Edit This Page

Runtime Class

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.14 beta
This feature is currently in a beta state, meaning:

  • The version names contain beta (e.g. v2beta3).
  • Code is well tested. Enabling the feature is considered safe. Enabled by default.
  • Support for the overall feature will not be dropped, though details may change.
  • The schema and/or semantics of objects may change in incompatible ways in a subsequent beta or stable release. When this happens, we will provide instructions for migrating to the next version. This may require deleting, editing, and re-creating API objects. The editing process may require some thought. This may require downtime for applications that rely on the feature.
  • Recommended for only non-business-critical uses because of potential for incompatible changes in subsequent releases. If you have multiple clusters that can be upgraded independently, you may be able to relax this restriction.
  • Please do try our beta features and give feedback on them! After they exit beta, it may not be practical for us to make more changes.

This page describes the RuntimeClass resource and runtime selection mechanism.

Warning: RuntimeClass includes breaking changes in the beta upgrade in v1.14. If you were using RuntimeClass prior to v1.14, see Upgrading RuntimeClass from Alpha to Beta.

Runtime Class

RuntimeClass is a feature for selecting the container runtime configuration. The container runtime configuration is used to run a Pod’s containers.

Set Up

Ensure the RuntimeClass feature gate is enabled (it is by default). See Feature Gates for an explanation of enabling feature gates. The RuntimeClass feature gate must be enabled on apiservers and kubelets.

  1. Configure the CRI implementation on nodes (runtime dependent)
  2. Create the corresponding RuntimeClass resources

1. Configure the CRI implementation on nodes

The configurations available through RuntimeClass are Container Runtime Interface (CRI) implementation dependent. See the corresponding documentation (below) for your CRI implementation for how to configure.

Note: RuntimeClass currently assumes a homogeneous node configuration across the cluster (which means that all nodes are configured the same way with respect to container runtimes). Any heterogeneity (varying configurations) must be managed independently of RuntimeClass through scheduling features (see Assigning Pods to Nodes).

The configurations have a corresponding handler name, referenced by the RuntimeClass. The handler must be a valid DNS 1123 label (alpha-numeric + - characters).

2. Create the corresponding RuntimeClass resources

The configurations setup in step 1 should each have an associated handler name, which identifies the configuration. For each handler, create a corresponding RuntimeClass object.

The RuntimeClass resource currently only has 2 significant fields: the RuntimeClass name ( and the handler (handler). The object definition looks like this:

apiVersion:  # RuntimeClass is defined in the API group
kind: RuntimeClass
  name: myclass  # The name the RuntimeClass will be referenced by
  # RuntimeClass is a non-namespaced resource
handler: myconfiguration  # The name of the corresponding CRI configuration
Note: It is recommended that RuntimeClass write operations (create/update/patch/delete) be restricted to the cluster administrator. This is typically the default. See Authorization Overview for more details.


Once RuntimeClasses are configured for the cluster, using them is very simple. Specify a runtimeClassName in the Pod spec. For example:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: mypod
  runtimeClassName: myclass
  # ...

This will instruct the Kubelet to use the named RuntimeClass to run this pod. If the named RuntimeClass does not exist, or the CRI cannot run the corresponding handler, the pod will enter the Failed terminal phase. Look for a corresponding event for an error message.

If no runtimeClassName is specified, the default RuntimeHandler will be used, which is equivalent to the behavior when the RuntimeClass feature is disabled.

CRI Configuration

For more details on setting up CRI runtimes, see CRI installation.


Kubernetes built-in dockershim CRI does not support runtime handlers.


Runtime handlers are configured through containerd’s configuration at /etc/containerd/config.toml. Valid handlers are configured under the runtimes section:


See containerd’s config documentation for more details:


Runtime handlers are configured through cri-o’s configuration at /etc/crio/crio.conf. Valid handlers are configured under the crio.runtime table:

  runtime_path = "${PATH_TO_BINARY}"

See cri-o’s config documentation for more details:

Upgrading RuntimeClass from Alpha to Beta

The RuntimeClass Beta feature includes the following changes:

Action Required: The following actions are required to upgrade from the alpha version of the RuntimeClass feature to the beta version: