Deployment and usage

Table of contents

  1. Image variants
    1. Full
    2. Minimal
  2. Deployment options
    1. Operator
    2. Deployment with kustomize
    3. Deployment with Helm
    4. Build your own
  3. Usage
    1. NFD-Master
    2. NFD-Worker
    3. NFD-Topology-Updater
    4. Communication security with TLS
  4. Worker configuration
  5. Using node labels
  6. Uninstallation
    1. Operator was used for deployment
    2. Manual
    3. Removing feature labels

Image variants

NFD currently offers two variants of the container image. The "full" variant is currently deployed by default. Released container images are available for x86_64 and Arm64 architectures.


This image is based on debian:buster-slim and contains a full Linux system for running shell-based nfd-worker hooks and doing live debugging and diagnosis of the NFD images.


This is a minimal image based on and only supports running statically linked binaries.

The container image tag has suffix -minimal (e.g.

Deployment options


Deployment using the Node Feature Discovery Operator is recommended to be done via

  1. You need to have OLM installed. If you don't, take a look at the latest release for detailed instructions.
  2. Install the operator:

    kubectl create -f
  3. Create NodeFeatureDiscovery object (in nfd namespace here):

    cat << EOF | kubectl apply -f -
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Namespace
      name: nfd
    kind: NodeFeatureDiscovery
      name: my-nfd-deployment
      namespace: nfd
        imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent

In order to deploy the minimal image you need to use


in the NodeFeatureDiscovery object above.

Deployment with kustomize

This requires kubectl v1.21 or later. The kustomize overlays provided in the repo can be used directly:

kubectl apply -k

This will required RBAC rules and deploy nfd-master (as a deployment) and nfd-worker (as daemonset) in the node-feature-discovery namespace.

NOTE: nfd-topology-updater is not deployed as part of the default overlay. Please refer to the Master Worker Topologyupdater and Topologyupdater below.

Alternatively you can clone the repository and customize the deployment by creating your own overlays. For example, to deploy the minimal image. See kustomize for more information about managing deployment configurations.

Default overlays

The NFD repository hosts a set of overlays for different usages and deployment scenarios under deployment/overlays

Master-worker pod

You can also run nfd-master and nfd-worker inside the same pod

kubectl apply -k

This creates a DaemonSet that runs nfd-worker and nfd-master in the same Pod. In this case no nfd-master is run on the master node(s), but, the worker nodes are able to label themselves which may be desirable e.g. in single-node setups.

NOTE: nfd-topology-updater is not deployed by the default-combined overlay. To enable nfd-topology-updater in this scenario,the users must customize the deployment themselves.

Worker one-shot

Feature discovery can alternatively be configured as a one-shot job. The default-job overlay may be used to achieve this:

NUM_NODES=$(kubectl get no -o jsonpath='{.items[*]}' | wc -w)
kubectl kustomize | \
    sed s"/NUM_NODES/$NUM_NODES/" | \
    kubectl apply -f -

The example above launches as many jobs as there are non-master nodes. Note that this approach does not guarantee running once on every node. For example, tainted, non-ready nodes or some other reasons in Job scheduling may cause some node(s) will run extra job instance(s) to satisfy the request.

Master Worker Topologyupdater

NFD Master, NFD worker and NFD Topologyupdater can be configured to be deployed as separate pods. The master-worker-topologyupdater overlay may be used to achieve this:

kubectl apply -k


In order to deploy just NFD master and NFD Topologyupdater (without nfd-worker) use the topologyupdater overlay:

kubectl apply -k

NFD Topologyupdater can be configured along with the default overlay (which deploys NFD worker and NFD master) where all the software components are deployed as separate pods. The topologyupdater overlay may be used along with default overlay to achieve this:

kubectl apply -k
kubectl apply -k

Deployment with Helm

Node Feature Discovery Helm chart allow to easily deploy and manage NFD.


Helm package manager should be installed.


To install the latest stable version:

export NFD_NS=node-feature-discovery
helm repo add nfd
helm repo update
helm install nfd/node-feature-discovery --namespace $NFD_NS --create-namespace --generate-name

To install the latest development version you need to clone the NFD Git repository and install from there.

git clone
cd node-feature-discovery/deployment/helm
export NFD_NS=node-feature-discovery
helm install node-feature-discovery ./node-feature-discovery/ --namespace $NFD_NS --create-namespace

See the configuration section below for instructions how to alter the deployment parameters.

