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Advances, Systems and Applications

A survey of Kubernetes scheduling algorithms


As cloud services expand, the need to improve the performance of data center infrastructure becomes more important. High-performance computing, advanced networking solutions, and resource optimization strategies can help data centers maintain the speed and efficiency necessary to provide high-quality cloud services. Running containerized applications is one such optimization strategy, offering benefits such as improved portability, enhanced security, better resource utilization, faster deployment and scaling, and improved integration and interoperability. These benefits can help organizations improve their application deployment and management, enabling them to respond more quickly and effectively to dynamic business needs. Kubernetes is a container orchestration system designed to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. One of its key features is the ability to schedule the deployment and execution of containers across a cluster of nodes using a scheduling algorithm. This algorithm determines the best placement of containers on the available nodes in the cluster. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive review of various scheduling algorithms in the context of Kubernetes. We characterize and group them into four sub-categories: generic scheduling, multi-objective optimization-based scheduling, AI-focused scheduling, and autoscaling enabled scheduling, and identify gaps and issues that require further research.


Kubernetes is an open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It allows developers to focus on building and deploying their applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Kubernetes uses a declarative approach to managing applications, where users specify desired application states, and the system maintains them. It also provides robust tools for monitoring and managing applications, including self-healing mechanisms for automatic failure detection and recovery. Overall, Kubernetes offers a powerful and flexible solution for managing containerized applications in production environments.

Kubernetes is well-suited for microservice-based web applications, where each component can be run in its own container. Containers are lightweight and can be easily created and destroyed, providing faster and more efficient resource utilization than virtual machines, as shown in Fig. 1. Kubernetes automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containers across a cluster of machines, making resource utilization more efficient and flexible. This simplifies the process of building and maintaining complex applications.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Comparison between different types of applications deployments

Microservice-based architecture involves dividing an application into small, independent modules called microservices, Fig. 2. Each microservice is responsible for a specific aspect of the application, and they communicate through a message bus. This architecture offers several benefits, such as the ability to automate deployment, scaling, and management. Because each microservice is independent and can be managed and updated separately, it is easier to make changes without affecting the entire system. Additionally, microservices can be written in different languages and can run on different servers, providing greater flexibility in the development process.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Comparison between different applications architectures

Kubernetes can quickly adapt to various types of demand intensities. For example, if a web application has few visitors at a given time, it can be scaled down to a few pods using minimal resources to reduce costs. However, if the application becomes extremely popular and receives a large number of visitors simultaneously, it can be scaled up to be serviced by a large number of pods, making it capable of handling almost any level of demand.

Kubernetes have been employed by many organizations in a diverse area of underlying applications and have gained the trust of being the best option for the management and deployment of containerized applications. In terms of recent applications, Kubernetes are proving to be an invaluable resource for IT infrastructure as they provide a sustainable path towards serverless computing that will result in easing up challenges in IT administration [1]. Serverless computing will provide end-to-end security enhancements but will also result in new infrastructure and security challenges as discussed in [1].

As the computing paradigm moves towards edge and fog computing, Kubernetes is proving to be a versatile solution that provides seamless network management between cloud and edge nodes [2,3,4]. Kubernetes face multiple challenges when deployed in an IoT environment. These challenges range from optimizing network traffic distribution [2], optimizing flow routing policies [3], and edge device’s computational resources distribution [4].

As can be seen from the diverse range of applications, and challenges associated with Kubernetes, it is imperative to study proposed algorithms in the related area to identify the state-of-the-art and future research directions. Numerous studies have focused on the development of new algorithms for Kubernetes. The main motivation for this survey is to provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art in the field of Kubernetes scheduling algorithms. By reviewing the existing literature and identifying the key theories, methods, and findings from previous studies, we aim to provide a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of existing approaches. We also hope to identify gaps and open questions in the existing literature, and to offer suggestions for future research directions. Overall, our goal is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field and to provide a useful resource for researchers and practitioners working with Kubernetes scheduling algorithms.

To the best of authors’ knowledge, there are no related surveys found that specifically address the topic at hand. The surveys found are mostly targeted at the container orchestration in general (including Kubernetes), such as [5,6,7,8]. These surveys address Kubernetes breadthwise without targeting scheduling and diving deep into it and some even did not focus on Kubernetes. For example, some concentrated on scheduling in the cloud [9] and its associated concerns [10]. Others targeted big data applications in data center networks [11], or fog computing environments [12]. The authors have found two closely related and well-organized surveys [13] and [14] that targeted Kubernetes scheduling in depth. However, our work is different than these two surveys in terms of taxonomy, i.e., they targeted different aspects and objectives in scheduling whereas we categorized the literature into different four sub-categories: generic scheduling, multi-objective optimization-based scheduling, AI focused scheduling, and autoscaling enabled scheduling. Thereby focusing specifically on wide range of schemes related to multi-objective optimization and AI, in addition to the main scheduling with autoscaling. Our categorization, we believe, is more fine-grained and novel as compared to the existing surveys.

In this paper, the literature has been divided into four sub-categories: generic scheduling, multi-objective optimization-based scheduling, AI-focused scheduling, and autoscaling enabled scheduling. The literature pertaining to each sub-category is analyzed and summarized based on six parameters outlined in Literature review section.

Our main contributions are as follows:

  • A comprehensive review of the literature on Kubernetes scheduling algorithms targeting four sub-categories: generic scheduling, multi-objective optimization-based scheduling, AI focused scheduling, and autoscaling enabled scheduling.

