Yes, you can use smaller nodes in your DOKS cluster and enable autoscale on them. However, the small node sizes are not intended for production workloads. These node sizes are there for experimentation and educational purposes. After taking into account the resource usage of the containerized infrastructure there is not a lot or resources left for production workloads to run in a stable or sustainable manner.
Using many small nodes in your cluster can be an inefficient use of compute resources. Customers actually get more resources per dollar by using moderately sized nodes as each new node requires overhead of components such as cilium, DO node agents, and CSI containers. We recommend for customers to have at least 3 moderately sized nodes as opposed to say 6 very small nodes. This way the overhead of infrastructure takes less of your resources and leaves more for you to use.
Regarding Cluster Autoscaling (CA), it manages the number of nodes in a cluster. It monitors the number of idle pods, or unscheduled pods sitting in the pending state, and uses that information to determine the appropriate cluster size.
Horizontal Pod Autoscaling (HPA) adds more pods and replicas based on events like sustained CPU spikes. HPA uses the spare capacity of the existing nodes and does not change the cluster’s size.
You can utilize both CA and HPA. CA and HPA can work in conjunction: if the HPA attempts to schedule more pods than the current cluster size can support, then the CA responds by increasing the cluster size to add capacity. These tools can take the guesswork out of estimating the needed capacity for workloads while controlling costs and managing cluster performance.
For more details please refer to below links :
Hope that this helps!
Chandan Sagar Pradhan