How to Capture Network Traces from a POD on Kubernetes

  • Post category:Containers / Kubernetes
  • Post last modified:June 14, 2023


Capturing network traces from a POD on Kubernetes can be a valuable troubleshooting technique for identifying and resolving network-related issues. Whether you’re dealing with latency problems, packet loss, or unexpected behavior, network traces provide invaluable insights into the communication flow within your Kubernetes cluster. In this blog post, we will explore the process of capturing network traces from a POD on Kubernetes, step by step, and provide some useful tips along the way. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Network Tracing on Kubernetes

Network tracing involves capturing and analyzing network traffic to understand the interactions between different components in a distributed system. On Kubernetes, network tracing can be particularly helpful in diagnosing issues between PODs, services, or other network-related elements. By capturing network traces, you gain visibility into the packets exchanged, their timing, and potential anomalies, aiding in troubleshooting and performance optimization.

Setting up the Prerequisites

  • Before diving into capturing network traces, ensure that you have the following prerequisites in place:
    A running Kubernetes cluster
  • kubectl command-line tool installed and properly configured
  • Access to the target POD for capturing network traces

Capturing Network Traces from a POD

Now let’s proceed with capturing network traces from a POD on Kubernetes.

Step 1: Identify the Target POD

Use the kubectl get pods command to list all the PODs running in your cluster. Identify the specific POD that you want to capture network traces from. Take note of its name and namespace.

Step 2: Access the POD’s Shell

To access the shell of the target POD, use the kubectl exec -it <pod-name> -n <namespace> — sh command. This command establishes an interactive shell session within the POD, allowing you to execute commands.

Step 3: Install and Configure tcpdump

Inside the POD’s shell, install the tcpdump tool. Depending on the base image used for your POD, you may need to use a package manager like apt or yum to install tcpdump. Once installed, configure tcpdump to capture network traces on the desired network interface.

Step 4: Capture Network Traces

With tcpdump installed and configured, execute the tcpdump command to capture network traces. For example, you can capture all traffic on the eth0 interface using the command: tcpdump -i eth0 -w trace.pcap. This command starts capturing network traffic and saves it to a file named “trace.pcap”.

Step 5: Analyzing the Traces

To analyze the captured network traces, you can copy the trace file from the POD to your local machine using the kubectl cp command. Once copied, open the trace file with a network analysis tool like Wireshark. Wireshark allows you to inspect and dissect the network packets, providing valuable insights into the communication flow.


Capturing network traces from a POD on Kubernetes can greatly assist in troubleshooting network-related issues within your cluster. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily capture and analyze network traces, gaining valuable insights into the communication flow. With a better understanding of network traffic patterns, you’ll be well-equipped to diagnose and resolve issues, ensuring optimal performance and reliability in your Kubernetes environment.

Ashutosh Dixit

I am currently working as a Senior Technical Support Engineer with VMware Premier Services for Telco. Before this, I worked as a Technical Lead with Microsoft Enterprise Platform Support for Production and Premier Support. I am an expert in High-Availability, Deployments, and VMware Core technology along with Tanzu and Horizon.

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