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Container Logging

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Kubernetes retrieves container logs from a container’s standard output and standard error streams. The applications running in the container must output their logs to a place read by the container logging engine (commonly STDOUT).

You can retrieve container logs with the kubectl logs pod_name command. If the pod is a multi-container pod then the container must be specified with the -c option with the container name kubectl logs pod_name -c container_name

In this example, we create a pod called logging-pod that outputs the system date and time every second.

$ kubectl run logging-pod --image=busybox:latest --command -- /bin/sh -c 'while true; do date; sleep 1; done'

pod/logging-pod created


Then the container logs are retrieved with kubectl logs:

$ kubectl logs logging-pod

Wed Apr 20 16:31:45 UTC 2022
Wed Apr 20 16:31:46 UTC 2022


Here are other useful container logging options:

  • --previous – retrieves container logs from the previous instantiation of a container, this is helpful for containers that are crash looping
  • -f – streams container logs
  • --since – prints logs since a specific time period e.g. –since 15m
  • --timestamps – includes timestamps

Learn more about container logging.