In order to deploy the minimal image you need to override the image tag:

helm install node-feature-discovery ./node-feature-discovery/ --set image.tag=v0.11.3-minimal --namespace $NFD_NS --create-namespace


You can override values from values.yaml and provide a file with custom values:

export NFD_NS=node-feature-discovery
helm install nfd/node-feature-discovery -f <path/to/custom/values.yaml> --namespace $NFD_NS --create-namespace

To specify each parameter separately you can provide them to helm install command:

export NFD_NS=node-feature-discovery
helm install nfd/node-feature-discovery --set nameOverride=NFDinstance --set master.replicaCount=2 --namespace $NFD_NS --create-namespace

Uninstalling the chart

To uninstall the node-feature-discovery deployment:

export NFD_NS=node-feature-discovery
helm uninstall node-feature-discovery --namespace $NFD_NS

The command removes all the Kubernetes components associated with the chart and deletes the release.

Chart parameters

In order to tailor the deployment of the Node Feature Discovery to your cluster needs We have introduced the following Chart parameters.

General parameters
Name Type Default description
image.repository string NFD image repository
image.tag string v0.11.3 NFD image tag
image.pullPolicy string Always Image pull policy
imagePullSecrets list [] ImagePullSecrets is an optional list of references to secrets in the same namespace to use for pulling any of the images used by this PodSpec. If specified, these secrets will be passed to individual puller implementations for them to use. For example, in the case of docker, only DockerConfig type secrets are honored. More info
nameOverride string   Override the name of the chart
fullnameOverride string   Override a default fully qualified app name
nodeFeatureRule.createCRD bool true Specifies whether to create the NodeFeatureRule CRD
tls.enable bool false Specifies whether to use TLS for communications between components
tls.certManager bool false If enabled, requires cert-manager to be installed and will automatically create the required TLS certificates
Master pod parameters
Name Type Default description
master.* dict   NFD master deployment configuration
master.instance string   Instance name. Used to separate annotation namespaces for multiple parallel deployments
master.extraLabelNs array [] List of allowed extra label namespaces
master.resourceLabels array [] List of labels to be registered as extended resources
master.featureRulesController bool null Specifies whether the controller for processing of NodeFeatureRule objects is enabled. If not set, controller will be enabled if master.instance is empty.
master.replicaCount integer 1 Number of desired pods. This is a pointer to distinguish between explicit zero and not specified
master.podSecurityContext dict {} PodSecurityContext holds pod-level security attributes and common container settings
master.securityContext dict {} Container security settings
master.serviceAccount.create bool true Specifies whether a service account should be created
master.serviceAccount.annotations dict {} Annotations to add to the service account string   The name of the service account to use. If not set and create is true, a name is generated using the fullname template
master.rbac.create bool true Specifies whether to create RBAC configuration for nfd-master
master.service.type string ClusterIP NFD master service type
master.service.port integer 8080 NFD master service port
master.resources dict {} NFD master pod resources management
master.nodeSelector dict {} NFD master pod node selector
master.tolerations dict Scheduling to master node is disabled NFD master pod tolerations
master.annotations dict {} NFD master pod annotations
master.affinity dict   NFD master pod required node affinity
master.deploymentAnnotations dict {} NFD master deployment annotations
Worker pod parameters
Name Type Default description
worker.* dict   NFD worker daemonset configuration
worker.config dict   NFD worker configuration
worker.podSecurityContext dict {} PodSecurityContext holds pod-level security attributes and common container settings
worker.securityContext dict {} Container security settings
worker.mountUsrSrc bool false Specifies whether to allow users to mount the hostpath /user/src. Does not work on systems without /usr/src AND a read-only /usr
worker.resources dict {} NFD worker pod resources management
worker.nodeSelector dict {} NFD worker pod node selector
worker.tolerations dict {} NFD worker pod node tolerations
worker.annotations dict {} NFD worker pod annotations
worker.daemonsetAnnotations dict {} NFD worker daemonset annotations
Topology updater parameters
Name Type Default description
topologyUpdater.* dict   NFD Topology Updater configuration
topologyUpdater.enable bool false Specifies whether the NFD Topology Updater should be created
topologyUpdater.createCRDs bool false Specifies whether the NFD Topology Updater CRDs should be created
topologyUpdater.serviceAccount.create bool true Specifies whether the service account for topology updater should be created
topologyUpdater.serviceAccount.annotations dict {} Annotations to add to the service account for topology updater string   The name of the service account for topology updater to use. If not set and create is true, a name is generated using the fullname template and -topology-updater suffix
topologyUpdater.rbac dict   RBAC parameters for the topology updater
topologyUpdater.rbac.create bool false Specifies whether the cluster role and binding for topology updater should be created
topologyUpdater.kubeletConfigPath string "" Specifies the kubelet config host path
topologyUpdater.kubeletPodResourcesSockPath string "" Specifies the kubelet sock path to read pod resources
topologyUpdater.updateInterval string 60s Time to sleep between CR updates. Non-positive value implies no CR update.
topologyUpdater.watchNamespace string * Namespace to watch pods, * for all namespaces
topologyUpdater.podSecurityContext dict {} PodSecurityContext holds pod-level security attributes and common container settings
topologyUpdater.securityContext dict {} Container security settings
topologyUpdater.resources dict {} Topology updater pod resources management
topologyUpdater.nodeSelector dict {} Topology updater pod node selector
topologyUpdater.tolerations dict {} Topology updater pod node tolerations
topologyUpdater.annotations dict {} Topology updater pod annotations
topologyUpdater.affinity dict {} Topology updater pod affinity

Build your own

If you want to use the latest development version (master branch) you need to build your own custom image. See the Developer Guide for instructions how to build images and deploy them on your cluster.



