Re: Service watchdog

From: Steve Litt <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2021 13:46:03 -0400

Petr Malat said on Tue, 19 Oct 2021 09:41:19 +0200

>Yes, in my usecase this would be used at the place where sd_notify()
>is used if the service runs under systemd. Then periodically executed
>watchdog could check the service makes progress and react if it
>The question is how to implement the watchdog then - it could be either
>a global service or another executable in service directory, which
>would be started periodically by runsv.

LOL, I'll tell you how I did it on my reminder system, and you can
decide whether or not to do it my way...

I have a reminder system written by me in Perl early this century, when
I still used Perl. It runs 5 times a day via cron, popping a window up
on the screen telling me of my appointments. Some consider it
intrusive, I like it that way (which is why I wrote it that way).

After a few years of using my reminder system, it became apparent that
sometimes it was failing silently, and I wouldn't notice the
absence of popup windows, causing me to miss appointments and the like.

So I wrote another program (by this time I'd switched to Python), run
as a runit service:

cd /d/at/python/reminder_check
exec chpst -u slitt:slitt /d/at/python/reminder_check/

The main routine of the Python program follows:

while True:
    if tooOld(LOGFILE, TOO_OLD_HOURS):

So every SLEEP_SECONDS seconds, it checks logfile LOGFILE, which is
written by the reminder program itself, to see if it's more than
TOO_OLD_HOURS old, and if it does, it throws up a big old green and
purple window proclaiming the alarm system is broken.

In my case, SLEEP_SECONDS is 3600. Yeah, it's polling instead of
interrupt driven, but I make no apology for polling once an hour.
Matter of fact, I'd make no apologies for 10 second polling, given that
if everything's OK all it's going to do is check a file date.

It seems to me the key question is how quickly do you need to be
informed of the failure of the watched daemon. If being informed a
minute later is OK, I'd say my method is fine. If being informed a
second later is OK, I'd rewrite the time check in C and then if it
flunks, system() the "on error" program. If you need subsecond warning,
my method is probably not what you want.

By the way, when I test for a daemon functioning, I typically don't use
svstatus or that other program that just returns a 1 or 0, because I
don't care if the program is running: I want to know that it's
*functioning*, so I test the functionality of the running program. So
for the network, I'd do a quick 1 iteration ping, for PostGreSQL I
might do a simple select statement, etc.

Best of luck.


Steve Litt
Spring 2021 featured book: Troubleshooting Techniques of the Successful
Received on Tue Oct 19 2021 - 19:46:03 CEST

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