  • A critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of existing approaches.

  • Identification of gaps and open questions in the existing literature.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: In Search methodology section, we describe the methodology used to conduct the survey. In Literature review section, we present the literature review along with results of our survey, including a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of existing approaches. A taxonomy of the identified research papers based on the literature review is presented as well. In Discussion, challenges & future suggestions section, we discuss the implications of our findings and suggest future research directions. Finally, in Conclusions section, we summarize the key contributions of the survey and provide our conclusions.

Search methodology

This section presents our search methodology for identifying relevant studies that are included in this review.

To identify relevant studies for our review, we conducted a comprehensive search of the literature using the following databases: IEEE, ACM, Elsevier, Springer, and Google Scholar. We used the following search terms: "Kubernetes," "scheduling algorithms," and "scheduling optimizing." We limited our search to studies published in the last 5 years and written in English.

We initially identified a total of 124 studies from the database searches, see Fig. 3. We then reviewed the abstracts of these studies to identify those that were relevant to our review. We excluded studies that did not focus on Kubernetes scheduling algorithms, as well as those that were not original research or review articles. After this initial screening, we were left with 67 studies, see Fig. 4.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Inclusion criteria

Fig. 4
figure 4

Exclusion criteria

We then reviewed the texts of the remaining studies to determine their eligibility for inclusion in our review. We excluded studies that did not meet our inclusion criteria, which were: (1) focus on optimizing Kubernetes scheduling algorithms, (2) provide original research or a critical evaluation of existing approaches, and (3) be written in English and published in the last 5 years. After this final screening, we included 47 studies in our review, see Fig. 4. A yearly distribution of papers can be seen in Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Detailed statistics showing the yearly breakdown of analyzed studies

We also searched the reference lists of the included studies to identify any additional relevant studies that were not captured in our database searches. We did not identify any additional studies through this process. Therefore, our review includes 47 studies on Kubernetes scheduling algorithms published in the last 5 years. These studies represent a diverse range of research methods, including surveys, experiments, and simulations.

Literature review

This section has been organized into four sub-categories, i.e., generic scheduling, multi-objective optimization-based scheduling, AI focused scheduling, and autoscaling enabled scheduling. A distribution of analyzed research papers in each category can be seen in Fig. 6. The literature in each sub-category is analyzed and then summarized based on six parameters given below:

  • Objectives

  • Methodology/Algorithms

  • Experiments

  • Findings

  • Applications

  • Limitations

Fig. 6
figure 6

Detailed statistics for each category in terms of analyzed studies

Scheduling in Kubernetes

The field of Kubernetes scheduling algorithms has attracted significant attention from researchers and practitioners in recent years. A growing body of literature has explored the potential benefits and challenges of using different scheduling algorithms to optimize the performance of a Kubernetes cluster. In this section, we present a review of the key theories, methods, and findings from previous studies in this area.

One key theme in the literature is the need for efficient effective scheduling of workloads in a Kubernetes environment. Many studies have emphasized the limitations of traditional scheduling approaches, which often struggle to handle the complex and dynamic nature of workloads in a Kubernetes cluster. As a result, there has been increasing interest in the use of advanced scheduling algorithms to enable efficient, effective allocation of computing resources within the cluster.

Another key theme in the literature is the potential benefits of advanced scheduling algorithms for Kubernetes. Many studies have highlighted the potential for these algorithms to improve resource utilization, reduce latency, and enhance the overall performance of the cluster. Additionally, advanced scheduling algorithms have the potential to support the development of new applications and services within the Kubernetes environment, such as real-time analytics and machine learning and deep learning, see AI Focused Scheduling section. 

Despite these potential benefits, the literature also identifies several challenges and limitations of Kubernetes scheduling algorithms. One key challenge is the need to address the evolving nature of workloads and applications within the cluster. Therefore, various authors focused on improving the autoscaling feature in Kubernetes scheduling to allow for automatic adjustment of the resources allocated to pods based on the current demand, more detailed discussion can be found in Autoscaling-enabled Scheduling section. Other challenges include the need to manage and coordinate multiple scheduling algorithms, and to ensure the stability and performance of the overall system.

Overall, the literature suggests that advanced scheduling algorithms offer a promising solution to the challenges posed by the complex and dynamic nature of workloads in a Kubernetes cluster. However, further research is needed to address the limitations and challenges of these algorithms, and to explore their potential applications and benefits.

In Santos et al. [15], for deployments in smart cities, the authors suggest a network-aware scheduling method for container-based apps. Their strategy is put into practice as an addition to Kubernetes' built-in default scheduling system, which is an open-source orchestrator for the automatic management and deployment of micro-services. By utilizing container-based smart city apps, the authors assess the suggested scheduling approach's performance and contrast it with that of Kubernetes' built-in default scheduling mechanism. Compared to the default technique, they discovered that the suggested solution reduces network latency by almost 80%.

In Chung et al. [16], the authors propose a new cluster scheduler called Stratus that is specialized for orchestrating batch job execution on virtual clusters in public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms. Stratus focuses on minimizing dollar costs by aggressively packing tasks onto machines based on runtime estimates, i.e., to save money, the allocated resources will be made either mostly full or empty so that they may then be released. Using the workload traces from TwoSigma and Google, the authors evaluate Stratus and establish that the proposed Stratus reduces cost by 17–44% compared to the benchmarks of virtual cluster scheduling.

