fleet Documentation

Using the Client

fleet is no longer actively developed or maintained by CoreOS. CoreOS instead recommends Kubernetes for cluster orchestration.

fleet provides a command-line tool called fleetctl. The commands provided by fleetctl are analogous to those of systemd's CLI, systemctl.

Get up and running

Custom API Endpoint

fleetctl communicates directly with an HTTP API hosted by the fleet cluster. Use the --endpoint flag to override the default of unix:///var/run/fleet.sock:

fleetctl --endpoint http://<IP:PORT> list-units

Alternatively, --endpoint can be provided through the FLEETCTL_ENDPOINT environment variable:

FLEETCTL_ENDPOINT=http://<IP:[PORT]> fleetctl list-units

It is not recommended to listen fleet API TCP socket over public and even private networks. Fleet API socket doesn't support encryption and authorization so it could cause full root access to your machine. Please use ssh tunnel to access remote fleet API.

Using etcd Authentication

If your etcd cluster is configured with authentication enabled, set etcd_username and etcd_password options in fleet.conf to provide credentials. It is not possible to provide credentials to the command-line tool.

It is not recommended to use Authentication without also using TLS Transport by also providing the --ca-file flag

From an External Host

If you prefer to execute fleetctl from an external host (i.e. your laptop), the --tunnel flag can be used to tunnel communication with your fleet cluster over SSH:

fleetctl --tunnel <IP[:PORT]> list-units

One can also provide --tunnel through the environment variable FLEETCTL_TUNNEL:

FLEETCTL_TUNNEL=<IP[:PORT]> fleetctl list-units

When using --tunnel and --endpoint together, it is important to note that all etcd requests will be made through the SSH tunnel. The address in the --endpoint flag must be routable from the server hosting the tunnel.

If the external host requires a username other than core, the --ssh-username flag can be used to set an alternative username.

fleetctl --ssh-username=elroy list-units


FLEETCTL_SSH_USERNAME=elroy fleetctl list-units

Note: Custom users are not by default part of the systemd-journal group which will cause you to see No journal files were found. To use the journal command please add your users to the systemd-journal group or use the --sudo flag with journal.

Be sure to install one of the tagged releases of fleetctl that matches the version of fleet running on the machine. Find the version on the server with:

fleet --version

See more about configuring remote access.

Interacting with units

For information regarding the additional unit file parameters that modify fleet's behavior, see this documentation.

Explore existing units

List all units in the fleet cluster with fleetctl list-unit-files:

$ fleetctl list-unit-files
goodbye.service d4c61bf launched launched 85c0c595.../
hello.service   e55c0ae launched launched 113f16a7.../

fleetctl list-unit-files communicates what the desired state of a unit is, what its current state is, and where it is currently scheduled.

List the last-known state of fleet's active units (i.e. those loaded onto a machine) with fleetctl list-units:

$ fleetctl list-units
UNIT            MACHINE                   ACTIVE  SUB
goodbye.service 85c0c595.../  active  running
hello.service   113f16a7.../  active  running

Start and stop units

Start and stop units with the start and stop commands:

$ fleetctl start goodbye.service
Unit goodbye.service launched on 85c0c595.../

$ fleetctl stop goodbye.service
Unit goodbye.service loaded on 85c0c595.../

If the unit does not exist when calling start, fleetctl will first search for a local unit file, submit it and schedule it.

Restart units

fleetctl doesn't have a restart subcommand. In many cases it is simple to use the fleetctl ssh subcommand to execute systemctl restart directly on the target host:

$ fleetctl ssh hello.service sudo systemctl restart hello.service

Scheduling units

To schedule a unit into the cluster (i.e. load it on a machine) without starting it, call fleetctl load:

$ fleetctl load hello.service
Unit hello.service loaded on 113f16a7.../

This will not call the equivalent of systemctl start, so the loaded unit will be in an inactive state:

$ fleetctl list-units
UNIT          MACHINE                  ACTIVE   SUB
hello.service 113f16a7.../ inactive dead

This is useful if you have another unit that will activate it at a later date, such as a path or timer.

Units can also be unscheduled, but remain in the cluster with fleetctl unload. The unit will still be visible in fleetctl list-unit-files, but will have no state reported in fleetctl list-units:

$ fleetctl unload hello.service

$ fleetctl list-unit-files
hello.service e55c0ae inactive inactive -

Adding and removing units

Getting units into the cluster is as simple as a call to fleetctl submit:

$ fleetctl submit examples/hello.service

You can also rely on your shell's path-expansion to conveniently submit a large set of unit files:

$ ls examples/
hello.service	ping.service	pong.service
$ fleetctl submit examples/*

Submission of units to a fleet cluster does not cause them to be scheduled. The unit will be visible in a fleetctl list-unit-files command, but have no reported state in fleetctl list-units.

A unit can be removed from a cluster with the destroy command:

$ fleetctl destroy hello.service

The destroy command does two things:

  1. Instruct systemd on the host machine to stop the unit, deferring to systemd completely for any custom stop directives (i.e. ExecStop option in the unit file).
  2. Remove the unit file from the cluster, making it impossible to start again until it has been re-submitted.

Once a unit is destroyed, state will continue to be reported for it in fleetctl list-units. Only once the unit has stopped will its state be removed.

