CoreOS Blog

Announcing etcd 3.1

January 20, 2017 · By Anthony Romano

A new year and a new milestone release of etcd. Hot on the heels of 17 bugfix releases to etcd 3.0, two alphas, and two release candidates, the etcd team is proud to announce etcd 3.1. This edition of etcd features performance, reliability, and API enhancements over the 3.0 series. It also introduces the first iteration of the etcd v3 gRPC proxy, a smart proxy for offloading client requests away from the core cluster.

Fast linearized reads

etcd provides both serialized and linearized consistency models for reading keys. A serialized read is fast, no consensus is necessary, but unsuitable for many applications because it may return stale data. A linearized read returns the most recent keys by going through etcd’s underlying raft protocol, and therefore carries greater overhead. While etcd 3.0 processes linearized reads through direct raft proposals, chewing precious disk bandwidth and incurring the corresponding latency penalty, linearized reads in 3.1 issue idempotent, fsync-free linearized raft index requests. These index requests are also batched; concurrent linearized reads coalesce into a single index request. The upshot is linearized reads have lower latency and better throughput.

The graph below, based on quick measurements from a laptop with the etcd benchmark tool, illustrates the improvement as concurrency increases. The linearized read implementation in 3.1 clearly outperforms 3.0 linearized reads given little concurrency and rapidly reaches its maximum throughput. Numbers are deliberately redacted since only relative trends matter here; rigorous benchmarks are forthcoming.

Read Throughput over Concurrency
Read Throughput over Concurrency

Availability and Reliability

In the past, upgrading an etcd cluster meant temporarily losing the leader and therefore a brief loss of availability. If an etcd member needed to be taken offline, when upgrading for example, and if it was the cluster leader, then the cluster followers would timeout on that leader and initiate an election. Waiting for a new leader would cause a short cluster outage. To improve availability in this case, the leader will automatically transfer its leadership to another member before going offline.

The quorum-based consensus for etcd has a drawback in that permanent quorum loss permanently downs the cluster. To avoid instances of operator error which inflict quorum loss on the cluster, etcd now by default checks member health before reconfiguring cluster membership. These checks use peer liveness information to ensure membership changes are safe. A member removal request is rejected if the removal causes quorum loss when considering how many members are active. A member add request is rejected if quorum would be lost if the new member never joins the cluster, in case the member is configured with a bad address.

New APIs

Based on user feedback, the etcd v3 API now includes features to better manage leases, efficiently process keys by revision, and reduce total round-trips. Leases now support non-destructive TTL fetches, useful for checking the time left on a lease, and listing attached keys, useful for finding all resources attached to a session. Key range requests can specify minimum and maximum modification and creation revisions, useful when monitoring wait lists for distributed locks and elections. Watches can optionally return the old key value on delete events, saving the cost of a round trip.

The etcd v3 authentication API, which was alpha in the 3.0 series, is now stable; any future change to the authentication API will not break older etcd v3 clients. The role-based authentication model is similar to the one found in etcd v2 API. The major differences include authentication tokens, a much faster mechanism than etcd v2’s per-request bcrypt calls, and permissions governed by key range intervals, instead of only key prefixes like in etcd v2.

Introducing gRPC proxy

An etcd cluster replicates its data to all its members. The overhead from this replication counterintuitively causes an etcd cluster to slow down, instead of scaling, after adding more members. This performance loss fixes the number of members to the desired fault tolerance; scaling must be achieved through other means. The new etcd gRPC proxy aims to reduce the amount of load on the core etcd cluster through caching and request coalescing.

The gRPC proxy includes a cache of recently accessed keys. The cache serves serialized key fetches, which don’t need to go through consensus, that would otherwise be handled by a cluster member. The advantage is the proxy absorbs serialized key request spam from misbehaving or misconfigured clients. The graph below shows the effect of this cache on repeatedly fetching the same key until CPU saturation; it effectively eliminates CPU load on the etcd server.

Proxy versus Unproxied CPU Utilization
Proxy versus Unproxied CPU Utilization

The proxy also coalesces watches from many clients into a single watch stream. This coalescing conserves total open connections to the cluster and reduces overall network traffic from the cluster by deferring event fan-out to the proxy.