In Le et al. [17], the authors propose a new scheduling algorithm called AlloX for optimizing job performance in shared clusters that use interchangeable resources such as CPUs, GPUs, and other accelerators. AlloX transforms the scheduling problem into a min-cost bipartite matching problem and provides dynamic fair allocation over time. The authors demonstrate theoretically and empirically that AlloX performs better than existing solutions in the presence of interchangeable resources, and they show that it can reduce the average job completion time significantly while providing fairness and preventing starvation.

In Zhong et al. [18], the authors propose a heterogeneous task allocation strategy for cost-efficient container orchestration in Kubernetes-based cloud computing infrastructures with elastic compute resources. The proposed strategy has three main features: support for heterogeneous job configurations, cluster size adjustment through autoscaling algorithms, and a rescheduling mechanism to shut down underutilized VM instances and reallocate relevant jobs without losing task progress. The authors evaluate their approach using the Australian National Cloud Infrastructure (Nectar) and show that it can reduce overall cost by 23–32% compared to the default Kubernetes framework.

In Thinakaran et al. [19], to create Kube-Knots, the authors combine their proposed GPU-aware resource orchestration layer, Knots, with the Kubernetes container orchestrator. Through dynamic container orchestration, Kube-Knots dynamically harvests unused computing cycles, enabling the co-location of batch and latency-critical applications and increasing overall resource utilization. The authors demonstrate that the proposed scheduling strategies increase average and 99th percentile cluster-wide GPU usage by up to 80% in the case of HPC workloads when used to plan datacenter-scale workloads using Kube-Knots on a ten-node GPU cluster. In addition, the suggested schedulers reduce energy consumption throughout the cluster by an average of 33% for three separate workloads and increase the average task completion times of deep learning workloads by up to 36% when compared to modern schedulers.

In Townend et al. [20], the authors propose a holistic scheduling system for Kubernetes that replaces the default scheduler and considers both software and hardware models to improve data center efficiency. The authors claim that by introducing hardware modeling into a software-based solution, an intelligent scheduler can make significant improvements in data center efficiency. In their initial deployment, the authors observed power consumption reductions of 10–20%.

In the work by Menouer [21], the author describes the KCSS, a brand-new Kubernetes container scheduling strategy. The purpose of KCSS is to increase performance in terms of makespan and power consumption by scheduling user-submitted containers as efficiently as possible. For each freshly submitted container, KCSS chooses the best node based on a number of factors linked to the cloud infrastructure and the user's requirements using a multi-criteria decision analysis technique. The author uses the Go programming language to create KCSS and shows how it works better than alternative container scheduling methods in a variety of situations.

In Song et al. [22], authors present a topology-based GPU scheduling framework for Kubernetes. The framework is based on the traditional Kubernetes GPU scheduling algorithm, but introduces the concept of a GPU cluster topology, which is restored in a GPU cluster resource access cost tree. This allows for more efficient scheduling of different GPU resource application scenarios. The proposed framework has been used in the production practice of Tencent and has reportedly improved the resource utilization of GPU clusters by about 10%.

In Ogbuachi et al. [23], the authors propose an improved design for Kubernetes scheduling that takes into account physical, operational, and network parameters in addition to software states in order to enable better orchestration and management of edge computing applications. They compare the proposed design to the default Kubernetes scheduler and show that it offers improved fault tolerance and dynamic orchestration capabilities.

In the work by Beltre et al. [24], utilizing fairness measures including dominant resource fairness, resource demand, and average waiting time, the authors outline a scheduling policy for Kubernetes clusters. KubeSphere, a policy-driven meta-scheduler created by the authors, enables tasks to be scheduled according to each user's overall resource requirements and current consumption. The proposed policy increased fairness in a multi-tenant cluster, according to experimental findings.

In Haja et al. [25], the authors propose a custom Kubernetes scheduler that takes into account delay constraints and edge reliability when making scheduling decisions. The authors argue that this type of scheduler is necessary for edge infrastructure, where applications are often delay-sensitive, and the infrastructure is prone to failures. The authors demonstrate their Kubernetes extension and release the solution as open source.

In Wojciechowski et al. [26], the authors propose a unique method for scheduling Kubernetes pods that makes advantage of dynamic network measurements gathered by Istio Service Mesh. According to the authors, this approach can fully automate saving up to 50% of inter-node bandwidth and up to 37% of application response time, which is crucial for the adoption of Kubernetes in 5G use cases.

In Cai et al. [27], the authors propose a feedback control method for elastic container provisioning in Kubernetes-based systems. The method uses a combination of a varying-processing-rate queuing model and a linear model to improve the accuracy of output errors. The authors compare their approach with several existing algorithms on a real Kubernetes cluster and find that it obtains the lowest percentage of service level agreement (SLA) violation and the second lowest cost.

In Ahmed et al. [28], the deployment of Docker containers in a heterogeneous cluster with CPU and GPU resources can be managed via the authors' dynamic scheduling framework for Kubernetes. The Kubernetes Pod timeline and previous data about the execution of the containers are taken into account by the platform, known as KubCG, to optimize the deployment of new containers. The time it took to complete jobs might be cut by up to 64% using KubCG, according to the studies the authors conducted to validate their algorithm.

