Job Management
This documentation is for an unreleased version of the Apache Flink Kubernetes Operator. We recommend you use the latest stable version.

Job Lifecycle Management #

The core responsibility of the Flink operator is to manage the full production lifecycle of Flink applications.

What is covered:

  • Running, suspending and deleting applications
  • Stateful and stateless application upgrades
  • Triggering and managing savepoints
  • Handling errors, rolling-back broken upgrades

The behaviour is always controlled by the respective configuration fields of the JobSpec object as introduced in the FlinkDeployment/FlinkSessionJob overview.

Let’s take a look at these operations in detail.

The management features detailed in this section apply (in most part) to both FlinkDeployment (application clusters) and FlinkSessionJob (session job) deployments.

Running, suspending and deleting applications #

By controlling the state field of the JobSpec users can define the desired state of the application.

Supported application states:

  • running : The job is expected to be running and processing data.
  • suspended : Data processing should be temporarily suspended, with the intention of continuing later.

Job State transitions

There are 4 possible state change scenarios when updating the current FlinkDeployment.

  • running -> running : Job upgrade operation. In practice, a suspend followed by a restore operation.
  • running -> suspended : Suspend operation. Stops the job while maintaining state information for stateful applications.
  • suspended -> running : Restore operation. Start the application from current state using the latest spec.
  • suspended -> suspended : Update spec, job is not started.

The way state is handled for suspend and restore operations is described in detail in the next section.

Cancelling/Deleting applications

As you can see there is no cancelled or deleted among the possible desired states. When users no longer wish to process data with a given FlinkDeployment they can simply delete the deployment object using the Kubernetes api:

kubectl delete flinkdeployment my-deployment
Deleting a deployment will remove all checkpoint and status information. Future deployments will from an empty state unless manually overridden by the user.

Stateful and stateless application upgrades #

When the spec changes for FlinkDeployment and FlinkSessionJob resources, the running application must be upgraded. In order to do this the operator will stop the currently running job (unless already suspended) and redeploy it using the latest spec and state carried over from the previous run for stateful applications.

Users have full control on how state should be managed when stopping and restoring stateful applications using the upgradeMode setting of the JobSpec.

Supported values: stateless, savepoint, last-state

The upgradeMode setting controls both the stop and restore mechanisms as detailed in the following table:

Stateless Last State Savepoint
Config Requirement None Checkpointing & Kubernetes HA Enabled Checkpoint/Savepoint directory defined
Job Status Requirement None HA metadata available Job Running*
Suspend Mechanism Cancel / Delete Delete Flink deployment (keep HA metadata) Cancel with savepoint
Restore Mechanism Deploy from empty state Recover last state using HA metadata Restore From savepoint
Production Use Not recommended Recommended Recommended

* When Kubernetes HA is enabled the savepoint upgrade mode may fall back to the last-state behaviour in cases where the job is in an unhealthy state.

The three upgrade modes are intended to support different scenarios:

  1. stateless: Stateless application upgrades from empty state
  2. last-state: Quick upgrades in any application state (even for failing jobs), does not require a healthy job as it always uses the latest checkpoint information. Manual recovery may be necessary if HA metadata is lost.
  3. savepoint: Use savepoint for upgrade, providing maximal safety and possibility to serve as backup/fork point. The savepoint will be created during the upgrade process. Note that the Flink job needs to be running to allow the savepoint to get created. If the job is in an unhealthy state, the last checkpoint will be used (unless kubernetes.operator.job.upgrade.last-state-fallback.enabled is set to false). If the last checkpoint is not available, the job upgrade will fail.

During stateful upgrades there are always cases which might require user intervention to preserve the consistency of the application. Please see the manual Recovery section for details.

Full example using the last-state strategy:

apiVersion: flink.apache.org/v1beta1
kind: FlinkDeployment
metadata:
  name: basic-checkpoint-ha-example
spec:
  image: flink:1.15
  flinkVersion: v1_15
  flinkConfiguration:
    taskmanager.numberOfTaskSlots: "2"
    state.savepoints.dir: file:///flink-data/savepoints
    state.checkpoints.dir: file:///flink-data/checkpoints
    high-availability: org.apache.flink.kubernetes.highavailability.KubernetesHaServicesFactory
    high-availability.storageDir: file:///flink-data/ha
  serviceAccount: flink
  jobManager:
    resource:
      memory: "2048m"
      cpu: 1
  taskManager:
    resource:
      memory: "2048m"
      cpu: 1
  podTemplate:
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: flink-main-container
          volumeMounts:
            - mountPath: /flink-data
              name: flink-volume
      volumes:
        - name: flink-volume
          hostPath:
            # directory location on host
            path: /tmp/flink
            # this field is optional
            type: Directory
  job:
    jarURI: local:///opt/flink/examples/streaming/StateMachineExample.jar
    parallelism: 2
    upgradeMode: last-state
    state: running
Last state upgrade mode is currently only supported for FlinkDeployments.

