Kubernetes resource revision frequency expectations

| February 23, 2024

Applicable versions

The information in this article was specifically researched for v1.6.0, but is largely applicable to other versions.


Each time a Kubernetes resource is updated, the Kubernetes API server instructs etcd to create a new revision of its associated key. The version number of this revision is incremented by one. etcd continues to store past revisions of all keys until its key store is compacted to save space.

A user noticed that the etcd keys associated with certain Longhorn objects had greater version numbers compared to the keys of other objects in their cluster. The concern was that the greater version numbers for Volume, Engine, and Node resources indicated issues in their Longhorn installation.

"Key" : "/registry/longhorn.io/volumes/longhorn-system/<some_volume>"
"CreateRevision" : 988635856
"ModRevision" : 1137860097
"Version" : 2804569

"Key" : "/registry/longhorn.io/engines/longhorn-system/<some_volume>-e-<some_hash>"
"CreateRevision" : 988635861
"ModRevision" : 1137860096
"Version" : 2274122

"Key" : "/registry/longhorn.io/nodes/longhorn-system/<some_node>"
"CreateRevision" : 988599936
"ModRevision" : 1137859827
"Version" : 462517

Frequency of revisions during periods of churn

Longhorn may update resources very frequently to track state as it ensures volumes are ready to serve workloads. Predicting the number of revisions to be created during certain activities is difficult. In most clusters, activities such as node rebooting, replica rebuilding, and volume creation are relative rarities in between long stretches of stable workload activity.

Frequency of revisions during periods of stability

Longhorn frequently updates the statuses of Volume, Engine, and Node resources, even when nothing notable is occurring. These updates help keep track of the actual space consumed by Longhorn volumes at any given moment, particularly the following:

  • engine.status.snapshots[].size: Tracks the space consumed by each volume snapshot in real time. An engine monitor collects and then pushes the information to the Engine object every five seconds (if the consumption has changed and new blocks are being written). Longhorn does not push a status update if no changes are made.
  • volume.status.actualSize: Tracks the actual space consumed by a specific volume in real time, which is calculated based on values obtained from engine.status.snapshots[].size. This field in the Volume object is updated if new blocks are being written and engine.status.snapshots[].size is updated every five seconds. The information is displayed prominently on the Longhorn UI to help you understand your system’s space consumption on a per-volume basis.
  • node.status.diskStatus[].storageAvailable: Tracks the actual amount of space available on a physical disk in real time. A disk monitor collects and then pushes the information to the Node object every 30 seconds (if the available space has changed). Since physical disk space is in constant flux, Longhorn only updates this field if a change exceeds 100 MiB. Longhorn uses the information to make replica scheduling decisions.

Frequency estimates

Assuming new blocks are constantly being written to a Longhorn volume, approximately 17,280 revisions per day can be expected for Engine and Volume objects. The volume from the background section could have hit version 2804569 in approximately 162 days. (Many volumes might not experience this kind of constant write activity).

(12 revisions/min)(60 min/hr)(24 hr/day) = 17,280 revisions/day

Assuming at least 100 MiB of new blocks are constantly being written to all Longhorn volumes with replicas on a physical disk, approximately 2,880 revisions per day can be expected for Node objects. The node from the background section could have hit version 462517 in approximately 161 days. (Many nodes might not experience this kind of constant write activity).

(2 revisions/min)(60 min/hr)(24 hr/day) = 2,880 revisions/day
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