice-based applications. For those using Kubernetes to orchestrate their containerized applications, Lumigo provides fast monitoring, tracing, and troubleshooting capabilities. Deployed with zero-code changes and automated in one click, Lumigo stitches together every interaction between micro and managed service into end-to-end stack traces. These traces served alongside request payload data, give developers complete visibility into their container environments. Using Lumigo gives you the ability to:

  • End-to-end virtual stack traces across every micro and managed service that makes up a serverless application, in context.
  • API visibility that makes all the data passed between services available and accessible, making it possible to perform root cause analysis without digging through logs.
  • Distributed tracing that is deployed with no code and automated in one click.
  • A unified platform to explore and query across microservices, see a real-time view of applications, and optimize performance.

To try Lumigo for Kubernetes, check out our Kubernetes operator on GitHub.

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