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Package kubemonkey

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Published: Nov 27, 2018 | License: Apache-2.0 | Module:


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kube-monkey is an implementation of Netflix’s Chaos Monkey for Kubernetes clusters. It randomly deletes Kubernetes (k8s) pods in the cluster encouraging and validating the development of failure-resilient services.

kube-monkey runs at a pre-configured hour (run_hour, defaults to 8am) on weekdays, and builds a schedule of deployments that will face a random Pod death sometime during the same day. The time-range during the day when the random pod Death might occur is configurable and defaults to 10am to 4pm.

kube-monkey can be configured with a list of namespaces * to blacklist (any deployments within a blacklisted namespace will not be touched)

To disable the blacklist provide [""] in the blacklisted_namespaces config.param.

Opting-In to Chaos

kube-monkey works on an opt-in model and will only schedule terminations for Kubernetes (k8s) apps that have explicitly agreed to have their pods terminated by kube-monkey.

Opt-in is done by setting the following labels on a k8s app:

kube-monkey/enabled: Set to "enabled" to opt-in to kube-monkey
kube-monkey/mtbf: Mean time between failure (in days). For example, if set to "3", the k8s app can expect to have a Pod killed approximately every third weekday.
kube-monkey/identifier: A unique identifier for the k8s apps. This is used to identify the pods that belong to a k8s app as Pods inherit labels from their k8s app. So, if kube-monkey detects that app foo has enrolled to be a victim, kube-monkey will look for all pods that have the label kube-monkey/identifier: foo to determine which pods are candidates for killing. Recommendation is to set this value to be the same as the app’s name.
kube-monkey/kill-mode: Default behavior is for kube-monkey to kill only ONE pod of your app. You can override this behavior by setting the value to: * "kill-all" if you want kube-monkey to kill ALL of your pods regardless of status (not ready or not running pods included). Does not require kill-value. Use this label carefully. * fixed if you want to kill a specific number of running pods with kill-value. If you overspecify, it will kill all running pods and issue a warning. * random-max-percent to specify a maximum % with kill-value that can be killed. At the scheduled time, a uniform random specified % of the running pods will be terminated. * fixed-percent to specify a fixed % with kill-value that can be killed. At the scheduled time, a specified fixed % of the running pods will be terminated.

kube-monkey/kill-value: Specify value for kill-mode * if fixed, provide an integer of pods to kill * if random-max-percent, provide a number from 0-100 to specify the max % of pods kube-monkey can kill * if fixed-percent, provide a number from 0-100 to specify the % of pods to kill

Example of opted-in Deployment killing one pod per purge

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
  name: monkey-victim
  namespace: app-namespace
        kube-monkey/enabled: enabled
        kube-monkey/identifier: monkey-victim
        kube-monkey/mtbf: '2'
        kube-monkey/kill-mode: "fixed"
        kube-monkey/kill-value: 1
[... omitted ...]

For newer versions of kubernetes you may need to add the labels to the k8s app metadata as well.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
  name: monkey-victim
  namespace: app-namespace
    kube-monkey/enabled: enabled
    kube-monkey/identifier: monkey-victim
    kube-monkey/mtbf: '2'
    kube-monkey/kill-mode: "fixed"
    kube-monkey/kill-value: 1
        kube-monkey/enabled: enabled
        kube-monkey/identifier: monkey-victim
[... omitted ...]

Overriding the apiserver

Use cases:

  • Since client-go does not support cluster dns explicitly with a // TODO: switch to using cluster DNS. note in the code, you may need to override the apiserver.
  • If you are running an unauthenticated system, you may need to force the http apiserver endpoint.

To override the apiserver specify in the config.toml file


How kube-monkey works

Scheduling time

Scheduling happens once a day on Weekdays - this is when a schedule for terminations for the current day is generated. During scheduling, kube-monkey will:
1. Generate a list of eligible k8s apps (k8s apps that have opted-in and are not blacklisted, if specified, and are whitelisted, if specified) 2. For each eligible k8s app, flip a biased coin (bias determined by kube-monkey/mtbf) to determine if a pod for that k8s app should be killed today 3. For each victim, calculate a random time when a pod will be killed

Termination time

This is the randomly generated time during the day when a victim k8s app will have a pod killed. At termination time, kube-monkey will: 1. Check if the k8s app is still eligible (has not opted-out or been blacklisted or removed from the whitelist since scheduling) 2. Check if the k8s app has updated kill-mode and kill-value 3. Depending on kill-mode and kill-value, execute pods

Docker Images

Docker images for kube-monkey can be found at DockerHub


Clone the repository and build the container.

go get
cd $GOPATH/src/
make container


kube-monkey is configured by environment variables or a toml file placed at /etc/kube-monkey/config.toml and expects the configmap to exist before the kubemonkey deployment.

Configuration keys and descriptions can be found in config/param/param.go

Example config.toml file

dry_run = true                           # Terminations are only logged
run_hour = 8                             # Run scheduling at 8am on weekdays
start_hour = 10                          # Don't schedule any pod deaths before 10am
end_hour = 16                            # Don't schedule any pod deaths after 4pm
blacklisted_namespaces = ["kube-system"] # Critical apps live here
time_zone = "America/New_York"           # Set tzdata timezone example. Note the field is time_zone not timezone

Example environment variables


Example Config to test kube-monkey works by enabeling debug mode

enabled= true
schedule_immediate_kill= true


Manually 1. First deploy the expected kube-monkey-config-map configmap in the namespace you intend to run kube-monkey in (for example, the kube-system namespace). Make sure to define the keyname as config.toml

For example kubectl create configmap km-config --from-file=config.toml=km-config.toml or kubectl apply -f km-config.yaml

  1. Run kube-monkey as a k8s app within the Kubernetes cluster, in a namespace that has permissions to kill Pods in other namespaces (eg. kube-system).

See dir examples/ for example Kubernetes yaml files.

  1. You should be able to see debug logs by kubectl logs -f deployment.apps/kube-monkey --namespace=kube-system here the deployment.apps/kube-monkey is the k8s deployment for kube monkey.

Helm Chart
A helm chart is provided that assumes you have already compiled and uploaded the container to your own container repository. Once uploaded, you need to edit the value of image.repository to point at the location of your container, by default it is pointed to ayushsobti/kube-monkey.

Helm can then be executed using

helm install $release helm/kubemonkey


kube-monkey uses glog and supports all command-line features for glog. To specify a custom v level or a custom log directory on the pod, see args: ["-v=5", "-log_dir=/path/to/custom/log"] in the example deployment file

Standardized glog levels grep -r V\([0-9]\) *

L0: None

L1: Highest Level current status info and Errors with Terminations

L2: Successful terminations

L3: More detailed schedule status info

L4: Debugging verbose schedule and config info

L5: Auto-resolved inconsequential issues

More resources: See the k8s logging page suggesting community conventions for logging severity

Compatibility with Kubernetes

kube-monkey is built using v7.0 of kubernetes/client-go. Refer to the Compatibility Matrix to see which versions of Kubernetes are compatible.

Ways to contribute

See How to Contribute