Yet another way to troubleshoot K8S applications

Yet another way to troubleshoot K8S applications

There are plenty of articles explains how to debug K8S applications, for example

Due to the nature of container's isolation, the application running from container uses its own namespaces and cgroups, the container image will also keep itself as small as possible. Thus the task to debug application running from container will be challenging. The container itself usually lacks of debugging tools, for example, capture a network trace requires tcpdump, but most of time, the container image won't include it.

This article explains how to use nsenter to debug applications running from K8S cluster. nsenter basically

run program with namespaces of other processes

With nsenter, you can access container's namespace and use host avaiable commands.

To use nsenter, we need to get the process ID of the application running under container, here are the steps

1.List containers and container IDs

Running below command from K8S master node(Linux) will output all containers and their corresponding docker id, since Pod can have 1+ containers, so for some Pods, we can see there will be multiple contains and docker ids from output.

kubectl get pods --all-namespaces -o=custom-columns=NAMESPACE:.metadata.namespace,NAME:.metadata.name,NODE:.spec.nodeName,CONTAINERS:.spec.containers[*].name,CONTAINERIDS:.status.containerStatuses[*].containerID | sed -e 's/docker:\/\/\(.\{12\}\).\{52\}/\1/g'

Below is the sample output from my K8S cluster

NAMESPACE     NAME                                                   NODE                        CONTAINERS                      
...
NAMESPACE     NAME                                                   NODE                        CONTAINERS                      CONTAINERIDS
...
ghost         arracs-ghost-754d44cf5c-pg4bp                          k8s-agentpool1-30506800-0   arracs-ghost                    555d5bc1f3de
ghost         arracs-ghost-mariadb-0                                 k8s-agentpool1-30506800-1   mariadb                         2af387235184
...
kube-system   kube-dns-8446b8bd4c-9ssgl                              k8s-agentpool1-30506800-1   kubedns,dnsmasq,sidecar         3b2fd4125a81,a6ecc2a6517f,353afb14b350
...

For example, container arracs-ghost is running from agent node k8s-agentpool1-30506800-0 and its container id is 555d5bc1f3de, in following steps, we will use this container id for demostration purpose.

Note: Running above command from Windows won't work as sed is not available from Windows. So in Windows, just remove | sed -e 's/docker:\/\/\(.\{12\}\).\{52\}/\1/g' of above command, then from output, find string similar like docker://3b2fd4125a81ffc061ee938b5fd3e4286b801187318ea3f3a3e93fcef9381015, the highlighted 12 characters is container ID.

2. Map container ID to PID

To map container id to PID, we need to SSH into agent node k8s-agentpool1-30506800-0, then run docker inspect --format '{{ .State.Pid }}' 555d5bc1f3de, it will output PID, in our case, the PID is 15599.

To SSH into agent node, refer to Connect with SSH to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster nodes for maintenance or troubleshooting, if it is a Azure VM, assign a public IP address to its NIC then follow article SSH troubleshooting to add a user to login.

3. Enter network namespace

Now with PID, we are able to enter application's network namespace, sample command is sudo nsenter -t 15599 -n, from that namespace, you will be able to run any agent node avaiable commands inside of container's network namespace. For example, before enter container's network namespace, ifconfig -a on agent node looks like below

ifconfig
azure0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0d:3a:a0:64:b0  
          inet addr:10.240.0.35  Bcast:0.0.0.0  Mask:255.240.0.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::20d:3aff:fea0:64b0/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:1920464 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:2445984 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:2739355202 (2.7 GB)  TX bytes:606845859 (606.8 MB)

azv06977889865 Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 32:ec:84:52:84:e8  
          inet6 addr: fe80::30ec:84ff:fe52:84e8/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:45905 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:1930882 (1.9 MB)

...

docker0   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 02:42:89:1c:aa:6a  
          inet addr:172.17.0.1  Bcast:172.17.255.255  Mask:255.255.0.0
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0d:3a:a0:64:b0  
          inet6 addr: fe80::20d:3aff:fea0:64b0/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:7484022 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:3124398 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:8152611809 (8.1 GB)  TX bytes:885562888 (885.5 MB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:22171 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:22171 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:18088794 (18.0 MB)  TX bytes:18088794 (18.0 MB)

After enter container's network namespace, ifconfig -a shows below which indeed is container's network configuration.

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 4a:18:c7:56:ab:ab  
          inet addr:10.240.0.45  Bcast:0.0.0.0  Mask:255.240.0.0
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:186316 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:153705 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:3333925122 (3.3 GB)  TX bytes:62593512 (62.5 MB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

If we run tcpdump -i eth0, it will capture all the traffics on container's eth0 interface.

4. Enter mount namespace

To enter mount namespace, run sudo nsenter -t 15599 -m. This command is useful in accessing mounted volumes inside of a container.

5. Quit from nsenter

To quite from container's namespace, simple type exit, it will quit to agent node's shell.

6. Run command directly with nsenter

We can also add a sub-command directly to the end of nsenter's command, for example, sudo nsenter -t 15599 -n ip addr, it will just run ip addr inside of container's network namespace and output the result.

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