In Ungureanu et al. [29], the authors propose a hybrid shared-state scheduling framework for Kubernetes that combines the advantages of centralized and distributed scheduling. The framework uses distributed scheduling agents to delegate most tasks, and a scheduling correction function to process unprioritized and unscheduled tasks. Based on the entire cluster state the scheduling decisions are made, which are then synchronized and updated by the master-state agent. The authors performed experiments to test the behavior of their proposed scheduler and found that it performed well in different scenarios, including failover and recovery. They also found that other centralized scheduling frameworks may not perform well in situations like collocation interference or priority preemption.

In Yang et al. [30], the authors present the design and implementation of KubeHICE, a performance-aware container orchestrator for heterogeneous-ISA architectures in cloud-edge platforms. KubeHICE extends Kubernetes with two functional approaches, AIM (Automatic Instruction Set Architecture Matching) and PAS (Performance-Aware Scheduling), to handle heterogeneous ISA and schedule containers according to the computing capabilities of cluster nodes. The authors performed experiments to evaluate KubeHICE and found that it added no additional overhead to container orchestration and was effective in performance estimation and resource scheduling. They also demonstrated the advantages of KubeHICE in several real-world scenarios, showing for example a 40% increase in CPU utilization when eliminating heterogeneity.

In Li et al. [31], the authors propose two dynamic scheduling algorithms, Balanced-Disk-IO-Priority (BDI) and Balanced-CPU-Disk-IO-Priority (BCDI), to address the issue of Kubernetes' scheduler not taking the disk I/O load of nodes into account. BDI is designed to improve the disk I/O balance between nodes, while BCDI is designed to solve the issue of load imbalance of CPU and disk I/O on a single node. The authors perform experiments to evaluate the algorithms and find that they are more effective than the Kubernetes default scheduling algorithms.

In Fan et al. [32], the authors propose an algorithm for optimizing the scheduling of pods in the Serverless framework on the Kubernetes platform. The authors argue that the default Kubernetes scheduler, which operates on a pod-by-pod basis, is not well-suited for the rapid deployment and running of pods in the Serverless framework. To address this issue, the authors propose an algorithm that uses simultaneous scheduling of pods to improve the efficiency of resource scheduling in the Serverless framework. Through preliminary testing, the authors found that their algorithm was able to greatly reduce the delay in pod startup while maintaining a balanced use of node resources.

In Bestari et al. [33], the authors propose a scheduler for distributed deep learning training in Kubeflow that combines features from existing works, including autoscaling and gang scheduling. The proposed scheduler includes modifications to increase the efficiency of the training process, and weights are used to determine the priority of jobs. The authors evaluate the proposed scheduler using a set of Tensorflow jobs and find that it improves training speed by over 26% compared to the default Kubernetes scheduler.

In Dua et al. [34], the authors present an alternative algorithm for load balancing in distributed computing environments. The algorithm uses task migration to balance the workload among processors of different capabilities and configurations. The authors define labels to classify tasks into different categories and configure clusters dedicated to specific types of tasks.

The above-mentioned schemes are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1 Literature Summary (Scheduling Kubernetes)

Scheduling using multi-objective optimization

Multi-objective optimization scheduling takes into account multiple objectives or criteria when deciding how to allocate resources and schedule containers on nodes in the cluster. This approach is particularly useful in complex distributed systems where there are multiple competing objectives that need to be balanced to achieve the best overall performance. In a multi-objective optimization scheduling approach, the scheduler considers multiple objectives simultaneously, such as minimizing response time, maximizing resource utilization, and reducing energy consumption. The scheduler uses optimization algorithms to find the optimal solution that balances these objectives.

Multi-objective optimization scheduling can help improve the overall performance and efficiency of Kubernetes clusters by taking into account multiple objectives when allocating resources and scheduling containers. This approach can result in better resource utilization, improved application performance, reduced energy consumption, and lower costs.

Some examples of multi-objective optimization scheduling algorithms used in Kubernetes include genetic algorithms, Ant Colony Optimization, and particle swarm optimization. These algorithms can help optimize different objectives, such as response time, resource utilization, energy consumption, and other factors, to achieve the best overall performance and efficiency in the Kubernetes cluster.

In this section, multi-objective scheduling proposals are discussed.

In Kaur et al. [35], the authors propose a new controller for managing containers on edge-cloud nodes in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems. The controller, called Kubernetes-based energy and interference driven scheduler (KEIDS), is based on Google Kubernetes and is designed to minimize energy utilization and interference in IIoT systems. KEIDS uses integer linear programming to formulate the task scheduling problem as a multi-objective optimization problem, taking into account factors such as energy consumption, carbon emissions, and interference from other applications. The authors evaluate KEIDS using real-time data from Google compute clusters and find that it outperforms existing state-of-the-art schemes.

In Lin et al. [36], the authors propose a multi-objective optimization model for container-based microservice scheduling in cloud architectures. They present an ant colony algorithm for solving the scheduling problem, which takes into account factors such as computing and storage resource utilization, the number of microservice requests, and the failure rate of physical nodes. The authors evaluate the proposed algorithm using experiments and compare its performance to other related algorithms. They find that the proposed algorithm achieves better results in terms of cluster service reliability, cluster load balancing, and network transmission overhead.

In Wei-guo et al. [37], the authors propose an improved scheduling algorithm for Kubernetes by combining ant colony optimization and particle swarm optimization to better balance task assignments and reduce resource costs. The authors implemented the algorithm in Java and tested it using the CloudSim tool, showing that it outperformed the original scheduling algorithm.

