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Karpenter is an open-source cluster autoscaler for kubernetes (EKS) that automatically provisions new nodes in response to unschedulable pods. Until Karpenter was introduced, EKS would use its implementation of "CAS" Cluster Autoscaler, which creates Managed-NodeGroups to provision nodes.

The challenge with Managed-NodeGroups is that, it can only create nodes with a single instance-type. In-order to provision nodes with different instance-types for different workloads, multiple nodegroups have to be created. Karpenter on the other hand can provision nodes of different types by working with EC2-Fleet-API. The best practices to configure the Provisioners are documented at

This guide helps the user troubleshoot common problems with Karpenter.

Logs of Karpenter Controller

Karpenter is a Custom Kubernetes Controller, and the following steps would help find Karpenter Logs.

Step 1: Identify the namespace where Karpenter is running. In most cases, helm would be used to deploy Karpenter packages. The helm ls command would list the namespace where karpenter would be installed.

# Example

% helm ls --all-namespaces
NAME        NAMESPACE   REVISION    UPDATED                                 STATUS      CHART               APP VERSION
karpenter   karpenter   1           2023-05-15 14:16:03.726908 -0500 CDT    deployed    karpenter-v0.27.3   0.27.3

Step 2: Setup kubectl

brew install kubectl

aws --region <region> eks update-kubeconfig --name <eks-cluster-name>

Step 3: Check the status of the pods of Karpenter

# kubectl get pods -n <namespace>

% kubectl get pods -n karpenter
NAME                         READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
karpenter-7b455dccb8-prrzx   1/1     Running   0          7m18s
karpenter-7b455dccb8-x8zv8   1/1     Running   0          7m18s

Step 4: The kubectl logs command would help read the Karpenter logs. The below example, karpenter pod logs depict that an t3a.large instance was launched.

# kubectl logs <karpenter pod name> -n <namespace>

% kubectl logs karpenter-7b455dccb8-prrzx -n karpenter

2023-05-15T19:16:20.546Z    DEBUG   controller  discovered region   {"commit": "***-dirty", "region": "us-west-2"}
2023-05-15T19:16:20.666Z    DEBUG   controller  discovered cluster endpoint {"commit": "**-dirty", "cluster-endpoint": "https://******.**"}
2023-05-15T19:16:20.786Z    INFO    controller.provisioner  starting controller {"commit": "**-dirty"}
2023-05-15T19:16:20.787Z    INFO    controller.deprovisioning   starting controller {"commit": "**-dirty"}
2023-05-15T19:16:20.788Z    INFO    controller  Starting EventSource    {"commit": "**-dirty", "controller": "node", "controllerGroup": "", "controllerKind": "Node", "source": "kind source: *v1.Pod"}
2023-05-15T20:34:56.718Z    INFO    controller.provisioner.cloudprovider    launched instance   {"commit": "d7e22b1-dirty", "provisioner": "default", "id": "i-03146cd4d4152a935", "hostname": "ip-*-*-*-*.us-west-2.compute.internal", "instance-type": "t3a.large", "zone": "us-west-2d", "capacity-type": "on-demand", "capacity": {"cpu":"2","ephemeral-storage":"20Gi","memory":"7577Mi","pods":"35"}}

Error while decoding JSON: json: unknown field "iamIdentityMappings"

Problem The Create-Cluster command throws an error

Error: loading config file "karpenter.yaml": error unmarshaling JSON: while decoding JSON: json: unknown field "iamIdentityMappings"

Solution The eksctl cli was not able to understand the kind iamIdentityMappings. This is because, the eksctl version is old, and its schema doesn't support this kind.

The solution is to upgrade the eksctl cli, and re-run the cluster creation commands

brew upgrade eksctl