NFD-Master runs as a deployment (with a replica count of 1), by default it prefers running on the cluster's master nodes but will run on worker nodes if no master nodes are found.

For High Availability, you should simply increase the replica count of the deployment object. You should also look into adding inter-pod affinity to prevent masters from running on the same node. However note that inter-pod affinity is costly and is not recommended in bigger clusters.

NFD-Master listens for connections from nfd-worker(s) and connects to the Kubernetes API server to add node labels advertised by them.

If you have RBAC authorization enabled (as is the default e.g. with clusters initialized with kubeadm) you need to configure the appropriate ClusterRoles, ClusterRoleBindings and a ServiceAccount in order for NFD to create node labels. The provided template will configure these for you.


NFD-Worker is preferably run as a Kubernetes DaemonSet. This assures re-labeling on regular intervals capturing changes in the system configuration and makes sure that new nodes are labeled as they are added to the cluster. Worker connects to the nfd-master service to advertise hardware features.

When run as a daemonset, nodes are re-labeled at an default interval of 60s. This can be changed by using the core.sleepInterval config option (or -sleep-interval command line flag).

The worker configuration file is watched and re-read on every change which provides a simple mechanism of dynamic run-time reconfiguration. See worker configuration for more details.


NFD-Topology-Updater is preferably run as a Kubernetes DaemonSet. This assures re-examination (and CR updates) on regular intervals capturing changes in the allocated resources and hence the allocatable resources on a per zone basis. It makes sure that more CR instances are created as new nodes get added to the cluster. Topology-Updater connects to the nfd-master service to create CR instances corresponding to nodes.

When run as a daemonset, nodes are re-examined for the allocated resources (to determine the information of the allocatable resources on a per zone basis where a zone can be a NUMA node) at an interval specified using the -sleep-interval option. The default sleep interval is set to 60s which is the the value when no -sleep-interval is specified.

Communication security with TLS

NFD supports mutual TLS authentication between the nfd-master and nfd-worker instances. That is, nfd-worker and nfd-master both verify that the other end presents a valid certificate.

TLS authentication is enabled by specifying -ca-file, -key-file and -cert-file args, on both the nfd-master and nfd-worker instances. The template specs provided with NFD contain (commented out) example configuration for enabling TLS authentication.

The Common Name (CN) of the nfd-master certificate must match the DNS name of the nfd-master Service of the cluster. By default, nfd-master only check that the nfd-worker has been signed by the specified root certificate (-ca-file).

Additional hardening can be enabled by specifying -verify-node-name in nfd-master args, in which case nfd-master verifies that the NodeName presented by nfd-worker matches the Common Name (CN) or a Subject Alternative Name (SAN) of its certificate. Note that -verify-node-name complicates certificate management and is not yet supported in the helm or kustomize deployment methods.

Automated TLS certificate management using cert-manager

cert-manager can be used to automate certificate management between nfd-master and the nfd-worker pods.

The NFD source code repository contains an example kustomize overlay and helm chart that can be used to deploy NFD with cert-manager supplied certificates enabled.

To install cert-manager itself can be done as easily as this, below, or you can refer to their documentation for other installation methods such as the helm chart they provide.

kubectl apply -f

To use the kustomize overlay to install node-feature-discovery with TLS enabled, you may use the following:

kubectl apply -k deployment/overlays/samples/cert-manager

To make use of the helm chart, override values.yaml to enable both the tls.enabled and tls.certManager options. Note that if you do not enable tls.certManager, helm will successfully install the application, but deployment will wait until certificates are manually created, as demonstrated below.

See the sample installation commands in the Helm Deployment and Configuration sections above for how to either override individual values, or provide a yaml file with which to override default values.

Manual TLS certificate management

If you do not with to make use of cert-manager, the certificates can be manually created and stored as secrets within the NFD namespace.

