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Cgroups ‘cpu’ and ‘cpuacct’ Subsystems Support in Mesos Containerizer

The cgroups/cpu isolator allows operators to provide CPU isolation and CPU usage accounting for containers within a Mesos cluster. To enable the cgroups/cpu isolator, append cgroups/cpu to the --isolation flag when starting the Mesos agent.


The isolator enables cpu and cpuacct subsystems for Linux cgroups and assigns cpu and cpuacct cgroups to each container launched by Mesos Containerizer.

Cgroups cpu subsystem provides 2 mechanisms of limiting the amount of CPU time used by cgroups: CFS shares and CFS bandwidth control. The first one can guarantee some minimum number of CPU “shares” to a cgroup when the system is under heavy load. It, however, does not limit the amount of CPU time available to a cgroup when the system is not busy. This mechanism is always enabled when you turn on this isolator.

The second mechanism introduces a way to define the upper limit of CPU time used by a cgroup within every scheduling period. Additionally it exports bandwidth statistics in cpu.stat file. CFS bandwidth mechanism can be enabled with --cgroups_enable_cfs agent flag.

Cgroups cpuacct subsystem provides accounting for CPU usage by cgroup’s tasks. Currently it only provides statistics in cpuacct.stat that show time spent by tasks of the cgroup in user mode and kernel mode respectively

Additionally the isolator provides accounting for the number of processes and threads inside a container based on the information from cgroups.procs and tasks files.

Effects on application when using CFS Bandwidth Limiting

CPU usage is monitored during a scheduling period, which is currently set to 100ms. A task can use its requested CPU time before that period ends. For example, if a task is allocated 1 CPUs, it can use 2 CPU cores for 50ms thus consuming 100ms of CPU time, and be throttled for the remaining 50ms. Applications that are latency sensitive may suffer from effectively being stalled for 50ms.


This isolator exports several valuable per-container CPU usage metrics that are available from agent’s monitor/statistics endpoint.

  • processes - number of processes in the cgroup;
  • threads - number of threads in the cgroup;
  • cpus_user_time_secs - time spent by tasks of the cgroup in user mode;
  • cpus_system_time_secs - time spent by tasks of the cgroup in kernel mode;
  • cpus_nr_periods - number of enforcement intervals that have elapsed;
  • cpus_nr_throttled - number of times the cgroup has been throttled;
  • cpus_throttled_time - total time for which tasks in the cgroup have been throttled.


Flag Explanation
--[no]-cgroups_cpu_enable_pids_and_tids_count Cgroups feature flag to enable counting of processes and threads inside a container. (default: false)
--[no]-cgroups_enable_cfs Cgroups feature flag to enable hard limits on CPU resources via the CFS bandwidth limiting subfeature. (default: false)
--[no-]revocable_cpu_low_priority Run containers with revocable CPU at a lower priority than normal containers (non-revocable CPU). (default: true)