View unit contents

The contents of a loaded unit file can be printed to stdout using the fleetctl cat command:

$ fleetctl cat hello.service
Description=Hello World

ExecStart=/bin/bash -c "while true; do echo \"Hello, world\"; sleep 1; done"

Query unit status

Once a unit has been started, fleet will publish its status. The systemd state fields 'LoadState', 'ActiveState', and 'SubState' can be retrieved with fleetctl list-units. To get all of the unit's state information, the fleetctl status command will actually call systemctl on the machine running a given unit over SSH:

$ fleetctl status hello.service
hello.service - Hello World
   Loaded: loaded (/run/systemd/system/hello.service; enabled-runtime)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2014-01-29 23:20:23 UTC; 1h 49min ago
 Main PID: 6973 (bash)
   CGroup: /system.slice/hello.1.service
           ├─ 6973 /bin/bash -c while true; do echo "Hello, world"; sleep 1; done
           └─20381 sleep 1

Jan 30 01:09:18 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:19 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:20 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:21 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:22 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:23 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:24 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:25 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:26 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world
Jan 30 01:09:27 ip-172-31-5-250 bash[6973]: Hello, world

Fetch unit logs

The fleetctl journal command can be used to interact directly with journalctl on the machine running a given unit:

$ fleetctl journal hello.service
-- Logs begin at Thu 2014-08-21 18:27:04 UTC, end at Thu 2014-08-21 19:07:38 UTC. --
Aug 21 19:07:38 core-03 bash[1127]: Hello, world

Exploring the cluster

Enumerate hosts

Describe all of the machines currently connected to the cluster with fleetctl list-machines:

$ fleetctl list-machines
113f16a7... az=us-west-1b
85c0c595... az=us-west-1b
e793afb9... az=us-west-1a

SSH dynamically to host

The fleetctl ssh command can be used to open a pseudo-terminal over SSH to a host in the fleet cluster. The command will look up the IP address of a machine based on the provided machine ID:

$ fleetctl ssh 113f16a7

Alternatively, a unit name can be provided. fleetctl ssh will connect to the machine to-which the given unit is scheduled:

$ fleetctl ssh hello.service

Known-Hosts Verification

Fingerprints of machines accessed through fleetctl are stored in $HOME/.fleetctl/known_hosts and used for the verification of machine identity. If a machine presents a fingerprint that differs from that found in the known_hosts file, the SSH connection will be aborted.

Disable the storage of fingerprints with --strict-host-key-checking=false, or change the location of your fingerprints with the --known-hosts-file=<LOCATION> flag.

Remote fleet Access

fleet does not yet have any custom authentication, so security of a given fleet cluster depends on a user's ability to access any host in that cluster. The suggested method of authentication is public SSH keys and ssh-agents. The fleetctl command-line tool can assist in this by natively interacting with an ssh-agent to authenticate itself.

This requires two things:

  1. SSH access for a user to at least one host in the cluster
  2. ssh-agent running on a user's machine with the necessary identity

Authorizing a user's SSH key within a cluster is up to the deployer. See the deployment doc for help doing this.

Running an ssh-agent is the responsibility of the user. Many unix-based distros conveniently provide the necessary tools on a base install, or in an ssh-related package. For example, Ubuntu provides the ssh-agent and ssh-add binaries in the openssh-client package. If you cannot find the necessary binaries on your system, please consult your distro's documentation.

Assuming you have the tools installed, simply ensure ssh-agent has the necessary identity:

$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Identity added: id_rsa (~/.ssh/id_rsa)
$ ssh-add -l
2048 31:c3:50:2b:44:f9:7f:28:6b:62:96:37:c7:c1:b5:c2 id_rsa (RSA)

To verify the ssh-agent and remote hosts are properly configured, simply connect directly to a host in the fleet cluster using ssh. Configure fleetctl to tunnel through that host by setting the --tunnel flag or exporting the FLEETCTL_TUNNEL environment variable:

$ fleetctl --tunnel list-units
$ FLEETCTL_TUNNEL= fleetctl list-units


Things get a bit more complicated when using vagrant, as access to your hosts is abstracted away from the user. This makes it a bit more complicated to run fleetctl from your local laptop, but it's still relatively easy to configure.

First, find the identity file used by vagrant to authenticate access to your hosts. The vagrant binary provides a convenient ssh-config command to help do this. Running vagrant ssh-config from a Vagrant project directory will produce something like this:

% vagrant ssh-config
Host default
  User core
  Port 2222
  UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null
  StrictHostKeyChecking no
  PasswordAuthentication no
  IdentityFile /Users/bcwaldon/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key
  IdentitiesOnly yes
  LogLevel FATAL
  ForwardAgent yes

The output communicates exactly how the connection to a vagrant host is made when calling vagrant ssh. Using the HostName, Port and IdentityFile options, we can bypass vagrant ssh and connect directly:

$ ssh -p 2222 -i /Users/bcwaldon/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key core@
Last login: Thu Feb 20 05:39:51 UTC 2014 from on pts/1
CoreOS (alpha)
core@localhost ~ $

Now, let's get fleetctl working with these parameters:

$ vagrant ssh-config | sed -n "s/IdentityFile//gp" | xargs ssh-add
Identity added: /Users/bcwaldon/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key (/Users/bcwaldon/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key)
$ export FLEETCTL_TUNNEL="$(vagrant ssh-config | sed -n "s/[ ]*HostName[ ]*//gp"):$(vagrant ssh-config | sed -n "s/[ ]*Port[ ]*//gp")"
$ fleetctl list-machines

The ssh-add command need only be run once for all Vagrant hosts. You will have to set FLEETCTL_TUNNEL specifically for each vagrant host with which you interact.