Install the Gremlin Daemon

Introduction

Gremlin must be installed on each host you wish to attack, and every installed gremlin must be registered with the Gremlin service. If you would prefer to install Gremlin with Docker instead of running it directly on the host, read our guide on How to Install and Use Gremlin in a Docker Container.

How to install Gremlin with Debian

# Add the Gremlin repo
echo "deb https://deb.gremlin.com/ release non-free" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gremlin.list

# Import the GPG key
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys C81FC2F43A48B25808F9583BDFF170F324D41134 9CDB294B29A5B1E2E00C24C022E8EF3461A50EF6

# Install Gremlin client and daemon
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y gremlin gremlind

Note that you might also need to install the apt-transport-https package to be able to install Gremlin from our repo via HTTPS.

How to install Gremlin with RPM

# Add the Gremlin repo
sudo curl https://rpm.gremlin.com/gremlin.repo -o /etc/yum.repos.d/gremlin.repo

# Install Gremlin client and daemon
sudo yum install -y gremlin gremlind

How to setup Docker Permissions for Gremlin Attacks

For gremlind to attack Docker containers, you need to add the gremlin user to the docker group after installing Gremlin and Docker.

sudo adduser gremlin docker

How to install Gremlin with Kubernetes

Gremlin has been tested to work on Kubernetes versions 1.6 and up.

Create a Kubernetes secret

If you do not already have your certificates locally, you can download them by going the teams page and selecting the team for which you’d like to install the client. From there you can select ‘Download’ to download the current certificate, or ‘Create New’ if you have not yet created your client certificates.

Once you have the certificate files available, create a Kubernetes secret:

kubectl create secret generic gremlin-team-cert --from-file=./gremlin.cert --from-file=./gremlin.key

Installation with Helm

The simplest way to install the Gremlin client on your Kubernetes cluster is to use helm. If you do not already have Helm installed, go here to get started. Once helm is installed and configured, add the gremlin repo and install the client:

helm repo add gremlin https://helm.gremlin.com
helm install --set gremlin.teamID=YOUR-TEAM-ID gremlin/gremlin

For more information on the Gremlin Helm chart, including more configuration options, check out the chart on Github.

Installation with kubectl

Here is a sample DaemonSet configuration template for installing Gremlin into your nodes.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: DaemonSet
metadata:
  name: gremlin
  namespace: <namespace where you want to run an attack>
  labels:
    k8s-app: gremlin
    version: v1
spec:
  template:
    metadata:
      labels:
        k8s-app: gremlin
        version: v1
    spec:
      # If you want to enable host-level process-killing, add this flag:
      #hostPID: true
      # If you want to enable host-level network attacks, add this flag:
      #hostNetwork: true
      containers:
      - name: gremlin
        image: gremlin/gremlin
        args: [ "daemon" ]
        imagePullPolicy: Always
        securityContext:
          capabilities:
            add:
              - NET_ADMIN
              - SYS_BOOT
              - SYS_TIME
              - KILL
        env:
          - name: GREMLIN_TEAM_ID
            value: <YOUR TEAM ID GOES HERE>
          - name: GREMLIN_TEAM_PRIVATE_KEY_OR_FILE
            value: file:///var/lib/gremlin/cert/gremlin.cert
          - name: GREMLIN_TEAM_CERTIFICATE_OR_FILE
            value: file:///var/lib/gremlin/cert/gremlin.key
          - name: GREMLIN_IDENTIFIER
            valueFrom:
              fieldRef:
                fieldPath: spec.nodeName
        volumeMounts:
          - name: docker-sock
            mountPath: /var/run/docker.sock
          - name: gremlin-state
            mountPath: /var/lib/gremlin
          - name: gremlin-logs
            mountPath: /var/log/gremlin
          - name: shutdown-trigger
            mountPath: /sysrq
          - name: gremlin-cert
            mountPath: /var/lib/gremlin/cert
            readOnly: true
      volumes:
        # Gremlin uses the Docker socket to discover eligible containers to attack,
        # and to launch Gremlin sidecar containers
        - name: docker-sock
          hostPath:
            path: /var/run/docker.sock
        # The Gremlin daemon communicates with Gremlin sidecars via its state directory.
        # This should be shared with the Kubernetes host
        - name: gremlin-state
          hostPath:
            path: /var/lib/gremlin
        # The Gremlin daemon forwards logs from the Gremlin sidecars to the Gremlin control plane
        # These logs should be shared with the host
        - name: gremlin-logs
          hostPath:
            path: /var/log/gremlin
        # If you want to run shutdown attacks on the host, the Gremlin Daemon requires a /proc/sysrq-trigger:/sysrq mount
        - name: shutdown-trigger
          hostPath:
            path: /proc/sysrq-trigger
        - name: gremlin-cert
          secret:
            secretName: gremlin-team-cert

Considerations when Attacking the Network of a Kubernetes Pod

By definition, containers of a Kubernetes Pod all share a network interface. This means when Gremlin applies a network impact to one container within a Kubernetes pod, the impact will be observed for all containers in the Pod. Note that this does not apply to containers in Pod replicas. If you attack a specific Pod replica, the effect applies to containers within that replica only, and does not apply to the rest of the replicas.

It is always recommended to target only a single container of a Pod. If you wish to exclude some containers from the network impact, reduce your blast radius by specifying ports relevant to the containers you wish to see impact.

After Installation

Once Gremlin is installed, you want to make sure it will run properly on your system.

How to use Gremlin Syscheck

Note: DO NOT run this command on production hosts

Gremlin’s syscheck command is a quick way to verify that all or a set of desired gremlins will work as intended. When you run gremlin syscheck without any additional arguments, the Gremlin client will run some prepared attacks for each of the gremlin attack types. These attacks are short in length (10 to 15 seconds each) and designed to test the efficacy of Gremlin on the system in which it is running.

Syscheck Test Types

Each Type can be supplied as the argument to syscheck to run that test only.

gremlin syscheck blackhole
Type Assert Gremlin can…
cpu consume up to 1 cpu core on the system
disk occupy up to 50% of the block device that /tmp is mounted to
memory consume up to 512Mb on the system
io incur IOWAIT CPU load on the system
blackhole drop all egress traffic from the system
latency introduce 100ms of latency for all egress traffic from the system
packet_loss introduce up to 100% packet loss of egress traffic from the system
dns drop all DNS requests made from the system
time_travel alter system time
process_killer spin up and kill processes on the system

Run Gremlin Syscheck in Docker

Gremlin provides a special Docker tag for running syscheck tests in Docker: gremlin/gremlin:sycheck.

docker run -it \
  --cap-add=NET_ADMIN \
  --cap-add=NET_RAW \
  --cap-add=SYS_TIME \
  --cap-add=KILL \
  gremlin/gremlin:syscheck

How to Configure Gremlin

Follow the configuration documentation to get your clients registered. You can see your installed clients on the clients page

Conclusion

You’ve installed Gremlin and validated that Gremlin can run on your system by running the gremlin syscheck command. The next step will be to configure your Gremlin clients using our Gremlin Client Configuration guide.

Gremlin’s Developer Guide is a great resource and reference for using Gremlin to do Chaos Engineering. You can also explore the Gremlin Blog for more information on how to use Chaos Engineering with your application infrastructure.