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Sonobuoy is a diagnostic tool that makes it easier to understand the state of a Kubernetes cluster by running a set of plugins (including Kubernetes conformance tests) in an accessible and non-destructive manner. It is a customizable, extendable, and cluster-agnostic way to generate clear, informative reports about your cluster.

Its selective data dumps of Kubernetes resource objects and cluster nodes allow for the following use cases:

  • Integrated end-to-end (e2e) conformance-testing
  • Workload debugging
  • Custom data collection via extensible plugins

Starting v0.20, Sonobuoy supports Kubernetes v1.17 or later. Sonobuoy releases will be independent of Kubernetes release, while ensuring that new releases continue to work functionally across different versions of Kubernetes. Read more about the new release cycles in our blog.

Note: You can skip this version enforcement by running Sonobuoy with the --skip-preflight flag.



  1. Download the latest release for your client platform.

  2. Extract the tarball:

    tar -xvf <RELEASE_TARBALL_NAME>.tar.gz

    Move the extracted sonobuoy executable to somewhere on your PATH.

Getting Started

To launch conformance tests (ensuring CNCF conformance) and wait until they are finished run:

sonobuoy run --wait

Note: Using --mode quick will significantly shorten the runtime of Sonobuoy. It runs just a single test, helping to quickly validate your Sonobuoy and Kubernetes configuration.

Get the results from the plugins (e.g. e2e test results):

results=$(sonobuoy retrieve)

Inspect results for test failures. This will list the number of tests failed and their names:

sonobuoy results $results

Note: The results command has lots of useful options for various situations. See the results page for more details.

You can also extract the entire contents of the file to get much more detailed data about your cluster.

Sonobuoy creates a few resources in order to run and expects to run within its own namespace.

Deleting Sonobuoy entails removing its namespace as well as a few cluster scoped resources.

sonobuoy delete --wait

Note: The –wait option ensures the Kubernetes namespace is deleted, avoiding conflicts if another Sonobuoy run is started quickly.

If you have an issue with permissions in your cluster but you still want to run Sonobuoy, you can use --aggregator-permissions flag. Read more details about it here.

Other Tests

By default, sonobuoy run runs the Kubernetes conformance tests but this can easily be configured. The same plugin that has the conformance tests has all the Kubernetes end-to-end tests which include other tests such as:

  • tests for specific storage features
  • performance tests
  • scaling tests
  • provider specific tests
  • and many more

To modify which tests you want to run, checkout our page on the e2e plugin.

If you want to run other tests or tools which are not a part of the Kubernetes end-to-end suite, refer to our documentation on custom plugins.

Monitoring Sonobuoy during a run

You can check on the status of each of the plugins running with:

sonobuoy status

You can also inspect the logs of all Sonobuoy containers:

sonobuoy logs


If you encounter any problems that the documentation does not address, file an issue.

Docker Hub rate limit

This year, Docker has started rate limiting image pulls from Docker Hub. We’re planning a future release with a better user interface to work around this. Until then, this is the recommended approach.

Sonobuoy Pod

Sonobuoy by default pulls from Docker Hub for sonobuoy/sonobuoy image. If you’re encountering rate limit on this, you can use VMware-provided mirror with:

sonobuoy run --sonobuoy-image projects.registry.vmware.com/sonobuoy/sonobuoy:<VERSION>


Kubernetes end-to-end conformance test pulls several images from Docker Hub as part of testing. To override this, you will need to create a registry manifest file locally (e.g. conformance-image-config.yaml) containing the following:

dockerLibraryRegistry: mirror.gcr.io/library

Then on running conformance:

sonobuoy run --sonobuoy-image projects.registry.vmware.com/sonobuoy/sonobuoy:<VERSION> --e2e-repo-config conformance-image-config.yaml

Technically dockerGluster is also a registry pulling from Docker Hub, but it’s not part of Conformance test suite at the moment, so overriding dockerLibraryRegistry should be enough.

Known Issues

Leaked End-to-end namespaces

There are some Kubernetes e2e tests that may leak resources. Sonobuoy can help clean those up as well by deleting all namespaces prefixed with e2e:

sonobuoy delete --all

Run on Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Sonobuoy requires admin permissions which won’t be automatic if you are running via Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) cluster. You must first create an admin role for the user under which you run Sonobuoy:

kubectl create clusterrolebinding <your-user-cluster-admin-binding> --clusterrole=cluster-admin --user=<your.google.cloud.email@example.org>

Run on Kubernetes for Docker Desktop

We don’t recommend running via a cluster set up via Docker Desktop. Known issues include:

  • kubectl logs will not function
  • sonobuoy logs will not function
  • sonobuoy retrieve will not function
  • systemd-logs plugin will hang

Most of these issues revolve around issues with kube-proxy on Docker Desktop so if you know of how to resolve these issues, let us know.

Certified-Conformance bug (versions v0.53.0 and v0.53.1)

These versions of Sonobuoy have a bug that runs the wrong set of tests without additional actions. See more details here. The simplest way to avoid this is to update your version of Sonobuoy to >= v0.53.2.

Strategy Document

See our current strategy document for context on what our highest priority use cases and work items will be. Feel free to make comments on Github or start conversations in Slack.


Thanks for taking the time to join our community and start contributing! We welcome pull requests. Feel free to dig through the issues and jump in.

Before you start

  • Please familiarize yourself with the Code of Conduct before contributing.
  • See CONTRIBUTING.md for instructions on the developer certificate of origin that we require.
  • There is a Slack channel if you want to interact with other members of the community


See the list of releases to find out about feature changes.

Getting Started

To help you get started, see the documentation.