In the work by Oleghe [38], the idea of container placement and migration in edge servers, as well as the scheduling models created for this purpose, are discussed by the author. The majority of scheduling models, according to the author, are based mostly on heuristic algorithms and use multi-objective optimization models or graph network models. The study also points out the lack of studies on container scheduling models that take dispersed edge computing activities into account and predicts that future studies in this field will concentrate on scheduling containers for mobile edge nodes.

In Carvalho et al. [39], The authors offer an addition to the Kubernetes scheduler that uses Quality of Experience (QoE) measurements to help cloud management Service Level Objectives (SLOs) be more accurate. In the context of video streaming services that are co-located with other services, the authors assess the suggested architecture using the QoE metric from the ITU P.1203 standard. According to the findings, resource rescheduling increases average QoE by 135% while the proposed scheduler increases it by 50% when compared to other schedulers.

The above-mentioned schemes are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 Literature summary (Multi-Objective Optimization)

AI focused scheduling

Many large companies have recently started to provide AI based services. For this purpose, they have installed machine/deep learning clusters composed of tens to thousands of CPUs and GPUs for training their deep learning models in a distributed manner. Different machine learning frameworks are used such as MXNet [40], TensorFlow [41], and Petuum [42]. Training a deep learning model is usually very resource hungry and time consuming. In such a setting, efficient scheduling is crucial in order to fully utilize the expensive deep learning cluster and expedite the model training process. Different strategies have been used to schedule tasks in this arena, for examples, general purpose schedulers are customized to tackle distributed deep learning tasks, example include [43] and [44]; however, they statically allocate resources and do not adjust resource under different load conditions which lead to poor resource utilization. Others proposed dynamic allocation of resources after carefully analyzing the workloads, examples include [45] and [46].

In this section, deep learning focused schedulers are surveyed.

In Peng et al. [46], the authors propose a customized job scheduler for deep learning clusters called Optimus. The goal of Optimus is to minimize the time required for deep learning training jobs, which are resource-intensive and time-consuming. Optimus employs performance models to precisely estimate training speed as a function of resource allocation and online fitting to anticipate model convergence during training. These models inform how Optimus dynamically organizes tasks and distributes resources to reduce job completion time. The authors put Optimus into practice on a deep learning cluster and evaluate its efficiency in comparison to other cluster schedulers. They discover that Optimus beats conventional schedulers in terms of job completion time and makespan by roughly 139% and 63%, respectively.

In Mao et al. [47], the authors propose using modern machine learning techniques to develop highly efficient policies for scheduling data processing jobs on distributed compute clusters. They present their system, called Decima, which uses reinforcement learning (RL) and neural networks to learn workload-specific scheduling algorithms. Decima is designed to be scalable and able to handle complex job dependency graphs. The authors report that their prototype integration with Spark on a 25-node cluster improved average job completion time by at least 21% over existing hand-tuned scheduling heuristics, with up to 2 × improvement during periods of high cluster load.

In Chaudhary et al. [48], a distributed fair share scheduler for GPU clusters used for deep learning training termed as Gandivafair is presented by the authors. This GPU cluster utilization system offers performance isolation between users and is created to strike a balance between the competing demands of justice and efficiency. In spite of cluster heterogeneity, Gandivafair is the first scheduler to fairly distribute GPU time among all active users. The authors demonstrate that Gandivafair delivers both fairness and efficiency under realistic multi-user workloads by evaluating it using a prototype implementation on a heterogeneous 200-GPU cluster.

In Fu et al. [49], the authors propose a new container placement scheme called ProCon for scheduling jobs in a Kubernetes cluster. ProCon uses an estimation of future resource usage to balance resource contentions across the cluster and reduce the completion time and makespan of jobs. The authors demonstrate through experiments that ProCon decreases completion time by up to 53.3% for a specific job and enhances general performance by 23.0%. In addition, ProCon shows a makespan improvement of up to 37.4% in comparison to Kubernetes' built-in default scheduler.

In Peng et al. [50], the authors propose DL2, a deep learning-based scheduler for deep learning clusters that aims to improve global training job expedition by dynamically resizing resources allocated to jobs. The authors implement DL2 on Kubernetes and evaluate its performance against a fairness scheduler and an expert heuristic scheduler. The results show that DL2 outperforms the other schedulers in terms of average job completion time.

In Mao et al. [51], the authors propose a new container scheduler called SpeCon optimized for short-lived deep learning applications. SpeCon is designed to improve resource utilization and job completion times in a Kubernetes cluster by analyzing the progress of deep learning training processes and speculatively migrating slow-growing models to release resources for faster-growing ones. The authors conduct experiments that demonstrate that SpeCon improves individual job completion times by up to 41.5%, improves system-wide performance by 14.8%, and reduces makespan by 24.7%.

In Huang et al. [52], for scheduling independent batch jobs across many federated cloud computing clusters, the authors suggest a deep reinforcement learning-based job scheduler dubbed RLSK. The authors put RLSK into use on Kubernetes and tested its performance through simulations, demonstrating that it can outperform conventional scheduling methods.

The work by Wang et al. [53] describes MLFS, a feature-based task scheduling system for machine learning clusters that can conduct both data- and model-parallel processes. To determine task priority for work queue ordering, MLFS uses a heuristic scheduling method. The data from this method is then used to train a deep reinforcement learning model for job scheduling. In comparison to existing work schedules, the proposed system is shown to reduce job completion time by up to 53%, makespan by up to 52%, and increase accuracy by up to 64%. The system is tested using real experiments and large-scale simulations based on real traces.