Learn more

The latest and greatest etcd developments can be found in the etcd github repository. The project also hosts signed binaries for 3.1.0 and historical releases on the etcd release page. The github repository also has the most up-to-date etcd documentation.

As always, the etcd team is committed to building the best distributed consistent key-value store; feel free to report any bugs, ask questions, or make suggestions on the etcd issue tracker.

Announcing CoreOS Fest 2017

January 19, 2017 · By Jim Walker

Announcing CoreOS Fest 2017

We are happy to announce that the third annual CoreOS Fest is returning to San Francisco. Join us May 31st-June 1st at Pier 27 in San Francisco to be inspired by your peers across the CoreOS community. The conference brings together systems architects, DevOps engineers, Sysadmins, application developers, security engineers and more to learn about how to run, build and secure containers.

ATTEND: Register Now!

The early bird gets the worm (and by worm we mean discounted ticket), so be sure to grab yours before February 15th for $395. After this date, prices will go up. Registration is open now and available here.

Speak: Call for Papers

CoeOS Fest is a conference for the community by the community and we need your help to make it awesome! No matter your experience level, you have something of value to share. And this year we will have three tracks all focused on adoption of container technology and distributed systems. In this year's tracks we present talks that will help you run, build and secure your distributed applications.

Some typical talks include:

  • Stories and real examples of implementing and running distributed systems
  • Ways containers are being used and lessons learned
  • Application-first methodologies and practices
  • Illustrations of how you’ve applied of CoreOS open source components – CoreOS Container Linux, rkt, etcd, flannel, torus
  • And more!

If you are interested in being considered as a speaker, complete this form by March 3, 2017.

Exhibit: Become a Sponsor!

CoreOS Fest presents a unique opportunity to network with some of the brightest minds and experienced practitioners in container technology and distributed applications. The show brings together a vibrant community of over 800 application developers, devops professionals and security experts and as an exhibitor you will be included in this great group. Interested in sponsoring? Contact us early to secure your branding and booth space now!

At the previous CoreOS Fest, sponsors and speakers came from companies like Intel, Google, Red Hat, Salesforce, AWS, Huawei, SoundCloud, Chef, Coinbase,, Cockroach Labs, Sysdig, Deis, Tigera, Packet, Wercker and more.

Questions about registration or sponsorship? Email:

Questions about the CFP? Email:

See you in San Francisco!

Toward etcd v3 in CoreOS Container Linux

January 13, 2017 · By Josh Wood

CoreOS etcd’s first commits happened some three and a half years ago, and a lot has changed since that initial version 0 of the etcd API. etcd version 3, introduced last summer, offers a streamlined, gRPC-based API and dramatic performance improvements over both competitive solutions and its own prior versions, while maintaining the distributed reliability and rolling upgrade capabilities that make etcd manageable in production.

With adoption coalescing around etcd v3, today we are announcing deprecation plans for older versions of etcd in CoreOS Container Linux (formerly known as CoreOS Linux). The current schedule for end of support for each version in Container Linux is:

  • etcd v0: May 7, 2017
  • etcd v2: February 1, 2018

etcd v3 API is the current etcd API

As applications and systems software scale for the cloud, a distributed key-value store like etcd has become an essential component of many architectures. The Kubernetes cluster orchestrator, for example, relies on etcd for cluster metadata storage and retrieval. Kubernetes version 1.6, scheduled for release soon, will be built with etcd v3 by default, to take advantage of the scalability and performance improvements of the latest edition.

If you’re writing new applications that leverage the etcd distributed key-value store, you should be targeting the v3 API. If you have existing applications that use the v2 API, etcd v3 provides compatibility while offering improved performance and scalability. You’ll want to read on to find out how to upgrade to etcd v3, and what to expect in the eventual deprecation of etcd v2 binaries in CoreOS Container Linux. An upgrade to etcd v3 maintains the same rolling update capability as the v2 series, preserving data while transitioning between etcd versions.

