I am trying to chart the network bandwidth usage of a node in 2 different manners:

  1. By looking at global metrics for that node
  2. By summing up the corresponding metric for each Pod

To achieve this, I am issuing the following Prometheus queries (example for the receive bandwidth):

  • For the entire node (metric from node-exporter)

    sum(irate(node_network_receive_bytes_total{instance=""}[$__rate_interval])) by (device)
  • Per Pod (metric from kubelet)

    sum(irate(container_network_receive_bytes_total{node="$node",container!=""}[$__rate_interval])) by (pod,interface)

The results are displayed in the following Grafana dashboard, after generating some load on a HTTP service called thrpt-receiver:

Receive bandwidth

Here's what I see if I look at the raw metrics, without sum() and irate() applied:

Received bytes


As you can see, results are vastly different, to the point I'm almost certain I am doing something wrong, but what?

What makes me especially suspicious about the Pod metrics is the supposedly increasing received bandwidth of kube-proxy (which AFAIK is not supposed to be receiving any traffic in iptables mode), and agents such as the Prometheus node-exporter, etc.


I found out what was happening in my graphs. All the Pods mentioned above have one thing in common: they use the host's network namespace, so their network metrics are all identical, and equal to the global host's metric (just with a slightly different precision).

$ kubectl - monitoring get pod -o jsonpath='{.spec.hostNetwork}' \

$ kubectl -n kube-system get pod -o jsonpath='{.items[*].spec.hostNetwork}' \
    kube-proxy-gke-triggermesh-product-control-plane-7fc0ad24-z586 \
    gke-metrics-agent-5cv4m \
    prometheus-to-sd-tk8jv \

true true true true 

One way to see it is to compare the host's metric to one of the above Pods:

Comparison of eth0 and a Pod with hostNetwork

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