You can monitor containers and virtual machines using cgroups.
cgroups (or control groups), are a Linux kernel feature that provides accounting and resource usage limiting for processes. When cgroups are bundled with namespaces (i.e. isolation), they form what we usually call containers.
cgroups are hierarchical, meaning that cgroups can contain child cgroups, which can contain more cgroups, etc. All accounting is reported (and resource usage limits are applied) also in a hierarchical way.
To visualize cgroup metrics Netdata provides configuration for cherry picking the cgroups of interest. By default (without any configuration) Netdata should pick systemd services, all kinds of containers (lxc, docker, etc) and virtual machines spawn by managers that register them with cgroups (qemu, libvirt, etc).
configuring Netdata for cgroups
For each cgroup available in the system, Netdata provides this configuration:
But it also provides a few patterns to provide a sane default (
Below we see, how this works.
how Netdata finds the available cgroups
Linux exposes resource usage reporting and provides dynamic configuration for cgroups, using virtual files (usually) under
/sys/fs/cgroup. Netdata reads
/proc/self/mountinfo to detect the exact mount point of cgroups. Netdata also allows manual configuration of this mount point, using these settings:
Netdata rescans these directories for added or removed cgroups every
check for new cgroups every seconds.
hierarchical search for cgroups
Since cgroups are hierarchical, for each of the directories shown above, Netdata walks through the subdirectories recursively searching for cgroups (each subdirectory is another cgroup).
For each of the directories found, Netdata provides a configuration variable:
To provide a sane default for this setting, Netdata uses the following pattern list (patterns starting with
! give a negative match and their order is important: the first matching a path will be used):
So, we disable checking for child cgroups in systemd internal cgroups (systemd services are monitored by Netdata), user cgroups (normally used for desktop and remote user sessions), qemu virtual machines (child cgroups of virtual machines) and
init.scope. All others are enabled.
unified cgroups (cgroups v2) support
Basic unified cgroups metrics are supported. To use them instead of v1 cgroups add:
Unified cgroups use same name pattern matching as v1 cgroups.
cgroup_enable_systemd_services_detailed_memory is currently unsupported when using unified cgroups.
To check if the cgroup is enabled, Netdata uses this setting:
To provide a sane default, Netdata uses the following pattern list (it checks the pattern against the path of the cgroup):
The above provides the default
no setting for the cgroup. However, there is an additional step. In many cases the cgroups found in the
/sys/fs/cgroup hierarchy are just random numbers and in many cases these numbers are ephemeral: they change across reboots or sessions.
So, we need to somehow map the paths of the cgroups to names, to provide consistent Netdata configuration (i.e. there is no point to say
enable cgroup 1234 = yes | no, if
1234 is a random number that changes over time - we need a name for the cgroup first, so that
enable cgroup NAME = yes | no will be consistent).
For this mapping Netdata provides 2 configuration options:
The whole point for the additional pattern list, is to limit the number of times the script will be called. Without this pattern list, the script might be called thousands of times, depending on the number of cgroups available in the system.
The above pattern list is matched against the path of the cgroup. For matched cgroups, Netdata calls the script cgroup-name.sh to get its name. This script queries
podman, or applies heuristics to find give a name for the cgroup.
Note on Podman container names
Podman's security model is a lot more restrictive than Docker's, so Netdata will not be able to detect container names out of the box unless they were started by the same user as Netdata itself.
If Podman is used in "rootful" mode, it's also possible to use
podman system service to grant Netdata access to container names. To do this, ensure
podman system service is running and Netdata has access to
/run/podman/podman.sock (the default permissions as specified by upstream are
0600, with owner
root, so you will have to adjust the configuration).
docker-socket-proxy can also be used to give Netdata restricted access to the socket. Note that
PODMAN_HOST in Netdata's environment should be set to the proxy's URL in this case.
charts with zero metrics
By default, Netdata will enable monitoring metrics only when they are not zero. If they are constantly zero they are ignored. Metrics that will start having values, after Netdata is started, will be detected and charts will be automatically added to the dashboard (a refresh of the dashboard is needed for them to appear though). Set
yes for a chart instead of
auto to enable it permanently. For example:
You can also set the
enable zero metrics option to
yes in the
[global] section which enables charts with zero metrics for all internal Netdata plugins.
CPU and memory limits are watched and used to rise alarms. Memory usage for every cgroup is checked against
ram+swap limits. CPU usage for every cgroup is checked against
cpu.cfs_quota_us pair assigned for the cgroup. Configuration for the alarms is available in
Monitoring systemd services
Netdata monitors systemd services. Example:
Support per distribution:
|Gentoo||NO||can be enabled, see below|
|Ubuntu 16.04 LTS||YES|
|Debian 8||NO||can be enabled, see below|
|AMI||NO||here||not a systemd system|
|Centos 7.3.1611||NO||here||can be enabled, see below|
how to enable cgroup accounting on systemd systems that is by default disabled
You can verify there is no accounting enabled, by running
systemd-cgtop. The program will show only resources for cgroup
/, but all services will show nothing.
To enable cgroup accounting, execute this:
To see the changes it made, run this:
If you are happy with the changes, run:
systemctl daemon-reload does not reload the configuration of the server - so you have to execute
Now, when you run
systemd-cgtop, services will start reporting usage (if it does not, restart a service - any service - to wake it up). Refresh your Netdata dashboard, and you will have the charts too.
In case memory accounting is missing, you will need to enable it at your kernel, by appending the following kernel boot options and rebooting:
You can add the above, directly at the
linux line in your
/boot/grub/grub.cfg or appending them to the
/etc/default/grub (in which case you will have to run
update-grub before rebooting). On DigitalOcean debian images you may have to set it at
Which systemd services are monitored by Netdata is determined by the following pattern list:
Monitoring ephemeral containers
Netdata monitors containers automatically when it is installed at the host, or when it is installed in a container that has access to the
/sys filesystems of the host.
Netdata prior to v1.6 had 2 issues when such containers were monitored:
network interface alarms where triggering when containers were stopped
charts were never cleaned up, so after some time dozens of containers were showing up on the dashboard, and they were occupying memory.
the current Netdata
network interfaces and cgroups (containers) are now self-cleaned.
So, when a network interface or container stops, Netdata might log a few errors in error.log complaining about files it cannot find, but immediately:
- it will detect this is a removed container or network interface
- it will freeze/pause all alarms for them
- it will mark their charts as obsolete
- obsolete charts are not be offered on new dashboard sessions (so hit F5 and the charts are gone)
- existing dashboard sessions will continue to see them, but of course they will not refresh
- obsolete charts will be removed from memory, 1 hour after the last user viewed them (configurable with
[global].cleanup obsolete charts after seconds = 3600(at
- when obsolete charts are removed from memory they are also deleted from disk (configurable with
[global].delete obsolete charts files = yes)