Checking the Container Health Status


In the production environment, bugs are inevitable in applications provided by developers or services provided by platforms. Therefore, a management system is indispensable for periodically checking and repairing applications. The container health check mechanism adds a user-defined health check function for containers. When a container is created, the –health-cmd option is configured so that commands are periodically executed in the container to monitor the health status of the container based on return values.

Configuration Methods

Configurations during container startup:

isula run -itd --health-cmd "echo iSulad >> /tmp/health_check_file || exit 1" --health-interval 5m --health-timeout 3s --health-exit-on-unhealthy  busybox bash

The configurable options are as follows:

  • –health-cmd: This option is mandatory. If 0 is returned after a command is run in a container, the command execution succeeds. If a value other than 0 is returned, the command execution fails.
  • –health-interval: interval between two consecutive command executions. The default value is 30s. The value ranges from 1s to the maximum value of Int64 (unit: nanosecond). If the input parameter is set to 0s, the default value is used.
  • –health-timeout: maximum duration for executing a single check command. If the execution times out, the command execution fails. The default value is 30s. The value ranges from 1s to the maximum value of Int64 (unit: nanosecond). If the input parameter is set to 0s, the default value is used.
  • –health-start-period: container initialization time. The default value is 0s. The value ranges from 1s to the maximum value of Int64 (unit: nanosecond).
  • –health-retries: maximum number of retries for the health check. The default value is 3. The maximum value is the maximum value of Int32.
  • –health-exit-on-unhealthy: specifies whether to kill a container when it is unhealthy. The default value is false.

Check Rules

  1. After a container is started, the container status is health:starting.
  2. After the period specified by start-period, the cmd command is periodically executed in the container at the interval specified by interval. That is, after the command is executed, the command will be executed again after the specified period.
  3. If the cmd command is successfully executed within the time specified by timeout and the return value is 0, the check is successful. Otherwise, the check fails. If the check is successful, the container status changes to health:healthy.
  4. If the cmd command fails to be executed for the number of times specified by retries, the container status changes to health:unhealthy, and the container continues the health check.
  5. When the container status is health:unhealthy, the container status changes to health:healthy if a check succeeds.
  6. If –exit-on-unhealthy is set, and the container exits due to reasons other than being killed (the returned exit code is 137), the health check takes effect only after the container is restarted.
  7. When the cmd command execution is complete or times out, the iSulad daemon will record the start time, return value, and standard output of the check to the configuration file of the container. A maximum of five records can be recorded. In addition, the configuration file of the container stores health check parameters.
  8. When the container is running, the health check status is written into the container configurations. You can run the isula inspect command to view the status.
"Health": {
    "Status": "healthy",
    "FailingStreak": 0,
    "Log": [
            "Start": "2018-03-07T07:44:15.481414707-05:00",
            "End": "2018-03-07T07:44:15.556908311-05:00",
            "ExitCode": 0,
            "Output": ""
            "Start": "2018-03-07T07:44:18.557297462-05:00",
            "End": "2018-03-07T07:44:18.63035891-05:00",
            "ExitCode": 0,
            "Output": ""

Usage Restrictions

  • A maximum of five health check status records can be stored in a container. The last five records are saved.
  • If health check parameters are set to 0 during container startup, the default values are used.
  • After a container with configured health check parameters is started, if iSulad daemon exits, the health check is not executed. After iSulad daemon is restarted, the health status of the running container changes to starting. Afterwards, the check rules are the same as above.
  • If the health check fails for the first time, the health check status will not change from starting to unhealthy until the specified number of retries (–health-retries) is reached, or to healthy until the health check succeeds.

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