If you have legacy code that targets the v0 etcd API, this is a reminder of the notice provided last autumn that all support for and packaging of the etcd v0.4 binary in CoreOS Container Linux will cease after May 7, 2017.

etcd v0 scheduled for removal from Container Linux in May, 2017

While etcd v0 has been de-facto deprecated in the tradition of “version zero” software for some time, CoreOS Container Linux has continued to deliver an etcd v0.4 binary alongside current etcd versions. On May 7, 2017, the etc v0.4 binary will be removed from the Alpha channel CoreOS Container Linux image. As that version is promoted through the Beta and Stable channels, etcd v0 will be removed from them as well.

Those still using etcd v0 should immediately consult the documentation of major changes in the API, beginning with those introduced between versions 0 and 2, and convert applications to use the etcd v3 API.

etcd v2 series in maintenance: No new feature development

etcd v2.3.x continues to be supported and included in CoreOS Container Linux. However, the etcd 2.x series is strictly in maintenance, receiving only critical bug fixes and security updates after January, 2017. No new feature development will occur in the etcd v2.x series after this date.

Users are advised to begin testing and plan to migrate etcd v2.x deployments to etcd v3. Upgrading a deployment from etcd v2 to v3 does not require changes to API client application source code, since etcd v3 exposes a v2 compatibility API.

etcd v2 scheduled for removal from Container Linux in February, 2018

Etcd v2 will be removed from the CoreOS Container Linux Alpha channel on February 1, 2018, and will not be supported after that time. As that version of Container Linux is promoted through the Beta and Stable channels, etcd v2 will be removed from them as well.

The future of etcd v3 on Container Linux: etcd in a container

CoreOS Container Linux already includes lightweight scaffolding for running etcd v3 in a container executed by the rkt container engine. Briefly, running etcd in a container involves selecting an etcd version and enabling the containerized etcd v3 systemd unit. A wrapper knows how to fetch the etcd container image from the CoreOS Quay registry and works with the systemd unit to execute etcd. The result is an even slimmer base OS, but with simple facilities for adding key infrastructure like etcd by taking advantage of container distribution and execution. After February, 2018, this will be the standard and supported method for running etcd on CoreOS Container Linux.

Frequently Asked Questions

My app uses etcd v0.4 on CoreOS Container Linux. What should I do?

You should immediately consult the differences between v0 and later etcd editions, and update your application to use the etcd v3 API. Since etcd v2 is also scheduled for eventual deprecation, it makes sense to avoid updating your code twice.

My app uses etcd v2.3.7, or another etcd v2.x. What should I do?

You should begin testing your deployments with etcd v3 binaries, according to the instructions in the upgrade guide. Source code changes to client applications are not required; etcd v3 offers compatibility with the v2 API.

How do I run etcd v3 on Container Linux?

For evaluation purposes in preparation for the eventual deprecation of etcd v2, advanced users might consult the unit file and wrapper scripts that fetch and execute an etcd v3 container.

It’s simple to use this framework to bring up a single-node etcd v3 “cluster” on any recent CoreOS Container Linux version:

$ systemctl enable /usr/lib/coreos/etcd-member.service
$ systemctl start etcd-member
$ rkt list
4d566696	etcd	running	6 minutes ago	6 minutes ago
$ etcdctl set fname Regis
$ etcdctl get fname

Check out the etcd documentation for more information and next steps with etcd v3.

RunC Exec Vulnerability (CVE-2016-9962)

January 10, 2017 · By Alex Crawford

Docker just released docker 1.12.6 with a fix for a vulnerability in RunC (CVE-2016-9962). The security advisory states:

RunC allowed additional container processes via runc exec to be ptraced by the pid 1 of the container. This allows the main processes of the container, if running as root, to gain access to file-descriptors of these new processes during the initialization and can lead to container escapes or modification of runC state before the process is fully placed inside the container.

We've already starting rolling out updated versions of Docker in Container Linux 1235.6.0 (Stable), 1248.4.0 (Beta), and 1284.2.0 (Alpha) which include a fix for the vulnerability. Note that the docker version has not changed in each of these releases even though the vulnerability has been patched.

Container Linux enables automatic updates that make sure you are running the most up to date software. You can read more about our update philosophy here. By running docker on CoreOS, users get the benefit of getting security updates applied shortly after the patch is available.

If you have any questions or concerns, please join us in IRC.