In Han et al. [54], the authors present KaiS, an edge-cloud Kubernetes scheduling framework based on learning. KaiS models system state data using graph neural networks and a coordinated multi-agent actor-critic method for decentralized request dispatch. Research indicates that when compared to baselines, KaiS can increase average system throughput rate by 14.3% and decrease scheduling cost by 34.7%.

In Casquero et al. [55], the Kubernetes orchestrator's scheduling task is distributed among processing nodes by the authors' proposed custom scheduler, which makes use of a Multi-Agent System (MAS). According to the authors, this method is quicker than the centralized scheduling strategy employed by the default Kubernetes scheduler.

In Yang et al. [56], the authors propose a method for optimizing Kubernetes' container scheduling algorithm by combining the grey system theory with the LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) neural network prediction method. They perform experiments to evaluate their approach and find that it can reduce the resource fragmentation problem of working nodes in the cluster and increase the utilization of cluster resources.

In Zhang et al. [57], a highly scalable cluster scheduling system for Kubernetes, termed as Zeus, is proposed by the authors. The main feature of Zeus is that based on the actual server utilization it schedules the best-effort jobs. It has the ability to adaptively divide resources between workloads of two different classes. Zeus is meant to enable the safe colocation of best-effort processes and latency-sensitive services. The authors test Zeus in a real-world setting and discover that it can raise average CPU utilization from 15 to 60% without violating Service Level Objectives (SLOs).

In Liu et al. [58], the authors suggest a scheduling strategy for deep learning tasks on Kubernetes that takes into account the tasks' resource usage characteristics. To increase task execution efficiency and load balancing, the suggested paradigm, dubbed FBSM, has modules for a GPU sniffer and a balance-aware scheduler. The execution of deep learning tasks is sped up by the suggested system, known as KubFBS, according to the authors' evaluation, which also reveals improved load balancing capabilities for the cluster.

In Rahali et al. [59], the authors propose a solution for resource allocation in a Kubernetes infrastructure hosting network service. The proposed solution aims to avoid resource shortages and protect the most critical functions. The authors use a statistical approach to model and solve the problem, given the random nature of the treated information.

The above-mentioned schemes are summarized in Table 3.

Table 3 Literature summary (AI-Focused Scheduling)

Autoscaling-enabled scheduling

Autoscaling is an important feature in Kubernetes scheduling because it allows for automatic adjustment of the resources allocated to pods based on the current demand. It allows efficient resource utilization, improved performance, cost savings, and high availability of the application. Auto rescaling and scheduling are related in that auto rescaling can be used to ensure that there are always enough resources available to handle the tasks that are scheduled. For example, if the scheduler assigns a new task to a worker node, but that node does not have enough resources to execute the task, the auto scaler can add more resources to that node or spin up a new node to handle the task. In this way, auto rescaling and scheduling work together to ensure that a distributed system is able to handle changing workloads and optimize resource utilization. Some of the schemes related to this category are surveyed below.

In Taherizadeh et al. [60], the authors propose a new dynamic multi-level (DM) autoscaling method for container-based cloud applications. The DM method uses both infrastructure- and application-level monitoring data to determine when to scale up or down, and its thresholds are dynamically adjusted based on workload conditions. The authors compare the performance of the DM method to seven existing autoscaling methods using synthetic and real-world workloads. They find that the DM method has better overall performance than the other methods, particularly in terms of response time and the number of instantiated containers. SWITCH system was used to implement the DM method for time-critical cloud applications.

In Rattihalli et al. [61], the authors propose a new resource management system called RUBAS that can dynamically adjust the allocation of containers running in a Kubernetes cluster. RUBAS incorporates container migration to improve upon the Kubernetes Vertical Pod Autoscaler (VPA) system non-disruptively. The authors evaluate RUBAS using multiple scientific benchmarks and compare its performance to Kubernetes VPA. They find that RUBAS improves CPU and memory utilization by 10% and reduces runtime by 15% with an overhead for each application ranging from 5–20%.

In Toka et al. [62], the authors present a Kubernetes scaling engine that uses machine learning forecast methods to make better autoscaling decisions for cloud-based applications. The engine's short-term evaluation loop allows it to adapt to changing request dynamics, and the authors introduce a compact management parameter for cloud tenants to easily set their desired level of resource over-provisioning vs. service level agreement (SLA) violations. The proposed engine is evaluated in simulations and with measurements on Web trace data, and the results show that it results in fewer lost requests and slightly more provisioned resources compared to the default Kubernetes baseline.

In Balla et al. [63], the authors propose an adaptive autoscaler called Libra, which automatically detects the optimal resource set for a single pod and manages the horizontal scaling process. Libra is also able to adapt the resource definition for the pod and adjust the horizontal scaling process if the load or underlying virtualized environment changes. The authors evaluate Libra in simulations and show that it can reduce the average CPU and memory utilization by up to 48% and 39%, respectively, compared to the default Kubernetes autoscaler.

In another work by Toka et al. [64], the authors propose a Kubernetes scaling engine that uses multiple AI-based forecast methods to make autoscaling decisions that are better suited to handle the variability of incoming requests. The authors also introduce a compact management parameter to help application providers easily set their desired resource over-provisioning and SLA violation trade-off. The proposed engine is evaluated in simulations and with measurements on web traces, showing improved fitting of provisioned resources to service demand.