Create a CA certificate

openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout ca.key -nodes \
        -subj "/CN=nfd-ca" -days 10000 -out ca.crt

Create a common openssl config file.

cat <<EOF > nfd-common.conf
[ req ]
default_bits = 4096
prompt = no
default_md = sha256
req_extensions = req_ext
distinguished_name = dn

[ dn ]
C = XX
ST = some-state
L = some-city
O = some-company
OU = node-feature-discovery

[ req_ext ]
subjectAltName = @alt_names

[ v3_ext ]

Now, create the nfd-master certificate.

cat <<EOF > nfd-master.conf
.include nfd-common.conf

[ dn ]
CN = nfd-master

[ alt_names ]
DNS.1 = nfd-master
DNS.2 = nfd-master.node-feature-discovery.svc.cluster.local
DNS.3 = localhost

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout nfd-master.key -nodes -out nfd-master.csr -config nfd-master.conf

Create certificates for nfd-worker and nfd-topology-updater

cat <<EOF > nfd-worker.conf
.include nfd-common.conf

[ dn ]
CN = nfd-worker

[ alt_names ]
DNS.1 = nfd-worker
DNS.2 = nfd-worker.node-feature-discovery.svc.cluster.local

# Config for topology updater is identical except for the DN and alt_names
sed -e 's/worker/topology-updater/g' < nfd-worker.conf > nfd-topology-updater.conf

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout nfd-worker.key -nodes -out nfd-worker.csr -config nfd-worker.conf
openssl req -new -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout nfd-topology-updater.key -nodes -out nfd-topology-updater.csr -config nfd-topology-updater.conf

Now, sign the certificates with the CA created earlier.

for cert in nfd-master nfd-worker nfd-topology-updater; do
  echo signing $cert
  openssl x509 -req -in $cert.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key \
    -CAcreateserial -out $cert.crt -days 10000 \
    -extensions v3_ext -extfile $cert.conf

Finally, turn these certificates into secrets.

for cert in nfd-master nfd-worker nfd-topology-updater; do
  echo creating secret for $cert in node-feature-discovery namespace
  cat <<EOF | kubectl create -n node-feature-discovery -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: ${cert}-cert
  ca.crt: $( cat ca.crt | base64 -w 0 )
  tls.crt: $( cat $cert.crt | base64 -w 0 )
  tls.key: $( cat $cert.key | base64 -w 0 )


Worker configuration

NFD-Worker supports dynamic configuration through a configuration file. The default location is /etc/kubernetes/node-feature-discovery/nfd-worker.conf, but, this can be changed by specifying the-config command line flag. Configuration file is re-read whenever it is modified which makes run-time re-configuration of nfd-worker straightforward.

Worker configuration file is read inside the container, and thus, Volumes and VolumeMounts are needed to make your configuration available for NFD. The preferred method is to use a ConfigMap which provides easy deployment and re-configurability.

The provided nfd-worker deployment templates create an empty configmap and mount it inside the nfd-worker containers. In kustomize deployments, configuration can be edited with:

kubectl -n ${NFD_NS} edit configmap nfd-worker-conf

In Helm deployments, Worker pod parameter worker.config can be used to edit the respective configuration.

See nfd-worker configuration file reference for more details. The (empty-by-default) example config contains all available configuration options and can be used as a reference for creating creating a configuration.

Configuration options can also be specified via the -options command line flag, in which case no mounts need to be used. The same format as in the config file must be used, i.e. JSON (or YAML). For example:

-options='{"sources": { "pci": { "deviceClassWhitelist": ["12"] } } }'

Configuration options specified from the command line will override those read from the config file.

Using node labels

Nodes with specific features can be targeted using the nodeSelector field. The following example shows how to target nodes with Intel TurboBoost enabled.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
    env: test
  name: golang-test
    - image: golang
      name: go1
  nodeSelector: 'true'

For more details on targeting nodes, see node selection.


Operator was used for deployment

If you followed the deployment instructions above you can simply do:

kubectl -n nfd delete NodeFeatureDiscovery my-nfd-deployment

Optionally, you can also remove the namespace:

kubectl delete ns nfd

See the node-feature-discovery-operator and OLM project documentation for instructions for uninstalling the operator and operator lifecycle manager, respectively.


Simplest way is to invoke kubectl delete on the deployment files you used. Beware that this will also delete the namespace that NFD is running in. For example, in case the default deployment from the repo was used:

kubectl delete -k

Alternatively you can delete create objects one-by-one, depending on the type of deployment, for example:

kubectl -n $NFD_NS delete ds nfd-worker
kubectl -n $NFD_NS delete deploy nfd-master
kubectl -n $NFD_NS delete svc nfd-master
kubectl -n $NFD_NS delete sa nfd-master
kubectl delete clusterrole nfd-master
kubectl delete clusterrolebinding nfd-master

Removing feature labels

NFD-Master has a special -prune command line flag for removing all nfd-related node labels, annotations and extended resources from the cluster.

kubectl apply -k
kubectl -n node-feature-discovery wait job.batch/nfd-master --for=condition=complete && \
    kubectl delete -k

NOTE: You must run prune before removing the RBAC rules (serviceaccount, clusterrole and clusterrolebinding).