Process Control

Process control via sockets with containerrun

Background & Motivation

Before kubecf the processes of the jobs in an instance group were managed by monit.

This allowed a human operator to suspend (kill) and later restart these processes as a means of preventing them from interfering with low-level operations like restoring a cluster using raw database backups, and the like. Such suspensions were also not visible at kube level as the pod and container kept running, except through live- and readiness-probes.

The process control features added to the containerun helper application of the operator serve the same purpose.


The process control features of containerrun are accessible through an unix domain datagram socket at location /var/vcap/data/__JOB__/__PROCESS___containerrun.sock in the container. Due to this placement the feature is not accessible from outside a cluster. An operator (or script written by such) has to log into the relevant container(s) to use the feature.

  • Suspending the monitored child processes is done by sending the command STOP to this socket.

  • Conversely, restarting the child processes is done by sending the command START to this socket.

  • Sending a START command when the child processes are running has no effect. Conversely the same is true for sending a STOP command when the child processes are suspended already.

  • Any other command sent to the socket is ignored.

Any tool able to send datagram packet to a unix domain socket of that type should work.

Examples using netcat:

  • echo START | nc -w 1 --unixsock --udp /var/vcap/data/JOB/PROCESS_containerrun.sock
  • echo STOP | nc -w 1 --unixsock --udp /var/vcap/data/JOB/PROCESS_containerrun.sock

Note that all of these sockets are placed in the volumne shared by all container of all jobs of the instance group. It is enough to ssh into one of the containers to be able to send commands to all sockets and thus jobs.


for sock in $(find /var/vcap/dataame '*_containerrun.sock')
    echo STOP | nc -w 1 --unixsock --udp $sock
Last modified March 3, 2021: Add comment about release drafter (c8aab70)