In Wu et al., the authors propose a new active Kubernetes auto scaling device based on prediction of pod replicas. They demonstrate that their proposed autoscaler has a faster response speed compared to existing scaling strategies in Kubernetes.

In Wang et al. [65] the authors propose an improved automatic scaling scheme for Kubernetes that combines the advantages of different types of nodes in the scaling process. They found that their scheme improves the performance of the system under rapid load pressure and reduces instability within running clusters compared to the default auto scaler.

In Kang et al. [66], the authors propose a method for improving the reliability of virtual networks by using optimization models and heuristic algorithms to allocate virtual network functions (VNFs) to suitable locations. The authors also develop function scheduler plugins for the Kubernetes system, which allows for the automatic deployment and management of containerized applications. The proposed method is demonstrated to be effective in allocating functions and running service functions correctly. This work was published in the 2021 edition of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control.

In Vu et al. [67], propose a hybrid autoscaling method for containerized applications that combines vertical and horizontal scaling capabilities to optimize resource utilization and ensure quality of service (QoS) requirements. The proposed method uses a predictive approach based on machine learning to forecast future demand and a burst identification module to make scaling decisions. The authors evaluate the proposed method and find that it improves response time and resource utilization compared to existing methods that only use a single scaling mode.

The above-mentioned schemes are summarized in Table 4.

Table 4 Literature summary (Auto-Scaling Enabled Scheduling)

Discussion, challenges & future suggestions

In Literature review section, a comprehensive review has been presented covering four sub-categories in the area of Kubernetes scheduling. It is crucial to provide a brief discussion on the categorized literature review that is presented in this section.

In the area of multi-objective optimization-based scheduling in Kubernetes, several research studies have been conducted to optimize various objectives such as minimizing the energy consumption and cost while maximizing resource utilization and meeting application performance requirements. These studies employ different optimization techniques such as genetic algorithms, particle swarm optimization, and ant colony optimization. Some studies also incorporate machine learning-based approaches to predict workload patterns and make scheduling decisions. There are still several challenges that need to be addressed. Firstly, the multi-objective nature of the problem poses a significant challenge in finding optimal solutions that balance conflicting objectives. Second, the dynamic nature of the cloud environment requires real-time adaptation of scheduling decisions to changing conditions. Overall, the research in multi-objective optimization-based scheduling in Kubernetes shows great potential in achieving efficient and effective resource management. Still, further work is needed to address the challenges and validate the effectiveness of these approaches in real-world scenarios.

On the other hand, AI-based scheduling in Kubernetes has been a popular area of research in recent years. Many studies have proposed different approaches to optimize scheduling decisions using machine learning and other AI techniques. One of the key accomplishments in this area is the development of scheduling algorithms that can handle complex workloads in a dynamic environment. These algorithms can consider various factors, such as resource availability, task dependencies, and application requirements, to make optimal scheduling decisions. Some studies have proposed reinforcement learning-based scheduling algorithms, which can adapt to changing workload patterns and learn from experience to improve scheduling decisions. Other studies have proposed deep learning-based approaches, which can capture complex patterns in the workload data and make accurate predictions. Overall, these studies have demonstrated that AI-based scheduling can improve the efficiency and performance of Kubernetes clusters. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed in this area. One of the main challenges is the lack of real-world datasets for training and evaluation of AI-based scheduling algorithms. Most studies use synthetic or simulated datasets, which may not reflect the complexities of real-world workloads. Another challenge is the trade-off between accuracy and computational complexity. Future research in this area could focus on developing more efficient and scalable AI-based scheduling algorithms that can handle large-scale, real-world workloads. This could involve exploring new machine learning and optimization techniques that can improve scheduling accuracy while reducing computational complexity.

Lastly, autoscaling enabled scheduling is an emerging research area that aims to optimize resource utilization and improve application performance by combining autoscaling and scheduling techniques. Several research studies have been published in this area in recent years. The analysis of these studies reveals that autoscaling enabled scheduling can lead to significant improvements in resource utilization and application performance. The studies have shown they can help reduce resource wastage, minimize the risk of under-provisioning, and improve application response times. However, despite these promising results, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed in this area. One of the main challenges is the complexity of designing effective autoscaling enabled scheduling algorithms. Developing algorithms that can adapt to dynamic workload changes and optimize resource utilization while maintaining application performance is a non-trivial task. Furthermore, there is a need for more research on the practical implementation of autoscaling enabled scheduling in real-world scenarios. Most of the existing studies have been conducted in controlled experimental settings, and there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of auto scaling enabled scheduling in real-world applications. There are still several challenges that need to be addressed, including algorithm design, standardization, and practical implementation. Future research in this area should focus on addressing these challenges and developing more effective and practical auto scaling enabled scheduling techniques.

The research papers use diverse algorithms to enhance Kubernetes scheduling. These algorithms are tested on various platforms and environments, such as Spark, MXNet, Kubernetes, Google and TwoSigma's GPU cluster, workloads, Google compute, CPU-GPU, the National Cloud Infrastructure, benchmarks, ProCon, DL2, DRF, Optimus, CBP, PP, scaling, data centers, schedulers, CloudSim and Java, scenarios, cloud infrastructure, user need, RLSK, real trace, GaiaGPU and Tencent, real workload traces, simulations and web traces, Kubernetes, a new algorithm, Kubernetes failover and recovery, KubeHICE, real-world scenarios, BDI, BCDI, Kubernetes, a proposed algorithm, autoscalers, default auto scalers, video streaming, Tensorflow, Zeus, and latency-sensitive services. Some papers did not specify the details of the algorithms they used or the platforms and environments they tested on.