Application restarts without spec change #

There are cases when users would simply like to restart the Flink deployments to deal with some transient problem.

For this purpose you can use the restartNonce top level field in the spec. Simply set a different value to this field to trigger a restart.

 spec:
    ...
    restartNonce: 123

Restarts work exactly the same way as other application upgrades and follow the semantics detailed in the previous section.

Savepoint management #

Savepoints are triggered automatically by the system during the upgrade process as we have seen in the previous sections.

For backup, job forking and other purposes savepoints can be triggered manually or periodically by the operator, however generally speaking these will not be used during upgrades and are not required for the correct operation.

Manual Savepoint Triggering #

Users can trigger savepoints manually by defining a new (different/random) value to the variable savepointTriggerNonce in the job specification:

 job:
    ...
    savepointTriggerNonce: 123

Changing the nonce value will trigger a new savepoint. Information about pending and last savepoint is stored in the resource status.

Periodic Savepoint Triggering #

The operator also supports periodic savepoint triggering through the following config option which can be configured on a per job level:

 flinkConfiguration:
    ...
    kubernetes.operator.periodic.savepoint.interval: 6h

There is no guarantee on the timely execution of the periodic savepoints as they might be delayed by unhealthy job status or other interfering user operation.

Savepoint History #

The operator automatically keeps track of the savepoint history triggered by upgrade or manual savepoint operations. This is necessary so cleanup can be performed by the operator for old savepoints.

Users can control the cleanup behaviour by specifying a maximum age and maximum count for the savepoints in the history.

kubernetes.operator.savepoint.history.max.age: 24 h
kubernetes.operator.savepoint.history.max.count: 5
Savepoint cleanup happens lazily and only when the application is running. It is therefore very likely that savepoints live beyond the max age configuration.

Recovery of missing job deployments #

When Kubernetes HA is enabled, the operator can recover the Flink cluster deployments in cases when it was accidentally deleted by the user or some external process. Deployment recovery can be turned off in the configuration by setting kubernetes.operator.jm-deployment-recovery.enabled to false, however it is recommended to keep this setting on the default true value.

This is not something that would usually happen during normal operation and can also indicate a deeper problem, therefore an Error event is also triggered by the system when it detects a missing deployment.

One scenario which could lead to a loss of jobmanager deployment in Flink versions before 1.15 is the job entering a terminal state:

  • Fatal job error
  • Job Finished
  • Loss of operator process after triggering savepoint shutdown but before recording the status

In Flink version before 1.15 a terminal job state leads to a deployment shutdown, therefore it’s impossible for the operator to know what happened. In these cases no recovery will be performed to avoid dataloss and an error will be thrown.

Please check the manual Recovery section to understand how to recover from these situations.

Application upgrade rollbacks (Experimental) #

The operator supports upgrade rollbacks as an experimental feature. The rollback feature works based on the concept of stable deployments specs.

When an application is upgraded, the new spec is initially considered unstable. Once the operator successfully observes the new job in a healthy running state, the spec is marked as stable. If a new upgrade is not marked stable within a certain configurable time period (kubernetes.operator.deployment.readiness.timeout) then a rollback operation will be performed, rolling back to the last stable spec.

To enable rollbacks you need to set:

kubernetes.operator.deployment.rollback.enabled: true

Kubernetes HA is currently required for the rollback functionality.

Applications are never rolled back to a previous running state if they were suspended before the upgrade. In these cases no rollback will be performed.

Stability condition #

Currently, a new job is marked stable as soon as the operator could observe it running. This allows us to detect obvious errors, but it’s not always enough to detect more complex issues. In the future we expect to introduce more sophisticated conditions.

Rollback is currently only supported for FlinkDeployments.

Manual Recovery #

There are cases when manual intervention is required from the user to recover a Flink application deployment.

In most of these situations the main reason for this is that the deployment got into a state where the operator cannot determine the health of the application or the latest checkpoint information to be used for recovery. While these cases are not common, we need to be prepared to handle them.

Fortunately almost any issue can be recovered by the user manually by using the following steps:

  1. Locate the latest checkpoint/savepoint metafile in your configured checkpoint/savepoint directory.
  2. Delete the FlinkDeployment resource for your application
  3. Check that you have the current savepoint, and that your FlinkDeployment is deleted completely
  4. Modify your FlinkDeployment JobSpec and set the initialSavepointPath to your last checkpoint location
  5. Recreate the deployment

These steps ensure that the operator will start completely fresh from the user defined savepoint path and can hopefully fully recover. Keep an eye on your job to see what could have cause the problem in the first place.

The main idea behind the recovery process is that the user needs to manually override the target checkpoint/savepoint location because it is not known to the operator. The only way to do this is to delete the previous deployment resource fully, and recreate it with initialSavepointPath set.

The initialSavepointPath setting only takes effect on the first deployment and the operator takes over checkpoint management after that.