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Debug Pods and ReplicationControllers

This page shows how to debug Pods and ReplicationControllers.

Before you begin

You need to have a Kubernetes cluster, and the kubectl command-line tool must be configured to communicate with your cluster. It is recommended to run this tutorial on a cluster with at least two nodes that are not acting as control plane hosts. If you do not already have a cluster, you can create one by using minikube or you can use one of these Kubernetes playgrounds:

To check the version, enter kubectl version.

  • You should be familiar with the basics of Pods and with Pods' lifecycles.

Debugging Pods

The first step in debugging a pod is taking a look at it. Check the current state of the pod and recent events with the following command:

kubectl describe pods ${POD_NAME}

Look at the state of the containers in the pod. Are they all Running? Have there been recent restarts?

Continue debugging depending on the state of the pods.

My pod stays pending

If a pod is stuck in Pending it means that it can not be scheduled onto a node. Generally this is because there are insufficient resources of one type or another that prevent scheduling. Look at the output of the kubectl describe ... command above. There should be messages from the scheduler about why it can not schedule your pod. Reasons include:

Insufficient resources

You may have exhausted the supply of CPU or Memory in your cluster. In this case you can try several things:

  • Add more nodes to the cluster.

  • Terminate unneeded pods to make room for pending pods.

  • Check that the pod is not larger than your nodes. For example, if all nodes have a capacity of cpu:1, then a pod with a request of cpu: 1.1 will never be scheduled.

    You can check node capacities with the kubectl get nodes -o <format> command. Here are some example command lines that extract the necessary information:

    kubectl get nodes -o yaml | egrep '\sname:|cpu:|memory:'
    kubectl get nodes -o json | jq '.items[] | {name:, cap: .status.capacity}'

    The resource quota feature can be configured to limit the total amount of resources that can be consumed. If used in conjunction with namespaces, it can prevent one team from hogging all the resources.

Using hostPort

When you bind a pod to a hostPort there are a limited number of places that the pod can be scheduled. In most cases, hostPort is unnecessary; try using a service object to expose your pod. If you do require hostPort then you can only schedule as many pods as there are nodes in your container cluster.

My pod stays waiting

If a pod is stuck in the Waiting state, then it has been scheduled to a worker node, but it can't run on that machine. Again, the information from kubectl describe ... should be informative. The most common cause of Waiting pods is a failure to pull the image. There are three things to check:

  • Make sure that you have the name of the image correct.
  • Have you pushed the image to the repository?
  • Run a manual docker pull <image> on your machine to see if the image can be pulled.

My pod is crashing or otherwise unhealthy

Once your pod has been scheduled, the methods described in Debug Running Pods are available for debugging.

Debugging ReplicationControllers

ReplicationControllers are fairly straightforward. They can either create pods or they can't. If they can't create pods, then please refer to the instructions above to debug your pods.

You can also use kubectl describe rc ${CONTROLLER_NAME} to inspect events related to the replication controller.

Last modified February 11, 2021 at 3:51 PM PST : clean up use of word: just (3ff5ec1eff)