Nomad servers may need to be run on large machine instances. We suggest having between 4-8+ cores, 16-32 GB+ of memory, 40-80 GB+ of fast disk and significant network bandwidth. The core count and network recommendations are to ensure high throughput as Nomad heavily relies on network communication and as the Servers are managing all the nodes in the region and performing scheduling. The memory and disk requirements are due to the fact that Nomad stores all state in memory and will store two snapshots of this data onto disk, which causes high IO in busy clusters with lots of writes. Thus disk should be at least 2 times the memory available to the server when deploying a high load cluster. When running on AWS prefer NVME or Provisioned IOPS SSD storage for data dir.
These recommendations are guidelines and operators should always monitor the resource usage of Nomad to determine if the machines are under or over-sized.
Nomad clients support reserving resources on the node that should not be used by Nomad. This should be used to target a specific resource utilization per node and to reserve resources for applications running outside of Nomad's supervision such as Consul and the operating system itself.
Please see the reservation configuration for more detail.
Nomad servers are expected to have sub 10 millisecond network latencies between each other to ensure liveness and high throughput scheduling. Nomad servers can be spread across multiple datacenters if they have low latency connections between them to achieve high availability.
For example, on AWS every region comprises of multiple zones which have very low latency links between them, so every zone can be modeled as a Nomad datacenter and every Zone can have a single Nomad server which could be connected to form a quorum and a region.
Nomad servers uses Raft for state replication and Raft being highly consistent needs a quorum of servers to function, therefore we recommend running an odd number of Nomad servers in a region. Usually running 3-5 servers in a region is recommended. The cluster can withstand a failure of one server in a cluster of three servers and two failures in a cluster of five servers. Adding more servers to the quorum adds more time to replicate state and hence throughput decreases so we don't recommend having more than seven servers in a region.
Nomad clients do not have the same latency requirements as servers since they are not participating in Raft. Thus clients can have 100+ millisecond latency to their servers. This allows having a set of Nomad servers that service clients that can be spread geographically over a continent or even the world in the case of having a single "global" region and many datacenter.
Nomad clients make connections to servers on the RPC port and then maintain a persistent TCP connection. The server and client use this TCP connection for two-way communication. As a result, clients that are geographically distributed from the servers do not need to have publically routable IP addresses in order to communicate with the servers (although the workloads running on the clients may need public IPs). All connections between Nomad servers and between clients and servers must be secured with mTLS.
Nomad clients are typically not required to be reachable from each other unless your workloads need to communicate with each other. The optional ephemeral disk migration field is one exception, and requires that clients can reach each other on their HTTP ports.
Nomad requires 3 different ports to work properly on servers and 2 on clients, some on TCP, UDP, or both protocols. Below we document the requirements for each port. If you use a firewall of any type, you must ensure that it is configured to allow the following traffic.
HTTP API (Default 4646). This is used by clients and servers to serve the HTTP API. TCP only.
RPC (Default 4647). This is used for internal RPC communication between client agents and servers, and for inter-server traffic. TCP only.
Serf WAN (Default 4648). This is used by servers to gossip both over the LAN and WAN to other servers. It isn't required that Nomad clients can reach this address. TCP and UDP.
When tasks ask for dynamic ports, they are allocated out of the port range between 20,000 and 32,000. This is well under the ephemeral port range suggested by the IANA. If your operating system's default ephemeral port range overlaps with Nomad's dynamic port range, you should tune the OS to avoid this overlap.
On Linux this can be checked and set as follows:
$ cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range 32768 60999 $ echo "49152 65535" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range
Nomad's task group networks and Consul Connect integration use bridge networking and iptables to send traffic between containers. The Linux kernel bridge module has three "tunables" that control whether traffic crossing the bridge are processed by iptables. Some operating systems (RedHat, CentOS, and Fedora in particular) configure these tunables to optimize for VM workloads where iptables rules might not be correctly configured for guest traffic.
These tunables can be set to allow iptables processing for the bridge network as follows:
$ echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/bridge/bridge-nf-call-arptables $ echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/bridge/bridge-nf-call-ip6tables $ echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/bridge/bridge-nf-call-iptables
To preserve these settings on startup of a client node, add a file including the following to
/etc/sysctl.d/ or remove the file your Linux distribution puts in that directory.
net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-arptables = 1 net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-ip6tables = 1 net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-iptables = 1
As noted in the Security Model guide, Nomad is not secure-by-default.
Nomad servers and Nomad clients have different requirements for permissions.
Nomad servers should be run with the lowest possible permissions. They need
access to their own data directory and the ability to bind to their ports. You
should create a
nomad user with the minimal set of required privileges. If you
are installing Nomad from the official Linux packages, the systemd unit file
runs Nomad as
root. For your server nodes you should change this to a
nomad user. See the production deployment guide for
Nomad clients must be run as
root due to the OS isolation mechanisms that
require root privileges (see also Linux Capabilities below). The Nomad
client's data directory should be owned by
root with filesystem permissions
On Linux, Nomad clients require privileged capabilities for isolating
tasks. Nomad clients require
CAP_SYS_ADMIN for creating the tmpfs used for
secrets, bind-mounting task directories, mounting volumes, and running some task
driver plugins. Nomad clients require
CAP_NET_ADMIN for a variety of tasks to
set up networking. You should run Nomad clients as
root, but running as
does not grant these required capabilities if Nomad is running in a user
namespace. Running Nomad clients inside a user namespace is unsupported. See the
capabilities(7) man page for details on Linux capabilities.
In order to run a task, Nomad clients perform privileged operations normally
reserved to the
- Mounting tmpfs file systems for the task
- Creating the network bridge for
- Allowing inbound and outbound network traffic to the workload (typically via
- Starting tasks as a specific
- Setting the owner of
On Linux this set of requirements expands to:
- Configuring resource isolation via cgroups.
- Configuring namespace isolation:
Nomad task drivers that support bind-mounting volumes also need to run as
to do so. This includes the built-in
java task drivers. The
built-in task drivers run in the same process as the Nomad client, so this
requires that the Nomad client agent is also running as
Although it's possible to run a Nomad client agent as a non-root user or as
root in a user namespace, to perform the privileged operations described above
you also need to grant the client agent
capabilities. Note that these capabilities are nearly functionally equivalent to
root and that a process running with
CAP_SYS_ADMIN can almost
always escalate itself to "true" (unnamespaced)
Some task drivers delegate many of their privileged operations to an external
process such as
podman. If you don't need
bridge networking and
are using these task drivers or custom task drivers, you may be able to run
Nomad client agents as a non-root user with the following additional
- Delegated cgroups: to safely set cgroups as an unprivileged user requires cgroups v2.
- User namespaces: on some distros this may require setting sysctls like
- The task driver engine (ex.
containerd, etc) must be configured for rootless operation. This requires cgroups v2, user namespaces, and typically either a patched kernel or kernel module (ex.
overlay.ko) allowing unprivileged overlay filesystem or a FUSE overlay filesystem.
This is not a supported or well-tested configuration. See GH-13669 for a further discussion and to provide feedback on your experiences trying to run rootless Nomad clients.
Running systems as Docker containers has become a common practice. While it's possible to run Nomad servers inside containers, Nomad clients require extensive access to the underlying host machine, as described in Rootless Nomad Clients. Docker containers introduce a non-trivial abstraction layer that makes it hard to properly configure clients and task drivers therefore running Nomad clients in Docker containers is not officially supported.
Note: The Nomad Docker image is not tested when running as an agent.