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App Container and Docker

February 13, 2015 · By Jonathan Boulle

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February 6, 2015 · By Jonathan Boulle

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February 3, 2015 · By Kelly Tenn

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January 28, 2015 · By Brandon Philips

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January 28, 2015 · By Alex Crawford

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January 23, 2015 · By Jonathan Boulle

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January 20, 2015 · By Kelly Tenn New Features

January 7, 2015 · By Jacob Moshenko

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December 18, 2014 · By Xiang Li

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December 9, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

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December 3, 2014 · By Alex Crawford

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December 1, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

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A Meetup Ride to San Mateo

October 29, 2014 · By Melissa Smolensky

CoreOS Now Available On Microsoft Azure

October 20, 2014 · By Alex Crawford

Godep for End User Go Projects

October 15, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

Managing CoreOS with Ansible

October 13, 2014 · By Roman Shtylman

CoreOS Machines Secured from Shellshock

September 26, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Security Update on CVE-2014-6371 Shellshock

September 25, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

Congrats to Interactive Markdown at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon

September 8, 2014 · By Melissa Smolensky

CoreOS Image Now Available On DigitalOcean

September 5, 2014 · By Alex Crawford

Introducing flannel: An etcd backed overlay network for containers

August 28, 2014 · By Eugene Yakubovich

CoreOS Just Got Easier to Try With Panamax

August 21, 2014 · By Lucas Carlson

CoreOS Certification and Training

August 20, 2014 · By Melissa Smolensky joins CoreOS, Introducing the CoreOS Enterprise Registry

August 13, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Running Kubernetes Example on CoreOS, Part 2

July 30, 2014 · By Kelsey Hightower

CoreOS Stable Release

July 25, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Running Kubernetes Example on CoreOS, Part 1

July 10, 2014 · By Kelsey Hightower

The CoreOS Epoch

June 30, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

CoreOS Officially on Rackspace OnMetal Cloud Servers

June 19, 2014 · By Alex Crawford

The CoreOS Update Philosophy

June 18, 2014 · By Kelsey Hightower

CoreOS Videos From Our Inaugural Meetup

June 17, 2014 · By Melissa Smolensky

Docker 1.0 released to Alpha

June 16, 2014 · By Melissa Smolensky

Official CoreOS Meetup in San Francisco June 3rd, 2014

May 28, 2014 · By Brian 'redbeard' Harrington

Official CoreOS Images on Google Compute Engine

May 23, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

etcd 0.4.0 with Standby Mode

May 20, 2014 · By Yicheng Qin

Zero Downtime Frontend Deploys with Vulcand on CoreOS

May 19, 2014 · By Rob Szumski

CoreOS Beta Release

May 9, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Clustering CoreOS with Vagrant

April 24, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

etcd - The Road to 1.0

April 14, 2014 · By Blake Mizerany

Major Update: btrfs, docker 0.9, add users, writable /etc, and more!

March 27, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Dynamic Docker links with an ambassador powered by etcd

February 27, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

Introduction to networkd, network management from systemd

February 25, 2014 · By Tom Gundersen

Cluster-Level Container Deployment with fleet

February 18, 2014 · By Brian Waldon

etcd 0.3.0 - Improved Cluster Discovery, API Enhancements and Windows Support

February 7, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

Brandon's etcd presentation at GoSF

January 16, 2014 · By Brandon Philips

Jumpers and the Software Defined Localhost

January 13, 2014 · By Alex Polvi

etcd 0.2.0 - new API, new modules and tons of improvements

December 27, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

Running etcd in Docker Containers

December 13, 2013 · By Rob Szumski

CoreOS alpha updates

December 9, 2013 · By Alex Polvi

Running a Utility Cluster on CoreOS

December 4, 2013 · By Rob Szumski

CoreOS on Google Compute Engine

December 2, 2013 · By Alex Polvi

etcd v0.1.2 with a new dashboard and bugfixes

October 10, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

Boot on Bare Metal with PXE

September 11, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

OpenStack, VMware and KVM images available

August 28, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

etcd v0.1.0 release

August 11, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

CoreOS Vagrant Images

August 2, 2013 · By Alex Polvi

Distributed configuration data with etcd

July 23, 2013 · By Brandon Philips

Recoverable System Upgrades

July 16, 2013 · By Brandon Philips