Runtime Hooks

Tetragon Runtime Hooks

Applying Kubernetes Identity Aware Policies requires information about Kubernetes (K8s) pods (e.g., namespaces and labels). Based on this information, the Tetragon agent can update the state so that Kubernetes Identify filtering can be applied in-kernel via BPF.

One way that this information is available to the Tetragon agent is via the K8s API server. Relying on the API server, however, can lead to a delay before the container starts and the policy is applied. This might be undesirable, especially for enforcement policies.

Runtime hooks address this issue by “hooking” into the container run-time system, and ensuring that the Tetragon agent sets up the necessary state for filtering before the container starts.

The OCI hooks are implemented via a tetragon-oci-hook binary which is responsible for contacting the agent via a gRPC socket. tetragon-oci-hook can be configured to either fail or succeed when connecting to the tetragon agent fails (this is needed, so that Tetragon itself, as well as other mission critical containers can be started).

┌────────────────────┐         ┌────────────────────┐        ┌──────────────────┐
│  tetragon-oci-hook │         │   tetragon.sock    │        │  tetragon agent  │
│    (binary)        │─────────┤ (gRPC UNIX socket) │──────► │                  │
│                    │         │                    │        │                  │
└────────────────────┘         └────────────────────┘        └──────────────────┘

Depending on the container runtime, there are different ways to configure the runtime so that tetragon-oci-hook is executed before a container starts:


CRI-O implements the OCI hooks configuration directories as described in: Hence, enabling the hook requires adding an appropriate file to this directory.

Containerd (with NRI)

Recent versions of containerd support NRI: NRI support was added in 1.17 and will be enabled by default starting with 2.0. To use tetragon-oci-hook with NRI, there is a simple NRI plugin (called tetragon-nri-hook) that adds the tetragon-oci-hook to the container spec.

Containerd (without NRI)

Containerd can be configured to use a custom container spec that includes tetragon-oci-hook.


See Configure Runtime Hooks.