As can be seen in the previous sections, the survey extensively analyzes the current literature, and composes a taxonomy to not only effectively analyze the current state-of-the-art but also identify the challenges and future directions. Based on the analysis, the following areas have been identified as potential future research in the field:

  • As Kubernetes becomes more popular, there will be a growing need for advanced computation optimization techniques. In the future, Kubernetes may benefit from the development of more sophisticated algorithms for workload scheduling and resource allocation, potentially using AI or machine learning. Additionally, integrating Kubernetes with emerging technologies like serverless computing could lead to even more efficient resource usage by enabling dynamic scaling without pre-provisioned infrastructure. Ultimately, the future of computation optimization in Kubernetes is likely to involve a combination of cutting-edge algorithms, innovative technologies, and ongoing advancements in cloud computing.

  • Testing and implementation to reveal limitations or current learning algorithms for scheduling and potential improvements on large scale clusters. One important focus is on improving the tooling and automation around testing and deployment, including the development of new testing frameworks and the integration of existing tools into the Kubernetes ecosystem. Another key area is the ongoing refinement of Kubernetes' implementation and development process, with a focus on streamlining workflows, improving documentation, and fostering greater collaboration within the open-source community. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on developing more comprehensive testing and validation strategies for Kubernetes clusters, including the use of advanced techniques like chaos engineering to simulate real-world failure scenarios. Overall, the future of testing and implementation in Kubernetes is likely to involve ongoing innovation, collaboration, and an ongoing commitment to driving the platform forward.

    A number of methods are employing learning algorithms for resource balancing inside and outside the cluster. Even though the methods given encouraging results, new learning algorithms can be found to improve the scheduler, especially on large scale clusters.

  • Limitations and potential improvements in specific contexts, e.g., Green Computing. Minimizing the carbon footprint of a cluster is an ongoing challenge. Advanced schedulers are needed to be proposed in order to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of clusters in IIoT setups. There is a huge opportunity for improving the existing methods and proposing new methods in this area.

  • Future research in Kubernetes resource management. Kubernetes resource management mostly relies on optimization modelling framework and heuristic-based algorithms. The potential for improving and proposing new resource management algorithms is a very promising area of research. Future research in Kubernetes resource management may focus on addressing the challenges of managing complex, dynamic workloads across distributed, heterogeneous environments. This may involve developing more sophisticated algorithms and techniques for workload placement, resource allocation, and load balancing, as well as exploring new approaches to containerization and virtualization. Additionally, there may be opportunities to leverage emerging technologies like edge computing and 5G networks to enable more efficient and scalable resource management in Kubernetes.

  • Most of the work done in the area of Kubernetes scheduling has been evaluated on small clusters. However, this might not always be tempting. One future research direction in Kubernetes scheduling is to use larger cluster sizes for algorithm evaluation. While Kubernetes has been shown to be effective in managing clusters of up to several thousand nodes, there is a need to evaluate its performance in even larger cluster sizes. This includes evaluating the scalability of the Kubernetes scheduler, identifying potential bottlenecks, and proposing solutions to address them. Additionally, there is a need to evaluate the impact of larger cluster sizes on application performance and resource utilization. This research could lead to the development of more efficient scheduling algorithms and better management strategies for large-scale Kubernetes deployments.

  • Scheduling should not only be considered from the static infrastructure point of view, but rather advanced context-aware scheduling algorithms may be proposed that could focus on developing new approaches to resource allocation and scheduling that take into account a broader range of contextual factors, such as user preferences, application dependencies, and environmental conditions. This may involve exploring new machine learning techniques and optimization algorithms that can dynamically adapt to changing conditions and prioritize resources based on real-time feedback and analysis. Other potential areas of research may include developing new models and frameworks for managing resources in Kubernetes clusters, improving container orchestration and load balancing, and enhancing monitoring and analytics capabilities to enable more effective use of context-aware scheduling algorithms.

As can be seen from the diversity of future directions, the potential for new research in Kubernetes is ripe with challenges of myriad levels of difficulty and effort. It provides future researchers with exciting opportunities to pursue and problems to tackle. We hope that this survey will facilitate future researchers in selecting a suitable challenge and solve new problems to expand the state-of-the-art in the area of Kubernetes.


In conclusion, the survey on Kubernetes scheduling provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the field. It covers the objectives, methodologies, algorithms, experiments, and results of various research efforts in this area. The survey highlights the importance of scheduling in Kubernetes and the need for efficient and effective scheduling algorithms. The results of the experiments show that there is still room for improvement in this area, and future work should focus on developing new algorithms and improving existing ones. Overall, the survey provides valuable insight into the current state of Kubernetes scheduling and points to promising directions for future research.

Availability of data and materials

The corresponding author may provide the supporting data on request.


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Research was supervised by Sohail Abbas and Naveed Ahmed. Data collection, material preparation, and analysis were performed by Khaldoun. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Conceptualization and revisions done by Sohail Abbas, Naveed Ahmed and Atta ur Rehman.

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Senjab, K., Abbas, S., Ahmed, N. et al. A survey of Kubernetes scheduling algorithms. J Cloud Comp 12, 87 (2023).

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